For me, trauma in my life can be anything—from stress, major transitions, a hard hit to the arm, or the loss of a family member. Oddly enough, in my experience, I tend to do pretty well when my plate is full and things are crazy. It’s once I have navigated through the tough situations and things have started to calm down that I begin having hereditary angioedema attacks. I remember one time, I was accidentally hit in the eye at work. While I did not experience immediate swelling, I woke up the next day to find both of my eyes were swollen completely shut.
Identifying triggers is not always a simple task. I try to track my attacks in a diary along with any changes in my life that may have contributed to them. Maybe I went for a long hike and my legs swelled, or perhaps worrying over a situation caused the butterflies in my stomach to turn into a bear hug around my intestines.
I don’t always know the exact cause of my attacks, but it seems that with major changes come more HAE attacks. To manage that, I try to…
- Be more organized in my daily life,
- Plan ahead,
- Prepare for the unexpected, and
- Always have FIRAZYR® (icatibant injection) with me, which can be used to treat acute hereditary angioedema attacks in adults 18 years of age and older. The minute I notice symptoms of an attack, I immediately treat just as my doctor told me to do—by injecting slowly over at least 30 seconds. For me, putting off treatment isn’t worth the possible consequences of “waiting and seeing.”
If you’re going to self-inject FIRAZYR, you first need to be trained by a healthcare professional.
Doing these things tends to come in handy when I want to do something that could possibly trigger an attack, like the weekend my wife and I decided to ride our motorcycle around Lake Michigan. I worried that the vibration and the physical stress on my body would trigger an attack, but my doctor and I came up with a plan—my wife and I would have FIRAZYR with us at all times, we’d know where the emergency facilities are in case of a laryngeal attack, and we’d have emergency contact information on hand. The trip turned out to be a great experience. I did not experience any HAE symptoms…at least until after we made it safely back home.
For me, I never truly know for certain when HAE will strike. That’s why I start every day prepared. In my opinion, no plan is ever formed in vain.
In what way does trauma affect your HAE? Leave a comment below!
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