A couple of years ago I realized that the annual, persistent cold I got in the spring was seasonal allergies. Odd, I thought: I’ve never had these before. My doctor told me that it’s actually common to develop them in midlife. Okay. So now I take Allegra for a while in the spring and all is well. Last year, I noticed that on long runs I coughed a lot towards the end. During my second half-marathon, in June, this was pronounced: I hacked and hacked all the way through the second half, never able to fully clear my throat or get a deep breath. It finally dawned on me that maybe I’ve developed exercise-induced asthma? I need to go see the doctor again to find out and, if so, what my options are.
Then this spring I started getting ugly red patches on the backs of my legs. They came and went, grew and ebbed. No big deal. Over the summer they grew, started itching, and got really pronounced. Matt noticed and said I needed to get them checked out. My legs were raw from the knee down. I saw my dermatologist in August and she took one look at me and asked, “Do you have seasonal allergies or asthma?”
Knock me over. What? Well, yes, I think I have both, and they are both new, I told her. Why?
She told me about a syndrome called atopy. For anyone who has this, or is a doctor, I apologize in advance for my butchering of the medical specifics. As far as she told me, it’s basically a group of symptoms that demonstrate acute sensitivity to the world. I am reactive to the air, to the very stuff of everyday life. Just living in the world is a stress on my system. This seems like a physical manifestation of my emotional porousness.
Why does this not surprise me at all?
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