Back when I first started having attacks, things were different because there weren’t many treatment options for HAE. So there was a time when I would just tough out my attacks. With mostly abdominal attacks or swellings at my arms and legs, I’d just sit at home during HAE attacks, missing out on work and plans with friends and wondering when my symptoms would subside.
Let me stop for a second to remind everyone that HAE attacks can become serious and, in the event of a laryngeal attack, even life-threatening. People with HAE should always go to the hospital immediately if they experience any swelling of the throat.
By the time I got a treatment plan, I was stuck in my ways and was reluctant to treat any HAE attack I personally didn’t view as severe enough.
But there are two thoughts that motivate me now to treat every HAE attack, and they are:
- My desire to manage my symptoms
I’ve come to realize that I never know what will happen with an HAE attack.
My HAE attacks can be unpredictable in many ways, such as where the symptoms start; whether the swelling happens in hours, days or in between; how much swelling will happen; and what parts of my body are affected. In my experience, when an attack starts, sometimes I can have swelling show up in various parts of my body.
So with my HAE attacks, I follow my acute treatment plan. And, because laryngeal attacks can be life-threatening, if my attack affects my throat, I inject FIRAZYR® (icatibant injection) as I was taught and then go to the nearest emergency room. FIRAZYR is a medicine used to treat acute attacks of HAE in adults 18 years of age and older.
Everyone responds differently to treatment, but, for me, following my plan for HAE attacks is preferable, in my experience, to sitting and watching how much swelling will happen and where.
But the reason it’s important for me to treat my attacks is not just for my own sake. I realize now how important it is for...
- My family
The time I spend with my family is precious to me.
I want to show them that I care about them—and one way I do that is by showing that I care about myself. Following my HAE management plan is part of what I do to take care of myself.
I no longer waste time thinking about “ifs” and “whens” when considering treating my acute HAE attacks, because I have already made a decision. I have the ability to treat my acute HAE attacks as soon as I recognize the symptoms.
My family and the reduction and relief of my symptoms are much more important than holding onto old mindsets about “toughing out” the attacks.
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