I’m in a large public pool with people everywhere, and I’m wearing a bright red bikini. I’m thinking that I look pretty hot as I start getting out of the pool. I slowly walk up the steps to return to my lounge chair, with plans to sunbathe.
But suddenly water starts spewing out of my body through my past injection sites. It starts out with just a few spots on my arms and legs, but soon there are hundreds, maybe thousands, of tiny fountains that have sprouted out of every part of my body.
I try to stop the water by blocking the little holes with my hands, but it doesn’t work — there are too many! Everyone is staring, and I’m completely mortified. I’m tempted to scream “It’s from my shots!” to all the people pointing and laughing at me…as if anyone would understand what that means!
At that point, I usually wake up in a panic and check to make sure my bed and I are dry. I always feel relieved that it was just a dream, although I must say there’s a little disappointment that I don’t have that same body I had in the beginning of the dream wearing that little red bikini. ; )
When I ask myself why I would have such a crazy dream, I think it comes down to my self-consciousness about all the little bumps and lumps on my body from years and years of daily injections.
Common side effects of MS injection therapies include pain, redness, welts and irritation at injection sites. The term “lipoatrophy” is used to describe the odd dimpling, crater-like sunken areas on your skin where you repeatedly inject.
Some people with MS are too embarrassed by this to wear shorts or tank tops. I can completely relate — when I go to the pool or the beach, I always wear board shorts over my bikini bottoms and cover up with a towel until the moment I get in the water.
I’ve been on injection therapies since 1994 when I was diagnosed with MS. I did the math, and that means I’ve done more than 4,000 shots. They aren’t fun and often hurt, burn, swell, bruise or bleed. But there’s no way I’ll stop.
I’ll continue to “shoot myself” because my therapy has been medically proven to slow down the progression of my disease. This daily dose of hope, as I refer to it, allows me to continue to live my life with fewer MS symptoms.
I’m sure my dream with come again. But the next time, I hope that instead of being embarrassed, I’ll strut around the pool showing off those past injection sites. My daily shots are my way of fighting this disease, and that’s something to be proud of!