Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I Want to Bee Number One!

You know those little buttons I have over there ---->

The ones for the Blogger's Choice Awards? Well, I've been in first place for Best Humor Blog and Best Parenting Blog for months. Now, they're just showing that I'm in the top 3, but they're not showing the actual number of votes I have. What if I'm not in first place anymore? My inner Monica is coming out and I want to WIN! I don't know if there's an actual awards ceremony or if I just get a virtual certificate that says, "Congratulations! More people than just your mom read your blog!" Either way, I wanna winnnnnnn! (I have a little competition problem, it seems.)

So, here's my demand request: Please go over to the Blogger's Choice Awards and vote for me! I've been nominated for 4 categories, but would sure appreciate votes in the humor and parenting categories. Please, please, pleeeease? (I'm not above begging.) Thank you so much!

*****edited to add: Oooo! I just noticed that I'm in the top 3 for Hottest Mommy Blogger too! Woo Hoo!*****

So, I went to the allergist for venom testing this afternoon. They started by putting tiny amounts of very diluted honeybee, yellow jacket, white wasp, yellow wasp, and hornet venom on little scratches on my forearm. A couple minutes after they put the venom on, I felt dizzy and crappy and not well at all. They quickly took my blood pressure and it had spiked. If I'd been having a severe allergic reaction, it would have dropped. This basically means, I just freaked myself out for some reason. I felt like such a dork. Here I was freaking out and hyperventilating, feeling dizzy and there was nothing wrong.

They kept asking me if I was afraid of needles. Are you kidding? No! I used to donate platelets every month. I had to give myself twice daily injections in my abdomen when I was pregnant. Needles don't bother me. I didn't feel nervous or scared or anything. I don't think I felt scared at least. Maybe somehow I was frightened since the last time I was stung, I felt awful and dizzy for 24 hours. Anyway, after I stopped freaking out and my blood pressure returned to normal, they noticed that I had a reaction to the honeybee venom. The doctor came in and said, "The fact that you reacted to the very first, least concentrated, scratch test shows that you're highly allergic to honeybee venom. Don't get stung by a honeybee."

"Oh ok. I'll have a little talk with the bees and make sure they understand not to sting me."

So, they continued the testing by administering a more concentrated dose via an injection under the skin. They injected every one except honeybee. They waited another 20 minutes. No reactions.

Round three. A little more concentrated injection of the 4 different venoms were injected again. Another 20 minutes. No reaction. Meanwhile, the guy who was being tested at the same time I was, reacted to everything BUT the honeybee. The guy sitting next to me who had the lowest blood pressure ever. "I exercise! That's why I have low blood pressure. Exercise is wonderful! It releases endorphins and helps your heart and blah blah blah....." At this point, I slapped him.

Round four. Again, I got a little more concentrated dose of the 4 different venoms. This time I had a reaction to yellow jackets.

So, I have an Epi-Pen that I have to carry with me during the summer and fall. I'm a little nervous about camping (especially this time of year because bees are really bad in the fall here). I tend to get stung when we camp. I think I'd better send Joe and the kids on any future camping trips while I stay home being lazy, drinking beer, and playing on my computer to protect myself from killer bees. I'd hate to fall over dead from something as lame as a bee sting.

So have any of you guys gone through desensitizing shots for bee stings? Is it worth getting shots for FIVE YEARS?

53 comments:

Erica said...

Dawn,

Find an allergy medication that works for you, and take it before going camping, picnicking, etc. My brother is also highly allergic to honey bees (his throat closes up and he can't breath within 20 minutes) and my dad is a beekeeper. Nice mix. Anyway, if J was going to be anywhere near the bees mom had him take his allergy meds (herbal) beforehand. If he got stung he'd swell and be uncomfortable, but at least he was ok. By all means, get the e-pen too. Never know when you'll accidently get stung!

Jennifer A. said...

Welcome to the Epi pen club. I have one, but we're not sure what I'm allergic to. The doc thinks its Latex and ________. The blank may be corn.

SuburbanCorrespondent said...

