Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!
Frazzled Marc, half way through my 40s!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Allergies

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I took off from the blog for the last couple of days. My allergies have been horrendous. When they get that bad, the medicine I take just allows me to barely function. These are not the sniffles that one gets during the spring. These are full blown head-blown-off sneezing exhausting put-to-bed allergies! Besides high blood pressure, it is one more gift from my mother. I used to remind her of this constantly to elicit sympathy. Being better at Jewish guilt than I, she would remind me of the never ending pain I put her through at childbirth.

My allergies stemmed from problems as a babe. As an infant, I suffered from a disorder called autoimmune neutropenia. Basically, my body did not make white blood cells. I was susceptible to infections and if it had gotten worse, I could have become like the “boy in the bubble” story from years ago, cut off from the outside world due to no immune system. Luckily and miraculously, I started producing white blood cells to where my immune system, at age 12, was comparable with others of my age. I had bad allergies though, real bad. The doctor told my parents that this could possibly be as a result of the neutropenia. I was allergic to so many things; I think I counted over 50 different things at one point.

Here is a partial list of stuff when I was most allergic: Chocolate, strawberries, wheat, corn, nuts, mold, grass, hay, pollens, plants, trees, dried leaves from the fall, dust, cats, dogs, and bird feathers. Almost anything that rubbed against me caused me to breakout in welts or hives. It was just not any particular season, it was all year round. Interestingly enough, I was never allergic to any shellfish (thank God). I have outgrown the food allergies, but still have the others.

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In grade school, I did try the allergy shots, but I was allergic to them as well. My allergy doctor kept trying to lower the dosage but it would still make me sick to my stomach. Years of different medications followed. I would switch medications every 6 months as my body would develop a resistance to them. And oh yes, don’t forget the scratch tests every year where they would prick your back and rub on an allergen to see if you reacted to it. My back would become a landscape of hives. The itching was maddening!

These days, I still suffer. I take allergy medicines for eyes, for skin, 3 types for asthma, one daily medicine, and one nose spray. Usually I only need 4 a day out of the 7. I have developed a resistance to my cats, but put me around other cats and my allergies are triggered! Most days the allergies are an annoyance which I deal with. Some weeks, like just this last week, are absolutely horrible. I sneeze, wheeze, cough, and itch so much that it mentally and physically exhausts me. Any downtime is spent in the shower trying to clean out the allergens or in bed drugged from medication.

I am finally feeling better though. It now takes about a week of recovery until I feel 100% better. Allergies really suck. It could always be worse though so I usually only complain during the really bad weeks.

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