Learning My New Normal
Hi, guys! Does anyone even remember me here!!?!? Just kidding- I know you care about me in some capacity because you’re reading this. For that, I’d like to thank you. Genuinely. I have been learning my new normal, or what I believe to quite literally be, the ringer, the past couple months and am finally in a space where I understand it (kinda..) enough to share it with you. I’m going to cut to the chase here, save us all the time-
Allergy & Immunology.
I see those words 8 times a week and I promise you, they never get less cringy. Immunotherapy- what the heck is that?! The only –otherapy word I know off the top of my head is chemotherapy, so, sounds like something I want to stay the f*ck away from. Well, turns out, Immunotherapy IS something I want to stay the f
The concept behind immunotherapy is that the immune system can be desensitized to specific allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. Allergy Immunotherapy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to injected amounts of a particular allergen, given in gradually increasing doses, by developing immunity or tolerance to the allergen. This involves receiving injections with increasing amounts of the allergens about one to two times per week.
Let me tell you- immunotherapy is not for the meek at heart. Or, meek at anything for that matter. I feel like my body is eating itself alive 90% of the time and I am constantly sick. “But Kelly, you knew this would happen, right?” Cause I know you’re asking yourself that. NO! I did not. Everyone’s immune system is different but more or less, the reactions of each step can be predicted. On my FIRST dose of immunotherapy, which should NOT have sparked an immune system reaction AT ALL, if even a local reaction at the sight of the shot, kicked. my. ass. After my first shot, I was instantly dizzy to the point where I was not allowed to wait for my “sit down period” without supervision. My Tricep had a rash so bad you could’ve convinced me it was poison ivy, my left eye was swollen, I was coughing, sneezing, had awful sinus pressure AND lost my voice for 8 days.
Like, God… r u kidding me, bro?!
I was PISSED! Like, I made this decision to make my life better. To be able to one day, go outside with my kids and roll around in the grass without breaking out in hives or getting sick. This is a 3-year commitment so that I can still function well and enjoy life throughout the therapy and this small of a dosage sends me into this?! WHY! I literally had to sign a waiver that says that I understand that a side effect of these shots is death. DEATH. Twice a week. You’re talking to the kid who spent plenty of nights crying on my dad’s lap at 5 because I was terrified of death/not waking up and wouldn’t go to sleep. My absolute biggest fear, the root of what I believe began my anxiety struggles. That in itself is enough of a punishment twice a week to sign my name on the dotted line for. That AND being this sick so early on?! For 3 years?! And it’s only conceptually getting worse?! I’m out.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. The reason I made the decision to start immunotherapy now is because I recently turned 26, got my first ever solo apartment downtown, and have a job I love that will allow me to live in Chicago for as long as I so choose. I am FINALLY rooted somewhere, so, the second I figured that out, I embarked on what I jokingly call my “quarter-life re-birth.” All the things my body has been through starting from the end of my collegiate athletic career, to living in 3 different states and 3 different countries in 3 years, unable to get used to any climate, food, or allergen prompted me to start this process. My immune system has been failing me more times than not and I am determined to get control of my body so that I can live out my life as healthy, happy, and WELL as I can! Cue, immunotherapy.
Immunotherapy is one of the many changes I’ve made in my life that I am SO so excited to share throughout this journey. I am working with holistic doctors, Alex and Kolby from Haven based in Chicago and will also be documenting that piece of my process, as it’s all about food allergies and intolerances! Figuring out what foods do and don’t work for our bodies, even if we are “healthy” is unbelievably important. Honestly, because healthy doesn’t always equal optimal. Anyways, much more to come on that soon! That will tie into the new piece of my life I’ll be sharing with you guys- food! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen my recipes, videos, and wildly amateur “food photography” plenty of times! It’s so much fun and I love that EVERY time I post, someone always reminds me that I once NEVER ate vegetables! Hahaha, oh, the things I am proud to be known for!
Alright, time to get serious and wrap this up. I’ve been pretty much quarantined to my apartment, afraid and unable to spend extended periods of time outside, missing out on plenty of precious moments with my friends and family, sick pretty much all the time and still having to somehow go about my normal life. It has been KICKING. MY. ASS. Honestly, I have such a new respect for people with chronic illness. Now that I am dealing with some similar things (I hate using the word “illness” to describe anything about myself) I see how poorly this world is set up for us. Everything about my day-to-day is the same but I am forced to do it ALL differently. I’m going through the process of learning the new ways I have to balance my social life, family life, dating life, work responsibilities, workout routine, and added meetings and appointments and literally doing annoying shit like learning how I need to get out of my bed every morning to avoid vasovagal syncope. God, even typing it annoys me…
But, I look the same! My smile is the same, my hair is the same, my body looks more or less the same, so, I’m fine! I don’t walk around with a mopey face, display visible signs of inability to complete tasks, so, to everybody else, I’m fine! So wrong. SO fucking wrong and the fact that I never, in my medically privileged brain, have never actively done something to help those with chronic illness in some form truthfully, annoys me. I will, of course, share more on that as I learn effective and beneficial ways to help!
So, there it is. A quick snapshot into why I seem to have fallen off the face of the planet. I put everything that wasn’t immediately more important than working on understanding and prioritizing my health needs on the back burner for a bit and unfortunately, things like my blog, social platforms, partnerships, and photo shoots had to take a back seat.
I feel confident enough in my handle on my health (which is really, and I mean REALLY shaky. It is almost comical that I even say I have a handle on it, tbh (to be honest, for my
So, here I am! Back and better (ish)…