An infusion during Thanksgiving week?

Yeah, I’ve had to get infusions on or close to Halloween, Cinco de Mayo, New Years, my birthday and other holidays too. Turns out my health doesn’t really consider fun, festive or eventful times in life as suitable excuses to delay my infusions. So, I’ve learned to roll with it, scheduling infusions that I know will wipe me out for a couple of days every month for almost six years now. I’ve had a lot of infusions in my life, so it’s pretty routine for me, but I wanted to write down step-by-step what my experience is like in case it’s helpful to others.

Step one: I walk into the infusion center and (luckily) see the same happy, joking infusion nurse each month.

Step two: I sit down in the infusion chair and have my vitals checked (pulse, heart, blood pressure, etc.)

Step three: The nurse places my IV to infuse my Entyvio.

Step four: I entertain myself by watching TV or I just rest while medicine flows into me for about an hour.

Step five: After the Entyvio is done, I get fluids through my IV because I believe it helps my side effects (I feel less tired and have less body cramps).

Step six: Usually, I can get a friend to drive me home and I nap for a long time (I usually end up sleeping a lot over the next couple of days).

Infusions aren’t necessarily fun, but they’re definitely part of my monthly routine by now. The infusion process, for me, is routine by now so it doesn’t feel that much different than a typical doctors’ appointment. I have even had infusions right next to my college exams and managed to do both, although it wouldn’t be my first choice.

I’m still amazed sometimes at how adapted I’ve become to this new normal – how getting infusions every month doesn’t feel like a big deal to me anymore. I used to get nervous for my infusions, but that was probably because I started out having severe allergic reactions to them. I worked with my doctor and we figured out a solution. And while Entyvio is certainly not just saline, the method of delivery is basically the same.

I do often get viruses immediately following infusions, because of my suppressed immune system. And my body absolutely begs for several days of bed rest, which can make it hard to keep up with school and work. But the side effects of my infusions are far less serious than a Crohn’s flare.

When I weigh the pros of remission against the cons of biologics; the biologic wins every time. I’m willing to manage an increased infection risk and post-infusion exhaustion, because it beats ending up in the hospital because my Crohn’s has flared. I can control preparing myself for an infusion and taking care of myself afterward, but I cannot always control a flare. That’s why I don’t mind my monthly infusion routine.


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