The infamous DUST MITE...turns out this beast has been ruining my life!
For years and years I have struggled with fatigue. I've meekly confessed to many Doctors that I believe I'm more tired than people are supposed to be. I've learned to act energetic. I've endured round after round of antibiotics. I've suffered.
Finally, my brilliant PCP (a Nurse Practitioner who I'll gladly recommend to anyone living in Venango County), decided to send me for allergy testing in order to find the root cause of chronic sinus infections over the past three years.
Initially, the allergy Doctor didn't see any cause for concern, but probably to appease me, took some blood work. His office called me days later and informed me that the results of that test were extremely concerning and I needed more testing STAT. Hmm... it's never good to be on the receiving end of that phone call!
39 shots later and one very itchy arm, it was discovered that I have intense allergies. Sure, at times throughout the year, my eyes water, my nose itches and I know I have allergies. But to have the allergists telling me that my allergies are about as bad as they can be was quite shocking... that's something I assumed I would have noticed.
However, it turns out that allergies don't always appear as red eyes, itchy nose and sneezing. NO...allergies can surface as extreme fatigue and frequent headaches (since my body is in constant fight mode). Allergies can result in frequent sinus infections. OH!
The bad news: I'm never to enter Antique Shops or Libraries. We need to remove every nick nack in the house (Jake is doing a happy dance). We need all new flooring (so long carpet...eventually). We need HEPA air filters. We need leather furniture. We need no animals nor upholstery nor carpet. Travelling now comes with all kinds of hurdles as other people's homes make me very sick (which also explains why I've unconsciously avoided other people's homes the past few years). All of the changes needed to keep me healthy are very very expensive.
The good news: lifestyle changes can greatly improve my condition! We've emptied our bedroom (goodbye beloved headboard) and encased our pillows and mattresses. NIGHT AND DAY DIFFERENCE! Now that I'm tuned into the symptoms, I've found that simply cuddling my kids on their beds causes a stuffy nose. I'm also not supposed to clean my own house (or I suppose I could with some mega mask contraption)...that's pretty awesome justification for hiring out! And it's crazy, but true... the few times I have swept or dusted since being clued in, I have had severe headaches after that dreaded task. How did I never notice these correlations before?
Tonight this is on my mind as I'm suffering through my first sinus infection of the year. I hope it stems from a cold I picked up on a recent flight, the airplane seats, the hotel mattress (though I did travel with my pillow encasement). If not, I may need to begin weekly allergy shots... but at least now I HAVE HOPE. Yes, HOPE that I'll feel "normal". I also have relief, that there IS a problem, which is not good...but a relief just the same (ie I'm not crazy, antisocial or lazy!).
What advice do you have for a girl who needs to live in an allergen free bubble?