Archive for the ‘Allergies’ Category

…a bit belated. I hadn’t realised it had been so long since I updated, but the holidays will do that to you.

I barely know where to start, really. We had cycles of very cold (for my region) and then unseasonably warm weather which played havoc with my arthritis, in particular my hands (not to mention things blooming unseasonably, so allergies are in full swing already). The tendinitis “trigger thumb” in my right hand has been very painful and even with wearing a splint at night it still wakes me up at times. In fact, my overall pain got so bad that I went on a ten-day taper of steroids to help put it in check (which I loathe doing). It helped, for the most part.

All this has been a bit more hectic since my rheumatologist has left the practice and relocated outside of my area. I haven’t met my new “temporary” doctor yet, but had to get bloodwork done to renew my prescriptions. Thanks to changes in my supplemental medical coverage this ended up being a three-way paperwork fest which was finally resolved as of this morning and resulted in me missing only one week of medication. It has been stressful, to say the least, in addition to trying to dodge round after round of colds and flu at work. I had actually managed to accrue some sick time at work and then had to use it all on a chest cold that took out half of my team (luckily I had a light variant, but I am constantly wiping everything down with antibacterial cloths).

Without going into too much detail, I also began seeing a women’s doctor again. With the medications I take it’s not safe if I became pregnant, but the medication I was taking was having significantly bad side effects. Just as I get a referral and have an introduction appointment I’m notified that the new doctor’s practice and my health insurance have not renewed and the end date is alarmingly soon, so I was in a rush to get my meds changed before the cost-off. I was able to my medical appointment done and now am adjusting to the new medication, but I feel like it’s a taste of the direction that women’s medicine has been going in this country for quite a while now. I’m not going to go into politics here, but it added significantly to my stress, which I did not need in the least.

In good news my left foot is much better with just a little stiffness in the early mornings, which is probably the new normal. My Christmas gift to myself was a reclining bicycle, and hubby’s gift was cleaning up the spare room to make space for it. I only used it twice last week, so my goal for this week is three times. I have had to start much slower than I expected (10 minutes 30 seconds and 12 minutes 30 seconds respectively) but I am still adjusting settings. Building up my thighs will help my right knee not overextend, so it’s better not to push too hard. I feel like it is already helping my lower back which has been particularly bad this past week- so any progress there is welcome.

Not much else going on, really. I haven’t seen The Black Panther yet thanks to an unfortunate migraine yesterday, but will definitely see it this weekend- I’m so excited! It looks gorgeous and everything I’ve heard has been glowing so far.

One other gripe- I am still trying to adjust to diet to help avoid kidney stones. Hubby asked for a list of what I *can* eat since the list is getting so short. I really wish he was joking. It’s frustrating to say the least.

Oh- and I received all my medical statement summaries for last year. Without insurance I could have covered my prescriptions and had $5,000 left of my income. Which means that with my medical bills I would have been $35,000 in debt. I am grateful every day for my insurance- I honestly don’t know how I would be able to work full-time without it (which of course is it’s own source of stress, since I need to keep working to qualify, not to mention that hubby is covered under my insurance).



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I haven’t updated here in a very long time, mostly because no news is (usually) good news.

The other option is when I’m hit by one thing after another and it takes a while to get to a place where I can actually look back and summarize what’s going on.

Sadly, recently it’s been the second option.

Let’s start with plantar fasciitis. (Yes, I know I spelled it wrong in my Categories tag- I’ll fix it… eventually.) A few months ago (? six? I honestly don’t remember how long this has been going on) I started having severe pain in my left foot that made it difficult to walk. Since starting with a podiatrist I have stretched, iced, medicated, gelled, electro-therapied, splinted, spent way too much on increasingly specialized sneakers, inserted and padded my foot. This has gotten me to be mostly mobile but with possible Achilles tendon issues and a stress fracture in my foot. (Remember the Year of Foot Fractures? Sadly, I do.) In all, I am better than I was, but not being able to walk reliably has led to weight gain that I really don’t need. I am progressing, just very slowly.

Hurricane Irma. That worked out much better than expected, with my pharmacies being very proactive in making sure I had enough meds until things were back to normal (apparently they learned some painful lessons with Harvey that they didn’t want to repeat). I am deeply grateful for this. The aftermath was hot, muggy, and I chopped off my hair. We had water but cold showers could only do so much and my hair. Just. Didn’t. Dry. A minor injury on my spouse’s part kept me very busy and I was pretty exhausted by the end of it all, despite work being closed for a week.

My rheumatoid is doing well. Sadly, my liver is acting up. My biologic medication can impact my liver. Tests are ongoing. I am already off my cholesterol meds and have blood work scheduled next week so wish me luck.

