Almost…but not quite.


I almost love this time of year.

The warmer weather (high 80’s for the past few days!), enjoying a glass of vino on the back patio after work, joints not being stiff and achy from the cold.  And then there’s all of that yellow stuff.  I left one of my clients this afternoon and witnessed a pollen tornado when the wind blew slightly. 

Allergies.  Ugh.

I got in my car and promptly called my eye doctor to order a new box of contacts so I can throw the ones currently caked to my eyes in the trash.

Pre RA, I had serious allergy issues starting in high school.  I was the unlucky butt of the high school gossip machine when, for a whole week during an especially rough allergy season, I threw up every morning in the high school bathroom.  Yes, they thought I was pregnant- friends, teachers, the whole lot of them- and even though I assured everyone that my boyfriend of the time and I were doing nothing that could even remotely cause a pregnancy, it was still highly awkward to have to field those questions, especially when my parents heard about it.  For the record, we realized after a week of this that it was caused by my taking a new prescription of allergy meds in the morning on an empty stomach.  The vomiting stopped when I started taking them at bedtime.  Yes, I’m still slightly defensive of this.

In college, I wound up having to take allergy shots and continued to do so for about five years.  The results were immediate- I remember calling my parents several months after I started them to inform them that I had just been on a hayride. Success!

I’ve always wondered about the interaction between allergy shots and RA.  I mean, I know that if you have serious issues with one thing of the autoimmune variety that it does predispose you to having serious issues with another.  When I was first diagnosed, I really wanted to go back on allergy shots to see if this would help.  I based this off of the fact that I had had such tremendous relief from allergies and that if the shots could train my body how to appropriately respond to allergens, then maybe just maybe it could retrain my body’s response with rheumatoid arthritis. 

I mentioned this to my first rheumatologist and he shot it down immediately.  Oh well.

Apparently, from what he told me, this could actually make it worse.  I can kinda see where he’s coming from with that- I guess that these are two different responses with one immune system- but I have always been curious.  An out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system is an out of whack immune system, right?

So, while the allergies subsided, the RA ran wild.  My only solace is that allergies tend to change over time- I read somewhere that they run in seven year cycles- so I’m hoping that the RA will surprise me and do the same.

And for now, I will continue to almost love this time of year…with a healthy dose of Zyrtec.

9 responses »

  1. Teen gossip turns into office gossip. It’s hard to escape no matter where you go.

    I hear you on the allergies. Our lawn was mowed yesterday, and now I have a crummy allergy-induced sore throat. Spring is a pretty time of year, but it’s easier to breathe during autumn. Hope the zytec works for you!

  2. same here! i had terrible allergies growing up and went through a round of allergy shots when i went off to college. now, with RA, my allergies aren’t nearly as bad as they used to be. a small bonus in the world of RA.

  3. I never had trouble with allergies until I was around 48 years old — and then they hit like a ton of bricks. I had my first appointment with an allergy doc and was told I’m allergic to a long list of grasses. And of course, the Sierra foothills and mountains, where I lived and worked, are full of them. She suggested allergy shots, but I wasn’t ready for that, since Claritin and nose spray seemed to work well enough.

    I still use both each spring and fall, and now and then during the summer. I totally understand your aggravation, amandajohn. Yuck. Allergies. Yuck.

  4. My allergies started as a teen…sometimes my eyes would get so inflamed they would swell almost shut and I had this weird gooky drainage from them. Thankfully, Benadryl helps. Since beind told I’m probably celiac…I have been reading alot about it…and there seems to be a connection between gluten intolerance to seasonal allergies. I sure hope going gluten-free will help my allergies! That would be a bonus! Hope your Zyrtec knocks out the allergies and the pollen will go away soon!

  5. It’s funny – I always thought that my allergy shots might have triggered my RA! I guess I figured that if you’re introducting allergens into an already-sensitive immune system, it can make things go nuts. I no longer get the shots.

    • You know, after he told me that it was a bad idea I wondered that too. I found an article in a med journal that seemed to say the same thing- let me see if I can refind it and post it!

  6. I am happy with the weather too because my RA calms down. I never understand why researchers insist that there is no correlation between weather and RA. I am also an allergy sufferer too but for the last two years (must be the RA drugs), they have not been as bad. I hope you get some relief soon.

  7. How unpleasant – just when you were having a break from the RA aches! I hope it passes quickly and you’re able to enjoy the sunshine.

    I dont have any allergies, one of these super-healthy young people that suddenly developed RA overnight. I actually thought my 2 swollen fingers were an allergic reaction for the first week or so, until I realised it was much much worse lol. I wish a bee *had* stung me in my sleep..sigh.

    • I wish a bee had stung you (and me and everyone else) too! 😉 Pop a Benadryl and being done with the whole swelling sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

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