After years of waiting and a ridiculous sequence of pharmacy and serum lab screw ups that started in September 2016, I began immunotherapy yesterday. In consultation with my local immunologist I opted to begin a process likely to span approximately five years by addressing my four worst allergies first.
The dose is very dilute in the first series of injections – 1:100. I have talked to many other patients who didn’t notice a reaction at all during their first vial (which typically requires weekly injections for several months to a year). I was expecting something similar.
Round one was – to my surprise and disappointment – remarkably uncomfortable. I immediately began to itch fiercely at the injection site. The itching spread and it took all I had not to scratch. By the evening (8 hours later) I had a very large welt in the shape of a large parallelogram as wide as my palm,angry and red, curling around my left arm.
Worse, I started coughing before long. Thankfully, my immunologist is very cautious and gave me both a second antihistamine (the second generation, water soluble variety so I would not be drowsy or foggy headed) and the steroid inhaler she has me on to take in the clinic. The coughing subsided and I had no throat swelling.
But still. Not a good start to the most innocuous of beginnings. My left arm is still unnervingly itchy more than 24 hours later. Thankfully they alternate arms each week.
Catching up on my friend MLACS’ posts yesterday I mulled over her comment about how a damaged mind body connection can get in the way of healing. I know that to be true and started thinking about how I could engage mindfulness as I embark on this new journey to [ultimately] tame my occasionally rabid immune system.
I’ve decided to befriend her. My immune system. I will coax and encourage her and remind her what a long way we’ve come together and how much I need her and care about her well being. I am doing this for her. She deserves a rest. We both do. The waters will be rough again before they calm and the sailing is smoother. But together we can – we will – do this.
So. That’s my mantra going forward with this therapy. We can do it. Me and my immune system. We’re making peace and moving to a calmer place. One syringe at a time.