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The week before Christmas was crummy. I was cold and sore and my mind was fuzzy. My skin burned and my neck was hivey. I lay awake all night, my brain humming faintly. As sunlight crept into my bedroom, I burrowed deep under my covers and slept through the daylight. I woke to darkness, feeling slow and sloppy, dripping with sweat.

Two days before Christmas Eve, I drove my car to get my hair done. I didn’t feel well. I knew I would have a reaction that day, but I was hoping I could delay its onset until I finished my errands and made it home. I couldn’t. In the middle of my appointment, I called around until I found someone who could pick me up and drive my car home. I diluted and pushed IV Benadryl in the middle of a salon while rich housewives cast sideways glances.

The ride home was the setting for my personal favorite type of mast cell reaction, in which I’m uncomfortable in my own body, so exhausted that I am falling asleep, and unable to find the right words to express what I want to communicate. I collapsed into my bed and slept for hours, the heavy and dreamless sleep your body produces when it is too exhausted for imagination.

It has been less than two weeks since I wrote a post about how much better I was feeling. I couldn’t even get out of bed.

This disease has stripped away all the meaningless noise surrounding me. All my whimsical desires are gone. I don’t have any dreams left, except the very big ones. But how can I do something extraordinary when I can’t even stay awake?

In my mind, there are no limits. I can wake up every day. I can eat normal food. I can walk with stars. The limits are in my body. I strain against them, stiff and cold, like iron bars.

The Saturday after Christmas I developed sudden, mysterious and massively painful back pain. I spent most of the next week in bed. These crashes feel harder than they used to. Every time I land on my knees, the scrapes sting longer, scar deeper.

It has been two weeks since Christmas. This week I went into the office four days, a feat I haven’t achieved in almost a year. I have had a big week. I cooked meals and did work and organized medical stuff. I watched documentaries and did laundry. I started the enormous task of organizing my life for the weeks after surgery during which I will be largely unable to participate. I have slept every night this week and woken around 7am. I am tired and sore but it’s manageable.

I can’t know how I will feel in two weeks. This constant inconstancy is so hard.