I have been struggling with allergies for years. The first really odd allergy reaction I remember having was when I was about 6, in 1986, I had a horrible skin blistering painful and itchy rash that in my memory lasted several months. At the time my mom only saw a naturopathic doctor who had her apply witch hazel to my rash a few times a day, it was all over my back, bum & legs. It hurt to sit. Eventually the rash cleared up, I developed asthma and a flaky white scalp that looked like dandruff. Except dandruff shampoo made it worse, significantly worse. One hairdresser I saw when I was 12 thought I had chemical burns on my scalp. Hard to believe since at the time I had never had a perm (naturally curly hair) or hair dye.
Asthma was even worse, because of my mother’s abhorrence of traditional MDs I was never diagnosed. I would try to go outside to get air and instead it would get worse. I started sneaking a friend’s brothers inhaler because she and her parents felt bad for me. It was so bad in sixth grade I would try not to hit the ball, because I couldn’t run to 1st base. A few years later I had such a severe attack and was wheezing so badly my friend’s mother was going to bring me to the ER. My mother called the naturopath who explained to her that it was a life threatening condition and that she needed to address it. She got me a primatine mist, which probably saved my life. I vomited green flem in a church bathroom for several hours, I remember this specifically because I was laying on a concrete basement floor of this old church and couldn’t even reach the toilet.
Fast forward another year or so and I started to develop excruciating stomach problems. I would wake up in so much pain from some odd unknown that I began to faint. This time my mother did not go the naturopath route, since I had blacked out at the top of the stairs from pain and almost fell down them. She brought me to the ER and several doctors. They never actually figured it out, never connected it to foods. They thought I had disappearing cysts.
A few years later I found an MD on my own who put me on some heavy duty steroids for my severe post nasal drip. It wasn’t asthma he said, it was fluid filling my lungs while I was sleeping.
Eventually I figured out that wheat was the cause of my itchy flaky scalp and intense stomach pains. Wheat products in my shampoo or hair products cause just as much flaking and itching as when I eat them. It is what appears to be psoriasis, if I see a regular dermatologist I will be treated for psoriasis. If I address it on my own I just don’t eat or use any products with wheat and it stays away.
By my mid twenties I started seeing an ear, nose and throat doctor. I had the worst reaction to dust mites that office had ever seen. Ended up having sinus surgery and did three years of allergy shots, but I slacked off.
About three years ago, I saw a new naturopath and did a food elimination diet. Removing all gluten and corn products from my diet I felt great, but suddenly over the last year I found my ability to tolerate foods reducing. A bunch of foods started causing me:
- intense itching on my stomach
- severe sinus pain
- throat swelling
- instant coughing
- post nasal drip
Suddenly I was finding less and less foods I could eat. Finally decided I needed to see an allergist. I know that food allergies are incredibly difficult and what I was doing had been working by altering my diet.
My new environmental allergens testing, showed me allergic to everything. The problem was that I told them I had an extremely bad reaction, I forgot to mention that some of my reactions are delayed outside their normal time frames. Only about 10 minutes, although sometimes the molds pop the day after.
For me it’s even more bizarre because my allergies are severe, but I don’t have normal symptoms, no runny nose, no red eyes. I don’t think allergy nurses always take me seriously because I appear fine.
I get pain and exhaustion.
This initial testing my results showed 5 minutes after they had started to inject the next level of serums. By the time she looked at me again I had a band around my arm and needed prednisone. I left feeling awesome.
My food testing, I know isn’t always 100% accurate, but the soy and wheat were definites for me. They are two foods that cause itching and pain. The yeast I am not surprised showed, because I have such a bad mold allergy. Carrot surprised me, but since I removed carrots I can suddenly eat foods that I haven’t been eating for the last year. Beef again not surprised, I don’t normally eat it because I get intense stomach pains. I never realized it could be an allergy.
The end result is that I am getting shots three times a week right now. The doctor has said he thinks that my issue is largely threshold because my system is so busy with the dust mites. It is absolutely so important that I do not develop asthma. I jog every day and push myself to the edge of my comfort level while I can comfortably breath to keep up my lung capacity. I am happy that this MD didn’t push other meds on me and said that my benadryl at bed or as needed is probably the best for me. I was advised to add in some claritin during the day by my endocrinologist because it can help with some of the itching caused by foods. I am also doing half a pseudo ephedrine as needed at most every other day (I am super sensitive to it, makes me so jumpy).
My goals right now are to not be exhausted all the time, avoid sinus surgery and asthma. (A severe dust mite allergy using the wheal measurement system, is 10 mm, mine measures at least 25 mm before I get prednisone. From what I read a dust mite allergy can be anaphylactic if the allergy is severe and the person has asthma.)
If anyone finds new research on these types of allergies, please comment below! I am so hopeful more research will be done. I am doing the shots again with the hope of reducing my allergy level slightly, but really would love something to help long term!