Wow, it has been a long time since I have made an actual post here on the blog. I have been actively posting on the forum, but I thought I would give a quick personal update on things.
How Are My Hives (Cholinergic Urticaria) Lately?
Unfortunately, my hives aren’t doing well at this time. For some unknown reason, my hives have gone into one of the worst flares I have felt in a long time (and has been like this for the past 2-3 weeks).
My ability to sweat is almost non-existent right now, despite being exposed to nearly 100 degree temperatures outside. I keep hoping the itching will stop so I can sweat, but it never does. It stings to the point where I have to run in the house and dowse myself with water while standing in front of a fan or AC. Every little thing I do results in hives. I am dowsing myself with water every 5 minutes in an attempt to stay cool.
Yesterday, my wife and I went out to the store. I got in the car, and we started down the road. It was massively hot in the car due to the greenhouse effect. I thought I would be okay, because I had taken a Zyrtec for the day–which has seemed to stop the minor attacks quite well, while only leaving me with the major ones to deal with. Unfortunately, I wasn’t going to be okay.
After a minute of driving (and waiting for the A/C to cool us down), my hives erupted. I felt the sharpest stings all over my body, and intense itching that I have felt in a long time. I was driving with one hand, and scratching myself to death with the other.
As I looked down, I was like “Oh no.” I had THOUSANDS of small red bumps all over my body. I don’t think I can recall every having that many hives on my body at one time. I wish I had my digital camera, because it looked pretty crazy (but unfortunately I didn’t, and they were all gone by the time I got back).
I got so frustrated, and my wife was really worried about me too (she is a registered nurse anyway). It was a terrible experience, and finally I calmed down after the AC got the inside cooled down enough. Moral of the story: On these hot days, I will start the car and turn on the AC for about 5 minutes before I get in! If you have the same problem, you may want to do that too.
Whenever I get these changes in my levels of CU, it always makes me wonder whether there is some external contributing factor to the increased intensity, or if it is just going through its own cycle. The only thing I can pinpoint is that we did try a new detergent recently, and so that could be a reason. Although I also know that my hives could just be more intense for no external reason at all. So yesterday I bought a new kind of detergent, and hopefully that will help.
As I said, the Zyrtec has helped me control the attacks I get from the slightest movements, however, they don’t stop the bigger ones. I really hope to try some of the Allegra antihistamine tablets soon, as some people on the forum seem to have better luck with them. It just stinks how you have to get a prescription for them. It is so much cheaper and convenient to buy the Zyrtec.
Plus, I know that my hives are usually very manageable—enough so that I usually don’t even take an antihistamine at all. So I am hoping this is just a phase or something, and that my body will calm down soon.
Again, there is always a possibility that some external factor (known or unknown) is making the hives worse–such as some pollen sprouting this time of year, the detergent, or something. But the frustrating thing with CU is that I will probably never know.
Some Highlights of My Summer Thus Far
My summer has been pretty good (up until about 2-3 weeks ago anyway). It has been an unusually hot summer here. Since early June, it has consistently been in the low 90’s (some high 80 days). It has been very dry (we are several inches behind in rainfall for our area).
Some of the things that have been positive this summer include:
- Growing a garden–my wife and I grew our first garden (since we have our own house now). It was a lot of fun, and we got a lot of tomatoes, squash, zucchini, broccoli, green beans, and cucumbers. Some of our plants didn’t do well at all (like the corn, carrots, or green bell peppers). I think the high heat and lack of rainfall hurt those crops, but overall we got a lot of veggies, and it was fun.
- Watching movies–my wife and I have been watching a lot of Netflix movies. We watched the entire series of LOST. I thought it was a great show, but the ending did let us down a lot. We also went to the theater to watch that New Moon or Eclipse movie based on those twilight movies. It was boring (hehe), but my wife is into it so I took her to see it.
- Doing Landscaping–My wife and I planted nearly 80 Leyland Cypress trees around our yard for privacy and a wind break. We added mulch around our house, planted some bushes, flowers, and ornamental grass. We painted our deck, and did a lot of outdoor improvements. We also did a small bit of remodeling inside by painting a room (but there is a lot more to do in that area).
I Feel Like J.D. Salinger or Howard Hughes…
While I have always been a fairly shy and introverted guy who kept to myself, I can say for sure that my hives have officially made me a human recluse recently. When I say recluse, I mean that I make J.D. Salinger or Howard Hughes look like social people! I just don’t like being approached by people or interacting with them when my hives are being bothersome, because I am worried about having attacks in front of them. Plus my wife and I have been really busy doing things at home, and with work.
My wife and I did go out to eat yesterday, and I do usually go into stores with her (which about wraps up the extent of my social activity right now), but I haven’t interacted with another human being directly (except for my wife and people online), in about 1 month. Before that, it was about 2 months.
I can say that my only outlet to the world is the internet, which I am grateful to have. I thank God that I have an online business so I can earn a living of some kind, and that I can still function with society (albeit on a “digital” level). Of course, my hives have a huge impact in all of this, but even without them I have never been one to seek out a lot of social activities. But I would be a lot more active and social if I didn’t have cholinergic urticaria–that is for sure.
I am also thankful that I am an introverted guy, and I have a very low need to interact with people anyway. I think that if I were a really social type, I would be seriously depressed. But luckily, I am perfectly happy having only my wife and the internet to interact with. I have always said that I would be happy living on some deserted island, just as long as I have my wife, a tv, food, an air conditioner, running water, and the internet.
Well, that about sums up everything. I hope your hives do well, and best of luck to you all,