October 29, 2015
After years of having at least monthly sinus infections, my family and friends dubbed me "Bubble Girl". A brief 5-10 minute walk outside for fresh air...left me itching, coughing, sniffling, sneezing, and wheezing (to name a few). I was the poster child for every allergy commercial out there today. It got to the point that I didn't leave the house unless it was absolutely necessary. I was a prisoner in my own home; I was miserable. Then, my own house began to make me sick.
Numerous visits to doctors, walk-in clinics, and specialists began, and after convincing medical professionals that my symptoms were no longer just a "seasonal" thing I received my diagnosis. I was prescribed a slew of medications to help me make it through each day. Despite the ongoing allergy attacks, and allergy-induced asthma at times, day-to-day life became bearable again.
The Fall of 2008, was the year I began allergen immunotherapy. Although not an overnight cure, I gradually began to feel better. Frequent illness was no longer a regular occurrence for me. I began to live again, and I no longer felt like I had to spend the rest of my life in a bubble.
When I began my immunotherapy journey 7 years ago, Mary Jo was there. Mary Jo was my allergy nurse that saw me through it all over the years. In the beginning, my weekly "shots" visits became my new routine. My new normal.
Over the years, we developed a friendship as we each experienced personal milestones and overcame various obstacles in our own lives. After years of feeling helpless, Mary Jo gave me HOPE. As she embarks on this next milestone in her life, retirement, I found it only fitting to leave her with a small token of my appreciation. "The Giving Keys" was the perfect message I was looking to convey. Thank you Mary Jo for showing me HOPE.