REAL LIFE

‘I’m allergic to my husband’

Holding his hand is literally life-threatening.
Johanna and Scott Watkins

Johanna has battled with her allergies her whole life. Living with Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, the 29-year-old would break out in a rash, migraines and suffer gut problems at the most minor triggers.

‘I have had severe reactions to someone smoking a cigarette down the block,’ Johanna told the BBC.

‘I have had severe reactions to the pizza place that’s a mile down the street, and all my windows are closed and sealed in the room with special filters.’

However the most difficult part is that over time she developed an intense allergy to her husband, Scott.

‘We had noticed that when Scott would come in I would start feeling worse and worse. My normal daily symptoms would just be aggravated,’ Johanna explains. 

‘And then at one point he went to get his haircut and came back in the room and within two minutes I had started my anaphylactic symptoms and he had to leave.’

Johanna and Scott on their wedding day
Johanna had no idea on her wedding day how bad her allergies would become. (Credit: Jen Jacobs Photography)

Scott finds the situation difficult. Torn between wanting to support and protect his wife, but knowing that being near is literally life-threatening for her.

The couple manage as best they can – their date nights often involve sitting in separate rooms watching the same film and texting about it while watching.  Scott helps as best he can by working, and cooking Johanna’s food.

‘One of the ways I can take care of her now is by not going to see her,’ he says. 

‘I’m not going to endanger her life. We’re absolutely committed to one another and we’re going to wait as long as it takes to see if there is some kind of healing.’

Johanna agrees: ‘On our wedding day we made vows to each other that till death do us part. No matter what life brought.

‘I can tell you that even if I have this until I’m 90 years old, I would be committed to my husband with that vow and still love him.’

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