Sunday, September 6, 2015

Ragweed sucks and Q+A

Sorry it has been so long since I posted, its just hard to get myself to write sometimes. 

Its ragweed season now and I am extremely allergic to it.  Most years I at least have some good days, but this year my allergies have been really bad constantly since ragweed started.  I haven't been able to do much at all, and I'll be a bit delayed in getting all my stuff done for school.  I haven't been out much but I tried to go to a BBQ yesterday, and again today for the holiday, but it ending up being a bad idea.  My allergies were just so intense, and I really embarrassed myself, and got a few mean comments.

Because my allergies have been so bad and I haven't been able to do much, I even more than usual would like to chat with anyone to break up the boredom.  Yahoo, Skype, or e-mail is best.  I am also trying to use FB chat a bit.

Here is some Q+A:

Q: Have you ever noticed if your allergies have led you to develop any habits or certain movements, actions that other people wouldn't do? Like in order to prevent embarrassment or to help yourself deal with allergies. 
The big ones are carrying around lots of tissues, and running off to the bathroom often.  A few others:  sitting in the back of class/movie/etc, or near a door.  Sit often with a hand casually over my nose and mouth.  That's all I can think of right now.  There probably are others I just don't realize.

Q: You said that if necessary friends/family will explain to others about your allergies if you can't at the moment. What do they say, how do the people respond, and do you add anything on when you are later able?
  Usually just something like 'she has bad allergies'.  People usually don't say too much in response other than 'oh, ok'  sometimes someone might act concerned or feel sorry for me, or sometimes people will say 'are you sure she isn't sick?'.  I don't say anything.  I find it embarrassing to talk about my allergies at all face to face so I try not to do it at all.

Q: How did your allergies affect your job choice? If you didn't have them would have gone to a different job? How will they affect things after you get your phD?
A:  I really am not sure.  I never thought about it.  I always had an interest and skill in biology, so I probably would be doing something in the field no matter what.  Maybe without allergies I might have thought about being a vet or doing outdoor research.  I am not sure how it will affect things after I graduate, but it has been affecting things so far, so I bet it will keep affecting me.  I know I wont be able to do any thing directly with working with animals.  I hate when I have to wear a mask when my allergies are bothering me, but I'll just have to keep dealing with that.  Otherwise, I guess it will depend on the specific situation of any job offer/job I try to get.

Q: How often do you get an attack in front of people? What do people unfamiliar with you say about your symptoms?
A:  It happens often, much more than I'd like.  Most are kind of surprised, some show some concern, a few act grossed out and a few can be kinda rude.

Q: Have you ever sneezed on someone and what happened?
A:  Yes.  Luckily its only ever been someone I was dating, and maybe a really close friend a few times.  Not much happened.  Some have found it funny, or not a big deal.  One girl I dated was pretty mean about it, but that was a bad relationship in general.

Q: You've said that people (and roomates) have been either mean or uncaring/ not understanding in the past- can you go into more detail? What do people say usually when they see your allergies? And how do you respond when people are not helpful or are rude?
A: That first one is a long response because there have been a few of them and there is probably many details to talk about.  I'd be able to answer that better in a chat, as a back-and-forth chat helps me recall more details and to organize my thoughts better.  I'd be happy to have a chat with you about it.  The second question I kind of answered above in two other questions.  I usually don't respond at all, as it will just make me more embarrassed.  I'll just try to leave/end the situation as fast as I can.

As usual, I'd love feedback on my post/answers.  Thanks!


  1. Wow Kate feel better! Hopefully the pollen lets up soon. What kind of mean comments? People are so rude.

    Could you please upload a few seconds of you so we know what you sound like? Will help to relate better to you and what you are writing. You could do an entry by video (without pics if youd prefer), just what you say, instead of typing out the entry and it would be more personal and interesting.

  2. I have been sick for about a month! It showed up 2 weeks early here too. This post nasal drip is killing me as was a sinus infection. I absolutely cannot stand this! HEEEEELP. Went to the allergist and found out --- drum rolll.... I am VERY allergic to this stupid weed. Seriously-- I rather be sneezing and coughing than have this darn PND with no productive coughs!

    1. aww, that really sucks! I don't usually get post nasal drip. It all runs out the front of my nose. The only time it happens is if I am lying on my back when my allergies are bothering me. Then it feels like I am drowning.

      I hope you feel better soon. Message me if you want to vent *hug*

  3. You often say that you get mean comments- can you be more specific and tell us specifically people say and have said? Do they say it directly to you and how have you responded?

    High school sounds like it was tough with some mean people- did teachers ever notice and stand up for you or say something?

  4. Hope you don't mind answering this...but when things are getting heated with your SO, do you ever have to stop because of sneezing or dripping or something? Does it happen often and what exactly happens and how does she deal with it?

  5. Hi Kate. I’ve read some of your blog, and, while I don’t really know you or know if your allergies are as bad as you say (sorry for the skepticism, but this IS the Internet after all, and you can’t believe everything you read), I thought it would be remiss of me not to share a little…encouragement? (I hope) in return.

