I have three friends that go with me everywhere. They help me function on a daily basis and even assist with cleaning the house. Actually, I consider them to be keepers as my forever friends. I am talking about my N95 masks and the AERA MAX air filters.
I began wearing the N95 masks in the FALL of 2019 due to my extreme asthma and allergies. I was diagnosed with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome in the Spring of that same year. My husband purchased both after learning about the diagnosis. Now we have four air filters stationed throughout the home. Before I retired, I would bring a filter with me to school every day.
Consequently, a filter is buckled in the car when I go somewhere, which is now a rare occurrence. I have come to the conclusion that I would rather stay home than to load all the necessary items in order to travel to town- less than five miles. You will understand later why I have chosen to stay home and relish in the home environment.
Joe and I began researching “what is” Mast Cell Activation Syndrome and “how” we can cope with the diagnosis to help with the day=to=day episodes. Not only do I have a mask and air filter with me at all times, I also have bags in close proximity in case I “vomit.”
I consider these three necessities life-savors. I will spare you the details of the syndrome but just know that it interfered enough that I retired from education with disability.
Whenever I dust, wash dishes, sweep/vacuum the floors, clean the bathroom, sew, change the bed linens, or work with laundry, I wear a N95 mask. You get the picture. I am unable to open the door without a mask. Why? Anything, can cause a chain reaction. My lifestyle has drastically changed within the last three years.
I am now gluten, nut and diary free and eat little sweets. Perfumes, stress and heat can cause an episode. Essential oils and scented candles are a big NO! I researched and follow a low-histamine diet. It is a limited diet, and some foods have been added back that have proven not to irritate my gut.
MCAS is not well-known and can be misunderstood by the medical personnel. My husband and I have developed a protocol for when I begin feeling a tingle. It may take an hour or so, but I have to allow myself to cough it out.
I have seen improvement since the initial diagnosis. One of the main struggles is my voice. Talking or wearing a mask for long periods of time can be difficult. I suffer from bouts of fatigue. It can take a day or two to recover from an episode. I have learned to work for 30 minutes and then take a break. This helps with staying hydrated and “catching my breath.”
Being home and away from the public has benefited me in several ways. This website stemmed from retiring. It’s an outlet and allows me to create short snippets of my life as a homemaker. I am able to work on sewing at my own pace. I cook and bake more. I have a cleaning schedule that focuses on one room a day.
I am living at a slower pace in this season of life.