A woman aged 25 based in London, Sophie Willis, is going through one of the most deadly but rare conditions, ‘mast cell activation syndrome’ (MCAS).
MCAS is a disease that leads to unhealthy responses between the patient’s blood cells and specific smells and foods. Willis, who specializes in designing veils for brides is prevented from eating meat, dairy, yeast, fish and other meals.
She is also allergic to thunder and sunlight.
Willis is just striving to survive when all her years have been riddled with reactions to almost every food types, only rice and veggies are compatible with her system.
MCAS is an uncommon disease that hits about 1 in every 150,000 individuals. For Willis, her body can fall into deadly shocks of anaphylactic reactions, have swollen lips or rash breakouts if a reaction occurs.
There was a time when a particular doctor found her narratives as weird and that maybe she’s going through hard signs, so the medical personnel asked her to go for a medical consultation, and yet another doctor believed that her fits were as a result of Lyme disease.
The beautiful lady now swallows medications of about 60 pieces per day just to fight her situation. She said that she couldn’t consume any other meals except rice and vegetables. She confessed that whenever she tries to consume another food, she’ll faint and enter an anaphylactic state of shock.
It took some time for her before she discovered what was really wrong with her. Prior to that time, she said that her body would go through serious allergic responses that may happen at least six times per day.
Willis was once a vibrant young lady who lived a normal life, engaging in marathon races (half), and constantly hanging out in a company of her friends, until she suddenly fell sick in 2014.
In her testimony, she recalled that she would faint many times in one day. Her face was then a mess of swollen skin while her throat was always closing up and that really terrified her.
It was so bad that even doctors were shocked at such situation. For more than 24 months, she’d visited more than 30 hospitals throughout the country to seek help.
She persevered and went through series of tests. The doctors found two background situations affecting her case, and they are; a linking tissue disease known as ‘EDS’ and a problem of the heart known as ‘POTTS’, which is a popular disease among MCAS patients.
She explained that one of the doctors assured her that everything happening to her were living in her head, then she was asked to go for counseling. Those were terrible times for her.
However, in 2016 August, she was tested positive for MCAS by her doctors.
Life after MCAS
Mast cells active syndrome (MCAS) refers to a blood cell type that is allergic to external elements and wounds. It responds to these elements by unleashing various chemical arbiters, histamine, in particular, to combat infections. However, in someone who is suffering from MCAS, these chemicals used for battling infections will be improperly targeted, leading to symptoms that are created from allergic forms.The production site for mast cells in the bone marrow.
In Willis’ case, whenever she consumes some meals, her mast cells would respond terribly, and when it’s added to the remaining two disorders (EDS and POTTS) already in her body, she’ll collapse.
She said that for now, every edible is strange to her body system, except rice and vegetables. Willis doesn’t end up well whenever she tries to eat other meals, because her eyes, lips, and throat would be swollen, coupled with terrible pains throughout her body.
She one day fell unconsciously to the ground at a supermarket where she’d gone for shopping. However, that was before she tested positive for MCAS diagnosis.
“It was so bad that I found it difficult and impossible to scream out so people could come to my aid,” says Willis. This was because MCAS is a condition that also blurs one’s brain, and her voice with her mental faculty was disoriented at that time, and she couldn’t talk normally.
Since then, she says, hanging out with her friends became a taboo for her because she’s afraid of experiencing another public mishap.
Fortunately, she was able to identify meals that always cause reactions for her quickly.
Although she admits that such eating arrangement lacks creativity, but what matters most is that she can now enjoy a degree of normal life compared to the past and she’d since ceased to collapse.
Her body also responds unpleasantly to light from the sun and noises. She gets rash all over her body when she comes in contact with the sun, while she gets migraines whenever thunder strikes.
A trustee and founder of MCA, Gawain Paling, says that MCAS is an overreacting cell that sensitively responds to every form of ordinary stimuli, unleashing chemicals from within with complicated, broad system or destroying signs.
Paling also added that a lot of people experience anaphylaxis if they don’t have sufficient oxygen to take their breaths and they’re undergoing insufficient blood pressure, leading to a blackout.