Wednesday, August 19, 2015

It's been awhile...

I stopped blogging for a while I figured with Facebook, Twitter and social media no one really read my blog anymore... Boy was I wrong! I apologize for not responding to all the questions left by so many. I will do my best to respond over the next few days.

I was at MD Anderson on 8/18/15 for my yearly checkup with Dr. V. While standing at the check in counter this lady asked if I was Kevin. I was shocked that she knew who I was. I think her name was Kandace. She was meeting with Dr. V for the first time and possibly having a bone marrow biopsy to confirm Mastocytosis. I was blown away when she said she had read my blog and thanked me for all my information. We talked as if we had known one another for years sharing stories about reactions and our daily struggles. The best part was when I told her how I hated having to explain to a waiter (at a restaurant) about my allergies in front of friends and family. She was like then you have to ask for the manager and also tell the cook/chef! I was like WOW this lady gets it!!!

I hope to hear from Kandace again to see how she is doing… Dummy me I forgot to get her information. 

I’ve been doing well over these past 4 years. I’ve had a couple of minor problems nothing major. I watch my diet pretty closely and try hard not to push the limits. I’m the last person on the trial that Dr. V started back in 2004. I continue to take the chemo by pill twice daily. My condition is way better than it was a few years earlier. 

Please look for me on Facebook under klshoemake 

Your friend,

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Another Year!!! Do you Facebook???

Well another year has gone by I'm now 45! I have such an awesome family!!! It's so important to have a supportive family when living with SM. Remember do everything you can to live a stress free life I know that's easier said than done with the day to day struggles life places on us all.

I've found a great deal of support on Facebook!!! If you have not already created a Facebook page I suggest you do so. You will be surprised at the amount of people who have SM also have a Facebook page!

I look forward to hearing from you!


Monday, April 4, 2011

Just a small update!!!

I'm still here just been really busy with life. I had a really rough month last month with several ER visits with all the great symptoms of Masto. I'm doing much better just taking it day by day. I'm still taking the chemo pills as part of the study I've been on. I hope everyone is doing OK or as good as can be expected.

If you read my blog I would love to hear from you :) here is a picture of my wife Patty and I.

Take care your friend,

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Close call... Just another day!!!

Went to bed feeling OK nothing but the normal aches and pains associated with this crappy illness, I woke up at 3:15 AM feeling flushed with my heart racing at Nascar speeds. I was also cramping pretty severely to my stomach, I knew that if I was not able to have a bowl movement soon I was going to be in trouble fast. When I’ve woken up like this out of the blue in the past normally I’m injecting Benadryl shots while calling the paramedics, my heart is still racing my face is beat red I’m beginning to worry so that makes matters worse. I take a few deep breaths going over in my head what I should do if this takes the turn for the worst. I have all my shots close at hand, phone, and cell phone (so I can call my wife’s cell phone because she is out of town) It’s hard to explain even though I’ve been through this so many times in my past it still scares the crap out of me, I can’t help but wonder will I wake up from this attack or is this going to be it. Experience tells me I’ll be OK don’t panic stay calm take a deep breath and try to relax. I’m able to finally release the histamines, I try to go lay down but my heart is still racing I’m short of breath I remember my oxygen bottle I decide to take a Xanax to try and calm my heart rate. I go back to the bedroom with my arsenal of drugs, oxygen, shots and my medical alert information card laying on my night stand so the paramedics will see it if it comes to that.

I woke up this morning feeling like I’ve been run over by a train!!! I feel like I’ve had an attack while in my sleep. I’ve done this many times to try and avoid going into anaphylactic shock only to wake up with the feeling I slept through it. I begin backtracking what I ate the night before or what might have set off the attack. This time I’m really not sure, I did eat a non preservative pizza last night of course there is always the stress!!!

This is just one story of one person living day to day with this crappy illness!!! I pray all the time they’ll find a cure, I’m so sick of always feeling like crap.

I will continue to smile, laugh and live the best life possible. I refuse to let this control my life!!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

New day!!!

Woke up today not feeling too well, I've had the usual cramping, headache and fatigue symptoms!

On a more cheerful note I love the new blog background, I absolutely love the beach. I don't know about you guys but I need a vacation!!!

I would love to hear from you guys please leave a comment when you stop by...

Sunday, September 5, 2010

I get so angry!!!

I apologize if I sound like I’m whining, I’m just so sick of always feeling like crap! I would give anything to be normal again. I’m scared to travel for fear of being too far from Doctors that know how to save my life if I have another attack. I wish I was still able to work so that I did not feel so unimportant. I wish I could walk into any restaurant and order whatever I wanted off the menu. I wish the sunlight did not hurt my eyes so much. I wish I did not cramp to my stomach daily. I wish I did not ache constantly. I wish I could run and exercise without always feeling so fatigued. The list goes on and on but most importantly “I WISH PEOPLE UNDERSTOOD”!!!!