They did tell you to carry Benadryl with you at all times also, right? Get the kind that you can dissolve under your tongue - it enters the bloodstream faster.

And keep that Epipen away from the kids! And read the directions! A friend of mine had a daughter who started going into shock, so he jabbed her with the Pen. Only, he was so flustered that he had it upside down and injected his thumb with the epinephrine. Then they both had to go to the ER.

That's only a funny story because his daughter didn't die. She could have.

Also, make sure whoever you are with knows how to use the Pen. Sometimes, when you go into shock, your brain gets fuzzy and you can't do it yourself.

I'm a lot of fun tonight, huh? I think you should let your husband take the kids camping and you stay home.

All Adither said...

I'm not allergic to bees, but if I were, I would so totally do it. I only wish there were shots for peanut allergies!

Denise ~ Paper Ponderings said...

I met your demand...uhm...requests and voted Ü

Anonymous said...

Hey i tried to vote for you for both best parenting and best humor but shows i voted already the last time you asked. So i guess i cant vote just wanted to let you know that i voted already. I hope you win i love ready your blog.

Colleen from NY

Shari said...

Dawn, how do you get those pics of your kids like the one with Brooklyn and the cheese? Do you keep your camera in your pocket or something? :)

jennyonthespot said...

I voted! I'm so patriotic! Good luck! You rock.

Laura G said...

No imput on the 5 year plan, just wanted to be the first to comment tonight (what a loser I am, should be in bed!!) I too had to do the stomach shots for two pregnancies and any more I may have. Amazing how we can overcome the needle fear. Thanks for the great blog, I like to end my night w/ a dose of your humor- not injected under the skin, thanks anyway

Lowa said...

Wow, that is scary stuff!

I personally steer clear of allergy shots for my kids, who all have allergies. My daughter has an epi-pen for her soy allergy.

Just don't go camping! LOL I love your idea of you having time to yourself:)

Anonymous said...

Yes it is worth it- My brother had the shots for his bee allergy , and he does not die when he gets stung by a bee anymore - he just feels sick and needs lots of shots :)

Monica said...

Hmmm...and Inner Monica? What exactly does that mean?

Signed,

Monica

Amanda said...

I don't get the shots for bees, but for just about everything else. When they skin tested me I was allergic to everything except cockroaches and trees. My 7yo is allergic to everything except cockroaches. We're still on weekly injections. 2x weekly if I can swing it with our schedule.

I have severe seasonal (all 4 seasons that is) allergies and I noticed a difference after just a month of shots, so I think they're totally worth it. Plus I know me. If I were allergic to anything that stings, I wouldn't necessarily remember an epi pen unless they gave me a prescription for enough that I could keep them stashed everywhere like in the house, in my purse/diaper bag, the car, etc.

If you do the shots, I recommend leaving as many kids at home as you can when you go since you need to sit for 30 min after you get an injection to make sure there's no reaction. I only have 2, and they're terrible some days, but one of them gets the shots, so I HAVE to take at least that one.

dorthyinoz said...

Dawn, I love your blog. I always check your site everynight. I am so sad when there isn't a new post. You help me feel normal, yes, I am sane as well but I only have 4 kidlets - DD 20, DD 16, DD 14, DS 12. I think all hormones should be turned off until they are done with college. This whole boy/girl thing is for the birds!

Vivian M said...

I started out getting the shots, then stopped. The Epi-pen is a good thing to carry around at all times, not just when camping or in summer/fall. Mine is always in my purse!

Quality Chick said...

I don't have bee sting allergies but I am allergic to almost everything else on the planet - well at least thats how I reacted to the allergy panel. Let me tell you - having been on allergy shots for a year now it has made all the difference in the world. I can actually enjoy life outside for the first time without getting sick. The shots are super easy, don't hurt and the appointment is quick and routine. I never thought I would be doing weekly shots but now I am so glad I did. The results are well worth the very minor inconvenience of getting a weekly shot.

CSA-Farmer-Girl said...

Wow, that is a complicated procedure. My allergist just started with the lightest injection and then followed up with RAST tests, which are blood tests!

