About Keeya

Keeya and her two poodles
Keeya and her two poodles

Living with mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) is a truly an isolating experience, not only because it’s debilitating, but it is extremely difficult to understand. MCAS is complicated and unique to each individual. My goal is to raise awareness about MCAS, chronic illness, and disability through humor.

I was diagnosed with MCAS in December 2015 after five abnormal mast cell test results after a lifetime of symptoms. I rely on medications and supplements to block or reduce the ridiculous amounts of chemical mediators released by my mast cells. I spend most of my time in solitary confinement (even pre-pandemic!) to minimize my exposure to triggers.

Here are a few of the health conditions MCAS caused me before remission:

MCAS Remission

I am currently in remission of mast cell activation syndrome (MCAS) thanks to doxycycline and a basic mix of first line treatment. I don’t share specifics because people try my treatment out of desperation even though every patient is different and copying someone’s treatment can be harmful. First lines of treatment are widely known and available. I wouldn’t be in remission if I hadn’t diligently gone through five years of treatment trial and error. 

However, my remission has demonstrated how mast cell activation may be underappreciated when it comes to Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) and dysautonomia. My MCAS treatment has eliminated my symptoms of EDS and dysautonomia. Read my remission blog posts

Doxycycline has been known to help a small subset of MCAS patients due to its anti-inflammatory properties. Researchers are also studying doxy’s effects on hEDS. I do not recommend asking your doctor about doxycycline unless you have exhausted first, second, and third lines of MCAS treatment under the guidance of a knowledgeable specialist.

Adrenal insufficiency

Many MCAS patients need to take steroids as daily and rescue treatment literally in order to survive. Unfortunately, long term steroid use can cause many side effects, including secondary adrenal insufficiency, a condition in which the adrenal glands atrophy and produce less cortisol. Additional, MCAS itself may cause adrenal insufficiency. When your body does not have enough cortisol, it can go into crisis and you can die.

Although I do not need steroids anymore for MCAS, because I am in remission, my body is dependent on daily steroids. We aren’t sure yet if I have primary or secondary adrenal insufficiency. High intensity exercise requires a lot more cortisol, so it’s been a challenge to avoid adrenal crisis as a competitive athlete. Read about my past struggles with prednisone tapers.

Support my work

Have my blog or graphics helped you? Do you want to help me to continue create resources to raise awareness about MCAS among patients, health care providers, family, and friends?

Support my work on Patreon

I rely on patrons to help me pay for this blog, captioning, graphic design software and other tools! Your support demonstrates you want this blog to continue. You can become a patron for as little as $3/month and get access to patron-only posts about my treatment and healing.

My latest interview

Additional interviews

Thank you

Thank you Ann K., Tamsyn M., Stephanie J., Jenna and Ben M., Deserae F., Jocelyn B., Kay C., Karen S., Hayden W., KW H., Athena D., Alex D., Amy H., Rebecca R., Heather G., Ariana Y., Tanya L., Kimberly R., Tammy N., Denise P., K. Wray, Chris, Kayla B., Brenda T., Kathey G., Brenda T., Elizabeth B., Yasmine G, Marge W., Michelle I., Angela N., Theresa E., Marco K. and Guadalupe G. for supporting this blog on Patreon!

This website is for educational purposes only and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a qualified medical professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

All content contained on this web page is copyrighted. Feel free to share direct links, but please ask if you’d like to use text or a photo. Feel free to share my social media graphics, but please tag me in the post.

Contact me at hellsbellsandmastcells@gmail.com.