I've had it. I'm done.I think I am now officially allergic to everything but air. I guess that will be next. Okay, so I've gotten used to the shellfish allergy thing. It has limited my lifestyle considerably since it has progressed to the point that I can no longer walk into a restaurant that serves shellfish or a grocery store that sells fresh seafood because now even that tiny amount of exposure causes a severe allergic reaction. I've adjusted. I just don't go to those places anymore. I've tried to focus on what I can do instead of what I can't and be thankful that I can still eat out occasionally at the handful of restaurants that don't serve shellfish. But it is so frustrating to not be able to go to a potluck dinner at church or out to eat with friends because I might be exposed to something that could make me sick, or you know, kill me. I feel so isolated sometimes.
And why do I have to be allergic to all these insects? I live in the south for crying out loud.There are bees, spiders, gnats, and all manner of stinging, biting little critters everywhere. And it never gets cold enough to kill them off until January or February, and some years not even then.Today pushed me right over the edge.
A spider or a gnat or some other small creature I can't see bites me while I browse through the produce section inside of Walmart. I take a Benadryl tablet and hope that will be enough to prevent an anaphylactic reaction.
I drag myself out to the car in utter disbelief. It's the second time this has happened. This month. Inside of Walmart. My soul is so utterly downcast. Will I have to become a hermit and never leave my house again?
I drive home and plop down on the couch completely defeated. My face, tongue and throat are swollen.There is pressure in my chest. So I pop another Benadryl and grab my EpiPen and wait. I think about how it's beyond ironic that the epinephrine in the EpiPen is one of the many medicines that cause bad side effects for me. I won't use it unless absolutely necessary. I unscrew the cap and prepare to jab myself in the thigh if needed.The tachycardia I get from the epinephrine is less traumatic than the whole, you know, stopping breathing thing from the allergic reaction. While I wait, enveloped in a disorienting fog from taking two doses of Benadryl, I notice the Kindle on the table beside me and decide to look at my Facebook page.The very first thing I see is a Bible verse posted by a friend.
"Don't be afraid for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up." Isaiah 41:10 NLT
I see. I remember. You created everything: shellfish, spiders, gnats, me. You are with me. You are my God. You give me strength and help. You hold me up. So, I choose to be hopeful instead of discouraged, grateful instead of complaining, trusting instead of afraid.
The Benadryl finally works its magic. I put away the EpiPen and meditate on your goodness, on all the ways you bless me. Thank you that I can pour out my frustration, my thoughts, my problems, my truth, my heart to you. Thank you, thank you, thank you that I can come before you with whining and afterward walk out into whatever else this day holds with singing.
Amen and Amen.
Praying honestly is one of the ways I am learning to bloom where I am planted, living a faith of hope and joy.