Rocio Prieto's Severe Asthma and Allergies Impacted Her Career, Her Relationships, Even Her Fashion Choices
"I had asthma growing up but not allergies. However, as I got older, I developed severe allergies as well.
August and September were the worst. Ragweed season increasingly meant wheezing and I relied on my inhaler more and more.
I got rid of my rugs. I had protective covers on all my pillows. I couldn't wear down coats. I was severely, acutely allergic to cats. It was so bad that in a graduate class, I walked in and immediately couldn't breathe. It turned out a student in the previous class had a cat.
I loved my job at University of Illinois Hospital & Health Sciences System's Urban Health Program but I was just miserable coming to work, because there was carpeting. My asthma flared constantly. I couldn't walk very far at a time.
When my son told me he and his girlfriend got a cat, I said, 'Oh no, I can't hug you anymore!'
I had attempted in the past to get treatment. But during the tests to see what I was allergic to, I had such a severe reaction that they stopped everything. I never went back and never got treatment.
I have a friend who is a nurse at the University of Illinois allergy clinic and she convinced me to see Dr. Nyenhuis. Dr. Nyenhuis told me I was a candidate for allergy treatment and I figured I didn't have much to lose.
Knowing my history, Dr. Nyenhuis carefully monitored my initial testing and I got through it. Then I got weekly shots for six months. Now, I just go in for maintenance once a month.
It has completely changed my life. I don't use my inhaler. I can wear down coats. I can go to my son's house and play with the cats and I don't even notice ragweed season anymore.
It's a good ending. I'm so excited."