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Mini-Crisis During Chronic Illness

Talk about looks… well, this just tops the cake for wanting to hide in a closet. In comparison to the life-threatening crisis I have had, this is nothing. Yet it still is a mini-crisis that I have to stop everything for to deal with. You know how many times you have had to stop everything for the mini-crisis that comes with the territory. This one is nasty but not impossible to deal with. 

The last 4 days I have had “niacin rushes” so powerful that they created a wild ugly raging rash that disappeared as fast as it appeared.

This “niacin rush” hit me on Tuesday for the first time in about 3 years. I was shocked when it started to happen. I could feel the firey rush that showed up on my skin. When I went to look at it, I realized exactly what it was.

Tuesday

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Tuesday’s rash

I immediately knew what I had done by taking a supplement that I knew I was sensitive to. About 3 years ago I did some research on B Vitamins and liked the concept of using niacin. I played around with it at very low doses, being aware of the possibility of a “niacin rush.” Nothing dangerous about it, just supposed to be a really weird hot itchy “rush” feeling then it subsides.

Many of you have told me this very same story about being oversensitive to all kinds of things. When we are chronically ill, we tend to be more sensitive to basic things. And if something would ever go wrong, it certainly would happen to us. Sound familiar? So many of you have told me about this in your own lives.

Three years ago when I played around with it, I ended up having a convulsion from it. I have had many seizures and it was not as intense as a seizure, so I am calling it a convulsion. Hummmm, I might not be getting the exact word I am wanting to explain this. More than twitching. Jerky uncontrollable movements. Dizziness that put me on the floor but did not lose consciousness. That’s the best I can do to explain what happened 3 years ago when I took a “normal” dose of niacin.

I will never forget it. I will never forget the “rush” that I could feel over all of my skin, especially my chest, neck, and head.

Tuesday when this happened, I immediately knew the source. I had tried to use up an old bottle of niacin thinking my health surely must have improved enough for me to be able to be fine.

Well, let me tell you… my body is still not ready for Niacin, not even close.

Wednesday

Wednesday I remembered to trash the niacin I had placed in my weekly pill storage boxes. But at lunchtime, the “niacin rush” came over me again, even worse than the day before.

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Wednesday’s rash

It happened the same time of day, at lunchtime. It felt the same, only worse on Wednesday than Tuesday. It quickly got very intense. Then within about 30 minutes, it started to calm down. Within an hour it was not even visible.

Very uncomfortable but I was not having convulsions like I did 3 years ago so there was no fear or freak out.

Thursday

I remembered to trash my lunchtime dose of supplements that I had organized for the week. Still had a slight “rush” with a slight rash at lunchtime but it was not as intense.

Friday

Oh stars, how hard can this be. Take the darn niacin out of my lunchtime dose of supplements that I have organized in this week’s box. I still had not taken ALL of them out and trashed them. So, it happened again.

Friday it covered the normal chest, neck, face, and head but it included my arms this time. And I got very dizzy through the “rush.” Had to lay myself down in case I passed out. I pass out a lot so I have my little routine I follow to keep me from any more head injuries.

Okay, I finally emptied ALL of this weeks pre-organized supplements and trashed the niacin. I am not one for wasting things but this needs to be an exception. I don’t even want it in my house so I can’t even accidentally do this again.

Why did this happen?

We do not always know why things happen. I am of the belief that the why does not always matter. In this case, it makes no difference. I have strongly reacted 3 years ago and this week. I have no business taking the supplement niacin. There is even a non-flush niacin and even that makes me react.

There is a story that sums this all up. A man went to the doctor and said, “My arm hurts when I do this.” The doctor replied, “Well, then don’t do that.”

We don’t need to freak out about all the things that happen to us during our chronically ill journey. There will be plenty of these kinds of experiences. It will give you plenty of practice to refine your mini-crisis skills.

Three years ago when I had a convulsion over a niacin flush I asked my Naturopathic Doctor for an explanation. When he did not have a clue I asked my chiropractor who is quite knowledgeable and educated about these things, he did not know either.

Sometimes there is no point in wasting a penny on a doctor’s appointment or becoming obsessed about having to know the reason or the cause. There are so many of these kinds of mini-crisis that it would be exhausting and stressful to dissect each one.

That does not mean that we should not seek medical attention when we truly feel like there is a medical crisis. There most likely will be enough of those to keep you busy as well. Each person has to judge for themselves.

Take responsibility for our own freak-outs and overreacting yet get the medical attention we require to keep us safe and alive. There is a balance in everything.

Today’s Reminder

Take note of how much we stress-out over the mini-crisis. Do we overreact or not? Do we take appropriate action to move through it with the least amount of stress?

Being chronically ill is messy yet we don’t need to get stuck here. The more we can learn to be calm to get through the things that we cannot explain or understand the quicker we will move into a state of health.

Today’s Health Adventure

Have you started a Health Time-Line for your journey? It does not need to be a big deal. It does not need to be something that you complete in one sitting.

I keep mine on a Word Document and it is in chronological order. When things like this “niacin rush” rash happen, I simply enter it on the timeline. I keep the entry to 1-2 sentences. I make sure I put in the date and I am done.

Keeping it all in one place can be valuable at times. Our memories cannot possibly keep up with all of the drama that illness provides. Sometimes I take it with me to doctor’s appointments in case they ask me an important question that I need an accurate answer for.

Don’t make it a big deal that stresses you. Keep it simple.

Maribeth Baxter, MBNC (Certified Mind-Body Nourishment Coach)

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