A mother of four, she revealed, couldn’t leave her house for three years after being stung by a wasp.
Suki Tipp, from Troy, Alabama, was stung in 2018 at the age of 36 while moving furniture in a barn near their home with her husband, Chad.
She described what happened next as “almost like a three-year sentence” after being diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis – a rare immune disorder.
The real estate agent realized something was wrong when she exhibited a strange reaction to the wasp that she had never experienced with previous stings.
Ms Tipp told Insider: “I had this weird taste in my mouth that reminded me of the smell of bug spray or weed killer. I got really hot, I was breathing heavily and I felt sick.
“I walked 200 meters back to the house and I got dizzy. My body was on fire. Somehow I managed to grab my phone and text “Help!” to Chad.
“He found me unconscious. He said I was throwing up, my eyes were rolling and I was foaming at the mouth. I was barely breathing.”
Chad quickly rushed her to the hospital, where she coded three times and the paramedics resuscitated her using electrodes.
She had suffered anaphylaxis — a deadly reaction to an allergen that can be caused by food, medication, or insect bites.
The mother was held in intensive care for ten days before being released.
But despite being given Epi-Pens, she was having more and more allergic reactions, which meant she had to go back to the hospital.
Doctors didn’t know what triggered their reactions. Everything from food to cleaning supplies triggered a potentially life-threatening seizure.
After several allergen and blood tests, she was finally diagnosed with systemic mastocytosis.
The condition affects around one in 150,000 Britons and is caused by mast cells – a type of white blood cell that controls the immune system – that grow in different parts of the body.
When the cells recognize an allergen, they release histamine and other chemicals into the bloodstream, causing itching and swelling.
During an episode, patients may experience skin flushing, diarrhea, vomiting, muscle and joint pain, mood swings, headaches, and fatigue.
They are also at higher risk of anaphylaxis, meaning that any allergen is potentially deadly.
Mrs. Tipp could not leave her house and her children and her husband had to remove their clothes before entering.
She is deeply frustrated at having to miss social events and her children’s graduations, she said.
It made her feel depressed and jealous that everyone else was able to go on with their normal lives, she added.
Medications, including steroids, had little effect and eventually the mast cells attacked her hair follicles, causing her to lose her hair.
But in 2021, her oncologist recommended that she conduct a clinical trial for a new drug called Aykavit, which targets the genetic mutation underlying the condition.
The drug was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration in May this year, but not by the UK’s National Institute for Health and Excellence.
Her symptoms slowly improved and she was able to leave the house again.
Although initially unsure of large crowds, she began to be more active and saw her youngest son graduate from high school that year.
She’s also been taking her first family vacation since the wasp sting, kayaking and hiking.