    I can’t directly relate to you at all, frankly. I am VERY fortunate in that I am not allergic to anything that I know of (at least not yet—knock on wood--). But I know many, many people, including very close friends, who have allergies and/or asthma to varying degrees. Allergies are something of an epidemic nowadays, unfortunately. I have read this is one price we pay for having a cleaner, less disease-ridden, and more industrialized society. I’m not quite sure how I feel about that tradeoff; seems like you can’t win. Anyway, in attempting to do research to educate myself about this, I stumbled across your blog.

    I can’t directly relate to you, but I can empathize with some of your struggle. My closest friend has anaphylactic food allergies and severe asthma; her main triggers (apart from foods) are cold air and exercise, which are near impossible to avoid when you have to endure the harsh winters of Indiana. She can start having asthma symptoms just from walking up the stairs (we live on the 3rd floor) or stepping outside in the winter, which I know is very frustrating for her. Regarding food allergies, she had a terrifying moment a few years ago when she, almost out of the blue, had an anaphylactic reaction to a soy drink. She never had problems with soy before, but now she does and it’s in EVERYTHING.

    My other friend’s experience is even more heartbreaking (though, granted, probably not as bad as yours from the sound of it). She had asthma that subsided as a child and then came back in full force when she was 20. She was allergic to EVERYTHING: pollens, animals, you name it, and her reactions were so severe that she had ER visits. At one point, she couldn’t even leave the dorm because she would get so short of breath walking from one building to another. She was very involved on campus, and when she became ill she ended up having to quit many activities as well as missing a lot of class (fortunately her profs were very gracious).
    I share these stories not only to emphasize what you already know—that life is unpredictable, and allergies are so hard, and really really suck—but also to offer a little hope. I think I remember reading that you didn’t always have allergies. Well, maybe there’s hope that they won’t always be this way for you. I’ve read that getting pregnant or getting older can reduce the severity of allergy symptoms. Both of my friends’ stories have happ(ier) endings: My close friend lives a pretty normal life, apart from significant dietary restrictions, while my other friend was eventually able to resume daily life (albeit at a slower pace) after working with many doctors and finding medications that worked.

  6. I would also venture to suggest two things that might help relieve your suffering. First, immunotherapy (usually known as allergy shots). They don’t work for everyone, and in rare cases may provoke a dangerous (anaphylactic?) reaction, which is why they are given under a doctor’s care. But they have been tested and found to at least produce improvement in many people. I think there are also “pill” forms of the shots (there’s something out now called a “ragweed pill”) which are more convenient, though perhaps less effective.
    The second is more extreme, but still worth a look (try a Google search). I think it’s called helminthic therapy—AKA worm treatment. Basically, it’s based on research on that has shown that worm infections (hookworms and other types) cause autoimmune diseases to go away. Obviously, this isn’t a widely used treatment yet, but it’ll be interesting to see how it develops—maybe there’ll be a “worm pill” someday that’s a lot more convenient than actually putting a worm into your body.
    I don’t know if either of these things would help you, or if they’d even be feasible. Or maybe you’ve already tried this stuff. I just thought I would suggest it, for what it’s worth, because it certainly sounds like your allergies are majorly impacting your quality of life, and I’m sad and sorry to hear that. I understand, a little, the feelings that accompany an “unsolvable” issue; last year, I dealt with months of severe and persistent insomnia. I tried every self-help trick I could find. Nothing worked, including medication. Nothing helped. I distinctly remember the frustration and confusion. Worst of all was the feeling of complete helplessness, even loss. I had to quit my job and put the brakes on relationships because I was struggling just to make it through the day. The insomnia was all-consuming—it was all I could think about, and it affected me physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’m doing much better now—thank God!—but I still remember, and I still obsess about sleep. I always have to remind myself that it doesn’t do any good to worry about the future, or dwell on what’s going wrong in the present.
    So really, what I want to offer you is sympathy, and encouragement. Don’t give up. I’m glad writing and talking with people seems to help you. I sincerely hope you find some relief. I know it can feel as though there isn’t a bright side, or as though there isn’t hope. But I want to tell you that there is. (Sorry for the mammoth string of comments.)

  7. Me again. Just re-read that huge long post I wrote and I wanted to say that I'm sorry if it seems like I came off as insensitive. I promise that I really am trying to be understanding, as best I can! I've never had to deal with any allergies so there's no way I can fully understand, but I know when I see my friends suffering I would do anything to fix it if I could. Unfortunately you can't wave a magic wand so I'm stuck having to do the best I can to help people. I'm not the best at it, but I like reading and learning more about it.

    1. Thanks for reading and for writing me such detailed replies. I do appreciate it. Believe me, I wish my allergies weren't like they are!

      I don't have many reactions to foods luckily. I used to have pretty bad asthma, but then I found that dairy made it really bad. As long as I don't have any dairy, the worst I get is some wheezing when my allergies are really bad.

      I did allergy shots for a number of years when I was younger, and it didn't help at all. I know about helminithic treatment, but I'd like here to be a lot more research/studies on it first. Thanks for the suggestions though!

      If you want to chat more, Id be happy to. Its best to e-mail me or contact me on yahoo chat or skype for chatting.