Ten minutes. That’s exactly how long I have been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to start this post. It’s not every day I get referred to an OB for possible confirmation of an extremely rare autoimmune disease that would have me considering the possibility of a hysterectomy before my 35th birthday.
According to the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, only about 50 published cases of autoimmune progesterone dermatitis, although I have come across many more stories on forums dedicated to APD. Basically, it’s a really long way of saying that those who do have it are allergic to the progesterone produced by their bodies. Symptoms typically include severe cyclical rashes and in some cases, anaphylaxic shock. The first time a doctor suggested the condition as a possibility, I think I laughed. I was 30. I’m now 34 and after one nurse practitioner, one naturopath, and one allergist have all told me that yes, I am indeed allergic to myself, I’m wishing I hadn’t laughed four years ago.
To be honest, I thought I was in the clear. My weird and painful full-body rash that seemed to come and go with my cycle had minimized to a tolerable and not so painful rash limited to just under the bra line and my inner thighs that felt more like goose bumps than something to go crying to the doctors about. I had enough things wrong with me already with the hypothyroid and the insulin resistance. The goose bumps I could deal with.
If we hadn’t tried for baby #2, I might have just kept dealing, but the prep for the IUI where they tried to plant a baby with a syringe included a shot of progesterone to get my ovaries moving. I’ve been a fucking mess ever since, tested for lupus three times, eliminated everything but water and air from my diet in an effort to rule out food allergies and put more miles on my gas-guzzling SUV driving to multiple appointments with different doctors trying to figure me out than I care to calculate. It wasn’t until I decided to be a smart ass and suggest to the BFF that I was probably allergic to my hormones that a memory got jogged. A frantic search on Google was immediately followed by combing through my medical records ( because I can keep track of those but I lose sunglasses like I wish I lost weight ) had me looking at that fancy phrase that means I might be allergic to myself.
The condition can be treated by taking medications to suppress hormone production, but I’m fun in an ironic way in that I’m allergic to a preservative used in so many medications I make my doctors nervous and drive my pharmacist crazy, so I’m not sure if that’s an option for me if APD is confirmed. Even if it is and I end up getting a crash course in menopause twenty years before I was planning on it, the bottom line is that the baby making factory is most likely and almost officially being retired. The plus side is that I don’t have to try to lose the baby weight again because that was a total pain in the cellulite still residing on my ass.
My allergist is sending me straight to an OB/GYN with clear instructions to tell her he doesn’t think I’m crazy.
And now I’ve come full circle.
Ten minutes. That’s exactly how long I’ve been staring at a blinking cursor while trying to figure out how to end this post.
So far, I haven’t come up with anything brilliant.