Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Sweet Relief

I think there are few things that compare with the sweet relief that comes from being in the know, from finally having an answer to a long unanswered question. I'm feeling that today after a 2 hour appointment with an allergist. Last November I started reacting to my apartment in a way I hadn't experienced in all my time in Asia. Over time it has developed to the point where constant medication has been necessary. I have meant to see a doctor for some time, but wasn't sure where to go. I asked my regular doctor for a recommendation and was told that there are no allergists in Singapore, only ENTs. I made an appointment with my ENT, but a chance conversation with a friend at VBS led me to see an ENT who specializes in allergies. Thanks Karen!

I assumed that my reaction must be to mold, but my doctor quickly put that idea to bed. Having been trained in the States, he came back to Singapore with the same assumption - people must react terribly to all the mold here. But they've done extensive testing and discovered that the kind of mold here is not the kind people are allergic to. 80% of the time, it's actually dust mites (my other suspicion). They did one of those prick tests on my arm, and sure enough, the three dust mite spots swelled up and drove me crazy (don't scratch!). As did the one for cats to a lesser degree, but I knew that.

After discussing my options with the good doctor, I learned some interesting things. Did you know that you can develop allergies with prolonged exposure? And that having once developed another allergy, others are more likely to follow? And that a nasaloscopy feels really funny? And that it's really easy to drop $1,500 Sing in two hours? It was money well spent though, because I not only walked away with more effective drugs than the ones I've been using, I supposedly walked away with a cure. There's a drug that been developed which you take daily for 18 months, after which you will no longer be allergic. You also presumably will not develop new allergies. We'll see how this goes. I'm just incredibly thankful to finally know what is wrong with me, and to have what I need to get rid of it. It feels a bit like I've been fighting an unknown enemy in the dark. Now the lights are on, and I have the right weapons. The enemy is still there, but I can fight effectively.

So rejoice with me!

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