Ugh, where do I begin this update? First, my wife and I have been sick the past week. My wife had it first, and then accidentally gave it to me. I suppose it is some kind of cold (or Flu). We have had temperatures of about 100-101. We have also felt very tired, weak, sleepy, and had runny noses. Luckily, my wife has pretty much recovered, and I only have a day or two of this bug (I hope).
I always hate it when I am sick, because a fever usually makes my hives worse. Since it increases my body temperature, it just puts me that much closer to a reaction. Luckily, I have stayed in my room with the A/C running, so I haven’t had that many attacks.
My Cholineric Urticaria, New Symptoms, and Something I May Have Discovered
I have some weired new symptoms lately, which I am not sure if it is related to the hives or not. Whenever I wake up in the morning, the back of my hands and tops of my feet itch like crazy. It doesn’t do it until I get out of bed, and then lasts for only about 30 minutes to an hour.
It doesn’t feel like the cholinergic urticaria type itch, although it is a prickly kind of itch (it just doesn’t really sting). I suppose it has something to do with my circulation or something, since it doesn’t happen until I get out of bed. But it is enough to really aggravate me for about an hour each morning.
Okay, so about my hives. For the past 3-4 years since my hives came back, they have been fairly manageable. I would usually have a severe attack, but then they would kind of calm down. In fact, after a severe attack, often times I could actually sweat. Unfortunately,for the past 2-3 months this hasn’t been so. I have tried taking Zyrtec, which helps, but not enough. I also recently noticed that Zyrtec is the thing that has been giving me diarrhea and upsetting my stomach.
The hives come on, and torture me relentlessly until I can cool down. There is no sweating happening at all at this point. I am not sure why they are so “on edge” lately, but it has been both depressing and disabling. So much so, that I have actually started to talk very seriously with my wife about steroids–something I vowed I would never do if possible.
An Interesting New Idea About Why My Hives First Went Away
As I was pondering my own hives situation in the past, I always think back to the first time my hives went away. I had them for a few months, went to the doctor, was given antihistamines (and eventually a steroid shot). None of it seemed to work, but the hives magically got better about a month or so after the steroid shot.
Well, looking back at my whole hives story, and given a new thing I discovered, I am actually starting to think the steroids did indeed play a key role in my first remission (which lasted about 3-4 years or so). Could steroids successfully treat cholinergic urticaria?
I have no idea what the shot was, only that it was definitely a steroid (corticosteroid—not the anabolic muscle-building kind). I distinctly remember that after a few weeks, I still had hives. Thus, I thought the shot did nothing, and I gave up on my dermatologist and realized nothing was working. Then, a month or two later, they went away.
As it turns out, steroid injections in your ‘rear end’ tend to slowly release the chemical into your body over the course of weeks, or sometimes even 3 months! Wow. I didn’t know that. Turns out, I think that darn steroid shot may have been THE THING that put my hives into a nice 3-4 year remission.
For the life of me, I have no idea what the actual brand was. I have been researching online, and it seems Kenalog is one type that is frequently used by dermatologist (and is often slowly released for up to 3 months). Prednisone can also be inject-able, so it could have been that too. Or, it could have been a different steroid altogether.
Unfortunately, steroids aren’t something to joke about. These things shoot down your immune system, leaving you susceptible to infections. Also, they can have all kinds of terrible side effects (although honestly I can’t remember any side effects when I took that one). Plus, even though steroids don’t necessarily cause cancer, a weakened immune system could potentially increase your risk a bit.
My New Battle Plan–Steroids in the Spring If My Hives Aren’t Better
Okay, so I have really researched this and talked to my wife about it. She agrees that the steroids are probably what put my hives away. I was actually going to make an appointment to the dermatologist soon, but then I remembered something–If I get a steroid shot now, that means my immune system is going to be weakest when colds, the flu, and other diseases are at their peak (in the winter).
Probably not a good idea, eh? I may actually need my immune system during that time. So instead, I have decided that this is what I will do: If my hives are not significantly better by this spring, then I am going to go ahead and try 1 single steroid shot (hopefully they have my records and can find out what it was and the same dosage). If that one single steroid shot works, then great. If not, then I am not going to pursue steroids any longer due to the risks involved.
Taking steroids all the time is a really BAD idea. It can leave you with all sorts of side effects or diseases. So that is what I am going to do. I will try it 1 time in the spring (about 6-7 months from now), and if that works–great. If not, I guess I will just have to take antihistamines and try various meds or treatments to make it as bearable as possible.
Funny thing is, it will be exactly 10 years since my last steroid shot this spring. It would be so great if it actually worked, and my hives went away for years again, or even forever!
Oh, and one last thing: While thinking back about my hives going away (and thinking it may have had a lot to do with a slow-release injection of steroids)–I was also pondering what may have started them back up again–since they didn’t come back for a few years (long after the steroid effect probably wore off). I can actually remember 1 serious event that stands out crystal clear in my mind, that could have been a reason my hives started back up again–a severe illness.
