The Poet’s Corner

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We would like to give members of our mast cell disorder community an opportunity to share their poems on this site. If you would like to submit a poem, please email it to

Ode to a Mast Cell Flare


Kathy Bell, 2016

My skin, it itches, my eyebrows, they twitch.

My feet burn like they were hit with a switch.

I thirst and I drink and yet I thirst the more.

Puffed up like a toad until I am sore,

I can’t bend my fingers and can’t see my toes,

And my belly it swells and swells-

That’s where all the fluid goes!

My gut, oh my gut did- I mention it swells?

Like a mighty fortress it closes up tight,

On guard for any intruders that might put up a fight.

But the flaw in the system is that food is not my rival.

Food, yes, food is what I need for survival.

Backing up, freezing up, fermenting my fodder.

Eventually it stalls and sputters its way open,

The pain I endure is truly unbearable,

But somehow, lamenting, bear it I do.

My mind is confused, my words have all …gone

What used to be easy is now a great feat.

My thinker won’t think, brain fog they call it,

But when I’m in a flare it’s more like pea soup!

My thoughts, they just go round and round in a loop.

Sometimes it’s so bad, I need a keeper, or two!

Insomnia, that night time fiend,

Pays me a visit each night in my bed,

My body, my mind, they yearn for sleep,

But my blood is filled with that ancient elixir,

I feel ready for a fight or to flee or leap.

So I toss and turn like a Kitchenaid mixer!

I take my meds, but the battle rages on,

My muscles, they spasm from my head to my feet,

I try not to cry, knowing tonight I will not sleep.

Insomnia, and all the other ails I now bid adieu,

For now I must speak of She Who Must Be Obeyed,

Oh yes, you know it is you!

She who is most cruel,

The Queen of Chronic Fatigue.

Like a vampire she drains me,

Just to the point near death.

Then leaves me, gasping for breath.

I am weak to the point of immobility,

Feverish or chilled to the bone, I feel her hostility.

I am loathe to admit it, but I am Her slave.

When she speaks, I must obey.

For if I do not, she will rain down a mast cell Hell

Upon my body this very day.

And yet, as I shiver beneath my covers,

I cry a pox upon her spiteful face!

And so it goes, and if I am good and if I am lucky,

This flare will pass with no horrible sights,

No feeling of doom, no hysteria, no anaphylaxis,

No Epi-pen, no ER, no Grim Reaper

Hopefully not tonight.

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