As to if they are worth it I guess it entirely depends on your lifestyle. I farm, and we keep bees (actually I used to keep them!) And the reaction that sent me to the allergist was a full blown anaphylactic reaction, I was coughing hard and looked like a ballon by the time we got to the ER and I got yelled out for not calling an ambalance.

Me, I WILL get stung again, it is invetable, with how many bees I see and am near every day. So for me shots are worth it, and I look forward to the day when I can go into the field without my hubby or my Epi-Pen. And it is a 3-5 year commitment, but for most of that it is one shot a month, the first 6 months or so it is one a week as they build you up, and they will not let you do it yourself as the chance of a reaction is small but real...

How many times in the past 5 years have you been stung? Do you ever backpack, camp, or travel to places where getting an ambalnce is a problem (remember the Epi-Pen is not an alternate to the ER, if you are having a reaction you are supposed to use the pen and call 911 - it will buy you 15-20 minutes.) For me the shots were not that bad, it is just a bit time consuming...

Christine T. said...

I have been going for allergy shots, for tons of things (cats, dogs, trees, ragweed, etc) for years. I no longer test for dog allergies, but, they still bother me, and I feel tons better when I get my shots. Which is why I am going to go today.
I am also allergic to honeybees- and have my epipen with me

Heather said...

I don't get shots for bee stings, but I do get allergy shots for really bad allergies to cats, dogs, and pine trees. They have really helped. I used to have an asthma attack everytime I came home from my parents house (they have 3 cats, a dog, and are surrounded by pine trees) Now I can spend the whole day there, and not need my inhaler once.

Heather

Brenda said...

I do have a fear of needles. And here is why. They hurt. You will always be number one with us! : )

Donna said...

Dawn,

I've done the allergy shot rounds....and yes, it's a pain in the butt (so to speak)......and yes, it's worth it......

oushi said...

1st! I'm allergic, and I've never even heard of "desensitiving" shots being available!

love your blog, btw, longtime reader!

Anonymous said...

I personally have never been through anything like that. BUT, my brother-in-law is highly allergic to wasps and almost died from a wasp sting. So, be careful. Margie

Dawn G said...

I know nothing about bee sting shots (5 years?) but my oldest son carries an epi pen for a food allergy. He's only had to use it once, but let me tell you once we were sure he was ok, it was really funny. Epinephrine apparently makes you high, which causes dancing and singing Sponge Bob songs in the hospital waiting room. Think of all the extra entertainment you could give your kids!

Funky Kim said...

If it takes 5 years of shots to help you relax about being outside, it's worth it.

And, FWIW, put a Bounce sheet in your pocket. Bees don't like Bounce.

April said...

Normally I think allergy shots are a waste of time... but for something like bee stings (where the reactions tend to be more severe), I would consider it. Do you know what the success rate is?

Patois said...

Wow, go you! I'll go check out the BCAs. I'm told I'm allergic to bees, but I've managed not to get stung. I was stung by a jellyfish in Hawaii as a kid, and had such a bad reaction that I was told I was allergic to bees as well. Five years of shots or camping? I'm afraid I'd choose the shots, but that's not knowing anything about the pain level.

kateohkatie said...

We had to keep an epi pen for one of my students last year--he's highly allergic to peanuts. Never had to use it, but it's very reassuring to have--just like my pepper spray :-)

Kristine said...

I'm pretty sure I'm allergic to bees as well - although I've never been tested. I just stay away from anything with a stinger. LOL I would probably do the desensitizing, because it would be a miracle for me to remember to carry an epi-pen. I'm proud of myself when I can keep track of my keys & wallet!

Janet said...

Definitely worth it. When I was tested they did the needle tests for everything. I had 22 marks on each forearm and another 22 on each upper arm. I did that twice. I registered allergic to everything EXCEPT cat hair, bizarrely enough. I took the shots for several years until I moved to Kentucky, and I wish I was still taking them, because my allergies are far worse here, and the shots don't have the side effects that allergy medicines do. Of course, to get shots now I'd have to go through all that testing again.

Shawna Schaffner said...

