The Countdown Begins…

My period is due in two days (yay me!) so I wanted to write (again) about how my monthly cycle affects my mast cell diseasebefore the brain fog really kicks in.

I’ve written before about how I spent my entire life as a woman diagnosed with endometriosis (no laparoscopy but my mom and sister both had confirmed endo) and in excruciating pain each month right up until I began eliminating triggers and taking the right medicines.

The pain, which felt like fire, came mostly from my left ovary and shot all the way down to my knees and up to my ribs, incapacitating me. It subsided completely once I was put on the right medicines. The heavy bleeding, clotting and horrible bouts of diarrhea I had has stopped, too.

Just. Like. That.

I am not joking, either. It was like turning a switch off! My periods (the bleeding at least) come as a surprise now if I’m not keeping track of them.

I had no idea back when I was suffering so badly that I even had mast cells, let alone mast cell disease, and I couldn’t have imagined that what was happening to me was that I am basically allergic to my own period. I did notice, however, that  I was seemingly allergic to all the pills they gave me to treat it, though. Birth control (all kinds/brands) and NSAIDs (all kinds/brands) made me react every single time, and again, I had no idea why until my MCAD diagnosis.

So now that I have my mast cell disease pretty well sorted and the excruciating menstrual pain and diarrhea is gone (hallelujah!) I am still struggling each month with allergic and inflammatory symptoms.

Symptoms like…

I woke up sneezing and wheezing with two big, swollen, allergic shiners under both eyes, a sure sign of things starting up.

My eyelids (all four of em!) are twitching  like mad and I have massive anxiety welling up in the pit of my stomach for no reason whatsoever.

My skin is red just under the surface everywhere and if I barely scratch myself it burns and leaves red, raised welts that last for a good ten or fifteen minutes.

My lower legs itch so badly I want to scratch the skin right off!

My ears are gummy and crackly and itch really bad, too.

My diverticulitis is acting up and I am swollen like I’m 8 months pregnant again.

I feel like every joint needs a good oiling. It’s just really painful to move, like walking through thick mud. Everywhere I’ve ever hurt myself is aching again, it seems.

The brain fog is insane. I can barely remember my name. I feel like the inspiration for the lyrics to that song by (wait, what’s his name again? Oh yeah!) Jack Johnson:

“I saw you, in amazement, stumbling through the day…”

Yep, that’s me. I’ll be stumbling through the next few days thanks to the brain fog and the fact that I have no coordination right now. That’s another thing that hits me when I’m degranulating. I feel like I am off balance and clumsy and my depth perception is just terrible. If I go to reach for something my hand will hit it too soon or knock it over. I am completely off kilter. Even my gait is unsteady and I feel like I will fall over if I’m not careful, which I am thinking is all tied to my eyes and ears being inflamed.

Which is tied to my period. Which is due in two days.

Sigh.

Now that I’m accounting for my period being a trigger it makes more sense why I was struggling to connect these symptoms with my other known triggers like food, heat or chemicals. Ignoring my own cycle as a potential trigger left me beating my head against a wall for months!

The week or so after it’s all over is my best week of the month symptom-wise, so I have that to look forward to at least.  I can’t eliminate my cycle as a trigger, so I just have to live with it until menopause.

Wish me luck, and remember, we’re in this craziness together! 🙂

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