Author Topic: Riverbee's Journey  (Read 37070 times)

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Offline riverbee

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Riverbee's Journey
« on: January 13, 2014, 07:44:33 pm »
riverbee's journey?

i am an allergic beekeeper having developed a bee venom allergy in the summer of 2012, and as it turns out, after the testing in october of 2012, i am allergic to all stinging insects; honeybee, yellow jacket, wasp, and hornets, and have been undergoing venom immunotherapy injections for all of these stinging insects since january 24, 2013 of last year, one year coming up.  3 injections per week and am now on monthly injections.  the monthly injections, (3) consist of venom equivalent to one sting of each of the following; honey bee, wasp, and mixed vespid (hornets and yellow jackets).

in the spring of 2012, i developed larger than 'normal' reactions from honey bee stings not normal to what i had been accustomed to.  these reactions increased in severity.  as the season progressed into july of 2012, i wound up in emergency rooms after july  into august 2012 on 3 separate occasions being treated for anaphylaxis.  the last one was pretty scary for myself and my family.  i still remember it, the fear, struggling to breathe, my life really essentially passed before me.

as beekeepers we really never think of suffering from abnormal reactions, or anaphylaxis, i never really did, and wasn't prepared for it.  i was fortunate, i had early warning signs and ignored them. sometimes there is no warning, one sting is all it takes and within 20 minutes your life changes. one sting changes everything.  for me it did. i have taken many stings, so why now, or why me?  i can't answer this.  no one can, lots of theories, our immune systems are so complex.

in the fall of 2012 i went through the testing process for stinging insect allergy twice.  after the testing, it took a month to order all of the required venom before i could start receiving injections. my immunologist  doc  informed me that  i could not work bees for at least 2 years and up to 5 years depending on my progress with the injections, to once again develop immunity to stings, and to protect myself from an anapyhlactic reaction. i might be in the category of a 'lifer';  continuing to receive injections on a monthly or 6 week basis for the rest of my life.

so i came to a 'crossroad' in my life, a choice of whether to continue to keep bees or not.  whether i make that choice now or sometime in the future, one choice was clear, that i needed to take venom immunotherapy injections for all the other circumstances arising by coming across a stinging insect, but could i or can i give up honey bees? i still struggle with that.  i have a great passion for honey bees, how can i give this up?  only time will tell, and that is the journey i am on. 

since late summer of  2012, i have not worked my bees, but did capture a swarm in full gear at about 100 degrees and high humidity last august.    i carry two epi-pens, an emergency dose of steroid, and liquid benadryl.  the winter months give me a reprieve on this. my epi pens have seen a fair amount of adventure and travel; learning to carry them, 'where's the pen",  losing them, leaving them behind,  being run over and near smashed, floating down a river, and actually having them stolen one time and returned..... :D

i still have the majority of my hives, and they have literally gone almost untouched.  a great degree of frustration of crash training a spouse in the fine art of keeping honey bees who is now very addicted to them, and catching swarms. 
 
my injections have been a long journey; weekly visits that were often times frustrating,  stressful,  and with a number of setbacks. i have suffered a great deal of abnormal reactions, (still do) adjustments to my injection schedule, a preparation of the needles to minimize the large reactions and  taking benadryl before and after the injections.  my doc and shot docs have been  entertained/educated in the process.  i found a way to teach  about honey bees.....from painting smiley faces on my arms (where i receive the injections), to wearing all sorts of bee hats, antennae,  bringing  pictures,  queen cages, package cages, honey, and comb honey and frames of capped honey with me.  wearing bee antennae in a clinic waiting room full of allergic patients gets a lot of looks, laughs, and questions, especially from children.

i still suffer from large reactions to the honey bee injection; probably always will, and my doc says, once back into the bees, i will most likely always suffer from large local reactions, and will most likely have to wear full gear.  i can deal with that. 

will i be ready to work bees this spring?  right now this is an unknown for me, my doc says lets talk about it come february or march and i think, another round of testing.  my doc says venom immunotherapy is successful. and i might add, encouragement of others has made this journey less stressful, and me a less impatient beekeeper as time passes with the injections.

i have never spoken of this or shared this.  the summer of 2012 was a very hard summer for me besides developing the allergy.  i hope never to see another emergency room, dentist, orthodontist, oral surgeon, or an orthopedic surgeon again, well, at least not all in  the span of a few months. the allergy was enough in and of itself.....so some history...... :laugh:

in 2010, i had to have a root canal re-done through a 3 crown bridge on an anchoring crown of a tooth of the seated bridge, leaving the bridge in place but cleaning out of the original root canal, as i said through the crown of the bridge. just wait......don't forget this...... :D

in the spring of 2011, i suffered a stress fracture to my r hip socket and completely tore the hip flexor muscle, so spent most of the fall and winter, 2011/2012  on crutches.  working bees in crutches is not on a bucket list and neither is fishing on a pair of crutches....don't forget this....
in the spring and summer 0f 2012, the fracture was not healing properly. i thought i might have to have surgery on this.

