Keeping a diary of my husband’s attacks isn’t the most convenient thing, but having a written record has proven beneficial.
I’m shocked when I look at older entries and realize just how bad my memory can be. Keeping the diary has allowed us to become more aware of situations that may have the potential to increase his risk of an HAE attack. Some of these circumstances are:
- Fatigue: My husband is a police officer. Shift work can be very hard on him—just as his body gets used to a set sleeping time, a shift change disrupts things, causing physical and mental fatigue and stress.
- Physical Trauma: As a cop, sometimes my husband just has to roll with the punches…literally.
- Stressful Situations: For my husband, HAE attacks seem to be frequently associated with stressful situations. If he gets excited, becomes startled or afraid, has anxiety, or experiences other strong emotions, then he now recognizes the possibility that an acute HAE attack may be on the horizon.
- Exposure to Drastic Temperature Changes: Where we live, there’s a saying: “If you don’t like the weather, wait an hour and it’ll change.” Exposure to drastic temperature changes can sometimes contribute to my husband’s acute HAE attacks. I’ve asked my husband’s doctor to write a prescription for a move to Aruba since the weather there is consistently beautiful. HA! Unfortunately, we all know that’ll never happen!
My first instinct is to want to fix a problem, and if I can’t fix it, my goal is to do what I can to manage the problem. HAE is not something we can fix and, of course, some attacks are still unpredictable. However, by keeping the diary, we can talk with my husband’s doctor about suspected patterns and work together to find ways to manage what triggers we can.
We couldn’t move to Aruba, but my husband was able to move to a specialized unit that requires fewer shift changes. He stays alert for signs of an acute HAE attack, and he has a treatment plan in place that includes FIRAZYR® (icatibant injection)—a medication that is FDA-approved for the treatment of acute HAE attacks for adults 18 years of age and older.
And we remember that while we are not always in control, we can still deal with the hand we’re dealt.
What are some of the triggers that you or your loved one have noticed?
Leave a comment and let me know!