In 2006, I moved across the state to go to College, and was happy to see less frequent flare-ups in my new environment. But the swelling was exchanged for wonderful things like dysmenorrhea, which landed me on birth control pills in order to help regulate hormones and ease some of the pain. Overall, my four college years had less swelling–to the point of having to explain to people every time it happened that it was in fact “normal” (for me), because they hadn’t been around for my last reaction.
I moved “across the pond” after college, and spent a year living and working in Northern Ireland. I didn’t have a single flare up until the spring, when my dad came to visit. At first I thought maybe I was allergic to him (haha), but later I narrowed it down to the real culprit–the suitcase full of Girl Scout cookies that I had begged him to bring. I of course didn’t make the connection until I was already home and into what I refer to as “Stage 3.” But first, I took a trip to South Africa, where my swelling came back in full force. I still wasn’t convinced this was the angioedema, or “the same swelling as when I was younger” as I had started calling it. This time it was painful, it was swelling fast, the swollen areas were much larger than before, and it was having greater affects on my body (i.e. tingling, fatigue, numbness, nausea and vomiting). At first I thought an exotic, poisonous bug or creature had bitten me. They were going to take me to the doctor but I decided to wait it out and see what happened. More swelling the rest of the trip, but nothing to panic about.
I returned to the States in August of 2011, and was met with the worst flare ups I’d ever experienced up until that point–by this time they weren’t limited to the joints and facial areas. Any and EVERY part of my body was swollen at some point or another. I remember having to frequently wear dresses because my hips were so swollen that wearing anything with a waistband was too painful. At that point, I was finally ready to return to the medical community to see if anything could be done. But this time I went a slightly different route…
Read about the rest of my health journey here.