Sometimes I get so angry, why this had to happen to me! I apologize for ranting but at least most of you know how I feel.


Friday, August 6, 2010

So Far So Good!

I went back to M.D. Anderson for my yearly checkup, bone marrow + aspiration. Things are about the same so I consider that good news considering the alternative! I’m still taking the chemo by pill twice a day. I also started taking blood pressure medicine again so far so good.

I apologize to everyone for not getting back with you or posting more often. I’ve been so busy lately with different things life has thrown my way hence the high blood pressure. I still have most of the same symptoms from before that people with SM have learned to just live with but it’s been awhile since I’ve been in anaphylactic shock. I keep the shots handy because we all know how fast things can change.

I recently joined Face book so if you like look me up: Kevin Shoemake

If you read this say hello and let me know how you are doing.


Information Sheet for Patients and Caregivers!

The Mastocytosis Society,Inc. Information Sheet for Patients and Caregivers

This is a brief introduction for new patients and doctors who are unfamiliar with the management of mastocytosis. The information presented here, combined with that available in the cited references, provides a starting point from which to approach understanding, treating, and living with this rare disorder.

Mast cell disease, or mastocytosis, is characterized by the proliferation and accumulation of mast cells in a variety of tissues and can affect either sex at any age. Definite diagnosis is made by demonstrating an abnormal accumulation of mast cells in a biopsy, usually of the skin and/or bone marrow. Other causes for symptoms should be ruled out, and blood and urine testing for mast cell products may be suggestive of the diagnosis. When performed properly by experienced personnel with access to current information on recommended protocols the results of these tests will be useful in diagnosing and evaluating mastocytosis.

Mast cells are widely distributed in nearly every organ of the body, mainly close to blood and lymph vessels, nerve endings, and skin and mucous membrane surfaces. They develop from immature cells produced in the bone marrow, which migrate to the tissues where they mature.

Mast cells produce various chemicals which normally serve protective, inflammatory and regulatory functions as they interact with white blood cells and tissues. In mastocytosis these chemicals, or mediators, are abnormally abundant and cause symptoms.

Mast cell products (mediators)

Some mast cell products are stored in granules within the cell, and others are produced in response to stimulation by the immune system or by drugs, chemicals, or physical factors. Below is a table of some factors which can cause mast cells to release their products. Stress, strong emotions and estrogen can increase their effect.

The products present in granules and ready for immediate release on stimulation include histamine, heparin, tryptase, and chymase. These chemicals cause, and to some extent regulate, allergic and inflammatory changes, and are involved in tissue building or repair. In response to immune system activation of the mast cell, arachidonic acid within the cell is converted into prostaglandin D2 and leukotriene C4, which restrict air flow in the lungs, stimulate mucous formation, and attract some kinds of white blood cells.

Mast cells also generate several cytokines, which are proteins that interact with white blood cells and tissue cells to continue the allergic or inflammatory response.


The symptoms of mastocytosis vary from person to person and may occur as "attacks" or as simply fatigue and a feeling of ill health. Over time, symptoms may become more frequent and more severe. The rate of progression differs from person to person, and there may be an improvement in symptoms for long periods of time. The type and severity of symptoms can also vary greatly from person to person or from one episode to the next. Often, seemingly unrelated symptoms comprise an individual's personal pattern of mastocytosis. These may (or may not) include: flushing (temporary skin redness), itching, hives,bruising, and skin sensations such as tingling. Other symptoms experienced by many of the people with mastocytosis are nausea,vomiting, abdominal cramping, occasional or frequent diarrhea, and excess stomach acid or ulcers. The person may experience unexplained fractures, mild to severe pain in bones, joints, or muscles, enlargement of liver or spleen, bladder pain, heart palpitations or rapid heart beat, chest discomfort, shortness of breath, light-headedness, fatigue,weakness, weight loss, respiratory symptoms including asthma. There may be depression, poor memory or irritability; also intolerance to heat or cold or to a change in temperature. Other symptoms include headaches,fainting or near fainting, and recurrent anaphylaxis.


Because there is not yet a cure for mastocytosis, treatment is aimed at reducing the frequency and severity of the release of mast cell products and at countering the effects of mast cell products which are inevitably released. Most patients will achieve relief of symptoms only by employing measures in both areas.

Avoidance of the factors which are known to cause a reaction for the individual patient, and cautious evaluation of other factors, such as those listed in the Table below, are important in the management of mastocytosis.

In using drugs to counter the effects of mast cell products,treatment must be tailored to the individual patient. Most commonly, H1 antihistamines such as chlorpheniramine or hydroxyzine are used to decrease the skin symptoms, vasodilation and mucous secreting actions of histamine. Stomach symptoms generally respond well to H2 antihistamines, such as cimetadine or ranitidine, which can also help reduce skin symptoms.

