Alien or Allergic to Earth
I'm reaching into cyber space to hear from fellow earth dwellers. I'm begging for information, in the form of your experience, about an issue that's bothered my health since I can remember, and until now I could handle.
Blowing my nose and squinting through swollen eyes, I've grinned and bared it. I functioned as a working mother of four while running through life whipping tissues from my pocket or handbag. I've sneezed my way through most of the year, most of my life. But allergies have sunk deeper roots into my body over the last few years. Today, I long for those drippy days.
Still in my forties, I thought I was aging on the inside earlier than most people. I need a nap to get through the day. As I move, my body is weighted by an unseen force. Medical tests came up negative. Continued fatigue and extreme thirst almost convinced me I was a hypochondriac.
Recently my gums and jaw hurt so bad I rocked in pain. I couldn't chew without hurting. Drinking hot or cold beverages made me scream in agony. A lump formed under the flesh of my lower lip. The dentist gave me a clean bill of health and suggested seeing an ENT specialist.
These new symptoms caused my imagination to conjure up a health issue yet unknown to medicine. I could understand if my throat swelled shut or I had trouble breathing, but these weren't the case. Oral and nasal medications have no effect or make me feel worse. I considered depression at one point. The ENT specialist mentioned that cronically feeling lousy could sink a person into depression. He suggested allergy testing. But I needed relief righ away.
For years I owned a neti pot, but couldn't believe something so simple could help me. It grossed me out just reading the instructions. I hate when ocean water goes up my nose. The sensation bothered me so much as a kid that I had avoided salt water near my face.
Two week ago, in painful desperation, I used the strange little pot that reminds me of Aladin's magical lamp. The pressure in my mouth and face subsided. The neti pot had mystical powers too. The temporary relief was euphoric. For good measure, I chased this sinus experience with an over-the-counter pain reliever.
I posted my neti pot results on Facebook. The response comforted me to know I'm not an alien having trouble surviving Earth's atmosphere, or a hypochondriac. Renee Ericson, author of "Forgetting Yesterday" "After Tuesday" and her latest book coming out this summer, "Deciding Tomorrow," is a fellow sufferer and confirmed my situation as similar to hers. Pete Curran who works at New York Life Insurance also uses saline solution to alleviate symptoms. So I'm in good company and not crazy or on the wrong planet.
After allergy testing, the results floored me. Shall I list what I'm allergic to? Just skim the following to save time:
And I have yet to be tested for food allergies.
Allergic to everything under the sun and in the house, my only hope is allergy shots that take three years to build immunities in my body. I never realized environmental allergies could be so difficult to control.
A nurse friend I used to work with told me she never had allergies before she moved to New Jersey. This and her lovely New England accent made me want to move to that area.
This is where you come in. I'm hoping for information about environmental allergies and how those suffering with them cope. I feel my quality of life could be better. My fear is that three years of allergy shots may prove unsuccessful. I've heard this is possible from other sufferers.
I want to feel my age before I reach that age where it's more natural to often feel sluggish. Heaven help me if I need dentures.