Remicade was first approved as a treatment for rheumatoid arthritis. It has since been approved to be used for a variety of autoimmune disorders including Crohn's disease. What it does is basically prevent a person's body from attacking its own organs. See, for whatever reason, my immune system has deemed my intestines as an invader. Because of that, my body has created antibodies to try and destroy my intestines. Remicade works to prevent those antibodies from winning. For more detailed information, visit here: http://www.remicade.com/remicade/global/understanding/understanding.html.
When first beginning Remicade, you begin with a treatment every two weeks for the first six weeks. After that, you go a month in between for a couple of times. Once you reach maintenance level, you have to go every two months. I am at that stage now. I visit my infusion nurse every two months for two hours at a time.
During my treatment, my nurse mixes my medicine with a saline solution. This stuff is pretty nasty and expensive. One treatment costs upwards of $10,000 (USD). That's just the medicine! Then, there's the cost for the supplies to administer it! Remicade is administered via IV. I get hooked up to a needle and bag and sit for two hours while this nasty stuff is dripped into my vein. So, the kids and I play, I'll text or surf the net on my cell. Pretty much try to find things to pass this time. It's hard to keep the kids busy for two hours!!!!
I keep saying nasty medicine because it is. It suppresses my immune system. This means that any bug out there, I'll get. And when I get it, I get it twice as bad as everyone else because my body isn't making antibodies as readily as a healthy person. I recently had bronchitis for six weeks! And I have to be really careful...there's a warning of tuberculosis with this medicine. And, because it's such a strong medicine, the drip has to be carefully monitored so it doesn't go in too quickly. And my blood pressure has to be taken constantly to make sure I don't pass out. So, yeah, it's pretty nasty and dangerous stuff.
So, today, I took some pictures and posted them to Flickr. I had never thought to photograph or otherwise record my treatments. Never thought that anyone would be interested in this boring thing in my life. I do warn you, the first link is a picture of the IV in my arm, for those of you who are squeamish.
If you have questions, just post them in the comments and I'll do a follow up post answering what I can! :)