Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Just Another Weekend with S.M.

We went over to a friend's house on Friday night. She's been brilliant about de-latexing her home for me and I've flushed and not felt right a few times there but nothing that drugs hasn't taken care of. But on Friday night, I REALLY didn't feel right after being there for a few minutes. And, I didn't feel right after getting out of my husband's car. So what was it? Dunno. Anyway, I began flushing...which isn't a crisis in and of itself. I don't usually start panicking until it's mixed with other things, oh like, having trouble breathing and/or swelling tongue/throat. But, I just had the pain in my right lung that I get during 'reactions'. No gagging, no spluttering, no drama. But I didn't feel right.

Then, I needed to go pee. The loo is upstairs. So, I asked my husband if he'd mind helping me to the bathroom. I managed to navigate the kitchen. However, it was in the entrance to the living room that the room got all woozy and the immediate sensation of numbness in every part of my body, and zero control over my extremities hit. I remember thinking, "No!" and the next thing I know, I'm on the ground, left knee throbbing, husband behind my head telling me that I'm ok and my friend Lori, in front of me, holding my hands telling me that I'm ok.

The words, "I'm sorry" fell out of my mouth over and over again, as I tried to regain control of myself, the situation and...well, me.

I was told that I didn't need to be sorry.

My right knee was hurting like hell.

Together, they pulled me into a sitting position, and then when the world wasn't so woozy, they helped me back to the kitchen to a chair. I still needed to pee but I needed to sit still, more. I was totally flushed and rashed over my face and neck. My heart was racing, although Lori said it didn't seem to be to her when she felt my pulse. I took my meds: allerdryl, ranitidine, doxepin, reactine, prednisone, ventolin and waited. My right lung still hurt when I breathed in, and out but eased up after the ventolin. And we waited. All the friends gathered there for the gaming night looked on, with sympathetic glances and I felt like a total moron. The drugs kicked in eventually, and everything began to settle down. I still felt woozy, but didn't fall down. Mind you, I didn't get up except for one supervised and assisted trip to the washroom, and then out to the car to go home.

Saturday, I felt like I'd been run over by a truck.

Sunday, I awoke feeling the same way. Pounding head, rapid heartbeat intermittently, flushing and sick to my stomach. I slept until 9:30 am, went back to bed at 11:30 am and slept until 2pm. We went to the inlaws for an early supper. All was well until I went to whip the cream for dessert. During whipping, a gust of air popped up from the hand mixer and literally choked me on contact. And whammo, I couldn't get any air. Or much. I gagged, I coughed, I spluttered, I removed myself from the kitchen so as not to disturb the dinner table guests, and coughed my heart out. My husband found me, and grabbed my meds. We shoveled them in, with his saying, "Do I need to stab you?" Avoid Epi, at all costs, has become my new motto. Do not stab unless cannot breathe on own. Do not stab unless unconscious. Do not panic. "No", I gasped, "wait." And we waited. And it hurt to breathe. And my tongue tingled but didn't get bigger than it was. And I puked and puked that weird white foamy crap that only appears during an allergic reaction. And we waited. And then it all started to settle down...eventually. It still hurt to breathe, but I wasn't spluttering. I felt sick but wasn't puking. I felt woozy but wasn't falling down. We went home early. The drugs knock me out.

Monday, I woke up feeling like I'd been run over by a truck. No energy. Heavy. But alive and breathing. I got through kids lunches, breakfast, dressing, teeth, hair, snowsuits and out the door. I walked the dog for an hour outside in the cool air (I was dressed warmly) and took immense pleasure in being outside, in breathing, in Being. Came in, and called my Immunologist's office. I'm just about out of meds. Do I need to come down to Barrie to see him (2 hour drive) or can it be called in? I'm now on max dose of Doxepin, and not because I want to be. I've stayed out of the hospital but am still having reactions...WHY?

Monday afternoon, the Immunologist's office called me back. My ears must've been burning, I was told. I'd been discussed most of the morning. My test results, and patient file have arrived in their office from Winnipeg; from my previous Immunologist who suspects I have Systemic Mastocytosis and who's sent me to two Oncologists...one says I have it; the other says I don't. My Barrie Immunologist needed to see for himself the RAST, tryptase, catchecolomine, IgE testing for himself, and now that he's seen it all...he wants to send me to St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto to see Dr. Vas. (his name is too long for anyone to use it for real, apparently) who can do the c-kit mutation testing, and whatever else they are going to do. They will book me an appointment as soon as possible. In the meantime, stay on the meds, stay safe, don't risk unknown environments and avoid environments in which I've reacted; avoid 'reactive' foods; avoid latex at all costs and other possible chemical and environmental allergens.

