In September, I saw my general practitioner for a yearly checkup. It was the height of seasonal allergies, so I told her I’d be curious to talk to an allergist about what could be done. She referred me but the appointment wasn’t until December; I almost didn’t keep it because I thought, “I don’t have allergies in December.”

The allergist’s first question was, “Do you have a cat at home?” I told her I did but was emphatically NOT allergic, since I’d been around cats my entire life. She looked in my eyes and nose and recommended a nasal spray “to help improve my sleep” and then we did the skin test for environmental allergies.

Can you guess what’s coming next? That circled C and Ce below stands for “cat hair” and “cat epidermis.”


Thankfully, it’s a really mild allergy, as compared to the “grass, tree and pollen” arm:

Nothing in Prince Toby’s kingdom will change, of course, and I still continue to bury my face in his fur and kiss him at every opportunity, but this explains SO MUCH: I’ve just kind of always had a stuffy nose my entire life. I assumed it was normal to wake up and not be able to breathe. I thought everyone kept a Kleenex in their pocket at all times for nose-blowing. (In fact, I learned that from my mom–I bet she was allergic, too.)

The nasal spray the allergist recommended is making a huge difference already–I don’t wake up stuffy! I blow my nose so much less! At some point next year I’m planning to do the shots for a long-term solution, but the whole experience honestly feels as magical as starting therapy or Zoloft: There is a reason you feel this way, and there’s ways you didn’t even know about to feel BETTER.

Better living through science, indeed.