Alvin Alexander | Java, Scala, Unix, Perl, Mac OS X

This image is another good answer to the question, “What are mast cells?” The image comes from this page.

What are mast cells? (histamine, serotonin)

I don’t always get sick, but when I do ... it’s nice to find other people who are going through what I’ve been going through, and they still have a sense of humor about it. If you have a Pinterest account, this “My Mastocytosis” page is great.

I don't always get sick, but when I do ...

Listen with ears of tolerance.
See through the eyes of compassion.
Speak with the language of love.

~ Rumi has this good answer to the question, “What are mast cells?”

I found their website when I was trying to learn about mast cell degranulation. As they state, “Each mast cell contains secretory granules (storage sacs), each containing powerful biologically active molecules called mediators. These can be secreted when mast cells are triggered, leading to allergic and inflammatory diseases.”

What are mast cells? is a very well written and presented website about mast cell diseases. This image shows one section of this web page.

Two of the most important sentences for me are: “These mediators can cause a variety of unpredictable symptoms in both children and adults, including skin rashes, flushing, abdominal pain, bloating, nausea, vomiting, headache, bone pain and skeletal lesions, and anaphylaxis. Triggers can be heat, cold, stress (physical or emotional), perfumes or odors, medications, insect stings, and foods.”

Mast cell disorders

Per Wikipedia, Kounis syndrome, also referred to as allergic angina, is “a group of symptoms that manifests as unstable vasospastic, nonvasospastic angina, or acute myocardial infarction and is triggered by the release of inflammatory mediators following an allergic insult.”

Lisa Klimas adds this: “The phenomenon we now called Kounis Syndrome has previously been called by names like morphologic cardiac reactions, acute carditis and lesions with basic characteristics of rheumatic carditis. It is sometimes still referred to as allergic angina or allergic myocardial infarction/heart attack depending upon the presentation. Allergic angina, which affected patients as microvascular angina, was first noted to progress to allergic heart attack in 1991.”

From my perspective as someone just learning about mast cell activation disease, it’s interesting to see that this was known in 1991, but mast cell activation diseases weren’t really recognized until 2007 to 2010.

I was just reading about Spirulina, and came across articles like this which share research about the effects of Spirulina on mast cells (and therefore mast cell diseases):

Spirulina or Arthrospira is a blue-green alga that became famous after it was successfully used by NASA as a dietary supplement for astronauts on space missions. It has the ability to modulate immune functions and exhibits anti-inflammatory properties by inhibiting the release of histamine by mast cells. Multiple studies investigating the efficacy and the potential clinical applications of Spirulina in treating several diseases have been performed and a few randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews suggest that this alga may improve several symptoms and may even have an anticancer, antiviral and antiallergic effects.”

I don’t know about everything shown on this image, but for the last few months I have noticed that I have “raccoon eyes” at times, meaning that I develop really dark areas under my eyes. As the image shows, this is probably from allergies and/or food intolerances, which I can now confirm.

(I found this image on this Pinterest page.)

Detecting health problems from the body

If you want to try to use functional programming techniques in Java, this is a slide from a slideshow titled, Javaslang - Functional Java Done Right.

What FP in Java is like

This is a good quote from Dr. Afrin, from this page about diagnosing mast cell activation disease (MCAS, MCAD), which explains why it has taken this long to get close to a diagnosis of my illness. Regular everyday doctors, even the hematologist I saw last week, may know about mastocytosis, but they don’t know about mast cell activation disease.

Diagnosing mast cell activation disease (MCAS, MCAD, Dr. Afrin)

Asked if he made the album feeling it would be his last, he said, “Not specifically, but at this stage in the game, you know that all your activities are subject to abrupt cancellation.”

Amen to that, brother. That quote is from this article about Leonard Cohen.

“There is nothing staid, nothing settled in this universe. All is rippling, all is dancing; all is quickness and triumph.”

~ A little Zen from Virginia Woolf

“Our interactions with one another reflect a dance between love and fear.”

~ Ram Dass

“You love hard. There is no shame in that.”

*leaving a doctor’s office*

Nurse: “Aren’t you forgetting something?”

Me (flashing back to past failed relationships): “I love you?”

Nurse: “Um, no, the papers you brought in.”

Me: “Oh, yeah, thanks.”

A friend made a surprise trip into town this weekend, and when I started having raccoon eyes and breaking out in hives, she was more than ready to stab me with an EpiPen or two:


“How about now?”

“Maybe now?”


Simon Peyton Jones, writing about “Respect” in the Haskell community. For the rest of his post, see this link.

Simon Peyton Jones on Respect in Haskell community

“As long as egocentricity persists, we cannot see existence in its pure form. The Zen student trains himself to eliminate his egocentric, individual ego, returning to a condition of absolute mental nakedness.”

~ Zen Training

I didn’t like The Rolling Stones for most of my life, but I’ve started listening to them lately. This is a quiet song called, Fool to Cry, that seems to fit my mood of late: