Anyone who has MCAD will understand the title of this blog post. I refrained from using the term ‘Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ because it’s a very serious mental health issue and I don’t have it, but I’m close.
I am phobic about taking drugs, or even trying new foods or drinks. Truly phobic. I only have to think about taking a drug and I get palpitations, my whole body feels weak, I feel nauseous and my anxiety level goes through the ceiling. You might as well ask me to put my hand in a fire. It’s become so bad that I have a panic attack giving drugs and supplements to my dog, even though he’s never had a bad reaction to anything in his life.
I had my first drug reaction when I was 16 years old, had my first truly allergic drug reaction when I was just 17 years old – y’know, the scary kind where you can’t breathe – and I’ve been having them ever since. I’ve now had going on two dozen drug reactions and I don’t want another one in my life. Ever.
The thing I can’t get anyone, including Doctors (particularly Doctors) to understand is that the reaction doesn’t stop when the drug (or whatever has caused the reaction) is out of my system. Oh, how I wish it did. My body instead seems to get stuck in the reaction and can stay there for days, weeks, months. It makes sense when you think about it – mast cell activation perpetuates/causes further mast cell activation – round and round it goes until something breaks the cycle, which for most people is Benedryl or steroids or other anti-histamine drugs but of course I’m allergic to all of those so breaking the cycle for me is nigh on impossible.
Just so’s my readers know, I will never try a drug, supplement, herb or treatment that you kindly recommend and which has helped you. I was bedridden for 3 months after trying osteopathy. I had to be blue lighted to hospital via ambulance at 3am after one five minute chiropracty appointment and was so ill for the next 9 months I had to go live with my parents. I pulled acupuncture needles out of my skin myself after the therapist left me alone for a 10 minute treatment and I could feel anaphylaxis coming on. I spent the night (and the following 4 days) pacing the floor, puking and wanting to tear my skin off after drinking a cup of herbal tea containing hops and valarian. And I haven’t even mentioned my drug reactions yet, which are so severe I honestly can’t bear to even write about them, or food (I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to try a cup of camomile tea for about 2 years now and still haven’t managed it).
The blase attitude of Doctors to my drug reactions staggers me. They write me a prescription then send me home, where I live alone miles from anywhere, to take the drug and have a potentially fatal anaphylactic reaction with no backup plan (I don’t even possess an epi pen and would be too terrified to use it in any event in case it made my reaction worse!). It’s outrageous. Any new drug I try should be done in hospital under medical supervision – anything else is negligent.
I am genuinely pleased when a drug, herb, supplement or treatment has helped one of my readers. However, to tell me about it is a bit like saying to a man with a peanut allergy “peanuts cured me, you should try them”. It’s kind’ve insensitive. If you’d been bitten by a dog 20 times you be pretty wary of dogs. There will always be owners who come along and say “oh my dog is lovely, he’d never bite you”, so you trust them, go to stroke the dog and the little fucker bites your finger off. The owner walks away muttering “well he’s never bitten me or anyone else I know!” like him biting you is somehow your fault and you’re the one left having to live with only 9 fingers.
I am the most drug allergic person I know probably anywhere in the world and by drugs I also mean herbs and supplements. If I can react badly to eating an organic apple which is a totally natural product you can bet I can react badly to just about anything.
I don’t mean to sound whiney or ungrateful to the suggestions put forward by people who are only trying to be kind and helpful. But I just wish sometimes there was a little more thought and understanding for my situation. I want more than anything to improve my health – I’ve spent more than two decades trying to control my symptoms and everything I’ve tried (bar a low histamine diet) has made the situation ten times worse sometimes to the point of almost killing me. I gave up stroking dogs, even those who are “friendly and wouldn’t hurt a fly” and now just keep a wary and sensible distance.