And hey! A hospital visit! I went from “Hmm- maybe that sushi I had for lunch was off” to “oh crap- is that my appendix?” within 20 minutes last Thursday. There was a LOT of throwing up, which is one of my least favorite things to do. My throat was wrecked for days from it all. I ended up with an ambulance ride to the hospital for what turned out to be a kidney stone! Fantastic! I ended up only being there around 8 hours and the stone passed on its own. I only picked up a mild respiratory cold while I was there, and was singularly unimpressed with morphine’s lack of impact on kidney stone pain. They were going to keep me in observation overnight when the pain suddenly stopped (I thought they had finally put me on The Good Drugs, but no).  I have to agree with most folks who have experienced a kidney stone- this is probably the new “10” on my pain scale. I continue to be pissed as hell at how tiny the stone actually is (3 mm. Yep- I have it. Going to see a Urologist next week. Whee!)

I… could say a lot more about my whole experience. The EMT who couldn’t get my vein because it kept rolling- I forgive you even if it meant blood running down my arm and terrible bruising, but dang I could have lived without that on top of everything else. I am wearing long sleeves while it heals- the bruising for my IV is already gone. Overall, for an unexpected admission I did pretty well. Hubby was fantastic and grabbed my medical emergency sheet and stack of prescriptions, which was useful. Mostly it was a lot of waiting. Hopefully, I just need to drink  more water *crosses fingers* because there are more stones in there and I VERY much want to never go through that again. I was just grateful that it waited until I was back from the rural mountains of New Hampshire or that would have been a much, much worse experience.

And then there’s the fact that my right knee sounds like crinkling cellophane when I walk down stairs. I don’t even have an appointment for that yet since there’s no pain and I’m pretty sure they’re just going to tell me it’s arthritis. I’m dealing with one crisis at a time here.

In good news a cold front came through so we have cool, dry weather and I got to wear one of my sweaters today- yay! And I am forever grateful for my insurance- we are still covering hubby’s medical bills from his ambulance ride and hospital visit for a sliced finger (the night before Irma hit no less. We waved at his room as we left the hospital after my stay). Overall I am- tired. And my stomach is easily made unhappy, but I am much, much better and dealing.

Oh! And no allergy shot for me this week- I picked up four fire ant bites over the weekend. Thankfully, this is my last vial- once I use it up no more allergy shots! It only took five years!

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(From someone who worked at St*rbucks.) If you have a milk/dairy allergy AT ALL. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. Drink Pumpkin Spice.

It contains dairy IN the syrup that is used to make the drink. Even if you get it made with soy, you will still be getting doses of dairy in there.

Depending on the severity and intolerance it can and will cause reactions. I found that as a barista I was constantly warning people about the dairy in the product. No one ever seemed to tell them that there was dairy in the mix. More times than I can count I heard people realize that’s why they kept having reactions, or that’s why it made them sick.

People legitimately do not know that pumpkin spice no matter what you do will always contain some amount of dairy.


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I am back from my business trip and generally had a really good time. I was up in the mountains, and despite the altitude (~7,000 feet) I got in a fair amount of walking. And it snowed! I haven’t seen snow is years, so that was a rare treat (even if it meant the trails were too muddy for hiking). I had packed a windbreaker and layers, so other than having to buy a hat I was well-prepared for the weather. I hadn’t, however, taken into account that Utah is officially in the Southwest, and garlic is used to season almost everything.

If you’re new to my blog (and I’ll admit, I don’t talk about it often), but I have a fairly severe allergy to garlic. As in “my-throat-closes-up-and-I-can’t-breathe-carry-two-EpiPens” kind of allergic. I can usually tolerate a little dried garlic if it’s mixed into pre-packaged food (anything with “spices” on the boxes probably has trace garlic in it), as long as I don’t do it too often. The Southwest is pretty blatant about their garlic usage, so it’s easy to identify but hard to avoid. There was a “food allergy buffet” (lots of gluten-free, etc. foods) but 4/5 had garlic in it, and the 5th was pork (no pork or red meat either- sometimes it amazes me that I weigh as much as I do). It’s a rare allergy so I did notify the conference folks ahead of time, but I ended up having a cheese quesadilla and frenched fries that meal.

Speaking of, you know that I’m lactose intolerant, right? Even lactaid can only save me so much. I am currently going completely dairy-free for a few days/weeks until my body settles down.

None of this is really a surprise though- I came prepared with lots of me-friendly snacks and oatmeal so I could make breakfast in my room; every other meal I was able to find good alternatives, and every other single thing about the resort was amazing. They were super-kind about my feather allergy, swapping out my comforter, checking all my pillows and bringing me an extra blanket (which I ended up needing when the snow started!). I did them leave feedback, both good and bad, and especially praising the chef and server who helped with my food issues.

To be honest, I don’t think of my allergies and dietary restrictions as being particularly major or, well, restricting. It was just one of those cases where I’m reminded that I’ve shaped my immediate environs so I don’t need to worry about these things on a regular basis. The joys and tribulations of leaving your comfort-bubble, right?

As for other health stuff, my right hip was pretty bad the whole trip, which was very disappointing. The plane ride out was painful and I never quite 100% recovered from it (maybe just as well I didn’t try hiking after all). I also never managed distilled water for my CPAP and learned that dry air causes things to evaporate faster, so I need to refill more often. I had the usual dry-air problems: dry skin and nosebleeds, but I never needed to use my inhaler which I count as a win! Staying hydrated avoided any altitude sickness headaches as well, so go, me!

