‘the allergic type’

Doesn’t everyone know someone who is ‘the allergic type’? They have environmental allergies to grass and dust, even our lovely pet kitties & pups. When did that ‘allergic disposition’ run over to foods for me?
Growing up I was the allergic little girl. Early on, I was diagnosed with eczema, found out I was allergic to eggs after a miniature swollen-lip, red-faced incident. I’ve never been able to sit in the grass without getting itchy. Spending the day even walking around in flip-flops left me a little itchy after the free-flowing grass & dust graced my ankles. Forget letting the animals I grew up with snuggle me a little too much. I’d spend afternoons with a red face, watery eyes, and a runny nose, after being exposed to any of the above. The pediatrician recommended no pets in the home (what?!), no carpet (no problem!), and no fabric softner. My mom obliged to them all except the pets. We had 2 dogs and a cat. She cleaned often to rid the area of any excess pet hair. We purchased an air purifier. These only slightly helped. I carried on. Zrytec & Claritin became my friend once they were available. Benadryl was my first allergy-drug experience. Pre-Non-Drowsy days. Ugh. Quickly, I realized I’d rather have allergies than be comatose. I always felt like I was hearing the teachers from Charlie Brown talk to me. Waaa-Wooo-Waaa-Wa-Waaa. Whoa.

In high school I lost my voice about once a year, had sinus infections, but continued to carry on.
In college I went to see an allergist. Tried shots for awhile which did seem to help. Nothing was ever a ‘magic cure’.
In between both, I had on and off visits with eczema. Tried whatever creams the dermotologist recommended. Took a patch test for contact allergies and next a prick test. The itchiest thing I’ve ever experienced! Saw little welts like mosquito bites rising on my shoulder. Which one is that?! I asked the nurse. Oh my she says. You are sure allergic to a few things. More like 36 out of 60 to be specific.

Allergies do run in my family, but then again, who doesn’t know someone (especially in the south) that doesn’t suffer from allergies at some point during the year?
My mom, being a respiratory therapist, always recommended nasal washes and could help me through anything. Once, around my late teens, I had a meltdown. I didn’t want to be sick anymore. We went to the minor med and did an x-ray. Chest was clear. They gave me some Prednisone which did knock out the lingering sinus infection, post-3 antibiotic sessions.

Living in San Francisco did wonders for my allergies initially. The fresh, sea salt air felt clearer and I had less frequent allergic outbreaks and sinus infections.
Fast forward about 4 years. Sinus infections became frequent again, eczema returned.

What the hell was i going to do? Where did this come from? I thought it was related to stress from my job. Living in a studio with a large dog that sheds a lot. I brush him everyday. Maybe the damp SF air was no longer good for me and my apartments. Mold grows anywhere.

As you may know from my history lesson blog, I had a food allergy test in November 2009. Most amazing thing I could have done. The results were depressing at first. Soy, dairy, and a slight reaction to wheat. But I’m strong, I can face anything.

I don’t want to be the ‘allergic type’. I want to be the happy, healthy, strong woman that I know I can be. I want to be a pioneer of my own health, and maybe even yours. Small steps. Learning anything I can. Understanding the physiology of the body. Really? I thought I would outgrow an egg allergy? I thought I would be fine hanging out in smoky bars and clubs, without reaction? Sure, until i had an asthma attack and never had been diagnosed with asthma. What is asthmatic bronchitis? Oh yea, I had that too.

It’s time to take charge which is where Eat it Up, Buttercup! comes in 🙂 We should all be living fabulously wonderful lives, full of great foods (and of course friends!). Surround yourself with things that make you happy and make changes in your world to slowly get you there if you aren’t already. Don’t be afraid to challenge the system. If I hadn’t, maybe I wouldn’t have had a food allergy test after so many traditional doctors recommended things that just weren’t working for me. Last, but nowhere near least- Love yourself! Love your body! Love life!

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