For over thirty years I was plagued by spring and fall sinus allergies. I had the works: sinus pressure, headaches, stuffiness, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, watery eyes and sometimes I would get a sinus infection. For a long time, I used over-the-counter medications, but eventually they lost their affect. I don’t know if my allergies got worse or if I became immune. All I know is I was miserable. Eventually, I went to an allergist and after some time, he decided to give me an injection once every spring and fall – in the nose.
This is going to be gross, but I’ll describe what getting these injections was like. He would numb the area so it didn’t hurt but you could still feel a crunching sensation when the needle went in. When it was done, I would take care of the billing, go out to my car and start to drive home. About that time, it would start to kick in. The injection made all the swelling inside my head go down which caused everything to start draining. There would be so much drainage that I would have to pull over and cough it up because I would gag otherwise and not be able to breathe. As miserable as this was, I looked forward to these injections because I had relief! I wasn’t miserable and I could breathe!
The bad thing is that these powerful medications always have side effects and I didn’t want to take that risk any more. I stopped getting the injections. At the time I was getting the injections, I didn’t feel like I had a choice because my allergies were that bad, but now they seem to be more manageable for some reason. It might be because I have less stress in my life now.
The main purpose of my writing this is because I want to share with you an experience I had. Back when I was still married, my husband and I decided to go on a vacation to the U.P. in the fall during the peak of the color season. (It was also the peak of my allergy season). I was miserable but I wanted to see Tahquamenon Falls and Pictured Rocks. I had heard how beautiful they were and had to see them.
We started our journey. From our home it was a three-hour drive to the tip of the mitten and the Mackinaw bridge. This bridge takes you from the mitten to the U.P. (Upper Peninsula of Michigan). I’m not exaggerating when I say that as soon as we started to cross that bridge, I started to feel better. The more we drove into the U.P., the better I felt. I was astounded. Wow. I felt great!
I felt so great that I wanted to understand why. I wanted to feel this healthy all the time. I thought and thought about it. What was different about the U.P.? This is some ideas I came up with. Whether there is any merit to them or not: I don’t know, but here are my un-expert thoughts.
First: The Upper Peninsula is long and narrow. North of it is the huge expanse of water called Lake Superior. Below it are two other huge bodies of water: Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. My thoughts led me to the fact that when the wind is blowing across these bodies of water and hitting shore, the air is as close to pure as you can get. Most of the allergens, pollen, etc. have dropped on the way into the water. Clean, fresh, pure air. Well, as clean as it gets these days anyways.
Second: The U.P. is made up mostly of shoreline, State and National Forests, mountains, lakes, woods and rivers. There isn’t much farmland up there as far as I know. At least, not in the area I was at. In the spring and fall, farmers are out plowing, planting or harvesting. They’re stirring things up and kicking things into the air. They also use fertilizers, weed killers and chemicals. These things can irritate people. I’m not knocking farmers. We need them. They bring us the food we eat. I’m just saying that some of the things they have to do may make some people sick, so staying away from farmlands may help some people.
Third: What is in the U.P.? There aren’t many cities, factories or pollution. Most of the U.P. is (as I said above) shorelines, mountains, lakes, rivers and State and Federal land. Nature is what you get up there.
When we were up there we stayed in a town called Paradise – and it was Paradise because I could breathe! We rented a small cabin on Lake Superior. At night we sat outside around a campfire, listening to the water rushing up on the shore and looking at the sky. It was so clear. Way in the distance we saw the lights of a freighter passing. We could barely see it.
Paradise is at the base of a peninsula jutting out into Lake Superior. There is a lighthouse and a nice beach at the tip of the peninsula: Whitefish Point.
Am I saying you should go to the U.P. for relief? Of course not. My triggers may not be your triggers. Some people move to Arizona because they say the dry air helps them. For me, the clean, fresh, damp air helped. Going to the U.P. may help you or it may make your allergies worse. I don’t know. That’s something you and your doctor have to decide.
I just had to write this to let you know what helped me, because if it helps even one person find their “Paradise,” it would give me great pleasure. That is my hope for you – that you find your Paradise!