My immune system just isn't working right anymore.
That is abundantly clear to me, considering all that I've had happen recently pertaining to my supposed allergies and whatnot. I'm beginning to see similarities between my immune system and Toyota, where you start out thinking it's going to be reliable no matter what, nothing to worry about... but then all of a sudden, shit just falls apart. There is no manufacturer warranty for me, though (I've checked), so I can't just pull into my local service station and have them swap out the faulty parts. Instead we've got to do a bunch of tests and wait to see what happens.
I mentioned a little while ago that my allergist had me do some blood tests to learn a little more about what is going on. The results came back in about a week later, but I didn't get a chance to sit down with my doctor and discuss them until last week. He had left me a voicemail letting me know it wasn't anything serious as he had previously speculated, but there was still things we needed to talk about.
At my appointment last week, he sat me down and talked over the results a bit more in depth. He had tested me for liver disease, thyroid disease, and lupus. I tested negative for all three, which is good, but some of the other tests came back with some elevated protein levels. He explained it all to me very carefully what that indicates, and then told me his diagnosis.
I have Immune Complex Disease.
Basically, whenever my immune system encounters something foreign (like a virus or bacteria or an infection), it attaches to it an antibody to fight it. An antigen binds itself to the antibody, and instead of flushing itself out of the body like it is supposed to do in a normally operating immune system, the antibody/antigen cluster attaches itself to various parts of the body. Over time, since they are not eliminated from the system, these clusters build up. This causes a rise in certain proteins, which in turn can trigger an automatic response from whatever part of the body it's attached to. It's a big chain reaction, and the symptoms I'd have from this can closely mimic normal allergy symptoms.
I did a fair amount of research after my appointment to make sure I fully understood everything my doctor told me. He told me that what I have is not lupus, since I tested negative for it in the blood work, but it acts very similar to it. In what I read additionally about Immune Complex Disease, it is often a main feature of autoimmune conditions, such as lupus. So it's not exactly lupus, but it's close.
Here is where I get confused. It's like being told I am an orange, but I don't make orange juice.
I trust my doctor when he says that I don't have lupus. I just have to wonder if there is anything else to what I have, because when I look at all the other symptoms I've been fighting over the past couple years (neurological, physical, and emotional), they each fall neatly into their own category where a diagnosis of lupus would seem to fit. I'm trying my best to not read into it, to be subjective with the information I read about it, but that only goes so far. The black-and-white logic my mind runs on has a hard time accepting that it still isn't what it seems to be, despite all of the signs pointing directly at it.
At any rate, what this all means is that I'll likely be on some sort of antihistamine regimen on a long-term basis. I'll need to be careful with what I expose myself to, to make sure I don't get sick or take any unneeded risks. Even an infected cut or sore could cause a problem, and I'll need to ramp up my medication during cold and flu season. If my symptoms persist through the medication, I may need to go back on steroids as well, but I'm hoping it doesn't come to that.
I'm glad to at least have more of a game plan again, even if I don't completely understand it. I really do trust my allergist, but even he himself said that this diagnosis is tough to pinpoint. I have some more tests to run, and maybe we'll know more from that.
It's always something, I tell you.