Hives, Histamine and Heart


Daily Vigilance
In 2008, following surgery on my arthritic right thumb, I developed hives that persisted for three months. In 2009, I underwent the same procedure on my left thumb and did not develop hives. So when I was scheduled for surgery in December, 2010, I didn’t contemplate another round of hives.

I should have. The hives developed on January 6 and so far, they’re still going strong. My allergist reviewed the medications used in the three procedures, hoping we could identify some medication that was used in 2008 and 2010, but not used in 2009.

No such culprit emerged from the analysis. This information, together with the results of allergy tests run in 2008, has led my doctor to conclude that the hives are not an allergic response. Instead, my immune system sometimes misreads surgery as some defensible assault on my person, and reacts by deploying battalions of histamine to protect me from the “threat. “

In short, my immune system is really vigilant.

I want a more vigilant heart. I long for a heart filled with the qualities of the Spirit that dwells in me—stuff like gentleness, kindness, patience. I want to smother the embers of cruel thoughts before they burst into flames. I want to swallow unkind words as they form on my tongue, before they pass my lips. I want to still the tapping foot that measures each second I’m kept waiting for a tardy friend.

Antihistamines temper my hives. When the hives flare up, more antihistamines reduce their severity. I take them every day and sometimes more than once a day.

Boosting my heart’s vigilance isn’t a matter of taking the right pills.

It’s not a matter of will, either, or of striving. It’s a matter of surrendering my heart to the One who can fill me with His grace. When I submit to Him, He responds with His mercy.

It’s something I need to do every day and sometimes more than once a day.

22 The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.
23 Great is His faithfulness;
His mercies begin afresh each morning.
24 I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance;
therefore, I will hope in Him!”
Lamentations 3:22-24 (NLT)