I was at the end of my rope. Physically, emotionally, even spiritually. I didn’t know which way was up.
It began with a severe, room-spinning reaction that sent me on a cascade of doctor visits. The Functional MD, whose supplement protocol sent my body reeling, basically threw up her hands after the first week and sent me to my Primary Care Physician. I was so angry, but too exhausted to fight that battle, so I instead spent almost every day for two weeks in my Internist’s office. Heart palpitations woke me up every night. I couldn’t lay flat without feeling like I would pass out. Hives appeared on my abdomen. Extreme fatigue and lightheadedness made most of my days foggy. My husband stayed home from work with me because we couldn’t figure out what was happening. We monitored my blood sugar, we met with a Cardiologist, and we had ALL of the tests done. All the results were coming back normal. I was confused and angry…How could this be? For the past seven years, I had been an avid weightlifter, and suddenly I could barely function.
At the suggestion of one of the doctors, I began researching Mast Cell Activation Syndrome. I was reading medical journal articles and self-diagnosing. I joined a Facebook group without really knowing what was wrong with me. Bad idea. Really bad idea.
We made an appointment with the lead Immunologist for MCAS at VCU, but they couldn’t see me for nine months! So, after an unavoidable emotional breakdown, my Internist referred me to UVA. They scheduled me for two months out, which still seemed like forever. But I was desperate for help, so I requested to get on their cancellation list. I called EVERY DAY. (side note: Do this. Don’t lose hope. Get on a cancellation list. Call every day. Be persistent and be your own advocate!)
I became extremely anxious awaiting my appointment at UVA, enduring other specialist appointments, and still left without answers. At one point, my doctor actually told me not to go to the ER because they wouldn’t know what to do with me. Reassuring, right?!
I needed another solution.
“What the hell am I supposed to do?” I asked my good friend Nickole who has studied homeopathy extensively under some of the leading experts in the field.
“I have something for you, I’m coming over.” When she arrived, she handed me a little blue vial. “This is made from bee stingers. Take it when you feel the onset of a reaction.”
I’m sorry, did you say bee stingers??
She showed me some more information and explained how homeopathy works, particularly this remedy. The more I learned, the more I became intrigued, and the less scary the end of the rope was looking. So, I tied a knot in that bad boy and hoisted myself on this new path toward healing.
I religiously took the homeopathic pellets at the onset of my reactions, and I noticed it was actually helping. I began taking remedies for anxiety and to help boost my immune system, and I slowly tapered off the megadose of antihistamines that had been prescribed. I didn’t leave my house without my vials. I started researching homeopathy further, and I began following one of the top practitioners in the country.
I was feeling empowered instead of defeated.
So, by the time I finally snagged a cancelled appointment slot with the doctor at UVA, I already felt like I had taken back a smidgen of control over my health. The alpha-gal syndrome diagnosis didn’t send me back to the end of my rope because I had alternatives beyond the traditional medical realm. And for that, I’m grateful.
The saying “it takes a village” applies to your healthcare as much as it does anything else. Find a supportive team that’s willing to look outside the box to meet your needs. Be your own advocate.