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The Story of My Life with an Allergy

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Have you ever experienced itchiness or shortness of breath for consecutive days? How would you feel if you have an illness that is incurable and serious? Miserably, I was born with an illness that is incurable and merely annoying known as allergy. Allergy denotes, “ is an overreaction of the immune system to a substance known as allergen that is not contagious but can cause . . . itching. Additionally, allergies may be incurable but preventable. For instance, a person would be able to prevent allergic reaction if he or she knows a specific substance that they are allergic to. However, in my case, I am not aware of the specific allergen that I am allergic to. In other words, I am not certain whether the food or personal hygiene products, as well as, the household care products that cause allergic reaction.

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Moreover, there are several types of allergies but the most severe allergy is called anaphylaxis. As a daughter, I am the only one in my family who is diagnosed with anaphylaxis in which is depressed. Anaphylaxis is a “serious, life threatening allergic reaction . . . that requires immediate medical treatment [if not treated properly, it can be deadly]”. Miserably, I am label as high-risk anaphylaxis because once my immune system reacts, it will happen frequently and I have a family history of asthma, in which is my mom. For instance, if a person with anaphylaxis have a family history of asthma or allergy, the risk is greater.

Furthermore, it may seem not serious to others, however, the symptoms include “

Have you ever eaten something that you have not for a long period of time and you thought of trying it again? Consequently, your immune system reacts but you are not certain whether the food that you ate causes the reaction, or a particular personal hygiene product that you are using? Furthermore, have you ever bought sensitive skin care products but the results still remain the same, and you are not sure which of the ingredients of the products that causes the reaction? I can attest to that. There are times where I have not eaten anything, suddenly, my immune system reacts. However, there are times I eat something that I usually eat, it causes reaction in which is frustrating to me because I just wanted to give up everything, particularly try to stop eating and try to use just water for laundry, in which is disgusting. Additionally, I tried buying different hypoallergenic detergent but my immune system reacts badly.

Subsequently, the symptoms are irritating and deadly. The following are the signs that you developed if you have a severe allergic reaction including, “skin changes (such as redness and itching), mucosal changes (swelling below the skin surface), swallowing and breathing difficulties (due to swollen mouth, throat or tongue), wheezing, rapid breathing rate (tachypnoea), rapid heart rate (tachycardia) and falling blood pressure (hypotension)”. Therefore, allergy is a big threat to my life because it has greatly affected me academically, physically and emotionally.

Academically

As a student, allergy has greatly affected my educational attainment. Research by Kobyletzkin suggests that “Allergic diseases . . . prevent affected children from achieving their academic potential . . . include absence from school due to illness and medical appointments.” Additionally, one of the symptoms of allergy is itching in which results in inadequate sleep at night. Ever since I had severe allergic reaction, I had a hard time sleeping at nighttime. I would spend the whole night scratching and crying, thinking when will this ever stop and it never did. Every morning I wake up, I feel nauseous and dizzy that I could not walk straight nor could do anything but just to lie there and do nothing. Yet, if I wake up with no physical conditions of allergy, I would push myself to go to school, but every time in class, I could not focus well but falls asleep in class. Poor concentration results in failure.

Moreover, have you ever feel helpless and desperate? I missed consecutive school days because of medical appointment, hoping and desperately looking for a treatment for such illness. However, my medical conditions always remain the same that the medicine prescribed by the doctor did not make any improvements but made it worse. Additionally, the doctor prescribed Benadryl to treat allergies in which it did not help because of its side effects. John Cuhna , a medical editor, suggest that “The common side effects of Benadryl include drowsiness, fatigue, sleepiness, tiredness [that last up to a day or two].” I could not focus or submit an assignment on time due to the side effects of the medicine and would always fell asleep and not doing any assignment.

Furthermore, I have been going back and forth to the hospital hoping for an answer but nothing changes. However, just the recommendation of changing detergent, personal hygiene product and take notes of what I eat, but if not, then perhaps the environmental factors is what causes allergic reaction. Environmental factors including water and air. Consequently, the last choice was to see an allergist who is in Hawaii, and there is nothing that I can do as well, because I have school and responsibilities to take care at home. The doctor believe that it is best to go to a specialist allergy service because they “provide a definitive diagnosis and identify the cause of an anaphylactic reaction and if not, I might] have an increased risk of recurrent anaphylactic reactions”.

Moreover, I missed consecutive school days because of physical effects of allergy. Physical effects include the swelling of the face and hands as well as the breathing. As a Samoan student, I believe that most of our kids love to make fun of each other in which they would tease me with how I look like. Kids would not only tease me, they would also give me that death stare and laugh at me in which is uncomfortable and awkward. Such behaviors prevent myself from coming to school. Additionally, whenever my supervisor bought food for us, she wanted us to eat it right away, but I refused to eat, because of the symptoms or the consequences of allergic reaction. Instead, the supervisor gets mad in which made me feel depressed and impolite. And it is hard for me to focus on a lecture or discussion because of the itchiness in which I would not let anyone in our class to think that I did not shower and it also led to failure. If my immune system reacts, my hands get swelling and it would be hard for me to neither type nor write because the pain is unbearable and itchy like someone is stabbing it.

