mast cell disease

“Raccoon eyes” (detecting health problems)

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 — thanks to MCAS — I can now confirm.

(I found this image on this Pinterest page.)

Fifty Shades of Mast Cell Activation Disease (MCAD/MCAS)

Notes from September 24, 2016:

Doctor: I’d like to collect a bone marrow sample ...

*Al runs out of the hospital in a hospital gown, screaming like a little girl*


(later, after they caught me)

Doctor: The next time you break out in a rash, hives, or blisters, I want you to have those biopsied.

Me: Is there going to be any part of our relationship that doesn’t involve a lot of pain on my part?

Doc: Yes, pee in this cup, and we’ll look at it under a fluorescent light to see if you have the same disease that King George III had.

Me: The crazy one?

Doc: Yes.

Me: Cool.

Making an “If I’m dead” video

A humbling thing about this MCAS disease is that I just took the time to make an, “If I’m dead, here’s everything you need to know about how to update this Drupal 8 website” video.

Hopefully I’ll still be around for Drupal 9 — or my own replacement for Drupal — but when I get sick I always wish I had done this, so now I have.

This week in mast cell disease (MCAS)

This week in mast cell disease (MCAS) included temporary kidney shutdown on Wednesday (swollen feet and ankles), insane migraine Thursday, fake heart attack Friday, and hives on Saturday. I used to think it was going to kill me, but now I think it’s just here to torture me.

Doctor: I’ve only seen that once before in my life

A funny thing about mast cell disease is when a 60+ year old doctor who is considered one of the best in his profession says to you, “I’ve only seen that once before in my life.” With MCAS, you get used to statements like that.

(This happened in 2016, but I was reminded of it again today.)

The long road back

I’m glad to say that I’ll be going back to regular consulting work again very soon. If you’re interested in the gory medical details that led me to quit consulting work (and write five computer programming books and a couple thousand blog posts), here you go:

Symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS)

This image shows symptoms of Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, from this article. I can personally attest to abdominal pain, cramping, bloating, nausea, vomiting, difficulty digesting certain foods, muscle and bone pain, muscle weakness, nerve pain, headache, neuropathy, difficulty concentrating, reduced attention span, brain fog, itching, rashes, hives, inflammation, swelling, flushing, inflammation of the eye or conjunctivitis, trouble focusing eyes, itchy and watery eyes, a burning sensation, ulcers on the tongue or in the mouth, coughing, wheezing, difficulty breathing, runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sinus pain or pressure, enlarged spleen, elevated liver enzymes, high cholesterol, rapid heart rate, abnormal blood pressures (either too high or too low), fainting, anaphylaxis, chemical and environmental sensitivities (and more).

Meet The Teenage Girl Who Is Allergic to Almost Everything (MCAS)

Meet The Teenage Girl Who Is Allergic to Almost Everything is a good story about the blood disease I have (MCAS, or Mast Cell Activation Syndrome). I’m very fortunate that I didn’t have bad symptoms until the last 7-10 years or so, and removing part of my colon recently has also helped reduced the symptoms. It would major-league suck to have this disease when you’re 15 years old.