I wish they had a venom test for kids. What if I am deathly alergic and I don't find out until it's too late? They don't make an epi pen for that!

Anonymous said...

Wow, I didn't know that. I got stung 3 times last year by a yellow jacket(those are the brutal bees, in my opinion, they don't even care if they die to sting you!-and they were horrible last year.) I got kind of dizzy too, and makes me never want to get stung, so much so that the other day there was one around my head and I ran arms flailing and screaming into the house and left my 1 year old and 4 year old running after me in the driveway. (bad mom, I know, but they were't that far behind me and I just let them in when the got closer to the door, they are such good girls)
but those bee stings hurt and they itched for 2 weeks-never again I say!

Just don't go camping, just think about all that time to yourself, you deserve it!!

Working Dad said...

I'll be glad to vote for you. Lots better than my other choices I got.
www.mpgimprovements.com

Karen U. said...

Okay, I know you've gotten a ton of feedback about this, but something to consider. Is it worth it for just bees? I started because I'm allergic to everything except food, so for me it was worth it. Shots for 5 years for one thing? Something to think about.

Here's the kicker though that you need to know - every allergy dr. is different. So if you do decide to do the shots, you need to make sure you like the doc. Each doc gets there serum for the shots at a different lab and it's formuated differently. Therefore, if you switch docs, you'll need to be re-tested and then start the shots all over again to get accustomed to their serum. Crazy, I know. But believe me - been getting them for 10+ years and with 3 different doctors over that time period - you don't want to get tested again unless necessary. It itches!!! The shots are wonderful though and for someone that's allergic to a lot, they are so worth it.

Best of luck!

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Tonya said...

I have had allergy shots....not a big deal. After a while you don't even notice when they stick you. I did this for many years, then after becoming pregnant with my first child I had to stop them. I never did start them up again, but I seem fine now.

Candi said...

I am sooo glad you got tested for the bee stings. Hope you never have to use your e-pin. If camping is something you really want to do I do have a few suggestions.
I am allergic to bee, wasp, and hornet stings, so when my kids were children (1970's-80's) I had my epi-kit (preloaded syringes, not the nifty little pens they have now) and wore one-piece long-sleeved mechanic's overalls 2 sizes larger than what would fit femininely (I found a uniform catalog that sold red, yellow and orange ones; that's as "girlie" as it got) and a beekeeper's hat so the family could experience the joys of communing with nature. I tucked the pants legs into my socks and sat downwind of the fire so the smoke would keep the bees away while I ate (bees don't like smoke so I trade beestings for lung disease - just joking).
You know, that sounds like an awful lot of work - the feet up and cold drink in had with hubby and the kids gone for the weekend is sounding better all the time!

car1224 said...

I sure hope you win. I did my part and voted. I have told everyone I know about your blog. My husband had to sit and listen to me read him some of your posts through all of my laughing and eye watering. Thanks for the everyday smiles!!

Shelly S., Nebraska said...

Dawn,
As one who loves to camp and has a family tradition of camping--I say that the years of shots may well be worth being able to enjoy camping and ball games and the zoo and the park and anything you can think of where a bee might be.

I can also tell you from experience how AWFUL an true-blue anaphylactic reaction can be (mine was to x-ray dye in the hospital but it was totally horrific). Even if you don't ever have a reaction that severe, why take the chance?

I say carry your e-pen and get the shots. No reason to live in fear!

Good luck in your decision!!

Amy said...

We've done immunotherapy for other allergies, and they do work. We can actually get through an entire allergy season with fewer than a dozen antihistamines.

Allykat said...

Been there, done that. I'm allergic to all the varieties of hymenoptera. Found out when I was stung back in 1994 (and had been stung numerous times as a child growing up). Went to the hospital all red and itchy and full of hives. Got a shot in my butt, extra oxygen and good as new. I DID go through 5 years of shots during college. It was a pain in the butt! In the end my doc said I had a 50/50 chance of reacting badly to being stung. !!! Meaning maybe those 5 years wasn't worth it. I DO carry an epi-pen (although 95% I hate to admit it's expired) and am a life member of Medic-Alert (although I don't wear the damn bracelet or necklace, but I do carry the card in my wallet). KNOCK ON WOOD, I have not been stung since. Good luck with your decision! (I also don't camp. But hubby is trying to get me started.)

melech said...

