A Few Words...

What is written here is my opinion and personal experience only. I am not qualified to give advice - medical, legal, or otherwise. Please be responsible and do your own research regarding treatments, diets, doctors, and alternative therapies.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Allergy Testing, Day 2 and a New Ray of Hope

It was another early morning trip to Los Angeles today for the second round of testing for inhaled allergens, i.e. plants, animal & insect dander, and molds.  The drive went well both ways and, this time, no Check Engine light came on.  Whew!  I have to say that on the way home I was thinking how ironic it was that I had to drive into the bowels of the city, where the smog was just terrible today, for, of all things, inhaled allergens.  Doh.  My eyes, nose, and lungs are still burning.

The results of the testing so far are that I have a pretty significant allergy to cats and a moderate response to horses, grasses, sage, a few trees, cockroaches, feathers, dust mites, and two kinds of mold.  Dr. Derebery was surprised that I had cats and hadn't been feeling overtly allergic to them.  ))Shrug((

I had an opportunity to ask the doctor all of my questions and - surprise - they were all answered to my satisfaction.  It was nice to leave a doctor's appointment feeling satisfied.  I like her.

After going over my results, Dr. Derebery explained that allergies do not cause Meniere's disease.  She commented that there is a probable genetic link, which House Ear Institute is actively studying.  But, in the meantime, it is thought that untreated allergies are likely to contribute to inner ear inflammation and therefore worsen the symptoms of Meniere's disease.  For these, she prescribes allergy shots.  I asked her what the benefit of allergy shots are over using an OTC medication like Claritin.  She explained that most allergy meds don't reach the inner ear and that their mode of action is to block histamine, not to help the immune system become desensitized to the allergen(s) which is how allergy shots work.

While discussing the sensitivity to molds, Dr. Derebery commented that at House Ear Clinic they are implementing a new policy to instruct mold-sensitive individuals on a yeast-free diet.  Apparently, there is more and more evidence that there is cross-reactivity between yeast and mold allergens.  I will receive the diet instruction at my next appointment in two weeks, but, thanks to Google, I did a little reading and initially had the reaction of, "No way!" to the concept of a yeast-free diet.  But, after some deep breathing and more careful scrutiny, I realized that most of the websites are talking to people with chronic yeast infections.  In that case, avoiding yeast as well as sugar, caffeine, and a host of other foods is apparently recommended.  I don't think that will apply to me.  I hope not, anyway.  I think if that's the case, I can be patient and just wait for the allergy shots to work.

This brings me to the allergy shots.  I don't have all the details yet, but if I understood it correctly, I will have to take a shot a week for anywhere from 1 to 3 years.  Yes, years!  This is a big commitment.  But if it alleviated some of my symptoms, even by 50%, I'd be a happy camper.  Plus anything I can do that might be protective for my still (relatively) good ear, then I'm all in.  I have an appointment with my GP next week to discuss this with him, as the first six shots have to be given in a doctor's office and, clearly, I am not going to spend 5 hours a week in the car to get a shot.  After that, I have to find a nurse or either I and/or Phil will be trained to give the remaining shots.

In addition to the shots, Dr. Derebery recommended encasing our mattress and pillows in some of those special allergy covers, removing the dried sage branches from the living room, and, she agreed, getting the down sofa out of the house.  :-)

Next time: food allergy testing.  This should be interesting...


  1. This is interesting. I had allergy shots for years in my teens and 20's. I'm still allergic to some of those things, but not as violently...however, I'm thinking perhaps I should have allergy testing done again. Couldn't hurt.

    Funny, the shock from the food list....now you know how I feel, and I HAVE to follow it. ugh!

    You poor thing, allergic to your kitties.

    I agree, anything to save that good ear...and to cut the symptoms...do it!!

    thank you for the outpouring of support I've had from you.
    I feel so filled with love from my friends lately...too bad they are scattered all over the world. : )


  2. Awww, Wendy, believe me, the street runs both ways! I know, it makes me sad to think that I have this circle of friends all around the world that I expect I'll never meet face to face and yet they have such a big impact on my life. Wouldn't it be great to someday meet? I guess we just have to be grateful that we are living in this day and age and part of the world where we have the internet and we know we are not alone in our suffering.

    Hugs to you, too!


  3. Hi Angelea
    I started allergy shots a year ago. Once a week for 1 year. Now its every other week for a year, then every three weeks for a year, then once a month forever I think. Once I got into the habit, it was fine. I am feeling much better but I have many things that I attribute my miraculous recovery to that I am unsure which one it is. Perhaps the combination is perfect. Meniett, iud and allergy shots. Covers the fluid in the ear, the hormonal imbalance and extra fluid from allergic reaction.
    I hope this helps you too!

  4. Thanks, Deb, for the words of encouragement. I am glad you've found your "perfect storm" of treatments that are working for you. Now if you could just get rid of the dratted BPPV!

    I am hoping to find the same kind of success. Do you give yourself your own shots or go into the office for them? They said they could teach me and/or my husband how to give them eventually.

  5. I wish I could do my own shots! My doctor is about 15 minutes away though so its not too big of a deal. I don't need an appointment, I just drop in. However, this week I dropped in and found out that the nurse who usually does the shot in his office is off for a few weeks. They didn't seem too concerned that I wouldn't be there for awhile! I thought they would offer for the doctor to do it..but, nope!

    Yes...that dratted BPPV. I do hate it. It is getting worse too. Yuc. Will let you know when I see the surgeon to ask about the posterior canal occlusion. It may not be for months though. Until then I try to stay away from gravity!!! Haha

  6. Anglea, I've gotten lazy as of late. Happens every time my MM symptoms subside. Then an episode, a solemn oath that if I get better I'll do everything in my power to stay healthy, a remission and a forgotten oath. Sigh. Now is the time for me to be proactive. Just this morning my husband asked me if I am taking my meds. Somewhat sheepishly I had to tall the truth. I am not. I like reading about your journey -- though I don't love your journey itself. It reminds me to take better care of myself too.