Corticosteroids Are No Fun

If you had asked me a week ago if I was allergic to bee stings, I would have laughed out loud. How could I be allergic to bee stings? My dad keeps bees, and I partake of their honey every day. Everyone in my family has been stung multiple times, and it’s never been a big deal. I cohabited with bees for years without fear or suffering or anaphylaxis. Until last Sunday, I’d have sworn I was not allergic to bee stings. But I had (apparently) never been stung by a bee.

Last week I stepped on a bee at my local yoga studio, on the way from one yoga room to the next. I thought nothing of it. Sure it hurt like the dickens. Sure my foot swelled up. Sure I got a little giddy…then twitchy…then covered in head-to-toe hives…

…an hour after I was stung, I walked into the ER and all the nurses panicked. They walked me straight back into the room. Zero wait time. The doctor and her resident came and checked my airways while one of the nurses checked to make sure I wasn’t pregnant, and another ran my insurance.

The thing is, I felt pretty great! I was laughing and joking. I felt like I was on some really primo, pharmaceutical-grade drugs. Aside from the itchy, red welts on every inch of my body, I’d never felt better! If I hadn’t been warned of the dangers of repeated exposure, I might have run back to the hive in search of more stings.

It wasn’t until they gave me the steroid shot to stop the allergic reaction that I started feeling terrible.

Suddenly, all the endorphin dropped out of my system. I wasn’t itchy, but I also couldn’t keep my eyes open or free of tears. The life-saving medicine that had been administered to stop my severe allergic reaction had also filled me with despair. I felt so alone and so frightened.

I’ve been on the corticosteroids since that ER visit. They are no fun, but I’m still so grateful to have them. They’re keeping me safe from harm, even if my body hasn’t quite figured that out yet…

I know there’s a lesson in here somewhere. Something about not all things that feel good being good. Or the incredible miracle that is Allopathic medicine (which is easy to forget about when you use almost exclusively natropathic and Ayurvedic medicine).

I’m not sure what the lesson is, but it’s good fodder for meditation and a reminder that we can’t plan our way through life. Instead of starting the new morning abhyanga, yoga, and meditation routine I had planned for this week, I spent days in bed crying.

The Tapas, fire, and momentum I’d been building has been almost completely wiped out, but I’m committed to rebuilding. I’m not going to let one silly bee-sting and a course of corticosteroids stand in my way.


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