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Crystal has three air purifiers in her apartment and wears a surgical mask everywhere she goes, even on the short walk from her door to her car. She takes about 38 medications daily and carries two epinephrine pens at all times. She’s had to use them more than 30 times.
For Crystal, food dyes, household cleaners, glue, plastic, bread, milk, shampoo, deodorant, trees, plants, sunshine and a host of unidentified allergens can trigger hives, itchy throat, swelling of the lungs, intestinal bleeding and lead to life-threatening allergic reaction.
Her last visit to the ER was two weeks ago after a trip to the grocery store. She’s uncertain what specifically triggered that reaction.
“One of the scariest parts is I never know when I’m going to have a reaction,” Crystal says.
Crystal is living with mast cell activation syndrome and idiopathic, or unexplained, anaphylaxis, a life-threatening allergic reaction.
Allergist and immunologist Dr. Marguerite Pennoyer explains that Crystal’s two diagnoses are likely related.
Mast cell activation syndrome is a disorder caused by an excessive number of mast cells in the body. Mast cells line your gut, your respiratory tract and your blood vessels and usually help protect the body from disease. But when there are too many, chemicals released by the cells can cause potentially deadly reactions.
ER physician Dr. Travis Stork explains that, for Crystal, the mast cells release such a massive surge of histamine, it could lead to death.
The Doctors surprise Crystal by telling her that the makers of Lucky Buddha Beer are donating $10,000 to help with her medical expenses.
The Doctors has teamed up with the fundraising site CrowdRise to create a page for Crystal. You can help improve her quality of life by donating to help pay for her medical expenses.