Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Testing the Skinny on the Skin Test Conclusion

Before I begin this particular post, I'd like to state that I did this to myself.  I chose to put myself in a situation where I was facing my allergy phobia in order to hopefully start a treatment for lessening my allergy burden.  

This was not easy, and yes, it was uncomfortable. 

However, I fully support people getting a skin test in order to get allergy shots, or to go on the drops, which I'm already on for my bazillion food allergies.

Mind you, they don't work for everything.  I probably will always have a couple deadly food allergies, but the idea is to lessen the overall load.  Becoming more tolerant to some things allows the body to chill a little bit about the more dangerous ones.  

I even had my mom and my Knight in Pinstripes right there with me.  Rob drew things for me:

With all that said, yes, I was stuck with a thousand needles and it was terrifying.  

In fact, Rob drew that too: 

However, obviously, I did not die.  
I even had a panic attack at one point, but managed to somehow stifle it into a series of stupid jokes.  

One of which was actually, "Well, I'm not dead.  So, you know, that's better than I thought would happen." 

Rob illustrated my emotional journey: 

The constant joking and being silly while clearly exaggerating was partly to calm myself down, but also to make sure the nice lady giving the test wouldn't feel bad.  Then, consequently, when she laughed, I felt like it wasn't a huge deal either.  

This entire "personal story" aspect of this blog has a lot to do with the power of reshaping our stories and finding humor and beauty where there is otherwise pain.

Now then... 

The day went pretty smoothly.  My mom picked me up from my apartment to take me to my parent's house.  Rob was at work in the morning, but took the afternoon off just to be supportive. 
*Insert proud grin*  
Meeting at my parent's house just wound up easier than meeting at the doctor's office, with it's three or four waiting rooms and such.  

I spent my morning desperately trying to ignore how nervous I was, and did this by doing the following:

1.) Playing stupid dress up games online, including games that allow a person to have careers.  Some of these careers are easy enough to really have, while others are almost impossible to get in real life.

2.) Staring at my toys and thinking about ways they could do a whole television series of just the minions from Despicable Me.
I freaking love those guys.

3.) Eating bacon and eggs, lovingly prepared by my momma, 'cause I'm an adult.

 There are very few foods that don't freak me out, and bacon is one of the consistently "safe" foods for me.  I can't even explain why.  
A lot of the foods I go to are heavily processed and probably inherently unhealthy on some level or another, but having no allergies to preservatives or dyes and ALL the allergies to organic foods on their own anyway...  
I just don't care.  
If I'll eat it, awesome.  

Rob showed up, we hung out for a bit, and then we were off! 

When my name was called, my heart dropped into my stomach, but knowing I had some support made me breathe again.  
At that point, Mom had Dad on the phone, who was asking for a play-by-play.  If everyone had their way, that tiny room would have been filled with people.  I felt very loved.  

The first part of the test was on my left upper arm and did not involve any needles.  
It was maybe a third of the size it was supposed to be, because I asked to not test for any foods.  I'm already on the drops for specifically food allergies, so it would have been a waste of resources and my patented Rowyn-panic. 

This was just a tray of tiny pokey things on top of the skin, yet the reaction to a couple of them was instantaneous.  

She had marked where the first tray would start with a little heart, so sideways, the first to react (grasses) looked like a little face.  

Rob and I both drew what it looked like:

 His was somehow more accurate: 
"I am the grasslord" 

Yes you are.

The left arm slowly got more and more itchy, though most of the dots of allergens didn't react at all.  That's a good thing.  

The ones that DID react, however... 

And then came the right arm.  


So many tiny little needles.  I tried to just not look.  

Mostly, it didn't hurt.  ...I was still afraid though.  I think I kept it in check well.  I was told later that despite me openly stating my crippling fear, I apparently handled it like a pro.  

Rob drew some stuff during this whole right arm process, like the Cheshire Cat telling me to relax:

And his way of telling me I was very brave for facing my fear: 

He actually printed out a certificate of "Bravery at the Doctors" for me to frame on the wall.  He even signed and dated the thing. 

By the end of my twitches, wincing, and bad jokes, my right arm looked like this: 

Rob expected me to just pass out once the adrenaline wore off, and I'm surprised that I didn't.  
Instead, I just wanted to eat and not be touched ever again.

Back at my parent's house, my father told me that Batman himself had heard about my appointment and how brave I was, and had asked him to give me an awesome Bat-signal magnet.  

Yes, I'm 27.  
Shut up.
I'm the goddamn Batman.  

Later, "chicken for dinner" turned into this:
Oh, you mentioned a food in passing?  LETS HAVE THAT TOO.

...My broccoli isn't drawn well.  

...That's broccoli in the middle on the bottom there. 


Anyhoo, then Rob and I went back home.  

I cuddled up in my robe, going from itchy and awake to exhausted and a little dizzy.

It wasn't horrible, but the ick came in waves.

To get my mind off the crap of it, Rob played American McGee's Alice: Madness Returns so I could watch it like a cartoon.  

It's a pretty game. 

I wasn't going to sleep at a reasonable time that night, and I wound up hungry again.  Rob, being amazingly Rob-like, scrambled an egg for me.  

I'm going to be pretty freaked out the first few times I get the allergy shots.  However, I've been on the drops for forever, and I'd be getting the shots in a safe setting, surrounded by doctors and epi-pens.  

I was told the red dots from the test would be there a few days, and a day later, they are almost entirely gone.  Clearly, I'll be able to handle it.  

I have a year to decide.  After that year, I'll need to be tested again, and that's crappy, so screw it.  I'll do the shots. 

Now to figure out my insurance!  

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