Saturday, May 20, 2006
Goodbye Seasonal Allergies, Goodbye
FertilityBitch is aware that she has immune problems (chronic fatigue syndrome, thyroid disease, baaaaad seasonal allergies plus allergies to penicillin, cut grass, cats...) All of the kids in our family have an allergy to cut grass, which necessitated the unlovely wearing of some of Dad's surgical masks while mowing the lawn--not a direct route to popularity at school.
My immune problems definitely did not improve with the 1000000 vaccines mandated before the start of my Fulbright Fellowship to Korea, where I lived in the middle of hyper-polluted Seoul for a year. Not surprisingly, my first pregnancy miscarried, my second was difficult and resulted in a child with more immune problems than you can shake a stick at (cancer, autism, similarly bad reactions to vaccines), and this was followed in short order by four more miscarriages plus an anembryonic gestation, a.k.a. blighted ovum onto which further insult was added to injury as I received the full protester treatment when going to Planned Parenthood in order to have the tissue removed before it became necrotic.
So what does this have to do with allergies? Well, after the birth of my son, I generally looked unwell, felt crappy and also became deathly, deathly allergic to my beloved ex-NY-street-three-legged kitty and ended up having to have the poor guy adopted into another family. I suspected immune problems, had my thyroid tested, and yep, antibodies and hypothyroid. I also found a Chronic Fatigue doctor who ran a viral panel and found I had all the usual, Epstein-Barr (a.k.a. Yuppie Flu), latent Lyme, etc., etc.
Initial forays into the fertility world suggested that at my age, most fertility docs felt there they couldn't "waste" any time and would want to put me immediately on Clomid and immediately veer to the expensive and weird and hormonally dubious world of test tube babies.
So when the dear, departed Dr. Beer came into my life, he immediately saw my miscarriages and my current immune issues are intimately related. Basically, my natural killer cells, which were getting only better and better at killing, were having a field day inside me, including immediately attacking any fertilized egg.
Not only did this explanation make sense (and I did have clinical lab work to verify that I indeed had elevated NKs), the solution generally involved cleaning up my act: anti-inflammatory diet (fruits and veggies, organic, cut out milk and wheat as they are potent allergens), fish oil, acupuncture, and lifting the toxin burden from my body whenever possible. At the very least, he said, I'd feel better.
I'm happy to announce I feel much better AND this year, one of the worst pollen seasons in history, I have been free of seasonal allergies. I used to walk around in spring with my eyes nearly swollen shut. Now I'm actually bringing cut flowers into the house.
There are also two very safe food supplements you can use: Nettle is an old folk remedy, and quercetin is a bioflavonoid found in citrus and buckwheat. Human cell culture studies with quercetin have demonstrated its capability to inhibit the release of histamine from mast cells--i.e., it's an anti-histamine. (Again, FertilityBitch is an angst-ridden novelist and NOT a health professional, and I do not in any way purport to dispense medical advice, but I am happy to let you know what has worked well for me). I've been around the block quercetin wise, and I happen to particularly like Eclectic Institute's handy nettle-quercetin blend.
The stuff is freeze-dried and handled with care--works for me.