You’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about the actual conference so far- this is long enough so I’ll make it a separate post. I also have PICTURES! So I’ll post some of those as well. Stay tuned!


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Still waiting on bloodwork results, but research has confirmed that 100% of the random symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the last few months are part of the fibro suite. Part of me still hopes that the bloodwork comes back clear, but then I’ll have to address each individual issue with my medical team- it’s a bit to think that a fibro diagnosis would be “easier”. *sigh*

Speaking of my medical team, the endo I hoped to transfer to is moving out of the area, so I am stuck with my current doc for a while longer. The medical centre where my rheumatologist is plans to add a new endo, so once they have someone on staff I’ll make an appointment.

All this is going on the week before I fly out to Utah for a week-long conference. Yesterday was a dental cleaning and today is my allergy shot. I am starting to think that this was foolish on my part, because by the time I get out there I’m already going to be worn out. This will also be my first flight carrying my CPAP machine, so that should be… interesting. As soon as I land I need to hunt up a pharmacy or grocery store to pick up distilled water; I can get by on bottled water for a couple days in a pinch. I think I will be glad for the humidifier though- it is very cool and dry there. Packing extra warm layers for chilly evenings- which reminds me, I should pack my largest heating pad. *adds it to the list*

And while I’m making my packing list, that reminds me that I need to do a review here. I have discovered the joy that is SmartWool socks! I’m practically giddy about them- one of the few times that I wrote a review for a commercial site. That will  probably happen after I get back (and recover) from my trip.


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This will probably be my main topic for a while, so it you find it as boring as dirt, please check back in a few weeks. Usually once I get my living space up to a certain standard of neat/organised then I calm down. And that’s really what all this is about- anxiety.

My anxiety is still the most difficult aspect of my health to be open about. I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, and I attack that by bringing my immediate environment under control. I get compliments at work all the time about how organised I am and how nicely decorated my office is. It’s very flattering, but when I say that I “have” to be organised or else I don’t function, well, the meaning just doesn’t get through. I keep my office in subdued lighting and very calm so I can focus and have a retreat when things are hectic. I sometimes I have to deal with very stressful situations for my job, so keeping a neutral environment is comforting when I have to do things that I know are anxiety triggers.

It doesn’t always succeed, unfortunately. Friday I found myself increasingly tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I left before things could get out of hand, but it’s very rare for me to “lose it” like that, especially at work. I have been off my anxiety meds for just about six months, but bad allergies and poor sleep for a week had put me on edge to begin with, and I just had no buffers left.

I think part of the anxiety stems from the fact that (if all goes well) in the next 6-12 months we’d like to sell our house and move someplace a bit nicer is the same area. I find myself looking around the house and thinking about what it will mean to get the house ready to sell, and pack everything up to move. We still have boxes that were never unpacked from our last move, and we have a lot more large pieces of furniture than we did last time around.

In all, channeling my anxiety into putter is good in the long run- it’s just an intensity of behaviour that I haven’t seen since before the anxiety meds, and I’m still readjusting. It’s good to get rid of the open container of spices that I last used in 2009, the over-the-counter treatments that have been replaced by prescriptions, and the three grocery bags of clothes that were too small for me one size ago and exploded all over the shelf in our closet and onto the floor. I am considering restarting my anxiety meds, but there are discussions with doctors going on (and I am changing away from my current endo, which was its own source of anxiety, so the new doctor might want to provide some input on any prescription changes).


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Spring Cleaning

I am way, way behind on posts, but for moderately good reasons (I think). This past weekend was a good example: Friday was a friend’s wedding after work, Saturday was dinner and games/double-date night at our place, and Sunday was dinner with family and more Moving of Furniture.

All the furniture acquisition is prompting me to reorganise a bit. I now have more than double the drawer space that I had previously, and in moving things around I am trying to thin things out and organise rather than just dump more stuff into drawers.

This is slowly creeping into all facets of my life, including cleaning out:

  • …the fridge. Four half-full bottles of barbecue sauce? I might need an intervention…
  • …my wallet and purse. Carrying cards that expired 6 months ago? Silly but typical. Two years?! Uhhh…
  • …crafting supplies. Paint that hardened into bricks? That can go. Sharing the wealth of good stuff by de-stashing with friends and co -workers. Would much rather that things be used than just sitting in drawers (especially since some are going to be used for charity fundraising- yay!)
  • …my car. Which wasn’t at all bad- I tend to be uber-neat in my car.

I am working on boxes of items to go to Goodwill and pet rescue.

This is all going a bit slowly in fits and spurts. My allergies have been terrible and I haven’t been sleeping very well. I also missed a weekly weigh-in and am getting back on track with tracking what I eat (I didn’t fall too far behind, but it’s easy to let things slip). The leftover Easter candy floating around the office isn’t helping any!


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