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Things that are happening: Food allergies & Trying new things

May 29, 2012

All kinds of stuff has been happening over here, so I wanted to tell you about it, as it’ll be reflected on the blog. It’s kind of long, I’ll warn you in advance!

Back in December, I went to a Christmas party at Lindsay’s house, and had some cookies. Not really shocking, I would imagine, but after a year of eating Primal (and really monitoring my intake of grains) it was more than I’d have at a time. I had some noodles too. And a red velvet cupcake. I figured I should try to relax. This is what people do at a party, right? Relax and have some treats?

The next day, I was feeling pretty bad. My face went numb and then I ended up with a rash all over my face. My doctor waved it off as contact allergen, but we couldn’t get it under control. When it spread to my body, they put me on Prednisone to control it. The rash lasted 7 weeks. What we know now that we didn’t know then: it was dermatitis herpeformis, or a gluten rash.

In January, I woke up one morning to discover my tongue felt burnt. Like I’d scalded it on something. I thought I must be going crazy. When it was still in the same state 4 weeks later, I finally confided in Maureen, my coworker, who urged me to see my doctor.

My doctor was baffled, but sent me for blood testing. It showed nutrient and mineral malabsorption (B12 deficiency is responsible for that burnt feeling). Since the cause was unknown, my next step was Gastroenterology. Since my symptoms were pretty severe, I was ushered in quickly. Looking at my information, my doctor was pretty certain it was Celiac Disease. He scheduled an upper endoscopy to confirm.

Since I’d cut out gluten (since I suspected it might be the same reason) a couple weeks before, I was asked to reintroduce gluten 14 days before the biospy (2 pieces of wheat bread, per day, for 14 days). I got through 1 day and had anaphylaxis. So clearly, I could not continue.

We went through with the biopsy as planned, but the results were chronic gastritis and esophageal inflammation. At first this was really bizarre to me. I’d never had heart burn. I don’t even know what that would feel like. I was really confused. I didn’t have Celiac, but rather gluten allergy with malabsorption. Have you heard of the term “leaky gut”? This would be it.

So what did that mean for me? Well, clearly no more gluten. I had to work on healing and getting better. I decided to see a Naturopath because getting a prescription for Prilosec and being gluten free seemed to be the only answers my Gastro could provide. Also, he suggested a lot of vitamins. A LOT. (And he wasn’t wrong. I do need a lot!)

My trip to the Naturopath was really informative. I learned about why the inflammation is indeed gastritis (food your body develops an antibody to can inflame you, much in the way eating something you probably shouldn’t can inflame your intestinal lining causing heart burn). But what I wanted to know: why did it happen? Both doctors theorized the same thing: have an underlying food allergy, get stressed out enough (very taxing to the immune system), and you can sometimes create the perfect storm for something like this to kick up.

After being gluten free for a while, most of my symptoms cleared. It took 3 months for my tongue to improve, but if I miss my vitamins for a few days (it happened in Vegas! I was distracted.) it reoccurs. My night sweats have stopped, my period has started to return. The migraines are less frequent, but I still can’t figure them out.

With that, my Naturopath suggested we test for additional food allergies. Even keeping a headache/food journal wasn’t yielding too much for me. The patterns are very odd. So I agreed. She uses the ELISA testing method through U.S. Biotek Labs, which tests for 96 foods.

The panel came back, and I was pretty shocked by the results. Allergies to the following: all dairy (with whey, casein and yogurt being highest), chicken egg yolks and whites, duck eggs, goat’s milk, bananas, mushrooms, baker’s yeast (pretty high on this), almonds, pecans, lima beans, sesame seeds. All of these were showed significant IgG results (autoimmune).

I looked at this list in shock. I protested at the results. How can this be possible? I am feeling so much better, I said. I just bought groceries. I can’t change my foods right now. I’m too busy for this. We just bought a house. I’m sure I’ll be too busy. We’re going on vacation and I’m not going to be able to eat anything. She talked about elimination diets. I just kind of fumed. I politely took my packet, paid and then went shoe shopping. And I went home and had an egg white scramble to test the waters. Nothing happened.

I had a pity party. I researched false positive blood allergy tests. I decided I would do not a thing about it. I would continue on my gluten-free way, and deal with the issues if they came up.

And then I got a splitting headache.

I spent a week thinking about what to do. I could pretend I never saw the packet. I could point to loads of information that says blood allergy testing has a lot of falses. Mainly false negatives….but maybe mine were all false positives. That the migraines I’ve had since I was 10 years old were just inherited. My dad had migraines too – and generalized body pain, same as me. He always said it was because we were so alike that we had these issues. My doctors never knew what to make of it. I figured maybe I’ll just wait until I can do traditional skin testing with the allergist I’m waiting to see.

After 3 headaches this weekend, I decided I’m ready to try this elimination diet. I have some information on hand, and it’s really up to me whether I want to try it out and see. The worst that happens is there are no changes in my migraines and headaches and I go back to having my Greek yogurt and egg white scrambles. The best thing that happens: I feel better. And I get better. And really, 6 weeks will pass whether I do this elimination diet or not.

I was worried about what I’d make, what I’d eat, where we’d go when we go out for dinner. I thought long and hard about what I would reach for. Would it look like a vegan diet with a side of salmon, bacon or chicken? How does this work?

And with that, you’ll see some new recipes on the blog. I have been making some things for Michael, of course (I will forever and always make him pizza, with crust from scratch), but I really haven’t too much dabbled in what to make for ME. I think I’m ready to go there. I’ll be trying out this new adventure, in the hopes of healing. Who knows – I might even find sme new loves along the way.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. ilovefetacheese permalink
    May 30, 2012 3:26 am

    oh you poor dear!!! HUGSSSS wow what a struggle you’ve been through, wishing you all the best. I’ll be here to test your recipes out!

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