Gratitude is the sign of noble souls ~ Aesop

Wake at dawn with a winged heart and give thanks for another day of loving ~ Kahlil Gabran

Joy delights in joy ~ William Shakespeare

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giving Thanks

Last summer, I woke up one night absolutely consumed with horrible itchiness. Upon clicking on the light, I was appalled to see my entire body covered in angry red welts. Hours later, the doctor informed me that they were hives, presumably caused by an allergic reaction to something. Little did I know that I was about to embark on a months long struggle that would change the way that I looked at my body.

First I got scared, then I got organized, then I got mad. The torture became weekly, then sometimes daily, and there was never any readily apparent reason. My lips swelled to Angelina proportion, my limbs were more hives than not, and waistbands and bra-straps became torture devices. After keeping a month long journal followed by a $700 doctors visit at the allergist, I finally got a diagnosis: chronic, idiopathic, auto-immune urticaria. In English: you have hives, we don't know why, but we know that they have lasted longer than 6 weeks and they have no external trigger. Well gee, thanks guys.

What was their suggestion? To take steroids and/or anti-histamines everyday. I resisted this track for a number of reasons: I did not have breakouts everyday, the drugs made me sleepy and/or loopy, I wanted the drugs to really work when I needed them, and I had discovered that taking them daily rapidly reduces their potency. Also, I was still able to function, and could for the most part handle the breakouts.

So what did I do instead? Several things. First, I started taking time each day to be grateful for the miracle of my skin. Think about it: everything that we experience in our life is through our skin, or made possible because we have it. It is absolutely remarkable! The hives themselves were a result of my body trying to protect me, even if the reaction went a little haywire. I took my dad's advice, and instead of slathering foul medicinal creams on my body, whenever I had a breakout I would rub soothing olive oil on the hives and pray for healing with a thankful heart. During those breakouts, I concentrated on calmness, both for my state of mind, and for my skin's reaction.

So guess what - after 6 months of suffering, as soon as I started this new approach, my breakouts rapidly became less bothersome and fewer and farther in between. After a less than a month, they disappeared altogether. It has now been over a 6 WEEKS since I have had a problem - how incredible is that? When my doctor called to check on me last week, she was astonished and happy for my amazing news. So here is my time to give thanks more publicly. I don't take a single day of being hive-free for granted, and I hope to carry that joyfulness with me for a long, long time :)



  1. Thank you for this, is wonderful to read when good things happen after struggling for so long. Hooray!

  2. Wonderful news! I used to break out in hives in high school and we could never figure out why. My mom figured it was stress...or the laundry detergent :) I'm glad you are hive-free and hope it lasts! And thank you for sharing.


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