The Cure for My Disease

My “disease” plagues me all Spring long. It tortures me for most of the Summer and into the Fall. It even hangs around in Winter, if the weather doesn’t get cold enough and things don’t freeze enough. Yep. My allergies. I’m being a bit dramatic about the whole thing, but I really do suffer with them. It’s a relentless, year-round slog full of allergy meds, inhalers, antihistamines, watery eyes, stuffed-up nose, achy lungs, and mounds and mounds of used-up Kleenex. Seriously, I should own stock in Kimberly-Clark. I could become a rich woman, just off of my own usage during my non-stop allergy roller coaster.

I am, literally, allergic to everything. If it grows from the ground, flies around in the sky, blows on the wind, or has furry dander, I’m allergic to it. (Except for dogs. Thank goodness for small mercies!) When I got tested a couple of years ago, the allergist didn’t even bother telling me the list of what I was allergic to. She just looked at my red, hive-covered arms, checked the test results, and said, “Well, you’re allergic to everything.” Which is why I now feel completely justified in engaging in hyperbole by saying that I’m allergic to everything. Although, is it hyperbole if it’s actually true? Hmmm …

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My allergist has been telling me, ever since I first started seeing her a couple of years ago, that I need to do the allergy shots. I have, historically, been resistant to the idea. I’m needle phobic to an extreme degree. Just the thought of needles makes me want to curl up in a little ball on the floor and cry my heart out. My husband thinks I’m ridiculous about it. He’s always like, “It’s no big deal. Why are you carrying on like this?” He doesn’t get it. It’s terrifying to me. TERRIFYING. Deep in my heart, there is true and gibbering fear. I can’t explain it any other way. Plus, I felt like I was doing OK on my allergy meds. It wasn’t ideal, but I could mostly breathe through my nose. I could walk around outside without wheezing too much. Life was pretty much normal.

Until this year. This  year, Winter never happened. Well, it “happened”, but it didn’t hang around long enough to kill off all the pesky pollen producers in my neck of the woods. So, when Spring came around, it took me about half a second to catch a cold. It took about two seconds for my cold to turn into bronchitis. And my bronchitis hung around for FOREVER. I was sick for about three and a half weeks. I thought I was going to end up wheezing my way into my sunset years. I guess it was a combination of already being run down and the higher-than-usual pollen counts. I thought I was never going to get well.

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Once my lungs were clear, I decided to raise the white flag and admit that my allergies had won. I headed back to my allergist and agreed to do the shots. I started them last week. I was supposed to get my whole first series at one appointment: 2 hours of needly fun. Ugh. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as planned. My breathing wasn’t as good as the allergist wanted, which is a little silly because I pretty much can’t ever breathe well — not really. But I ended up doing an albuterol inhaler for the first 45 minutes of my visit. I hate albuterol. It leaves me feeling shaky, jittery, and hella nervous. I was already nervous, so it pushed me right to the edge of a little panic attack right there in the allergist’s office. And, in the end, it didn’t improve my breathing at all. Fun times. Because of all that, my appointment ran late. So now I have to go and get pricked and poked two times a week instead of one. I’m not thrilled with this. It’s hard enough to psych myself up for one shot visit per week.

And I’m beginning to think the cure may be worse than the disease. I had my first round last Thursday — four shots, total. I was exhausted and feeling crappy all weekend long. Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, I pretty much felt like something the cat had dragged in … eaten … barfed up … and dragged around once more. I wasn’t good for anything. I didn’t have the energy to work out. I didn’t have the energy to do family stuff. I nearly fell asleep in church! Plus, my mouth and face were itchy, and I ended up with hard little knots at all of my injection sites on my arms. Oh, and bruises, too. I look like I was on the losing end of a very unfriendly discussion. Today was the first day since my shots that I woke up feeling even vaguely human.

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I go back for Round 2 tomorrow. Honestly, I’m already dreading it. The actual shots themselves didn’t hurt, so I feel pretty much okay with the needle aspect of everything. I think. It did hurt, but only a teeny bit. It’s probably lucky I have fat arms. I’m sure that helps with the whole pain aspect. But the side effects. Just … ugh. I don’t think there is any better way to describe it. Yeah. Just … ugh.

So, tomorrow at around 1:30 PM, if you think about it … stop and send a good thought my way. I’m gonna need it!

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