I'm not usually afraid to share my personal life with my blog, but I find myself staring down the computer today, more than a little bit nervous about what I need to write. You see, I've been promising an allergy update for quite some time....but despite those promises I've found a lot of really good reasons over the last few weeks to avoid actually writing that post.
After all, there have been so many starts and stops over the last five years. I've bragged about progress before, only to be slapped down by reality...by my own failings...by circumstances beyond my control.
This time, though.
This time it's working, and I really, really don't want to fail again.
On April 15th I had an appointment with my allergist. Such appointments are supposed to be simple check-ups to make sure that all is well with my allergy plan, but this time I completely fell apart. Equal parts rock bottom and cathartic, I wound up sobbing in the exam room for over an hour. My allergies? They were just too much. Life was grossly unfair, and it was too hard to live with the hand I'd been dealt. I was a failure, I hated my body, and there was nothing I could do to fix it.
My life is just so small, I whimpered....
This breakdown had actually been coming for a while. After seeing some improvement and success last summer I'd once again stumbled over my fall allergies and the subsequent holiday season and was having trouble getting myself back on track. I was frustrated with myself, and I felt like garbage. Almost all of the good work from the year before had been negated....and this time it felt like I was at the end of the road with no hope of ever getting it right.
Towards the end of March I asked for administration at church, and as sometimes happens the actual sacrament wound up being more about what I needed emotionally than about what I needed physically. (That's what happens when you ask a particularly perceptive minister to provide the sacrament...you tend to get what you need, not what you think you want.) While I no longer remember the exact words, I do remember being a bit shocked when the minister prayed that I would allow myself to be angry, and to acknowledge the emotional toll this has all taken on me. I had done that, I thought...
But then I sat down a few days later and confessed in my journal that I knew I needed to work through some allergy issues, but that I was afraid to get started because I was afraid that I wouldn't be able to stop.
I did it anyway.
On a quiet morning a few days later I sat down in my favorite chair, and allowed my heart to crack open so that I could pour out just how truly, deeply angry I've been for five years about the entire situation. It was painful. It was shocking. It didn't feel like me, and yet it was exactly me. I acknowledged truths that I've been trying to deny for five years - ugly stuff that I didn't want to believe was part of my life. There was both more than I thought there would be, and less.
I wish I could say that journaling had been cathartic...that I came out of it in a much better place than I had been in before...but that just wasn't true. Instead it left me rather raw and wounded, and I hated that.
However, it also prepared me for an honest conversation with my doctor.
Which takes me to that appointment in April. I won't divulge the details of what was said that day beyond what's already been hinted at because many of them are just too private. What I will say is that I'm truly blessed to have the doctor that I have. Not only does she truly know how to listen, but she is also capable of being equally compassionate and tough, and on that day in April she was everything I needed her to be.
I left that appointment determined to start again, and this time I was armed with a new tool, a step by step medical plan to look into whether or not something else was going on, and some advice that would change my approach.
So the very next day I began a rotation diet.
And to my complete surprise...it worked.
And to my even bigger surprise...I liked it.
Coming Up Next: Part 2, What Changed?