While I was working at a retail store (Target), during the November shopping season, they had ordered a bunch of sandwiches for us. They were great, and I went home happy. Unfortunately, I got SEVERELY sick that night. I vomited profusely–at least 20 times that night. I have never ever ever been that sick before in my LIFE. Even when nothing came out, I was still vomiting. It must have been the mayonnaise or something from the sandwiches sitting out all day–I have no clue what it was that made me that sick.
Fast forward, and just 1-2 months later, my hives started to come back. Maybe it is just a coincidence. Or, maybe this illness got my immune system jacked up, and after a couple of months the hives were back. Just speculation, but it is interesting to think about. It also makes me wonder if I had never gotten sick, would the hives came back? Or would they have stayed in remission?
Update: Made An Appointment With Dermatologist
I can’t take the hives anymore. I have to do something. As I type this I am scratching myself.
In my last post, I talked about waiting until spring to see a dermatologist. Not so. My hives are driving me crazy. I called and they have a slot today in just a few hours.
I am going to ask for a steroid shot. I will also ask for a prescription for fexofenadine, since that is basically the only antihistamine I haven’t tried yet. But I am hoping and praying maybe the steroid shot will knock it down, or maybe even induce a remission.
I will update tonight on this page once everything is said and done. Wish me luck!
I Got a Steroid Shot, New Antihistamines, and Mole Removed
In my last post I was talking about how I have just been so sick of my hives. They have been so strong and completely unmanageable even with antihistamines as of late. So, I called and went to the dermatologist. I am now back, so here is the recap (I will also post this on the cholinergic urticaria forum here in case you have any questions or want to follow my progress to see if any of this actually works. I will also probably make posts on the blog as well.
Quick Recap of My Dermatologist Visit
- Had a mole removed–I didn’t even go in for that, but I asked him to look at a mole on my back that was a tad irreglar and large. He said it looks somewhat suspicious, but is probably okay. He said he would like to go ahead and remove it to be safe, so I let him. I didn’t feel a thing! He numbed the area (I felt a slight sting then), and then he sliced it right off. If you ever need a mole removed–don’t worry. It doesn’t hurt at all and took literally 1 minute to do. It was a bit odd though, because I didn’t expect to have this done today. But I guess better safe than sorry. I just hope my bill isn’t outrageous.
- Got a Steroid Shot–The guy I spoke with didn’t really want to give me one, but I explained how my hives just won’t stop, and that in retrospect I think the last steroid shot I had 10 years ago was what put my hives in remission. Finally, he caved in after speaking with the other Doctor who actually gave me the shot 10 years ago. I got a shot in my arm (it was actually more painful than the mole removal). My arm is still kinda sore. It was a corticosteroid, and he quickly mumbled the name, and I didn’t hear him. It may have been hydeltrasol or something that started with an “H”. I am not sure. I don’t know the dosage either. Hopefully this will be on my bill. If not, I will ask him directly if the stuff actually helps in case anyone wants to give it a shot (no pun intended).
- Got a New Antihistamine–He said he wanted to try me on Periactin (generic name is cyproheptad). According to him, it may be more useful in my type of hives. I looked it up and it seems interesting-it can actually mess with your seratonin and other stuff. So maybe it will work better than others. As of right now, I haven’t taken one. He told me to take 3 a day at 4 mg (note–please only take that on a doctors orders). So I will let you know after I have taken a few on the effectiveness. I have never really heard of this one, and I can’t recall anyone mentioning it on the forum off the top of my head.
- Got an Epi-pen–He also prescribed me an epi-pen in case I have a serious allergic reation. I didn’t fill the prescription for that though, since my mom has one and my insurance plan doesn’t cover medicine. Plus, I am not that worried about anaphylactic shock.
- Going Back in 1 month–I am going to go back for a checkup in 1 month. So if I have any new questions, or if anything works, I can find out more about it.
Okay, that is the summary of what happened. Overall, he was a nice guy. I don’t think he was an actual doctor, but rather a physician’s assistant (but I can’t complain because I got what I wanted, and they seen me the same day I called). He didn’t seem incredibly knowledgeable on my specific type of hives (cholinergic urticaria), but then again, most people aren’t. But he seemed somewhat knowledgeable on hives in general. He said I also had mild dermatographia (after he stroked my back a few times).
So now I wait. Hopefully the corticosteroids do something to reduce the inflammation. I am also looking forward to trying this antihistamine, although I will try that tonight. I will wait a day or so before I post on that so I can get a good idea on how it is working. I just hope I don’t get any crazy side effects.
I suppose it will take at least a few days, possibly even weeks before the corticosteroid starts to take effect. So it will be a slow road waiting for that one.
The steroid shot did not change my hives at all. I no longer think steroids are a good idea for treatment of cholinergic urticaria, and I no longer think steroids were the main factor in my previous hives remission.
I tried the new antihstamine, and it did not work at all. It actually made me very irritable. I stopped taking it shortly after.
The mole I had removed had some atypical cells in it. That isn’t good, but oh well. I guess it is gone now so it shouldn’t matter. But I am glad I had it removed.
UPDATE: My hives are now under control after extensive allergy elimination diets, and also exercise.