And now for something different...
My adventures with allergies
I’ve been living with allergies for 47 years. Grass, trees, weeds, dust mites, mold, mildew... It’s been a constant battle in which the allergies have been mostly victorious. I’m currently on my fourth attempt to eradicate them through immunotherapy. It’s been a year and I’m only on the second bottle of antigens. Every few weeks I have a reaction—sometimes it’s extreme fatigue which my previous doctor said wasn’t because of the shots, but my new nurse said they’re absolutely a problem—and it’s been frustrating. I take two Zyrtec on the morning of my weekly shots. Today after about ten minutes, I started getting itchy on the back of my neck, my waist, my hairline. My face around my mouth started tingling like the feeling of numbness wearing off. All telltale signs of a reaction. My nurse gave me an Allegra (I’d already taken a double dose of Zyrtec) and after a few more minutes when I told her the itching hadn’t stopped, she gave me a Zyzal as well. I sat for another fifteen minutes, she took my blood pressure and other vitals and everything was fine so she let me leave. I am required to carry an epipen, which I did not have to use today, thankfully.
This was nowhere near the worst reaction I’ve ever had. I’ve had my arms swell, my tongue swell, a roving rash, hives...I’ve been given epinephrine and Benadryl several times. Next week she’ll reduce my dose, which after a year we’re only in the second set of bottles because we keep having setbacks. There are six or seven levels of bottles I believe? Most folks go through them all in a year, maybe two, building up to their maintenance dose, which means then they come once a month. They’ve asked me to come twice a week to get me through my doses faster. This is a colossally bad idea, obviously. My last doctor I saw for eight years getting six shots per week, plus Xolair for asthma every other week, which was an additional three injections on those weeks. I never got to the top three bottles.
What are the benefits? In 2009 I had pneumonia and a sinus infection which required surgery. After the surgery, I spent a year having repeated infections, so my ENT suggested I go back on allergy shots. I’d tried twice before, in college and in my twenties but life got in the way back then. Making a weekly commitment to injections is a big deal, especially when you never know when you might have a day like today. When I’m getting shots regularly, I’m less likely to get repeated sinus and bronchial infections. That’s a bonus. My asthma is triggered less often. But I still take a daily allergy pill and use a steroid inhaler and nose spray just to function.
It’s been five hours and I’m still itching and i feel like I’ve got a bad sunburn. And I’m exhausted. My evening of productivity never happened. I talked school with my daughter, talked music with my son, pet the dog… and I’m in bed. I may end up taking Benadryl so I can sleep. I wish I had oatmeal bath packets but I’m out.
Allergies are not the worst thing at all. I’m blessed that I have the health I do. I’m grateful that my kids don’t have them nearly as bad as I do. Allergies are survivable. I’ve survived jokes and teasing my whole life about having allergies. “We need to get you a bubble, is that a hickey on your neck, you’re weak, why are you such a mess, can’t you just deal with it?” Part of the reason I don’t have a skin care regimen or wear makeup is because of allergies. Exercise can be problematic because walking outside is problematic for me year round. Fragrances send me running for my inhaler and give me massive headaches.
Im sharing this because some of you go through this too. Some of you may have kids with allergies. I’ve been told starting immunotherapy when kids are little makes it more effective and I didn’t start until I was about 19. Teachers, that kid that misses class all the time, or who sniffles every day, or who is space in class because they couldn’t sleep/are on heavy meds/is acting out (all of these were me), have some patience.
I hope someday someone actually comes up with a cure. I’ll be first in line.
Thanks for reading along...we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled Rock ‘n’ Romance programming tomorrow...