Ahh, what is a normal day in the life of a person with Cholinergic Urticaria? Really, it is the same as a any other person, with a few exceptions (of course). I mean technically we are completely healthy and normal until the heat gets cranked up, then our bodies go nuts. So what is a normal day for me? Here is a typical day in my life.
A Normal Day for a Guy with Cholinergic Urticaria
Yesterday I woke up as the sunlight peeked through my curtains in my bedroom. It was around 8:00 a.m. I immediately reached for my laptop off the side of the bed to check the web and see if anything new was going on. Nothing was.
I then surfed the web for a while as my wife slowly woke up, and we then talked about our plans for the day. My wife then went off to the kitchen to make breakfast. It was scrambled eggs with 2 pieces of toast (with blackberry jam), a side of fried potatoes, and some juice. Yum, it looked delicious.
I quickly glanced to make sure nothing spicy was on my plate. My wife knows at this point to never put pepper or any spicy things on my plate (thank goodness). We all know how spicy food can evoke a painful skin burning reaction. Luckily, no spiciness was found. I then ate the delicious breakfast. This was the 3rd day in a row my wife has cooked a big breakfast, and it was nice because I had been eating cereal for the past few weeks and was needing some “real” food for breakfast.
My wife and I then made out a grocery list (as it was once again time for shopping). We added the usual items, finished out our list, got dressed, and off we went to Walmart. Lately, I have been staying in the car and I have let my wife do the shopping. It just works out better that way, and ensures I won’t have to deal with a public attack of cholinergic urticaria. Not that I always have an attack, but it is a much greater risk in the winter because stores generally have a heater going full blast. All it takes is for the stupid self-checkout to keep going, “Please place your item in the bagging area….” five times in a row, and that will usually get the hives kicking.
Of course, my wife doesn’t mind shopping solo either, because she can get some extra snacks that weren’t on the list (she knows she can get away with it). She says they are for the Superbowl (but I know that is just an excuse). Anyway, neither of us really care about watching sports (especially me, which I admit, is odd considering I am a male). So I sat in the car and I wrote down a few ideas and things I need to do on my notebook as my wife battled the always-crowded retail store. My wife was finished before I was even done with my comprehensive list.
We then headed home, unpacked the groceries, and made lunch. We had spaghetti and a salad for lunch. It too was delicious, but also brought my first “mini-attack” of cholinergic urticaria for the day. I had accidentally put too much vinegar & oil on my salad. I can usually eat vinegar just fine, but this time I added slightly too much, and the acidity made my temperature rise slightly. This caused that uncomfortable sensation on my whole body, followed by a couple of small “prickly” sensations on my forehead.
So I quickly grabbed a cold drink of water to dilute the strong vinegar taste, and sat there for a few seconds trying to calm my body down. It worked. The uncomfortable sensation soon passed, and I was back to enjoying my meal. So far, so good.
I then talked to my mom on the phone, and spent some time working on some website stuff for a few hours while my wife enjoyed her day off by reading and surfing the web on her laptop. Things were moving right along, but I knew I wasn’t out of the woods yet…
My wife and I have really been trying to focus on working out lately. We have fallen out of the habit, and so we have both been trying to get ourselves back into an exercise routine. So after I got some online work done, I went and got my wife and we headed downstairs to workout.
I always dread working out, because I know the pain and suffering I will endure during the process. Even when I take time to prepare (by getting a water bottle, fan, etc.), it still usually can’t shake an attack. But this time, I didn’t bother with all of that stuff. I just wanted to get a quick workout in.
As I started to slowly lift weights, I felt like a cow being led to the slaughter house. I knew some misery and pain lie in wait just ahead. I started by slowly doing a few bicep curls with my dumbbell. I did a few sets until my biceps began to burn. So far, so good. I then did a few tricep exercises. At this point, I can feel my body heating up. So I took a quick breather. I knew not to push myself too hard, or else I will go into a massive attack.
After catching my breath and letting my body cool down a bit, I started again. Meanwhile my wife was running on our old and outdated treadmill. I usually life weights while she runs, and then we switch off.
I started to lift weights again until my muscles were burning with intensity, and my body temperature rises. Once I feel the uncomfortable feeling like a few prickles and itchies are imminent, I slow down and take a break.
Finally, I finished all of my arm workouts, and managed to get through it without a major attack. For some reason, I can handle lifting weights a lot better than when I start running or doing ab crunches. Those things raise my body temperature in a hurry (for some reason).
My wife finishes with the treadmill running, and I know it is my turn. So I get on, and slowly turn the dial until the motor starts to hum and the belt starts churning. I start with a brisk walk. Then, I crank up the dial and get into a nice jog. I continue this for a few minutes with no problems, knowing that at any minute my body temperature could spike above that fine line between normal and hives. At this point, I know the hives are lurking beneath my skin, waiting for my sweat glands to even attempt a release of sweat.
I continue running. The uncomfortable sensation starts coming on. I call this my “spider sense” (like spider-man’s). It lets me know an attack is coming before it actually comes out. I push it harder. I run even faster. Then, like clockwork, I begin to feel random “stings” and itches on my face, torso, and so forth. At first it is uncomfortable, but manageable. I keep running.
Then, the stings come on far more strongly. As if an army of fire ants are crawling on my body and biting me, my skin burns and stings and itches with incredible intensity. At this point, I say, “No more.” I can literally imagine millions of mast cells under my skin erupting with histamine.
I flip the off switch, and jump on the sides of the treadmill in a balancing act to prevent myself from getting thrown off the machine as it comes to a stop. I then take off my shirt, and I make sure I don’t move at all. I am very still, waiting and hoping the attack will quickly subside. Luckily, my basement is rather cold (approximately 55 degrees) since I haven’t been running a heater down there. So my body is able to quickly calm down.
Little by little, the itching and stinging stops. My skin was temporarily left a little red and blotchy, but thankfully the attack is over. I was a little disappointed, because I wasn’t even beginning to get my heart pumping hard. I know it is virtually pointless to start again, because as soon as I get to the point where I actually get my heart pumping, the hives will start. Oh well. My wife and I conclude our little workout session and head back upstairs.
For the remainder of the night, we had a nice long talk about lots of random things. I also did a little more work online, and we finally headed for bed.
As I got in bed, I went through my normal nightly routine: I first get in with my socks, pajama bottoms, and shirt. Then, as my body gets warm under the covers, I try to manually adjust my body temperature by removing my socks, shirt, or changing into shorts (as needed) until my body feels comfortable.
It sure can be a pain at night trying to constantly (and manually) adjust your body temperature to make sure you are comfortable. Otherwise, I will be left with a very “icky” feeling on my body as my body struggles to remain cool without the aid of sweat. I finally dose off, and sleep peacefully.
Just another typical day in the life of a guy with Cholinergic Urticaria…