Thursday, February 19, 2015

The Worldwide Debut of Me in a Mask

I received my I Can Breathe Sport Mask yesterday.  Since I am fragrance sensitive I hand washed the mask and exhale values with soap to which I am not sensitive.  They air dried overnight and were ready to go this morning.  It was very simple to put the values into the carbon filter and then attach the carbon filter to the interior of the mask.

I wore the mask to my moms group this morning and it went really well.  My group of moms was very supportive and had even skipped things like showering and using perfumed items on my behalf.  We do eat breakfast together so I couldn't wear the mask while eating or drinking; otherwise I wore it.  Those at the group who didn't know me really just ignored the mask.  I could tell that they maybe looked twice but that was it.

The mask does make me breathe a little heavier since it takes a bit more work to pull air through the mask and carbon filter.  I don't think it was noticeable to anyone else.  The wonderful news is that the mask did diminish my reactions.  I did have an asthma attack and maybe a few hives but both were minor and probably were caused by what I inhaled while eating and not wearing the mask.

I'm not sure that I have shared what reactions I am currently experiencing when I go to a store or am in public.  I'll list them here in no particular order:

Asthma attacks
Hives
General itchiness
Extreme fatigue
Flushing
Headaches 
Nasal congestion and runny nose 
Joint pain 
Nearly passing out
Swelling of tongue/lips/throat
Memory/language issues

I do not necessarily experience all of these symptoms when I go out.  Something always happens and usually isn't singular.  Symptoms generally escalate even if I immediately return home and can last a few days.

This all returned quite suddenly about two weeks ago.  While my baseline symptoms had increased when I was about five weeks pregnant, my overall sensitivity to other people's personal care products and whatever is randomly in the air at stores was at the same time greatly diminished.

A new symptom in the last week is an irrational feeling of being overwhelmed.  Having never really experienced this as a symptom before I'm a bit at a loss as to what is going on and have just been pushing through it.  I am seeing an endocrinologist for the first time on Monday and will mention this to him.

And here is what you have all been waiting for!  A picture of me in a mask, looking quite tired and experiencing swollen top eyelids (they are common for me once again):