These days I generally feel very good, but as I go through some of these medical treatments they can make me feel pretty miserable, especially when combined with the effects of the MCAS. During times like that I usually just meditate in bed or in a recliner, generally not thinking about anything, just breathing, letting the inside and outside become one. I do this almost all of the time.
But other times when I can’t do that for one reason or another, I started to create a little “feel good” list to reflect on. This is something that when I’m not feeling well and I can’t meditate, it helps to remind me that life has generally been very good to me. I think about various things, all of the favorite times I’ve had in my life, meeting my wife, playing baseball, all of the dogs, good vacations, fun with friends, etc.
One thing I hadn’t thought about in a long time that came to mind recently was that when I was 32 years old I worked for a company I called the Evil Empire, and something good happened on my last day there. (That wasn’t their real name, but some of the owners of that company inspired me to give it that name.)
Dr. Foreman: The kid was just taking his calculus exam when all of a sudden he got nauseous and disoriented.
Dr. House: That’s the way calculus presents.
Phew, I’m glad to be back from the Land of the Dead. Just took some chocolates to the nurses who helped me recover. Looking forward to celebrating Thanksgiving this weekend.
~ A Facebook post from November 30, 2010. I was living in Wasilla, Alaska at the time, had my gallbladder removed, then got an infection that made for ten of the worst days of my life. But the nurses were very helpful.
Once upon a time there was a dog named Zeus. Before we met him, Zeus had a very difficult life, having been abused by two different owners. When my wife saw Zeus on a local tv station, and they said the Animal Care Society was going to be extremely careful about who adopted him next, she seemed to know that she had to take care of him.
As you can see from the following pictures, when we first adopted Zeus, he was very sick, with a horrible case of mange.
March 10, 2017: My immune system has been struggling the last two weeks since I had some bad Kroger yogurt. (The yogurt didn’t taste bad, but I got very sick within an hour of eating it.) Today I put a mala on my wrist like I have 10-15 times this year, and after a little while it felt like it was itching and burning. This is what my skin looked like almost half an hour after I took it off. I’m assuming that this is a result of the mast cell disease (MCAS).
Girl in a store: Mom, we have to get away from these candles, the smell makes me sick.
Mother: Oh, dear, you know that’s all in your head.
Me: Actually, it’s a possible indicator of mast cell disease.
*mother and daughter silently turn and walk away*
“Why am I always sick?” That’s a question I used to ask myself a lot. Other people asked it as well: “Al, why are you always sick?”
I remember one time I was in the same room as my wife while she was on the phone. She was taking to her sister, who was talking about her husband (my brother-in-law), and their conversation went on for quite some time. Afterwards I said, “Wow, I hope you guys don’t talk about me all the time like that.” My wife said, “No, we just say that you seem to get sick a lot.”
People who haven’t been seriously sick before have a different set of priorities than I do. I remember eight years when I went on a yoga retreat in Mexico, a young girl boasted that she had read one book a day while we were on retreat. I didn’t say anything to her, but I thought, “Well, I laid on the beach, swam in the ocean, walked through a cemetery, went off the grid and ate some funky food at some out of the way restaurants, drank tequila in the town square every night with the locals, and learned a little Spanish.”
Neither way is necessarily good or bad, just different.
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.