Aspirin or other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, if tolerated by the patient, provide relief from flushing and lightheadedness by blocking the body's production of prostaglandin D2. These drugs can cause unexpected severe reactions, though, and their use must be instituted cautiously under careful medical supervision.

Cromolyn (disodium cromoglycate) is a mast cell stabilizing drug which is frequently effective in reducing skin and gastrointestinal symptoms as well as mental and other systemic systems.

For severe diarrhea or malabsorption, collection of fluid in the abdominal cavity, and continued anaphylaxis which fails to respond to other measures, systemic corticosteroids may be required.

People with mastocytosis should carry injectable epinephrine, and they should know how to inject themselves if necessary to treat anaphylaxis.

There are other medications which may provide symptomatic relief if the ones mentioned above are ineffective or undesirable for a particular patient. No new medication or remedy should be started without careful consideration and close supervision, in case of an unexpected reaction.


It is not yet possible to predict the course of mastocytosis in any individual person. When involvement is limited to the skin, symptoms may improve or clear entirely, but it is also possible for the disease to progress to the systemic form. In about half the young children affected, symptoms disappear as they reach adulthood.

When the mast cell infiltration is systemic, symptoms may progress slowly over many years or may suddenly increase temporarily or permanently. The patient may even progress to the more serious categories of disease.

For the small percentage of patients who develop an associated hematological disorder, the course varies, and the prognosis depends on the associated hematological disease. ( 2 )

It is very important for the patient and the doctor to maintain good communication and to work cooperatively to achieve the best possible symptom control. Communication with other doctors caring for mastocytosis patients, and with other persons who have the disease, is important in order to maintain a support and information network. The affected person, or the child's parents, should strive to become educated about mastocytosis and to be aware of their individual needs and responses to triggering factors. A recognized medical warning device, such as a MedicAlert bracelet, should be worn, and extra caution is needed when undergoing dental work or surgery.

The Mastocytosis Society provides education and support to people with all forms of mast cell disease and their doctors, encourages research, and hopes to help find a cure for the disease. The Society also maintains a list of consultants who are available to advise professionals caring for a mastocytosis patient. Because of the rare nature of mast cell disease, we encourage doctors and patients to register with the Society in order to facilitate the communication and information exchange which will hasten the achievement of a cure.

Classification (adapted from (1) )

The following is a useful classification of the kinds of mastocytosis.

Cutaneous mastocytosis: Skin involvement only. This may include:

Urticaria pigmentosa: The typical rash of mastocytosis in the skin.

Solitary mastocytoma - a clump of mast cells restricted to a small area of the skin.

Diffuse cutaneous mastocytosis - skin involvement without urticaria pigmentosa or telangiectasia macularis eruptiva perstans (distinctive patches of discolored skin with small blood vessels on a reddened background. If the skin is heavily infiltrated with mast cells, the release of large amounts of mast cell products may cause systemic symptoms.

Systemic mastocytosis with or without skin involvement: Mast cell infiltration of at least one internal organ (like bone marrow or gastrointestinal tract). (2)

Mastocytosis in association with hematological disorder, with or without skin involvement: For example: leukemia, lymphoma, and myelodysplastic or myeloproliferative disorders.

Lymphadenopathic mastocytosis with eosinophilia, with or without skin involvement: Enlarged spleen and lymph nodes, infiltrated with mast cells, along with a blood count high in eosinophils.

Mast cell leukemia: This is rare but is the most serious form of masocytosis. The treatment and course of the disease is dictated by the leukemia.

Table of mast cell degranulators (adapted from (3) )

Allergens and other immunologic stimuli


Physical stimuli (heat, cold, sunlight, friction, pressure, vibration)

Bacterial toxins

Venoms (snake and insect, especially bee and wasp stings)

Biologic polypeptides (released by intestinal roundworms, jellyfish,crayfish, and lobster)

Polymers (Compound 48/80, dextran)

Drugs: Aspirin, alcohol, narcotics (codeine, morphine), polymyxin B,amphotericin B, D-tubocurarine, quinine, iodine-containing radiographic dyes, scopolamine, gallamine,decamethonium, reserpine.


1. Dean D. Metcalfe. Classification and Diagnosis of Mastocytosis:Current Status. J Invest Dermatol 96: 2S-4S, 1991.

2. Linda Golkar, Jeffrey D Bernhard. Seminar: Mastocytosis. Lancet 1997; 349:1379-85

3. Jack Longley, Thomas P. Duffy, Steven Kohn. Continuing Medical Education: The mast cell and mast cell disease. J Am Acad Dermatol 1995;32:545-61

Last update 6th December,2004