I’m flaring like pants in the 70s

Sorry I’ve neglected you, reader. I’ve been very sick, because nobody warned me about the noxious tar fumes at work. For the last two weeks, I’ve been fainting, puking, rocking myself in the fetal position, and praying the following:

Dear God,

Please let me sleep through the night without pain or pain-induced nightmares about becoming the hobbit or a pregnant war bride.

Please don’t let my coworkers kill me.

Thank you for helping my dog not to shit all over my condo while I was in the hospital.

And thank you for oxy and Lily Tomlin.


I haven’t forgotten you, reader, but I’ve learned I’m pretty rotten to be around when I’m in pain. This is the most inspiring post I could muster. Although I only used one swear, which happens to be biologically accurate. I must be getting better.

Perfume is the new cigarette smoke

It’s National Fragrance Day. I can’t think of a stupider occasion.

Conversely, it’s World Poetry Day. So, I wrote a poem.

Your smell

Makes me swell

And feel like

I’m burning in hell.

To be honest, I used to scoff at others’ fragrance sensitivities. I thought people complained because they didn’t like a particular smell. I didn’t understand it was a medical issue with serious consequences.

Here are few of my MCAS symptoms that are triggered just from 10 seconds of exposure:

  • Throat swelling: feels like someone is choking your neck
  • Nausea, diarrhea, and cramping: feels like food poisoning
  • Liver swelling: feels like being punched in the stomach
  • Hives: feels like mosquito bites on top of sunburn
  • Tachycardia: feels like running a marathon you never trained for

Recently, Dior came out with a perfume campaign that I can support. It’s called Poison Girl. In the commercial, a woman with no pants crawls across the screen and says, “I am not a girl; I am poison.” Yazzzz, that is what you are! But poison is not sexy.

I truly believe perfume is the new cigarette smoke. Our grandkids will think we were idiots for polluting our lungs with chemicals and destroying our immune systems. I predict over the next few decades legislation will ban fragrances in public places. In the meantime, stay the hell away from me, poison girl.

Rare and cheesy like a burger

Did you know February 28 was Rare Disease Day? I assume you did, because you read my awesome post on The Mighty.

Last year, Rare Disease Day was like my coming out as a chronically ill, disabled person. I announced to my friends and family, “I’ve been sick my whole life; I just didn’t know it!” They were suspicious and confused. A few responded, “But you look good!” And I was like, “That picture is 15 months old and since then I’ve gained 40 pounds from prednisone.” Then I posted an updated picture and some people unfriended me, because rashes aren’t cute.

This year, Rare Disease Day was a milestone. I celebrated by eating a cheeseburger, because I was hungry and beef can be rare too. Except I requested mine be well-done, because my life is exciting enough without E. coli.

I’m sorry if you are vegetarian or vegan and this offends you. I’m just trying to survive. I cannot eat one piece of lettuce without suffering 12 hours of knife-like abdominal pain. My soy intolerance also severely limits my animal-friendly options. But yes, I can digest a cheeseburger (fresh and grass-fed, of course). It’s kind of like being allergic to the smell of soap, but not body odor?

I’m not complaining. Rare disease has taught me to appreciate that I can eat food, however limited. So I savor cheeseburgers. Sometimes on a weekly basis. It’s okay; I’m not on prednisone anymore.