Actually, please allow me to rephrase the above to ‘6 Things That Made Me Happy This Week’ because, boy, it has been a good one.
As many of you know I’ve been trying to get to the bottom of why my health fell apart in December 2015. You can read the night it all began here. Over the past 2.5 years, I’ve seen various specialists, had numerous blood tests and spent a fortune along the way to little avail.
Time and time again my research has brought me back to Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (a condition of the immune system which I’ve mentioned before) but, for the most part, this suggestion has fallen upon deaf ears…until now.
Yes, this week a medical doctor at a top London hospital confirmed what I have suspected all along… MCAS as well as histamine intolerance.
I’ll write a proper post on what MCAS is and what my next steps will be at a later date but for now I’ve decided to share 6 things that made me happy this week because, after 2.5 years of feeling utterly lost, rubbish, fatigued, anxious and wishing it would all just go away, I finally feel as though I’m back in control of my life. I hope this post also gives hope to others going through similarly anxious times.
HAPPY POINT NO.1: RECEIVING A DIAGNOSIS
Words can’t express the joy of finding someone who understands and has lived through MCAS. It turns out my consultant’s daughter was dreadfully unwell for years and had similar symptoms until her diagnosis. This prompted my doctor to develop a special interest in the condition and histamine intolerance.
We all have mast cells – they’re a type of white blood cell which, collectively, form a crucial part of our defence system. They respond to threats like foreign bodies and injury by releasing a variety of chemical mediators, including histamine, to protect and heal the body. However, my mast cells are confused. Anything from heat, stress and perfume to high histamine foods like citrus fruit, vinegar and alcohol and intense exercise – can trigger my body into excessively releasing histamine and other mediators which set off chronic reactions including tongue and throat swellings .
On the day I saw the doctor, my entire thigh was bruised black and blue. We worked out what had caused it. The previous night I’d been suffering from intolerable itching all over my body, scalp and thighs and couldn’t stop scratching. Apparently bruising is a classic sign of MCAS – mast cells contain heparin, a chemical which stops the blood from clotting. Going forward, my doctor said I’d have to work very hard to reduce my ‘histamine’ bucket, become mindful of triggers and start up the long-acting antihistamine again however she is confident I’ll be able to get a handle on this pesky chronic illness, even though it may take some time. I’m so thrilled and grateful to have found her.
HAPPY POINT NO.2: BEING GIVEN NEW HOPE
A couple of months ago I bit the bullet and raided the savings pot again spending over £1,000 on a consultation with a nutritionist and some comprehensive gut and adrenal tests to give me a better picture of my health. The results came back this week and are fascinating. I’m talking parasites, salmonella and chronic inflammation among other things but I’ll share these findings at a later date once I’ve had my follow-up consultation. Let’s just say that between the new medical doctor and the nutritionist I believe I’m finally on the right path to healing.
HAPPY POINT NO.3: WORKING FOR NEW CLIENTS
I’ve been a freelance journalist for 18 years and regularly contribute to newspapers, consumer and trade magazines but the industry is changing. Fast. I’m staggered by the changes I’ve seen over the past 18 months (I’m talking rate cuts here, there and everywhere) and earning a living from pure journalism alone is no longer a valid option. So I recently pushed myself out of my comfort zone, and adapted the way I work. The result? New work. Less stress. Oh, and it’s fun! See below!
HAPPY POINT NO.4 MY FIRST TASTE OF LONDON EVENT
I’ve never really been much of a ‘foodie’. Not only is eating out nigh on impossible with all my intolerances, I’m now six weeks into a gluten and dairy free diet which restricts things even further. However, as part of the day job I ended up at Taste of London in Regent’s Park, an event which celebrates London’s culinary scene. It was a lovely way to spend a summer’s evening and I was thrilled to discover a number of dairy and gluten-free products on site including Hippeas organic chickpea puffs, Pip & Nut nut butters, Miiro a vegan ice cream, dairy alternative drink brand Califia Farms. It wasn’t all about the food, drink, music and socialising either. I stumbled across some stunning flower displays thanks to Freddie’s Flowers, a pay as you go UK -wide fresh flower delivery service. The company cuts and packs to order only, therefore, reducing waste. Speaking of Freddie, see No.5.
HAPPY POINT NO.5: MY BUNNY SURVIVING
As some of you know I have a house bunny called Freddie who is a sickly but loving little thing. Approximately half an hour before I was due to leave for the Taste of London event I noticed he was a little off colour so I whizzed him over to the vet. He’d gone into slight gastrointestinal (GI) stasis, which can be deadly in rabbits but, fortunately, I’d spotted it in time. He was kept him in for the day, while I went to work. The bill wasn’t pretty but the bunny survived! Hooray!
HAPPY POINT NO.6: CUDDLES WITH BABY SEBASTIAN
Lastly, one of my very good friends had a gorgeous little boy recently. I finally got the chance to have my first cuddle with him yesterday. I’m already looking forward to the next one.
What are the little things that have made you happy this week? Do you get through the hard times by focussing on the little things in life. I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.