Extended Three Year Commitment




I’ve reached the end of my third year of allergy shots. A positive result may be my keener sense of smell. But it’s not the end of my immunotherapy, as I had hoped. I still have reactions to:

alternaria and candida (molds)

American cockroach

dogs

cats

Timothy grass

mugwort, ragweed and pigweed

willow, mulberry, oak and maple trees

A much shorter list than my original diagnosis. Pigweed is one of the allergens added to the list my allergy center tested me for at the beginning of my immunotherapy. Not surprised I reacted to at least one of those.

That first year I received 3 shots once a week. The second year, 3 shots every two weeks. I looked forward to my third year because I’d only have to go once a month for shots. When I got to the third year, the procedure had changed. I continued to go every two weeks.  

I’m at the end of my three year commitment. But back to receiving shots once a week for six additional months, because of the above test results. Not sure what happens after six months. I didn’t ask. I may be done with commitment by then.  

At the end of each year of immunotherapy, my ENT used a scope to investigate my sinuses. Last year, he found a polyp forming. This year he surprised me by saying that he wasn’t doing the scope. I told him I was wondering about the polyp. Of course, he didn’t remember my polyp from a year ago, but also had not noticed it in my records. He did the scope. And found what’s left of my adenoids is still inflamed, but no polyp. Whew.

I also had to remember when each of my years ended, and then remind the center to make an appointment for me with the doctor. I was told, at the beginning of my immunotherapy, this was important. Wise advice on being proactive in your medical experiences, proves true again and again.       

I’m logging this journey to share with fellow sufferers. I’ve found that people who received allergy shots had mixed results. I have too. Three and a half years is a long time to find out if a medical procedure works, and to what extent it does. Not sure if it has been worth my investment.

Going into immunotherapy, my doctor explained it was part of a process of elimination to find out what I’m allergic to and why my sinuses bother me. He made no promises that my symptoms would disappear, but said 80% of patients had success.

Once my body is immune to the allergens that I receive shot for, there may be other environmental allergens I react to that I wasn’t tested for; or foods, or chemicals. To complete my commitment, I’m continuing shots for another six months, as prescribed by my allergist. I’m looking for release from sinus pressure, dry eyes and fatigue.

Over the last month I’ve experimented with eye make-up to discover what chemical I’m reacting to in it. An organic brand without talc seems to cause few reactions. Chemicals and the weather, in addition to natural air born allergens and pet dander, are definitely in the mix that causes symptoms.

My ENT suggested a drop of alcohol in each ear to dry up moisture that causes very painful ear and sinus infections, which have put me in bed for up to two weeks. I haven’t had an infection since. However, my doctor told me to do this every day. When I did, ear wax hardened and built up pressure in my ear. I no longer use it daily. Only when my ears itch. That’s my sign an infection is starting, triggered by allergies. Know your body. Another wise, age-old suggestion.  

I’ll continue over the counter medication, like Flonase, to deal with any remaining symptoms if my 3½ year commitment fails me. Look for another post of my experiences with immunotherapy in six months.  






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