Let’s visit one of the things that we discovered after the nightmare, my B12 deficiency.

Want to know something frustrating?

My B12 levels were actually flagged as critically low on blood work taken in 2010. However, the levels were never regularly followed afterwards. In between three states and countless doctors, that B12 deficiency fell through the cracks until a crisis hit. This is why it is critical that you always get a copy of every blood test. Doctors have hundreds of patients. You only have one you. You must take pro-active steps to manage your health. My B12 level was critically low three years ago and requested doctors to regularly check it as I supplemented. I didn’t and that one blood test was forgotten. Lesson learned.

When my B12 came back low this year, my doctor informed me that she would immediately start me on injections:

Daily, for seven days.
Weekly, for four weeks.
Monthly, for life.


But. Needles?!

Um… PROBLEM. I hate needles. I’m terrified at the thought of injecting myself! Also, these are not the tiny needles used for insulin. They are big! It’s an inch long in order to due the inter-muscular injection. Oh yay.



Penny included for size.


When the nurse came in to teach me how to inject, she started out by referencing her weight. “Now I try to grab the fattiest part of my thigh to inject so it hurts less…” Her voice quickly trailed off as she observed my small frame. “… oh… you don’t have any fat on you.” Thank you sweet nurse. You are not helping to ease my fears.

When the pharmacist handed me the prescription, he mentioned how he had a difficult time picking the best syringe due to my low weight. As I took the bag of needles, all he could say to my face full of fear and dread was, “I’m sorry.”


Adding Positive Reinforcement

Well, if I was going to have to do something scary, I needed a reward afterwards. Doctors reward shots with stickers and colorful band-aids. I deserve the same treatment! I was going to get some sweet awesome band-aids!



Fun band-aides make everything better, yes?


The time came for my first injection. With everything prepared, I took a deep breath and I stuck that big needle directly into my thigh. And guess what? It wasn’t that bad. I did it! I overcame my phobia! Now to do it six more days in a row.

As someone who has been chronically ill longer than not, I never realize how awful I feel or how sick I have become until I am shown what “healthy” feels like. My doctor informed me that supplementing my B12 would give me life. How right she was.

I got down to once a month injections in September. In October, I was good and gave myself the injection on time. In November, I did not inject. The longer the time gap in between injections, the scarier that needle becomes.



This looks so intimidating.


Don’t worry readers. I have given myself my December shot. Once again, I see how I started to slip back towards not feeling well but had not fully realized it. I feel so much better.


Why not over the counter supplements?

Now several people ask why I do not just take over the counter supplements. Why am I using that scary needle? Simple.

  1. This is what my doctor prescribed.
  2. This is the exact same needle and the exact same site that I would use if I ever need to self-inject my emergency solu-cortef.

Every time I inject my B12, I am using that experience as practice. B12 isn’t necessarily life saving in a critical situation. In an Addisonian Crisis, the solu-cortef injection is life saving. I will gladly give myself a shot once a month knowing that this skill could save my life one day.

I am doing everything in my power to remain Clearly Alive.

Amber Nicole is Clearly Alive