I am glad that you have an EPI-PEN..BUT..also RACE OUT and get a box of Benzadryne...Years ago, I took my litle boy out into the fields..we were going to enjoy the very last of the blackberries. I figured I must have jabbed myself on a thorn..Suddenly my moustache(I'm a dude,by the way!) was filled with White Faced Hornets(These are the nasty ones..with license plates) I mention this story now, many years after the fact, because I was so terribly embarrassed.I left my own flesh and blood standing there..while Ipaniced and raced to the safety of the house.He thought it was KEWL..he watched as a long line of these nasty creatures followed me..no matter how fast I ran! He was NOT touched at all. In the meantime, my face swelled up to the size of several basketballs. My wife remembered Benzadryne...and went out to the store(after first stopping for a leisurely visit with her mother.or at least it sure seemed that way) Long story short, within an hour of taking those blessed pills, I could breathe again..and the swelling went down rapidly. I will skip over the PAYBACK part the next evening..but it involved a high pressure hose,and a visit to see the remnants of what was once a hge paper-nest.

Paula71 said...

This comment is for EVERYONE with an EPI-PEN. Please check the expiration date on the injection. Sometimes the pharmacy will give you one that expires in a few months. You want the freshest one possible. MARK AND REMEMBER THAT DATE AND GET A NEW ONE BEFORE THEN. THIS CAN BE SERIOUS. PLEASE PLEASE BE MINDFUL OF THE DATE OF EXPIRATION

Anonymous said...

There is another way to deal effectively with allergies of all kinds. The BioSet system (just search on BioSet). No shots, no needles testing. I have gone both ways. Am allergic to many, many things. Took allergy shots for about 3 years, then started to feel worse when I got the shots so stopped. They helped a little. Fast forward a number of years, asthma developed despite avoiding many allergens. Started with BioSet practitioner and it has really helped hugely. Good luck Dawn. And, I would check out other allergy specialists - the methods you are describing are fairly antiquated.

Angie said...

When I was a kid I was allergic to EVERYTHING. All the normal-ish stuff like dust, mold, pollen, pet dander, etc. plus I was allergic to lots of food stuff. Most notably, I was allergic to wheat (NOT gluten, wheat specifically) and all things soy. I was also lactose intolerant. I think I was on the same diet as Brooklyn... In addition to the plastic, crinkly sheets (for dust mites), special dust-free blanket, and special foods, I had allergy shots 3 times a week from about 3 months old. The plus side is that I no longer have any food allergies. :) In some cases the benefits of shots really out-weigh the drawbacks. For me it was eating white bread and Oreo's like a normal kid, for you it could be not living in perpetual fear of honeybees. Just something to think about.

Angie I.

Mabunny said...

Hmm, something to ponder for sure, I've nver been stung. Would so hate to find out I'm allergic to them and not know it.

Donna said...

Just wanted you to know I joined and voted for you !
All 3 !!!

I also recently learned the bees are stinging now because of their mating season. Be careful !
Hugs from Donna in Indiana

Mystii said...

Well I'm no help at all on the bee sting regimine. It's not something anyone in my family has ever had to endure. I hope you get good info though!

Congrats on the blogger award nominations. I voted for you ages and ages and ages ago LOL. I went back to make sure they weren't doing a new competition and no, they're not. I've already voted and they won't let me vote again (the absolute nerve of some systems!)

Vicki said...

How can you vote more than once???????

Michelle said...

A) Already voted for you in all categories awhile ago :) I think I can only vote once, yes?

B) Good news is that the bees we have up here tend to be the nasty yellowjackets. Fortunately, not the honeybees. I've actually never been stung by a honeybee. Good luck to you there!

C) I never went through the desensitizing process but growing up, I had three friends who went through the biweekly shots for years. They are EXCEEDINGLY grateful now that they are done with them. Then again, they also did them as children/early teens. I don't know if that makes a difference.

