To carry one of those adorable tiny handbags has never been in the cards for me. Amongst my lip gloss, mirror, mints, cash and cell phone, a glance inside my purse finds two EpiPens, steroid cream, tissues, Benadryl, and Zyrtec. Occasional visitors include a Medrol pack, an inhaler, or whatever current allergy/immune focused medication I require.
My baggage is heavy. Today, as I write this, it feels especially dense due to the recent addition of the troublesome side effects from my most current dose of steroids. Dizziness and an overall feeling of floaty/fogginess has been carried around all weekend increasing the challenge factor of repotting plants, catching up on work, and packing for work travel on Monday. As the evening progresses, I feel better but I cannot reclaim all of the hours lost to that dizzy fog. I can’t take back missing a friends birthday celebration.
Luckily, I don’t always have to take steroids; some are not so lucky. I do have to take multiple double-doses of antihistamines and asthma medication every day. Twenty-four hours without these medications and my symptoms mimic a severe cold, a mild asthma attack, and often involve lovely red patches and bumps on my skin. In addition to food allergies, I have (spoken in my most serious doctor voice) “a severe allergic profile” and “definitely something auto-immune going on” and “a dysregulation in key toll-like receptors” and “a confirmed diagnosis of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome.” As I get older, every one of these issues related to my immune system progresses into being more disruptive and challenging to manage. The stress of the situation itself is difficult, but the medications…new medications, multiple medications, increased medications, side-effects from medications…
Like Sisyphus toiling away only to watch that boulder roll back to the bottom of the hill, I fill my body with medications only to have my condition worsen or to have a new diagnosis/allergy/symptom appear. I significantly modify what I eat, seek acupuncture and other “alternative” treatments and I still toil away hoping I will be able to hop out of the way of that boulder the next time it rolls down the hill with me in its cross-hairs.
Keeping a positive attitude becomes difficult at times like this. Despite the search sometimes feeling grim, I find so many gifts on which to focus my gratitude. One of those gifts is that medication. Life-saving medication. Able to breathe and go about my day medication. So thankful for my medication.