2020, the year that many are hanging on to for big things to happen. Meanwhile, I am just trying to navigate through the last year in my 20s without being blind sighted (no pun) by another crazy Anaphylaxis episode.
So let me rewind to 4 months ago. I had been going to hot yoga classes once every week for a few months and this time I was trying out a new venue with Classpass and taking my friend along for her first ever yoga experience – exciting!
For anyone that has not been to a hot yoga class, imagine a dark room with sauna heat and slow movements on the matt while you concentrate on your breathing. It works up a sweat while you stretch and unwind from your day, I loved every minute of it. But 15 minutes into this class and my eyes started to itch. I gave it a little rub and it started to water and I felt the area around my eyes tighten, feeling worst every minute. At first I simply though this was my contact lenses reacting badly to the sweat and me rubbing and it would eventually calm down.
I turned over to my friend and whispered – ” are my eyes ok they feel weird?”. And imagine being in a quiet room with only the sound of air flowing in your nose and exhaled out through your mouth and then a loud “OH MY GOD”. I immediately jolted out of the downward dog position and left the room and rushed into the changing room.
The next few minutes went so quickly with my eyes swelling every second. Now this is the first time anything like this has every happened to me. I’ve only ever been aware of my allergy to prawns and even when I eat prawns i just get a slight itch in my throat and swelling on my lips which dies down after 10 minutes. But this, this was something else. I took my contacts out because at this rate, my eyes were going to close shut and my friend jumped into an uber with me to UCLH which was a 5 minutes drive away. But in the uber, my throat started to feel funny and my nose was completely blocked, by this point I couldn’t even open my eyes.
We walked into A&E and before I could say much I was rushed straight into the back and put on a bed with a drip and adrenaline injected into my body. I honestly felt like everyone was staring at me every time I managed to force my eyelids up. I always wanted to be famous, but not in this way.. The doctors checked every few minutes because my throat had started swell, even my voice was going funny and the nasal passage was their main worry, not the eyes that attracted all the attention.
Thankfully the swelling in my throat began to tame itself and I was kept in there for a few hours to monitor my pulse and heart rate (adrenaline in your body can sometimes have bad side-effects). The eye’s however stayed puffy for a few days and only got back to normal after a week, plus I had a new accessory to keep with me, my epipen.
It has been 4 months since then and I have had another reaction, not as bad but a similar start with the eyes. This time I was just sat at home and it randomly started, so maybe it was not the hot yoga. But until I find out in my allergy clinic due soon, I am left quite baffled at what is causing this.
The doctor’s have said that you can suddenly be allergic to something you have eaten or done all your life, which does not help. I have had a few suspicions like:
1.essential oils (don’t have this at home though)
2. contact lenses (but I wear these every day and do not usually have issues)
3.cake ( I had cake on both occasions of my allergic reactions but I have also had cake
And I havn’t had any change in make up or creams that would impact me. So I invite all of you to have your guesses but I will confirm once the tests speak for themselves. Either way, I am sharing this story mainly to make everyone aware that this can happen to anyone, even if you never had an allergies before! Be extra cautious, if you ever feel an itch or swell, especially around your throat, call an ambulance and don’t take the risk. I severe and sudden allergic reaction can be a deadly matter if not looked at immediately!
The other reason I am sharing this story is to say that if you have a chance to opt in to private healthcare at work make sure you do, I wish I did as I am currently waiting months to get any allergy tests done and most private healthcare insurers won’t cover me now because this is a “pre-existing” condition. So I have no choice but to wait until I get an appointment and have some tests taken, until then I just have to keep my epipen close and my wits closer.