I know this would all be doubly hard to take IF I hadn't been awarded long term disability benefits recently. I would be stressed beyond belief about getting back to NORMAL life and being a productive member of my household (because I've got some messed up notion that the housework; food; laundry; writing and house sorting that I do is somehow unvalued and unappreciated.) Once again, I need to remind myself that whatever NORMAL was; it isn't any longer...the parameters of NORMAL have shifted, and I need to do as the doctor tells me. So I am. Reluctantly.

Monday, January 5, 2009

New Year 2009

This is the day we feel we begin our resolutions – the promises of a changed us; the setting of goals for an improved me & marks the beginning of the next 364 days of effort to keep those promises.

I don’t normally set New Year resolutions, but this year I need to.

I HAVE to drop this additional 50lbs that’s currently hugging and weighing down my 5’2” frame. My BMI is ridiculous and I think I fall into the severely obese category. It’s odd that I don’t FEEL this huge…except when I want to run; except when I climb the stairs; except when I want to keep up my with children; except when I can’t fit into pants that fit me 6 months ago; except when I look in the mirror. I want to make excuses for it. I want to say things like:

I don’t eat THAT much.
I exercise.
I gained this when I got pregnant again, and it just won’t budge.
I’ve taken a LOT of steroids for my allergic reactions this year.
I’ve always been curvy.
I’ve always had a big bum.
I don’t have a sweet tooth.

And the list goes on.

I guess the truth is, I’ve been completely unrealistic about how I eat, why I eat, and what foods don’t agree with me. I often ingest, for example, dairy products that either give me an immediate headache, flatulence (that’s a fancy word for FART), diarrhea, constipation, blocked sinuses and tummy ache. HOW stupid can I be? I mean, if I was a cat and food did this to me, I just wouldn’t eat it. If I was a child and food did this to me, my parents wouldn’t give it to me and at some point I’d just stop eating it because I KNOW it’s going to hurt me in some way. WHY, as an adult, do I keep thinking I should eat dairy? All that calcium that’s supposedly in it? Do I believe the hype and propaganda of the Dairy Board who are in charge of Dairy advertising? I guess somewhere along the line, I have believed this stuff. And, I must like it. Otherwise I wouldn’t be drawn to the multiple types of cheese out there, cream, milk, cheese sauce, chocolate milk, Tim Horton’s French Vanilla Coffee, and there are a whole slew of foods out there that contain milk but aren’t milk…like bread. There was a time in history when bread contained nothing more than water, yeast & flour. Now we fill it with soy isolates, milk byproducts, and various grains and enriching vitamins (the ones that we strip from wheat in the first place.) We also enrich milk & milk products because we strip it of vital nutrients when we pasteurize it. So, I need to revise and adjust WHAT I’m eating. Ironically, I hated cheese and milk as a kid.

So, I will be blogging about my continued struggles with my ‘allergies’ and ‘weight’. Who would’ve thought my life would become about these two things? For now, though, they need to be. These are my struggles and I obviously will learn a thing or two from them. So, I need to be real about this all.

I’m overweight and it’s hurting me. Time to DO something about it.

I’m going to have to be careful about making excuses NOT to succeed though. Things like:

It’s winter and my treadmill is broken.
It’s too cold to go for a walk with the dog.
I’m too tired today to exercise (that’s ironic.)
I can’t afford to eat properly.
I’m too busy to take care of me.

Oh, and the list can go on…

But I’m not going to let it. I’ve dropped weight before with exercise and eating less. I’ve dropped weight before with Herbal Magic. Don’t think we can afford Herbal Magic’s high prices, so I’d best go back to DOING MORE and EATING LESS and differently.

I’m already on a restricted diet due to the allergy thing. No potatoes, No chocolate, No shellfish, No alcohol, No tomatoes, No nuts. Apparently these are high histamine-containing foods. I’ve been pretty good, although not perfect, about this stuff over the holidays. Last night, I had a Bailey’s on Ice and a banana/zambuca shooter and this morning I feel like I drank 6 bottles of wine and mixed it with Johhny Walker’s or something. I don’t feel so hot. I feel pretty grim actually. I can’t do that again. I’ve taken two Advil’s and they’ve barely taken the edge off. I hurt. More fool me.

So here goes. A new year and there lies the opportunity for an improved me. Mind you, that opportunity lies in every day, not just January the 1st 2009.