I’ve written briefly about the medication that is offered to IBD patients but I want to go into a bit more depth into the IV therapy.
Because my colon is particularly angry, back in February my doc put me on a plan to have monthly infusions of Inflectra Infliximab with the hope that it puts, and keeps in remission. Infliximab is a biological drug that targets specific proteins within the body to reduce the inflammation that is caused by the immune system when it works over time. It alters the way that my immune system works so I am more prone to infections and other illnesses, meaning if stay away if you have a cold (please)!
It’s a little unconventional to be spending most of my time in hospital but I’ve normalised it; it doesn’t seem so strange any more, just another Friday.
With Infliximab and the pharmacy I’ve acquired I have to go into hospital about 3-5 days before my infusion to get a blood test and ensure that the drugs or my colon aren’t screwing anything up. If my bloods are all hunky dory then 5 days later I trundle down to the Queen Alexandra hospital to get my infusion. In the rheumatology dept. of the hospital there is a room full of chairs for people getting all sorts of infusions. The nurses weigh me, and ask me a million questions before popping a cannula into my arm and I sit for around 2 hours while the drug is pumped into my body. The whole process can take up to 4 hours in total, so it’s a whole day out! I usually keep myself busy by writing my next blog installment or catching up with university work and it has actually turned into an opportunity to get stuff done and be productive! With no wifi or signal in the basement of the hospital it takes away the distraction of Netflix, Facebook or Instagram and lets me focus.
It might sound like a massive pain but it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. I mean there are better ways to spend my Friday rather than in hospital but all in all it’s not that bad. The nursing staff are lovely! Always really chatty, filling me with tea and biscuits and I’ve started to build a really good relationship with them. We always have a good giggle, chatting about nothing in particular but it’s nice to get to know the amazing people looking after me. After all, I’m there all the time so I might as well make the best of it!
This drug has been a miracle for me; after every infusion I feel like I could sleep forever, but that soon passes after a couple more biscuits and my 5th cup of tea. It seems one of the only drugs that I really notice a significant difference within 24hours.
What’s a few hours of my life spent in hospital if it means I still have my colon intact?
When my doc prescribed Infliximab he gave me the option to carry on with the infusions after I’d had the first three; he didn’t think that I needed any more infusions after the first three because of how well I had reacted to the treatment after I was discharged from hospital. However, after the panic hospital admission I didn’t want to end up back at square one… So I chose to go for a year of IV therapy (which might have turned into the foreseeable future thanks to my colon hating me). I decided it was better to throw the whole kitchen sink at it in order to get this damn illness under control, and it was the best decision I’ve ever made. Even though it can be annoying, having to fit multiple trips to hospital in my diary, continuing with the treatment will be what (hopefully) gets me and keeps in remission.
If you are thinking about going onto Infliximab then I definitely recommend it! If anyone wants to find out any more about my experience then don’t hesitate to contact me on Instagram or via my email (@firstname.lastname@example.org). Or head to the Crohn’s and Colitis website for more info into the logistics of the drug itself.