Chronic urticaria, or chronic hives, is a condition that can result in the presence of thyroid antibodies. Basically, it's a rash that never goes away - imagine the worst possible case of poison oak, only permanently. Not minor itchiness, full-on red, puffy, burning, raised white bumps that are absolutely everywhere, except the face area (for the most part). Some only experience it for a few weeks, while others will have it for the rest of their lives. I've had it since 2004.
Luckily for me, it was bearable as long as I took a Claritin or two every day. But, taking more than one Claritin is not recommended for pregnancy. Also, taking Claritin can impede implantation. I didn't know what to do, because if I didn't take the Claritin, I would break out in hives so badly I'd want to tell the doctor to put me in an induced coma. It's a feeling so unbearable that I've heard some CU sufferers say they would rather kill themselves than continue to go through it. As I said, I'm lucky, because I respond well to the Claritin, while others keep themselves permanently zonked on powerful antihistimines (which you cannot take if pregnant), and sometimes even that isn't enough.
This year I went to a reproductive immunologist, Dr. Stricker at the Alan E. Beer Center in Los Gatos, who recommended that my husband and I go to an IVF clinic to try and conceive our next pregnancy, due to my anti-ovarian antibodies which are associated with poor egg quality, and with IVF we would have access to a procedure called PGD which would screen the embryos for genetic abnormalities before implantation. At the IVF clinic, which is the Zouves Fertility Center in Daly City, I was given a packet which had an insert about recommending all patients consider acupuncture treatments prior to starting IVF. Now I have always been an acupuncture skeptic, because my Chinese father told me this is quack medicine, and I figured he would know. But, show me a woman trying to have a baby after losses, and I'll show you a woman so desperate she'll try anything once.
I called Dr. Stricker's office to see if they could recommend someone who specialized in immune issues. They did - Claudia Wolfe, in San Jose.
I've had 3 sessions with Claudia so far. After the 1st session, I didn't really feel any different. After the second, I felt calmer, yet more refreshed, and overall healthier. I was put on a new diet - avoid processed foods, sugar, meats with antibiotics or hormones. I was told to eat every 2 hours, even if it was just a 1/2 apple, to keep my blood sugar even. I eat more protein (in the form of meat and nuts, not soy), fewer carbs, lots of fruits and veggies, no juice, whole grain instead of white flour products (i.e., the kind you find in the refrigerated bread section at Whole Foods). I eat organic whenever possible to limit the amount of toxins in my system. She stressed with me to reduce the cortisol my body produces, thinking that is the cause of most of my problems. Avoiding sugary food and keeping my blood sugar even is supposed to help this tremendously.
I was given a new set of whole-food vitamin supplements to take, and I stopped taking my FolGuard (taken for compound homozygous MTHFR) because I learned it didn't contain the correct cofactors necessary to absorb the large amount of folate, and was stripping my system of them instead. To make up for the FolGuard, I take extra folate supplements along with enough cofactors to support it. I also take a supplement for my thyroid, a "prenatal", fish oil, and vitamin D.
So I don't know if it's the diet, the acupuncture, the supplements or a combination of any or all of the above, but I noticed one very important thing after only two acupuncture sessions - I don't need Claritin nearly as much anymore. And in fact, I haven't taken one now for a week. An entire WEEK!
I don't think it's a placebo effect, because Claudia never mentioned she could cure my CU. She did say she could help lessen my need for thyroid meds and the immune response that could cause another miscarriage. Ok I can't help but be skeptical about this, but I'm ecstatically happy about the CU.
It's a miracle, pure and simple. I don't know if this is temporary or permament, but whatever it is I'll take it!!!
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September 4, 2011 06:27 PM PDT
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