Cedar Chip said...

I'm glad you got tested so you know exactly what you are allergic to and that if you do get stung you know to get yourself to the hospital as soon as possible.

That was not the case for my brother in law (my sisters husband). He was working in a neighbors yard cleaning brush and got stung about 10 times. He came back home to get some benadryl. And by the time my sister got back outside he was unconsious in the driveway. He died about a week later due to brain damage caused by the anaphlaytic shock that occured. We never knew he was allergic to bees - the last time he had been stung was as a child. To actually die from a bee sting is something like a 1 in 6 million event. But since he died I have heard of 4 other people just in the midwest alone that have died in the last month.

All the research we have been doing (and there is very very little that has been done) and history shows that adults more than children will have an allergic reaction to bees of any type.

I remember as a child getting into a wasps nest in a piece of playground equipment and getting stung multiple times. I had a couple welts but not much else. I got stung again by wasps while in college and ended up in the hospital becuase of swelling - you couldn't see the knuckles on my hand. I never went into true anaphlaytic shock but had a sever allergic reaction.

After the episode with my BIL both my husband and I went in to get tested. He is not allergic to anything - get stung, drink a beer and get back to work. I had the exact same reaction as you at the begining with the almost fainting except it is a known fact I hate needles. I didn't react to the venom until the very end and I tested postive to wasps, yellow jackets and white faced hornets. I am not condsidered a sever case but am still considered allergic. I now have an epi-pen and the directions to take an antihistamine, use the epi pen and call 911 and get to the hospital if I get stung by anything (as it is often very hard to tell exactly what it is that stung you).

My sister will also most likely be allergic since I am (and she has had a minor reaction in the past) along with their 18 month old son. She is currently parinoid about bees and wasps.

The allergest gave me the pamphlet from the test venom kit to read and some copies from his reference book. From what I've read, the studies show that venom tests can be effective but only if you have a severe reaction and even then they are not 100% effective. If you have a minor reaction they are not sure if the shots are effective at all. And according to the pamphlet you will get these shots for life as you will never truely build up a tolerence to the venom.

They will not test children under the age of 3 and even then my doctor will not test children for venom until they get in their teens. He also will not test anyone for bee stings if they have severe allergic reactions to other things due to the death factor.

I urge everyone that if they get stung to take an antihistamine and watch for swelling - if you see any get to the hospital as soon as possible. Better yet watch what you do and avoid bees and wasps - stay away from things that attract them.

If you would like send me a message and I will send you a copy of the pamphlet (I have a scaned version) that you can read.

strawberrymama said...

Dawn, I've worked on and off for three years for an allergist. I've given countless immunotherapy shots. A handfull of patients receive these for bee/wasp/yellow jacket allergies--and they all say it's worth it. I would rather be able to enjoy my family's company (despite your luck in camping etc) and not live in fear than balk at the 5 years of shots. At our office, we would retest every 18 mos or so--once you don't react, you would be considered immunized. Not all patients have to do it for the full 5 years--some can do 2 or 3 and they're cured. The patients I saw took these injections bimonthly or monthly--so it's really not that time consuming. You don't even need to see the doctor, just sit for X amount of time (it was 20 mins at our office) after your injection, reading a book. Maybe it could be a good YOU time, kid-free? Anyway--I say GO FOR IT!

Emily Mea said...

My little brother had allergy shots for years - a couple of them at the allergist's office and one or two at the house - and they made the biggest difference in the world for his quality of life. He was so allergic to pollen that his skin was constantly red from his sock lin to his shorts line in the summer. Combine pollen allergies with animal allergies and he was miserable. He started out with two or three shots a week and tapered down to one a week.

Needless to say, I did a lot of my homework at the allergist's office during those years.

The only reason they let my brother take his shots at home was that my mom was in school to be a nurse. She was comfortable handling the injections and understood the possibility of having to give him an epi-pen injection. Plus, my mom had gone through the same series of shots as an adult with that doctor and had never had any reactions to the serum. (Almost all of their allergies were identical.)

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