Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Interesting Learning About Atopic Disease

Today I emailed an author who had been looking for bloggers to read and perhaps blog about her book. I mentioned the blogs I'm writing for -- Wise Bread, ParentingSqud, this one, Chicago Moms Blog, and my new frugal living blog, which I'm not quite ready to reveal.

How do you have time for all that? she wanted to know.

Heh. How, indeed? Just like the toddler who is learning two or more languages simultaneously, I just make less progress on each blog. And yes, the freelancing comes hella slow. Today I got a really nice rejection from a great magazine, though, which put me in a great mood. Like, you get our readers, send us more pitches, that kind of rejection.

The girls are having a blast this week because their grandparents are here three days in a row instead of the usual one-morning stay. We took the folks out to dinner and to Second City for a consolidated two-anniversary gift. It was fun.

I also took advantage of my parents' visit to go to my new regular doctor, who I LOVE, and to an allergist she referred me to. The new regular doctor has also convinced me to get an IUD, partly with her testimony that she loves her own IUD. Yeah, I'm terrified but it Googles well.

The allergist was this fast-talking, witty type, which is funny because the allergist I interviewed about kids and food allergies was just exactly like that. They both had this attitude of, sigh, no one properly understands allergies, ahem, atopic disease, least of all general practitioners and pediatricians.

He sent the nurse in to stick me with 30 different plastic spikes smeared with allergens. The nurse and I speculated on where they acquire all these allergens -- boiling cat dander down to its essence? Superheated and subliminated dust? She left me with an informative information sheet (over-the-counter nose sprays are a waste of money and Claritin is crap, people), and told me to wait 15 minutes. Within 5 I had a couple of major welts on each arm, threatening to grow so large they'd join into one megawelt. And my arm got red and scratchy. The torment was slight compared to my raging curiosity over what on earth was in vials number 24 and 25, not to mention vials 11 - 15.

Turns out my biggest allergy is dust and dust mites. No huge surprise there. The other megaspot was "northern grasses," which the doctor said probably were the source of my allergic problems during San Francisco winters.

I thought I was allergic to mold. But mold didn't react at all. Weird.

His explaination: Since mold is toxic, it can cause non-allergic reactions. It can irritate your eyes. Some people are more sensitive than others. So it could be that my miserable eye condition last summer was the result of toxins we were all exposed to, but only I am bothered by.

However, I am hoping it was just allergies to those dust mites and northern grasses. The condition first got bad with me when I was exposed to a ton of dust, first sweeping out the basement of the new house, then packing and cleaning out the old apartment.

The doctor said that a major exposure could sort of trip your allergy wires and make you react more extremely to any other allergens you encounter, extending the original attack for weeks or even months. Is that what happened to me? Hmm.

Anyway, I have new drugs to try. A prescription nasal spray that is, oddly, supposed to make my eyes feel better. Some Patanol, which didn't help before but he claims may help once the reaction is more under control. Allegra, which he said is the only truly non-drowsy antihistimine.

Oh, and by the way, according to him, I do not have asthma.


Notta Wallflower said...

Let me know how the IUD is - is it called Mirena or something like that? I've been considering that... I hate taking the pill.

Carrie said...

Mirena is I believe the one with hormones. I want to get the copper one with no hormones. The copper acts as a spermicide! How cool is that?

Here's a discussion of the two kinds:,1510,5541,00.html

I am, however, terrified to get it put in. This blog post didn't help:

Marketing Mommy said...


If it makes you feel any better, I've now had my Paragard in for a week and it's been great. My midwife left the strings long so that there wouldn't be any, er, issues.

So far so good!

(The author of that CMB post)

Sara said...

I loved having a IUD (I had Mireya). I had some moderate to severe cramping for a day or so after insertion, but after that, I never even thought about it. I would highly recommend it. In fact, I stopped having periods completely the month after it was inserted. The only downside (and I am thinking of a way to put this tactfully) is that if the strings are left too long, it can lead to irritation for your husband.

Anyway, it's a good thing. I'd highly recommend it.

Bert said...

Hooray for knowing what you're allergic to! Weird thing about the mold. I guess it makes sense, though. Glad you found out!

margaret said...

Hey Carrie,

I, too, did all those arm-patch tests and turned out to be really sensitive to dust/dust mites and cockroach of all things. See, I could never live in Beijing again!

Now I"m even more of a neat freak than before.

Love, Margaret