Being positive is something I really had to work on after I developed my long list of allergens and two different types of eczema. It wasn't easy at first. There were days where I'd come home worn out, angry, bitter and just straight up aggravated about all the obstacles I was faced with that day.
I actually had to condition myself to think before I touched everything. And I mean everything. I react to different types of surfaces:
- synthetic fabric
- metal (nickel)
...and I react to food, body products... the list goes on. I read the labels on every single thing I come into contact with. I'm just going to keep it real - it can be exhausting and absolutely demoralizing. I've learned to not get excited about anything until I find out what it's made of or what the circumstances are. From vacations to something as simple as buying a shirt... I have to investigate thoroughly. No longer can I parooze through the stores, picking up the items that I immediately fall in love with. For example, when I go shopping for clothing, I have to read the label on everything and most items aren't 100% cotton (which is what I go for). I used to LOVE shopping.
From the minor things to the more serious issues, it just never ends. I have to be really careful in general... I can't use all of the medical products most people use. A good portion of my allergies are to antibiotics and other chemicals that are found in medications. This became a problem when I was being diagnosed with these issues because before we knew that allergic reactions were what I was having, I was being prescribed medication I was allergic to. It puzzled the doctors that I would get better for a day or two and then slide further downhill than I had before.
My allergies have changed my life so much that my poor boyfriend is terrified of me going through with any major medical procedure (ie - having kids) and dying from an allergic reaction during the process. A lot of doctors don't know enough about the actual ingredients in what they're prescribing. I've had a number of readers send me their horror stories of things that have happened to them in the hospital.
While all of this is very real and very scary, I've also talked to people who have gone through medical procedures just fine and have similar allergies to me. This gives me hope...
But when I really think about it... part of me is still mad. I'm mad that my body can't defend itself. I'm mad that this had added a level of stress to my life and I'm mad that I no longer feel like a super strong and healthy human being. Don't get me wrong - I love working out and getting in shape and that does feel awesome... but I know there are certain battles that are tougher on my body when my allergies and eczema become a factor. I've had a staph infection before because of my skin breaking out and that type of infection can kill you. It's nothing to play around with. On another occasion, my doctor had my file short term disability at my job so I could stay home for a day or two. My skin was in such bad shape he didn't want me leaving my house. In that moment... I was wondering how this would all end up. Deep down, I was scared.
So, how do I deal with all of this? How do I cope?
- I surrender to my auto immune issues and make all of the proper accommodations so that I'm as healthy as I can be.
- I accept the fact that this is my life now.
- I trust that I'll be just fine as long as I keep educating myself on my allergens and stay diligent in making sure I know what's in EVERYTHING I come into contact with (hidden ingredients make that a tough battle, but I continue on).
- I have faith that staying positive will help my mental state enough to be able to more easily deal with the 10,000 obstacles I come across in my daily life.
I keep on fighting. I refuse to give up. I will not let allergies and eczema destroy my opportunity at a happy and full life. You shouldn't either!