fast forward to 2012:
in june 2012 i lost a very good long time friend to ovarian cancer, she was only 48.  her husband is still lost without her.  can't imagine.

in july of 2012,  i developed a toothache under the 3 crown bridge. in short, a trip to the dentist, a trip to the orthodontist to look at the re-done root canal, back to the dentist, off to an oral surgeon, who sent me back to the dentist to cut the bridge off and then back to the oral surgeon who extracted the tooth. lots of mystery tools these folks have. LOL.  i chose to be put under.  needless to say i went to sleep without realizing it talking bees, and when i woke up apparently i was describing how drones mate with queen bees.   :D

in late july 2012, off to montana.  the night before we left, i checked the bees. i was stung.  i didn't feel good, by very early morning to get on the road, hives.  by noon i was covered in hives.  in miles city, montana i was treated with massive injections of steroid, an antihistamine, and a steroid prescription.

two days later, SOMEONE left a window open next to a doorway that shouldn't be there,  where underneath sat a cooler of cold ones.  after a long day of fishing, i grabbed a couple cold ones, and whack, hit my noggin on that window.  didn't feel so good. about knocked myself silly. red stuff trickled down my face.  off to the emergency room in livingston, montana.

two days after that....are you all still with me?   :D .....i slipped going up the bank of a river, and fell  on my right knee on a rock and jammed that right hip. and  dinged a new fly reel.  it was a long haul back to the truck.  stubborn as i can be sometimes, wasn't going back to an emergency room.

 3 days later in an emergency room in kalispell, montana, i was treated for that fall.  i was in excruciating pain.  i thought i had either re-fractured the socket or tore the muscle again.  so pain killers and a pair of crutches until i could get back home to the orthopede.  the crutches; alot of mileage, from my dad, to me, and now to my brother. so my fishing/family vacation was spent in e/rs, on steroids, painkillers, benadryl and crutches.......btw, you can fish on crutches with drugs.....hard to run after grandchildren  though....... :D

august/september/october 2012, two more e/r visits for anaphylaxis and then the tests for the allergy.  and ps, never want to be on steroids again, the withdrawal from these are incredible.

i don't lead a dull life, but does settle down from time to time.... :D

so....up to date...i hope with this new thread to keep everyone updated on my progress, and also answer any questions, or help educate others on reactions to stings, or the entire process; testing, venom immunotherapy injections, epi pens, etc  i have learned a great deal of information since my allergy started and wish to share what i know with others from my own experience, and maybe a few funny stories along the way. 

last but not least, i can't express enough of a thank you to all who have encouraged me through 'my journey'.  i have never 'met' any of you but think and feel as if i have.  many of you have given me a great deal of encouragement when i needed it the most.  thank you.  sorry for the long winded post!

what a great start for me to a great new year, one year of injections behind me.....old friends, new friends and a great new forum!!!
how cool is that!!!
i keep wild things in a box..........™
if you obey the rules, you miss all the fun.....katherine hepburn
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Offline Perry

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #1 on: January 13, 2014, 07:57:01 pm »
"How cool is that?"

Pretty darn!  ;)
Glad to have met you, come to know you, and call you friend!
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Offline Walt B

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2014, 08:06:33 pm »
Heck of a journey. They make em tough up north...that's why I moved south!  :D Hope you continue to do well.

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Offline lazy shooter

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2014, 09:32:31 pm »
I remember from an old TV show, HeeHaw, the quote, "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."  That pretty much describes riverbee's last couple of years.

Her good luck is finding so many friends of this and the old forum.  Our good fortune is having her expertise, humor, and literary skills available to us.

I think I speak for everyone when I express our gratitude to you riverbee.  "Stay the course."


Offline Jen

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #4 on: January 13, 2014, 09:36:44 pm »
Holy Schmoly Guacamole! I'm.. just.. speechless
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Offline iddee

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2014, 09:50:27 pm »
Jen, now you know why she's our queen of the forum.
“Listen to the mustn'ts, child. Listen to the don'ts. Listen to the shouldn'ts, the impossibles, the won'ts. Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me... Anything can happen, child. Anything can be.”
― Shel Silverstein

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2014, 10:32:56 pm »
I am exceedingly Pleased to meet you Mrs River..  Knowing theres someone else in this world that has luck like mine, makes me feel less alone when my wife laughs hysterically at the blood running down my face, arm, chest or leg.....
   Tough old Bird is an understatement. To maintain the sense of humor and upbeat attitude that I have witnessed after all you have been through gives me strength. The next time life starts beating me up, rest assured I will think of you and be better for it.
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline apisbees

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #7 on: January 13, 2014, 11:49:42 pm »
Thanks for starting your anaphylactic shock story over here River It is a story worth sharing. Looking forward to the continued updates and wish you the best, and that in the end it allows you to continue to pursue your passion of beekeeping.
Best of luck.
Keith
Honey Judge, Beekeeping Display Coordinator, Armstrong Fair and Rodeo.

Offline Marbees

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #8 on: January 14, 2014, 12:35:49 am »
Riverbee's Journey

It's a great title for an action movie, and the opening post ... a screenplay for a horror movie.
Oh girl, you are too much :D I know you heard this statement before  ;D...
 
