It all started on a sunny day in May. John had been out mowing the lawn and was just finishing up when he felt the first tickle in his nose. He tried to ignore it, but within seconds it turned into an uncontrollable urge to sneeze. He tried to hold it in, but it was too strong. He let out a big “ACHOO!”
The sneeze felt good, but it also left him feeling a bit strange. He sniffed a few times and shook his head, but the tickle came back. Again, he tried to hold it in, but it was too strong. He sneezed twice more in quick succession.
John was starting to get worried. He’d never been a particularly sneezy person, so this sudden onset of sneezing was concerning. He tried to think of what could be causing it. Maybe he was allergic to something in the lawn? Or maybe he’d caught a cold?
He went inside and did a quick Google search for “sneezing.” The results were not particularly reassuring. Most of the hits were for articles about allergies and colds, but there were also a few hits for something called “vasomotor rhinitis.” John had never heard of this before, but the name sounded vaguely medical.
He clicked on one of the links and started reading. Vasomotor rhinitis, it turns out, is a condition that can cause excessive sneezing. The exact cause is unknown, but it is thought to be related to a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. In other words, it’s a nervous system disorder.
John’s heart sank. A nervous system disorder? That sounded serious. He read on, looking for any information that might give him some hope.
Unfortunately, there wasn’t much. The condition was often chronic and there was no known cure. The only treatment was to try to manage the symptoms.
John felt defeated. He was only in his early twenties and he already had a chronic condition? It didn’t seem fair.
He went to bed that night, but he couldn’t sleep. He tossed and turned, his mind racing. He was worried about what the future might hold. Would he always be like this? Would he never be able to live a normal life?
The next morning, he decided to see a doctor. Maybe there was something they could do.
The doctor ran some tests, but they all came back normal. There was nothing physically wrong with John. The doctor diagnosed him with vasomotor rhinitis and prescribed a nasal spray.
John was relieved to have a diagnosis, but the nasal spray didn’t seem like much of a solution. He started using it, but it didn’t do much to stop the sneezing. He tried every remedy he could find, but nothing worked.
The months passed and John’s life became a living hell. He was sneezing all the time, sometimes up to fifty times an hour. He lost his job because he couldn’t control his sneezing. He became a hermit, too embarrassed to go out in public.
His family and friends tried to be supportive, but they didn’t really understand what he was going through. They told him to just “sneeze it off” and “get over it.”
John became depressed and suicidal. He started to think that death would be a relief.
One day, he went to the store and bought a bottle of pills. He took them all at once, hoping that it would be the end.
Fortunately, it wasn’t. He woke up the next day, still alive and still sneezing.
John continued to search for a cure, but he never found one. The best he could do was to manage his symptoms and try to get on with his life.
It hasn’t been easy, but John has slowly started to rebuild his life. He’s found a new job and made some new friends. He’s even started dating again.
There’s still a long way to go, but John is slowly learning to live with his condition. He knows that it will never go away, but he’s hopeful that one day he’ll find a way to manage it.
If you suffer from vasomotor rhinitis, know that you’re not alone. There are many others out there like you. And while there’s no cure, there is hope.