Have you ever studied so hard for an upcoming quiz, suddenly you have allergic reaction, and ended up not taking it? Luckily, the teacher gave you a chance to take it on the next day, however, the physical effects of allergy still remains? I can attest to that as well. I stayed up studying and hoping to pass the exam with an A, suddenly, my immune system reacts for no reason. For instance, the night before the exam, I did not eat a dinner because I was still full from my lunch, suddenly, my immune system reacts really badly that I could not breathe or could study because of the itchiness. And the results of not taking a quiz lead to failure and educational attainment.

Physically

Allergic reaction affected me physically, in which made me feel of not wanting to communicate with teachers or peers but to be alone. I was afraid to show my swollen face, mouth and eyes to everyone because I believe they would tease me and would never stop asking questions. And I believe that if someone sees me with swollen eyes or mouth, they would think that I cried or fought with someone. Additionally, I did not want anyone to think that I am avoiding him or her because if someone calls out to me, I just simply say bye. But if I stop, they would not be focusing on what we are talking about but focus on the physical effects of my condition.

Anaphylaxis is not the same as the other types of allergies in which it does not only happen on one part of the body, but many. And it would be hard for me to communicate with peers and teachers because one of the symptoms includes “difficulty in swallowing or speaking [due to the swollen of the throat and the mouth]”. Moreover, it would be hard for me to look at someone when my eyes are swollen and itchy.

Emotionally

Allergy has affected me mentally and emotionally hurt. Have you ever get emotional when you wanted to do anything but cannot? Have you ever got emotional when someone asks you about your health? Yes! I get emotionally hurt every time asks about my health condition. If only they know what I am going through at home and school. Every night, I cried myself to sleep and begging God to please take away this illness. Have you ever felt like you are about to die? Sometimes, I failed to get an enough sleep trying to get air when my airway blocked and my body felt so heavy that I cannot walk. Additionally, have you ever felt like something is crawling all over your body and its irritating? I can attest to that. Every night, I just wished that there is a zipper to our body that we can zip it open and scrub away the itchiness.

Moreover, the fact that the doctor does not know what else to do but to recommend to take notes of the food, makes me want to starve myself to death or suicide because the pain is unbearable. As a mother, I cried every night looking at my daughter who will take care of her if I die or kill myself? Will she ever forgive me? Will another woman love her the way I love her? No, and she is my motivation and I want the best for her. She is the reason that motivates me to miss consecutive school days but to visit the clinic because I want to live a long life and to see my daughter grow. And being the only person who is diagnosed with allergy is frustrating when whoever is cooking has to make a different meal for me but usually I have to do my own meal to avoid mistakes in which I do not want to blame anyone.

As a wife, I get emotionally hurt, thinking, what if my husband leave me for another woman because of the physical effects of allergy? What if he finds someone healthier than me? Such emotions led to depression and it actually destroys our marriage. However, the first time my husband saw the physical effects of allergy, he cried because I had to wake him up every night to scratch my back. While scratching my back, I felt embarrassed and hideous. Furthermore, as a student, I honestly cried out loud that only my husband witness. I get frustrated and anxious that there is nothing else that I can do to get rid of allergy. And such condition makes me wanting to pull my hair and just scream because I value education and education is everything to me. However, the allergy has greatly prevented me from going to school and anywhere.

Plan

Allergy is a big threat to my life. Therefore, my plan to prevent my immune system to reacts will be eat healthy, read every products label and determine the particular ingredients that cause the reaction, and exercise. As a student, I have learned about behaviorist approach. Behaviorist approach denotes, “Approach to the study of cognitive development that is concerned with basic mechanics of learning”. There are two types of how people acquired their behaviors are through classical conditioning and operant conditioning. Accordingly, I would use the operant conditioning to prevent allergy in which whatever that I use for my skin, inhale or eat that causes reaction would be an easy way to determine the allergens.

As a mother, I will read every product labels, and if my body reacts to a product and it has the same particular ingredient with the other products that causes reaction, then I will make note of it to avoid using in the future. As a student, I would try my best to avoid eating unhealthy food at the school to prevent the allergy from reacting. Additionally, I would take notes of all the foods that I eat to determine which food causes the allergic reaction and to balance my meal. If I plan to dine at a restaurant, I will notify the manager or the chef about my allergy. Moreover, if I plan to eat at a relative or friend’s house, I will notify them to not use the particular ingredients that I am allergic to because it is just me who is diagnosed with allergy. Finally, I will set an appointment with a specialist allergy service to help me cope with allergy and to prescribe the right medicine for me.

 

Therefore, anaphylaxis allergy has greatly affected me academically, physically and emotionally. Anaphylaxis is a deadly illness that no one will ever wanted to experience due to the symptom and its effects. The anaphylaxis prevents myself from going to places and school in which reduced educational attainment especially that I am not certain about the allergen that causes the reaction. Allergy influence myself to kill myself and to stop coming to school because I feel hideous from everyone. And to prevent the anaphylaxis to react, I will make a plan to start eat healthy; keep a detailed food journal, read labels and exercise. But if I dine out, I will notify everyone about my condition, as studies stated that “A lack of communication coupled with false confidence is a dangerous combination”. 

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