Glad we are friends, and glad you are a fighter :) Hope upcoming spring will bring some nice changes in the health department of your life.
You are one very  8) lady.
 
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Offline Slowmodem

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #9 on: January 14, 2014, 01:20:41 am »
I remember from an old TV show, HeeHaw, the quote, "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."  That pretty much describes riverbee's last couple of years.

Kind of describes her neighbors, too!   :laugh:

Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN
Beekeeping at 26.4 kbs

Offline lazy shooter

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #10 on: January 14, 2014, 08:43:08 am »
I remember from an old TV show, HeeHaw, the quote, "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."  That pretty much describes riverbee's last couple of years.

Kind of describes her neighbors, too!   :laugh:



Slowmodem, that picture is a hoot.  An image from the past that is visually descriptive of riverbee's neighbors.  Good job. :)

Offline jb63

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2014, 09:57:50 am »
My condolences on dinging a new fly fishing reel.The good news is now it has the lived in look and you won't have to worry about putting the first scratch on it.  :D Also, you left out the Lufkin snow blower incident. :thread:
I don't know.It was like that when I got here.

Offline Slowmodem

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2014, 11:46:37 am »
I remember from an old TV show, HeeHaw, the quote, "if it weren't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all."  That pretty much describes riverbee's last couple of years.

Kind of describes her neighbors, too!   :laugh:



Slowmodem, that picture is a hoot.  An image from the past that is visually descriptive of riverbee's neighbors.  Good job. :)

Actually, RFD TV shows Hee Haw  every Sunday night at 8:00 EST.  I try to watch/record it when I'm not working.
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN
Beekeeping at 26.4 kbs

Offline Jen

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2014, 11:48:07 am »
jb- I was thinking that too about the measuring tape that sailed into riv's head. Good Grief Charlie Brown
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Offline Jen

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2014, 11:51:15 am »
Slow- I would watch Hee Haw as a teenager, then turn the channel and watch "Laugh In". Those were the days man! Hippies and Hillbillies.
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Offline minz

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #15 on: January 15, 2014, 03:44:53 pm »
Been spending more time over here on this forum (checking in at lunch time) and must say I was pretty disappointed you guys all moved away from me.  This recap was nice.  It put the crossroad forum into some perspective for those of us that did not want to read the 3000 posts to get caught up on the old one (forum not you).


Offline efmesch

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #16 on: January 15, 2014, 04:03:52 pm »
Lest someone get the wrong idea about Riverbee, she is not the complaining type.  What she "exposed" in her introductory remarks is just objective, background reportage.  For those of you who haven't yet "met" her, she is one positive, optimistic woman with an amazing sense of humor.   And that isn't even the start of telling her merits.  I'm not one for filling out her praises (she might read what I write and get annoyed at me),  but keep your eyes open to anything she posts---you'll learn what I mean, and learn a lot of beekeeping too.

Offline LazyBkpr

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #17 on: January 15, 2014, 05:52:32 pm »
Lest someone get the wrong idea about Riverbee, she is not the complaining type.  What she "exposed" in her introductory remarks is just objective, background reportage.  For those of you who haven't yet "met" her, she is one positive, optimistic woman with an amazing sense of humor.   And that isn't even the start of telling her merits.  I'm not one for filling out her praises (she might read what I write and get annoyed at me),  but keep your eyes open to anything she posts---you'll learn what I mean, and learn a lot of beekeeping too.


   I think i have said this before, but I am going to say it again...

   The words of a wise man!
Drinking RUM before noon makes you a PIRATE not an alcoholic!

Offline Slowmodem

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #18 on: January 15, 2014, 06:15:46 pm »
Lest someone get the wrong idea about Riverbee, she is not the complaining type.  What she "exposed" in her introductory remarks is just objective, background reportage.  For those of you who haven't yet "met" her, she is one positive, optimistic woman with an amazing sense of humor.   And that isn't even the start of telling her merits.  I'm not one for filling out her praises (she might read what I write and get annoyed at me),  but keep your eyes open to anything she posts---you'll learn what I mean, and learn a lot of beekeeping too.

Sometimes it's hard to label someone.  Some defy labels.  But, if I had to apply a label, I'd say RB is an inspirational survivor.  I hope that if I ever face obstacles like she has had to face, I will have half the courage and tenacity that she displays.
Greg Whitehead
Ten Mile, TN
Beekeeping at 26.4 kbs

Offline lazy shooter

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Re: Riverbee's Journey
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 09:06:23 am »
When Riverbee  first became allergic to bee stings, (maybe I should state, she became fatally allergic to bee stings) I posted that she should protect her life because her live is intertwined with so many others.  I hardly knew her at the time and erroneously thought she needed a pep talk.  Had I known her well I would have remembered Knute Rockne's quote of: "When the going get tough, the tough get going."  Riverbee is prepared for whatever live deals to her.  She just takes life in stride and continues along life's highway. 

She is inspirational.  It is people like Riverbee that anchor us.  That's why so many of us love her.  I am, of course, speaking of "agape" love.