Unmasking Mast Cell Disease: An Interview With a Fighter and Survivor

The Other Courtney

I saw her photos on Instagram and was immediately drawn to them. We had a lot in common, it seemed. We both owned chocolate labradoodles, had anaphylactic allergies, and lived in the Carolinas. The more I got to “know” Brynn Duncan, however, I realized that while we did have things in common, our lives were nowhere near similar.

Her photos were captivating and touching



But equally heartbreaking


I started feeling sympathy for this girl I had never actually met, and only interacted with in the form of “likes” and Instagram comments. The more I read about her constant anaphylactic reactions, hospital visits, feeding tubes, and seizures, the more curious I became about what type of illness she was dealing with.  As someone who has anaphylactic allergies and knows the physical, mental, and emotional toll they take on a person, I could hardly comprehend a disease that causes spontaneous anaphylaxis, sometimes…

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3 thoughts on “Unmasking Mast Cell Disease: An Interview With a Fighter and Survivor

  1. Just wanted to say hello and wish you the best of luck in the coming years! I have the same disorder, although I’m an older lady, and my daughter does as well. Both of us are not near the severity of yours – my daughter’s is extremely mild compared to many – but I can sympathize with the constant reactions to the smells and the chemicals and the foods. *hugs*

    You just get to that ‘Dang it, reacting again’ point, yeah?

    Oh, and reading the recent interview, I felt compelled to ask: have you or your folks ever checked out the Delphi forum called ‘avoiding corn?’ I only ask because I noticed that you react to corn. I have an issue with it as well and was reacting to nearly everything I ate as well. But after getting on that forum, I started to learn about just how much corn was on the majority of the food I was getting at the grocery store in the form of gases, sprays, pesticide residues, and waxes (both on organic and conventional). And how much corn was in my home in everything from cleansers to certain wood products.

    It helped me significantly when I was able to track down and eliminate some of these. I know that you are currently on a feeding tube, but didn’t know if you plan for this to be permanent or if you are looking for a day some time when you will eat food again. If you wanted to eat food again, I would really recommend that forum, truly.

    I was only able to eat produce again, really, when I found a farmer in my city that grows food without any coatings, gases, or sprays, and uses ‘chickens and hope’ as pest control. I can have almost any of his produce (as long as it’s low histamine, of course).

    t don’t know if that would be the case for you as well, but I wanted to mention it in case it might be of use.

    you take care, and I hope you have a really good week.

  2. Hi Brynn,
    I read your article on The Other Courtney. I too have MCAS. My case isn’t nearly as serious as yours, but I do understand many of your struggles. Keep up the good fight. As you know, we are not alone, but we are sometimes hard to find. I am not sure where you are located, but I am very excited to participate in an event called Erica’s Walk for A Cure in Massachusetts in November (you should check out their website with the same name). All proceeds go directly to Masto/MCAS research at Brigham and Womens Hospital in Boston (where my doctor is located). I am very much looking to meet others that deal with this dreadful disease and to raise more awareness and money. Anyway, I wanted to say that your blog is great and that you are definitely doing good works for all of us.
    Take care,
    Erika G, Needham, MA

  3. You are one strong girl. Keep fighting! I also have Mast Cell Disease and have had many similarities to you! I hope you keep getting better!

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