On June 8, 2013, my family called a prayer meeting on my behalf. The Lord brought together an eclectic group of believers who prayed fervently for my healing. Within three weeks, I went from eating nothing, to eating a few pureed foods, to eating anything I wanted from our garden. Even watermelon, which I hadn’t been able to eat in years. God had saved me through prayer again.
But then fire ants found their way into my home. They poured in from a crack in the kitchen wall, and there was no way to stop them. I couldn’t tolerate poison. We did what we could with traps and my homemade shampoo which killed them upon contact, but I was stung anyway. The reaction was terrible and required Epi, which further weakened my frail state. The ants kept coming, so my family moved into my parents’ home for an entire month so we could poison and let the air clear.
After a third crisis in December 2013, Mom demanded I go to Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN for diagnosis and treatment. She and I traveled by private plane via Wings of Hope in May 2014. (A commercial flight would’ve been extremely dangerous.) There, Dr. Park diagnosed me with Mast Cell Activation Disease (MCAD).
MCAD is an allergic disease, but it isn’t the same as having allergies. With IgE allergies, the trigger is specific. With MCAD, triggers are numerous and diverse. They include many foods (especially high-histamine and histamine-inducing foods), insect stings, latex, chemicals, pesticides, perfumes, fragrances, sun, heat, cold, friction, injury, NSAIDS, pollen, acute illness, and emotional stress. So pretty much everything.
My family had this running joke. They’d cock their heads at me and say, “Maybe she should live in a bubble…except she’d be allergic to the bubble.”
As you can probably imagine, a person has difficulty avoiding this many triggers over the course of even one day, so the mast cells are continually breaking apart and releasing their contents, causing inflammation in all systems of the body. The chronic, widespread inflammation leads to a wide range of seemingly unrelated symptoms. The most common symptoms are flushing, itching, hives, chronic constipation and/or diarrhea, nausea, intestinal cramping, chronic fatigue, headache, wheezing, cough, dizziness, low blood pressure, fainting, fibromyalgia, arthritis, neuropathy, and shock.
There is no cure for Mast Cell Activation Disease. Only management.
Due to my sensitivity to medication fillers, there wasn’t much anyone could do for me. However, there was one benign little medication called Gastrocrom which helped me eat without the extreme discomfort which had been a constant companion for the last several years.
A diagnosis and the gift of a very important prescription made the trip a major success.
A fruitful season followed. I experienced God in new ways after asking him to baptize me in the Spirit. Though I was still a shut in, I had fresh joy and energy, my prayer life blossomed, and I began to discover some of my spiritual gifting. God had me on constant assignment, even within the confines of my home. I was physically better, too.