Home » allergies » Anaphylaxis ~ or ~ How I Learned to Cherish Oxygen

Anaphylaxis ~ or ~ How I Learned to Cherish Oxygen

I have allergies.

Some of them are fairly mild, like my hay-fever.  No big deal, I’ve learned over the years to just – deal- with these through mild antihistamines. 

Some of them, however, are serious.  As in life/death – serious.

And they weren’t always there.  I’ve had to learn how to deal with these just over the last few years.  And that makes it hard to get people to understand the nature and seriousness of my allergies.  Because they knew me before these ever hit, and can’t understand how they could get so bad, so fast.

A couple of years ago, I spent wayy too much money on an allergist, trying to find out the cause of all the problems I was having, and to see if there was a “cure” or, at least, a treatment that would knock my symptoms out… rather like treating a cold.

What I discovered… explained a lot of things in my life – which was good… but it was also completely depressing.

The allergist traced everything back to an anomaly of genetics.

Yeah, I knew I was an anomaly…

When I was born, it was unknown.  But… I have a little something extra on one of my kidneys.  An extra blood vessel that feeds the kidney, and caused at least 5 years of pain and testing on me as an adult to find it and correct it. 

I also had to have a minor surgery when I was a little girl for issues concerning my bladder.  Also treated and corrected, but stemming from the same genetic problem.

The allergist told me that many people that suffer from bladder and kidney issues, stemming from genetic, physical issues, end up allergic to latex, just as I did.  And, once the allergy kicks in… there’s no going back.  Every time you are exposed to the allergen, the reactions get a little worse, until you end up in the hospital, or possibly dead.

Latex allergy can be a skin-contact allergy only, but it can also be an “inhaled allergen” allergy, such as I have. 

Which, unfortunately, puts me into a really fun category.

Kidney and bladder issues lead to latex allergies…

Latex allergies lead to food allergies…

Things like onions, cucumbers, melons, kiwi, avocado, pineapple, bananas…

All of which I’m now allergic to.

And I don’t even have to eat the damn things to be affected.

It’s the smell of them that blocks off my throat, inhibiting my breathing to the point where I have to use a rescue inhaler just to keep my airway open.  Extreme exhaustion and severe itching on my arms, head and face, with my skin often feeling like it’s been sunburnt and slapped.

Cucumbers are probably the worst for me, as a 2-second exposure today to something in the office… closed off my airway and turned my arms a nice, blotchy red.  My voice dropped an octave and sounds like a strangled frog.  I’m completely wiped, energy-wise, and have a knock-out headache.  I don’t want to sound like I’m whining.  Really, it’s more of a wheezing… 

And it might not have been actual cucumbers.  It might just have been something cucumber-scented, as in lotion or body spray.  Doesn’t matter to my lungs.  They don’t care if it’s real or just an extract.  They snap shut the same no matter what form it takes.

There is no treatment, no cure for my most severe allergies.

The only thing I can do is try to avoid the allergens, and treat the reactions with a rescue inhaler, plus keeping epi-pens in my desk and purse for emergencies.

I’m not writing this for sympathy.

I’m not writing this to elicit pity or angry, rantish comments.

Yeah, I”m angry that some of my co-workers don’t take my allergies seriously.  They seem to think that “it’s just a little bit” makes it all better. 

Tell that to someone with a peanut allergy. 

That’s what really ticks me off. 

If this was a peanut allergy… there would be no problem with my co-workers keeping anything like that out of the office.  They would understand that, since it’s all over the news all the time about kids that suffer from them, going into anaphylactic reactions from the merest hint  of peanuts.

But, since this is something different, an anomaly, they don’t get it.  And sometimes, it seems as though they – just. don’t. care.

I want people to understand. 

Anaphylaxis is real – it’s not just for peanuts – and it’s life and death serious.

 Rant over… now back to your regularly scheduled programming…



6 thoughts on “Anaphylaxis ~ or ~ How I Learned to Cherish Oxygen

    • Oh yeah, I first learned about the food allergies when I went in for the last surgery on my kidney. The anesthetist was telling me foods to avoid when he read that I was latex-allergic.

      Luckily, there are so many more options now instead of latex products – & a lot if doctors & hospitals are going “latex- free” across the board to simply avoid the risk.

  1. I know that you have attempted in the past to try and get HR and the company to do something about this, but… They are risking your life by being so thoughtless and careless. It is absolutely ridiculous that they are allowed to continue to do these things without any kind of reprimand from the company you are working for. I wouldn’t be the least be surprised if HR is opening themselves up to one heck of a lawsuit by not enforcing some sort of ban on those things. Then again, I remember how much those in the company I used to work for would scoff when I complained about the excessive amounts of perfume certain co-workers would wear that would set of a migraine for me. They just thought I was being whiny. It is just stupid. {{{hugs}}}

  2. Personally, I think perfumes, body sprays and the like should be banned from the work place. So many people think they have to soak themselves in it when even a little of it is bad enough. Here’s a hint: bathe regularly and then you won’t have to make everyone else suffer.

  3. This is exactly on FB I asked you about shock. Anaphylactic shock. I’m allergic to Latex. And with all of my blood tests every two weeks, and the stuff that is going on, and surgeries I’m up against… I’m sooo concerned about latex ANYTHING.
    So…I get it, my twin. I get it.

  4. Ugh … I have no clue what is with people. I have allergies, but no where near as severe as yours. Most of mine are related to plants and pollen, but I also am highly allergic to any man made fragrance. Not the really good stuff that uses actual essential oils (and thank the gods most of the plant stuff I am allergic to are trees and grasses) but the really cheap stuff that doesn’t have one natural ingredient in it. I do get some swelling in the airways along with a killer headache, but at least no full blown anaphylaxis.

    I feel for you hun … though you’d think that with obvious physical symptoms like swelling and blotchy red patches the idiots would “get it”. Sigh. I have a friend at work who’s currently pissed at the admin for his group. When she asked why he didn’t eat a lunch his department provided he told her he was allergic to mushrooms. Her response? Just pick them out. Honestly, I wouldn’t wish severe allergies on anyone … but wouldn’t it be nice if they had to deal with even a fraction of what you do? Morons.


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