Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The smell of defeat is surprisingly . . . lemon.

I have had hives for the past four weeks of my life. Yes, this is a long time with itchy hives. Come along with me on my confusing journey.

First it started out on my arms and I thought it was a stress rash because I have been overwhelmingly stressed out by numerous things in my life this semester. I didn't do anything about it because I figure it would go away on its own when the semester was over and most of my stress was back at a normal level.

But no, it continued to spread. I went to a doctor, mostly to make sure it wasn't something contagious, after all, I was going to be in a classroom teaching small children and didn't want to give them anything. No, no, they assured me, it is definitely hives. We went through the last few weeks to find anything new in my life, because they considered my hives to be so bad, that it couldn't be just from stress, if stress was even part of it at all. They said with how badly I had them, I probably came in contact with more than one thing that my body was somewhat allergic to and my system was kind of overloaded and ended up with hives everywhere. The only new things in my life were some tank tops from Old Navy and some lotion that my mom got me while I was in Washington State. They doubted it was the lotion, seeing as I had been using it for about two weeks before I broke out in hives and nothing had happened, but just to be safe, no tank tops or lotion until things were figured out. They prescribed me a weeks worth of steroids and told me to take Benadryl at night. Nifty, by the end of the week, the hives pretty much gone and healing from all my scratching.

Two days after the steroids were over, they were back, and with a vengeance. Still no tank tops or lotion have been used since before first initial outbreak. I go back to the doctor, she is confused. She prescribes a prescription level antihistamine and tells me to log everything I eat, touch, wear, etc. and this way we can find the culprit from when I flair up. So I do this . . . nothing except for stress makes it flair up. No new allergy or allergy to something that I use to be fine around. Also, the antihistamine was not doing anything.

So the theory was, it was stress related and not much to do about it except try to relax and bring the stress level down. I used Caladryl lotion to help with the itching and tried to ignore it. Stress is going down, only a couple more things to do during this finals week and as of yesterday, my hives were almost gone and healing nicely. So, with the tank tops and lotion declared not a problem since the hives continued long after their use, I used the lotion again yesterday. I took a nap and woke up with hives EVERYWHERE again.

Here is my neck and as you can see, everywhere. Sucks!

The mob that attacked me.

The main culprit!

So, why did I not break out in hives when I first started using the lotion, why did it take a little over two weeks for me to break out in hives? Why did they stay around for ever? and come back after the whole steroids thing?

Theory is similar to the doctor's theory the first day, the hives didn't only have one cause. Hives due to my eventual allergic reaction to the lotion and the stress kept them going. We shall see how long it takes for these ones to go away now. How long does lotion stay in ones system?

So, my list of allergies: angora bunnies, guinea pigs, and lotion . . . someone, somewhere has a sick and twisted sense of humor.


  1. That is just so wrong, pretty soon you will only be able to list the things you are not allergic too. I just love those products, well if you want you can mail them to me, I will take them

  2. Ugh! I hate hives. Allergies are even worse. I can't use anything scented (or half of the unscented things), so I feel your pain. At least you figured it out, though! Hope the stress gets better, and that the hives go away!

  3. Ack! As someone who gets weird hives from prescribed medicine - I feel your pain! I hope it clears up quickly!

  4. Small world - I just dealt with a hives outbreak. Mine were all stress related but I totally feel your pain. Itching all over sucks.