Sunday, December 27, 2009

Autoimmune Urticaria Dermatographism - Part I

This fall I was diagnosed with Autoimmune Urticaria Dermotographism also known as hives. I know that it sounds like a minor problem and in the larger scheme of things it is when you compare it to cancer, leukemia, ALS and other fatal diseases.  My reason for blogging about this though is not to gain pity but to share my experience in the hopes that it may help anyone that has been diagnosed with the same.

I have had hives off and on since I was a young girl. The worst outbreak was when I was in sixth grade - I think I had it for a few weeks. They went away as mysteriously as they showed up. And it that is how things went all through out my life. But the periods of being hive free were years upon years until now. We would always blame the body soap, detergent and anything that came into contact with my skin, so I switched soaps and laundry detergent many times throughout my life.

The hives really became a problem this spring beginning in April. I broke out a couple of times and thought that it was perhaps stress related. I would take some Benedryl and they would go away.  Then one day I began itching along the nape of my neck; particularly at the end of my scalp. It itched like the fury, so in desperationI applied some hydrocortisone cream. This went on for a few days and it was positively maddening! I googled and googled "my problem"  and thought it was my shampoo- in specific, the sodium lauryl sulfate.I found a concoction that I could make using essential oils of rosemary oil, neem oil, lavendar and distilled water. I spent a pretty penny on these oils but it helped and gave me a lot  of relief. I would have my children section off my hair and spray my scalp, massaging it in each time. They mercifully sat outside on the deck attending to my needs with much love and compassion. Of course I changed my shampoo to the Shaklee brand, which I sell and that helped tremendously but then it started to spread.

After a while, the itch was no longer at the nape but it started to grow behind the ears and at the crown - where lice like to make their home and it became more maddening; I was convinced I had lice. I would drag my poor daughter outside and had her look through my hair so many times that at one point she refused to do it anymore - respectfully.

Again, I would be fine during the day but at night was when they would manifest themselves on different areas of my body - never the same place except my scalp- that was always consisitent. At times they would appear like hives and so I would have no doubt that they were hives but other times they looked like bites. I was miserable. I'd wake up at two and three in the morning miserable with blotches all over my body. This went on for weeks. At times I would wake up and drop myself on the leather couch in the living room waiting for the Benedryl to kick in ...and finally falling asleep only to have to wake up in an hour or two
to begin my day of homeschooling and tending to my home. Needless to say, I was sleep deprived and I was very forgetful and wasn't always at my best. I tried every morning to put my best foot forward because I needed to homeschool my precious children, but it was taking a toll as time went by.

I was thoroughly convinced that I had lice and/or scabies. How I had contracted either was beyond me, but there could be no other explanation. My dear sister had even posed the question to me. However, I always believed that scabies was contracted from "unholy" activity, so I didn't know how in Heaven's name I could have contracted that problem.  My darling daughter, God bless her, was the only voice of reason saying, "Mom, if you had lice or scabies, we would ALL have lice and scabies - especially Dad." I had to admit she was right so after months and months of suffering I called our allergist and made an appointment to see him post haste.
The only request that they made " No antihistamines for four days!"  I remember just holding the phone to my ear and saying nothing. "Hello, Ma'am, are you still there?" 
 "Yes." I replied quietly.
"Shall we put you down for "such and such" a date?"

"Yes," I said again, "I'm just not sure that I can go that long without antihistamines - it's just that bad."
"Well, we cannot possibly help you if you take any antihistamines," the receptionist told me.

"I understand. I'll do my best." and we hung up. I wanted to cry because of what I knew I would have to endure.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

"Stop at the crossroads and look around. Ask for the old, godly way, and walk in it. Travel its path, and you will find rest in your souls."
Jeremiah 6:16

God told his people that there really was only one way to save themselves from destruction. He told them that if they found themselves lost at the crossroads and didn't know which way to go, that they should ask for the way to the old, godly path. He exhorted them to take it and promised that if they travelled it, stayed on it without veering, their souls would find rest; be at peace.

Lately, I have been troubled with the questions
"Am I set apart enough from the world and am I really walking in his godly ways. Are there changes that I can make and should make?" The way this world is going troubles me. The ugliness that I hear in the news troubles me - the killing, the lying, the cheating, the injustice all sickens me and I want to run far, far away from it, but where do I go?  I find myself at the cross roads of society and I feel like I would do anything to go back to the old ways.

In the Victorian through Edwardian time, people really cared about how they were perceived; not in outward appearance, but in the inward appearance. People didn't want to be known as liars, cheaters, and scoundrels.
They cared about God - church was important to them. God was important to them. I know that if you do a deep study, they did do many things wrong, but integrity was important - very important. 

I want those days - the old, godly ways. My heart longs for it desperately.I am going to do everything I can to  get there. I want to find rest in a way of living that sets us apart from everyone else and gives us peace.
I have come to the crossroads and I know that God's word is the map. 

Heavenly Father,
Help me to walk in your old godly ways. I want to be different for the sake of your holy name. Help me to identify those things that I need to change, give me the discipline to do them so that I may be pleasing in your sight. Help me to check your map daily.  In Jesus' name I pray.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Oh, Brother!

I know that I have not had any new posts since October and even though I haven't posted anything, I do have much to share. How I will get it all done over the holidays I do not know, because it is not going to be so restful. I have a lot of tasks related to homeschool to complete.

I have lots of pictures share - some garden bounty, trips to the beach, a fabulous yard sale find, and some journaling to share - I only hope I can get to it all. I didn't even get to do my Thanksgiving post, which is really post of all the things that I am grateful for and I am grateful for a great deal!  Until then, have a lovely and blessed day!
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