Mast Cells in the Summertime
Mast Cells in the Summertime
June 5, 2017
Ahhh…summer! The season we, in the Midwest, wait for all year long…UNLESS YOU HAVE MAST CELLS BEHAVING BADLY!
There are so many traditions, foods, activities and holidays that make summertime, summertime. It is a time for relaxation. The days are longer, giving us more time for flitting and frolicking in the sunshine. Which is all well and good, unless you happen to be allergic to flitting and to frolicking…and to sunshine. Sigh.
This is a list of 5 things that go wrong for people who have a type of white blood cell, called Mast Cells, acting up, getting aggravated at everything and causing misery in the Good Ol’ Summertime.
There is still fun to be had in the summer, friends, we just have to think outside the box. We can still go places, just plan ahead to cool the car down before you get in, park in the shade or go closer to dusk. Movie theaters during the week at the matinee time is a good summer activity for us. It is cool and not usually crowded at that time of day. My Mast Cell kiddo can do pools for between 30 minutes to an hour, and she does much better with outdoor pools. If we go closer to dusk, I don’t have to put sunscreen on her and usually bugs don’t bother her while she is swimming. We do need to shower off right after she gets out of the pool to get the chlorine off. Another idea that lets you avoid chlorine all together is spray grounds. Kids can get wet and play and there aren’t the concentration of chemicals that pools have. We have also learned to enjoy cookouts from inside the house or screened-in porches and fireworks from the backyard of a nearby friend.
There are some summertime activities I haven’t been able to work around. Fairs are a big deal in the great state of Indiana, where we live. We have local fairs and a state fair. I tried, you guys. I really did. But for our little Mast Cell girl, it was always too much. Too many animals. Too much dust and exhaust. Too much walking. Too much food she can’t eat. Too much heat. I have had to make peace with the fact that I cannot medicate, control or replace enough to make this anything other than an awful experience for her. It literally takes a week to recover from a few hours at the fair. I have had to just let it go.
Another activity we have tried, but it has proven to be a huge, nasty train wreck, is camping. It is great for family bonding, they say. It helps you to get in touch with nature, they say. I say, unless the camping experience involves a Holiday Inn, it is a heck-naw! You are probably brighter than I am and you probably already thought through the challenges that come with camping and having an immune system that over-reacts to the universe. But I wanted to bond with my family and with nature, and all my friends were doing it (insert whiney voice)! Let me share with you the things we found to be plentiful when camping: BUGS. HEAT. EXERTION. POLLEN. AND WEIRD BODIES OF WATER WITH GREEN SLIMEY ICING! No. Just no. Don’t even try.
So, I am hoping no one repeats my mistakes. Pretty much everything I know about Mast Cell do’s and don’ts is because I have made choices that I thought would be ok, but ended up being very.not.ok:( The gist of the matter is, it doesn’t matter what you are “supposed” to do in the summer and it doesn’t matter what everyone else is doing. What really matters about summertime is making memories with the precious people in your life. In truth, that can look however you need to. Others go to ice cream stands after an evening walk, you can make homemade popcicles and have a monopoly marathon. Others can do the camping thing, you can grab you kids or grandkids and do a living room camp out, complete with tent and smores! Other people might be playing outdoor games and playing with sparklers, but you can go for a drive to whatever area is beautiful near where you live and you can watch fireworks from inside your cool, comfortable, bug-less car. When we focus on what we CAN do, instead of what we CAN’T, I think we might be surprised at how our cup runneth over.