Arts and Health, Sisters is devoted to exploring creative problem solving and coping strategies in our world, especially the links between artistic expression and personal and spiritual growth. It is also dedicated to honoring the value and power of women.

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Voyage of the Good Ship Omalizumab

To the left is a pretty image of little spikey red balls attached to Y shaped blue poles which are sunk in a large yellow ball which is emitting small yellow balls...

Or pollens (red balls) are sticking to IgE antibodies (blue poles) sunk into mast cells (yellow balls) releasing histamine (small yellow balls). In the background are my airways preparing to swell and fill with mucous.

Enter Omalizumab.

I can't explain this picture because my biochemistry is pretty rusty when things get to this level, but it sure is purty! At any rate this molecule binds to the IgE molecule and keeps it from sticking to the mast cell and thus no histamine is released!! Hooray! Less swelling and mucous, better breathing. Once in a while I can sing and clean my house!!

The above poster shows almost all the medications I am on for asthma. Actually I'm not on cromolyn except other the counter for my nose. I'm on all the rest though plus anti-histamines, and allergy desensitization shots and special diet and so on. My ears, nose and throat doctor told me 3 weeks ago that I need to continue to be patient because, "You just have really bad (allergy) disease". So that's why they call us patients, which comes from the latin something or other meaning "to suffer".

Enough moaning, as we know suffering is an integral part of life and we all have it. Or we frantically run around trying to escape it, only to end up with more suffering.

The good news is that I have some hope of getting better for the first time in over a year. Right now I am having rashes whenever I eat high histamine foods (like wine and chocolate!). I wonder if that's because my body is so used to being bombarded with histamine from my mast cells and is confused now because sometimes it isn't there. I hope I adjust since now I'm eating more woefully healthy than ever. I guess that isn't such a horrible thing. I just need to get over feeling sorry for myself as I can no longer have wine. Let's see... wine or breathing. Hmmm, wine or breathing.... Oh, OK, shucks, I'll take breathing.

Acknowledgment: This new medicine would not be possible if it were not for things like the Human Genome Project and funding for basic science research, which private corporations are never going to want to risk. Let's hear it for NIH, CDC, NSF and other government funded sources of money for basic science research!!!

Update 4/8/2015

Well, it's been a while... And Xolair definitely helps! Not 100% as it does for many, but it does help. 
My main complaint is that the medication is extremely expensive, about $3000 to $4000 per month without help from insurance or charity. So at times I miss doses due to waiting for either financial help or until I can gather the funds to pay for the cost. Without insurance taking this medication would be out of the question.

Other downsides: For me, the Xolair seems to have brought on increased histamine intolerance. Meaning that there are more foods which make me red and itchy. To counteract this I am taking much more anti-histamine medication and that helps. I have to have 2 shots every 2 weeks. 

But that's about it. I definitely have more energy and my thinking is clearer. I sleep better. My skin sometimes has a pinkish hue instead of a grey over-tone. I still become short of breath quickly and am too sedentary. Far too content just sitting around. 

But I'm working on that too! 


  1. Also I believe all the images are public domain, but if anyone knows that any of them aren't please let me know in the comments so I can take them down or properly credit them...

  2. Good choice on breathing or wine. In fact it's really not a choice. Glad that Omalizumab is there for you.
    Beautiful images, I hope they are all public domain.