Last week I had an appointment with my allergist - just to check in and see how things had been going, and if I had experienced any more episodes of exercise-induced anaphylaxis.
We talked about the last two times it's happened - both times, as soon as I started to feel my palms get itchy, I stopped running, and shortly afterward, broke out in hives. One dose of Benadryl helped calm down the hives, and although I had to spend the rest of the day in a Benadryl-induced stupor, for the most part, it wasn't anything more than a nuisance.
So the consensus was that, although this probably will still happen on occasion, it was something that was manageable, and as long as I'm smart and carry my epi-pen and phone, and stop running when I feel the symptoms coming on, it shouldn't turn into anything more serious.
We never discussed what to do if the symptoms came on under any non-running circumstance, because I never considered that to be a possibility. But you just never know what life's going to throw your way.
We got home late last night from a fabulous family picnic in CT, and I was looking forward to a good night's sleep. But as I was laying in bed reading, my stomach felt really unsettled. Seeing as how I ate twice as much as I normally would at dinner, I wasn't surprised, and got up to go downstairs and get some ginger ale.
I noticed, though, that I also felt kind of 'off.' I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but something just didn't feel right.
And as I walked downstairs, my hands started to feel itchy. At first I thought it was a coincedence. I couldn't possibly be having an allergic reaction just out of the blue. Could I?
But by the time I got downstairs, I knew that's exactly what was happening. And in addition to the itchiness, I felt like my lips were swollen. And my entire head felt tingly and odd.
It felt way too similar to how I felt the first time this ever happened, when I was walking home from the track, short of breath and lightheaded and seriously concerned about passing out on the side of the road.
That's when I freaked out and called Scott to come downstairs and sit with me. This is the only time I've thought that I might have to use my epi-pen, and I didn't really want to be alone.
I had taken a Benadryl, but the hives were spreading, and I was still feeling really weird. I didn't get the lightheadedness and shortness of breath, but I just felt very very strange. I was still hesitant to use the epi-pen, though. If I had experienced any shortness of breath, I would have gotten it out right away, but after a few minutes of laying quietly, I started to feel better. The hives were still itching like crazy, but the rest of the strange sensations were subsiding.
And about half an hour after it all started, I was pretty much back to normal, and woke up this morning feeling fine. Well - physically, I feel fine. Emotionally, not so much.
I'm now more mystified than ever. Exercise-induced anaphylaxis, I can work with. I can manage it, I can handle it, I can live with it. Competely random, out of the blue, for no apparent reason anaphylaxis - that is not at all ok.
Obviously there's got to be some explanation for it - some food, some lotion, some environmental issue, or some combination of issues - but how the HELL do we figure out what that cause is???? I suppose that's the allergist's job, right?
I'll be calling for an appointment first thing Tuesday morning, and I suspect I'm about to embark on what could prove to be a long journey to try to get to the bottom of this.
In the meantime, I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that I'm now feeling decidedly uncomfortable in my own skin. I hate feeling like my body is rebelling against me, having these seemingly random freakouts that are at best, a minor inconvenience, and at worst, downright scary.
It's very hard to reconcile that with the fact that I am a relatively young and healthy person, who works so hard to stay in good shape so that I can go out and run and bike and swim and race and be active with my kids. It just doesn't add up. And it makes me so uncomfortable to know that there's this bizarre thing going on that, as of right now, is entirely out of my control.
I have a 10-mile run planned for early tomorrow morning. I'm going to be sure to take an Allegra before I go, and will carry all my supplies with me while I run. But I really, really hope that the run is incident-free. I need to see that healthy, strong side of my body for a while, to reassure myself that it's still there.