Who knew that symptoms of an anaphylaxis response can include uterine (and bladder) cramping?
Not me. Until yesterday.
I’m still suffering through subcutaneous allergen immunotherapy (4 of my 6 worst allergens, the 5th and 6th aren’t effectively treatable by subcutaneous immunotherapy or there are no serums available to do the job plus the more you dilute the components by adding in additional serums, the less effective the therapy is likely to be). I’m still getting weekly injections and my local Immunotherapist has slowed the progression with each of the 3 vials that form my treatment protocol to get to a “maintenance” dose.
I’m nowhere near maintenance dosing yet. Progress has been very slow, with deliberation, to avoid anaphylaxis as I’ve had what my Immunologist describes as the most severe local reactions she’s ever seen in a patient (and she worked in a hospital treatment program for very severe allergy treatment/control for years overseas – so I guess I’m extra special in that respect – boo!).
Yesterday I was fine immediately after the shot. I have to wait in the office 30-60 minutes (we’ve been back down to 30 lately though I am wondering if Doc will change that after this week?). Throughout the wait I have to ice the injection site. I also have to drug before and an hour and a half after the injection to reduce the severity of my reaction. I did both.
Within an hour after leaving Doc’s office, I had these crazy uterine cramps – bad cramps! – and was thinking I might be getting the monthly visit early. Nope. My nose began to run. My throat started swelling and I began coughing. And coughing. And coughing. It was harder to breathe and I wasn’t doing anything strenuous. I took my asthma control medication and the second drug to reduce reaction. And I wondered whether I should take myself to the hospital or call my Immunologist.
I did neither, but I did take medication and call the LP and tell him what was happening. He agreed to meet me, we had some lunch (sometimes food can calm my reactions, especially warm food). I had a small bowl of vegan soup. The throat swelling and coughing began to subside. I started sneezing and the runny nose continued and my arm had swollen up like a football, but no more “systemic” (anaphylaxis) symptoms. I packed in the worry and went back to work.
I can’t say my focus was sharp for the rest of the day, but I hung in there. Last night I couldn’t sleep and did some reading about symptoms of anaphylaxis in case there were others than the ones I’ve had before (throat swelling, difficulty swallowing, trouble breathing, chest tightness).
That’s when I discovered that those crazy cramps could have been part of my body’s response to being routinely poisoned weekly in the hope of calming my overactive immune system. Who would have thought?
I will mention all of this to my Immunologist next week of course (even though I fear it means she’ll keep me the 60 minutes again from now on), and see what she says, but in the meantime I wanted to share here in case anyone else is prone to allergic reactions and has cramps along with other symptoms – it can be an early warning sign of an anaphylaxis reaction and a cue to get medical help if you don’t carry an epipen (I do) or work very near a hospital like me. (Also apparently I like to play fast and loose with my health – gah.)
Now back to our very irregularly [un]scheduled programming.
I miss ya’ll. Been busy with kidlets, work and getting back to some self care (I’m running and I did almost no work while on vacation recently – unheard of!). Ta da!