Allergies, not just sneezing.

After having spoken with many people about my allergy journey, I’ve decided that it is important for me to share the stories in a more tangible way to help others that may be struggling to figure their symptoms out. My story is one of listening to signs and ques and decoding the information to find relief. Simple as that, but in that simplicity is a huge array of complex and time consuming actions. So in my story you will see the information I gleaned, and how I went about testing theories, and ultimately the discoveries about my myriad of symptoms based upon the allergen. I hope it helps you.

My journey started very young. By the age of 3 I had received allergy shots to help with symptoms such as congestion, red watery eyes, and sneezing. By kindergarten I was being given Benadryl regularly for the same symptoms. By 2nd grade I’d seen an allergist who did the very expensive skin prick testing. His results were mold spores, certain tree pollens, and certain grass pollens and even dandelion and ragweed pollen. I was told stay indoors when pollen counts were high and that I would probably have to take allergy medicine my whole life unless I was lucky enough to outgrow some of my allergies.

By the time I was 11, I was no better. I was given my vaccine boosters a little late, but the doctors assured my mom I’d be fine because I had had all of my vaccines on time prior to that booster. That year my allergies swelled. I could not go outside if ours or any of our neighbors’ yards had been mowed. Otherwise I would end up in a congested, red-eyed wheezing fit. That year I got a horrible case of pneumonia, which the doctor noted as being unseasonably early, and had to do regular breathing treatments and large doses of antibiotics to get over the pneumonia. The following summer my allergies were just as bad and my mom took me back to the doctor. He diagnosed me as having asthma and medicated accordingly. That year was the same year that I gained massive amounts of weight, almost 80 pounds, and began my battle with Depression.

I have now seen the documentary Vaxxed, and even though they only discussed one particular complication of the vaccine, I am now certain that all of my health problems could be plausibly linked to that vaccine booster or a particular set of circumstances of which the vaccine was merely the tipping point. And for all I know, with the lack of reliable truthfully studied and relinquished/disclosed information,  it is plausible that my entire allergy journey is intrinsically linked to my full exposure to the myriad of childhood vaccines I received. See my previous post- especially the part about 3 things I know.

Regardless, that year included a vaccine and the beginning of major lifelong health problems including significant health altering allergies and severe depression.

I continued on following Wetern Medicine’s half-assed fix. Take allergy medicine, if you have trouble breathing- use your inhaler, if the breathing trouble persists use a breathing machine, if that fails to control the breathing come back in and get a script for antibiotics.They didn’t deal with the depression chalking it up to being a pre-teen in middle school. They didn’t deal with the weight gain because my thyroid “was low side of normal”.

By the time I graduated high school I was using my inhaler regularly because one of my class-mates died from an asthma attack and I was petrified that it could have been me. I was probably over medicating at the slightest wheeze out of fear.

I graduated and went to college. As part of my research for a science class I came across a website discussing allergies. That website went over different types of allergies, covered lists of allergens and even discussed the intrinsic link between food allergies and environmental allergies. I’m sorry I don’t have the link anymore- it was over a decade ago I read it. Anyway, the site explained that if food allergies are present, environmental allergies will manifest more severely because your immune system is already on overload and hyper-reactive. I took that information and marinated on it because I didn’t know how to proceed. How did you figure out if you had food allergies? I just couldn’t conceptualize the process of eliminating foods to try and figure that out.

Within about 2 or 3 months of that, I met someone that had a Red40 allergy and she told me about her reactions. She explained that she was also allergic to other things and blue food-coloring. I was amazed at her story and how she figured it all out. Again I marinated on that information. I’m providing these anecdotes because I have noticed that along my journey the information always presented itself through outside sources first, and followed in first hand experience later.

So my first hand experience was during my 2nd year of college. I had a small apartment and was trying to make a go of it on my own. Like any poor college student I cut corners on food to allow for spending money for weekend fun. One meal led to my first allergen discovery. I ate a king sized package of twizzelers and a can of green beans. Up to that point I’d only ever had a few twizzelers at a time, and I’d had green beans from a can thousands of times in my life. As I sat in my tiny living room wheezing and puffing on my inhaler every 15 min, I recalled the conversation with the friend that had all the allergies. By the end of 4 hours I could finally breathe mostly normally, but my heart was racing from the excessive inhaler use. I was petrified, but knew I had to test my Red40 theory.

Over the next couple of  weeks I had green beans several times and twizzelers several times (in smaller quantities). Sure enough the green beans were harmless, but the twizzelers left me wheezing every time. Ok, so now I know I do have a food allergy. I thought just one.

Fast forward several years. Anya was about 3 and her biological mom was harping on us to keep her on a gluten free diet. I was doing my best to make gluten free bread and failing. I read an article about Rye being similar to wheat, but that the glutinous protein was slightly different and thus some Gluten Intolerant people could eat rye. I was excited because I’d watched my mom make rye many times over and I knew I could duplicate the bread with a good recipe. I bought a bag of rye flower and the complimentary ingredients and proceeded to make 2 loaves. They turned out perfectly and as soon as the first was cool enough to eat, I sliced away and Nathan and I enjoyed almost a whole loaf that day. By dinner time (roughly 2 hours later) I was so bloated I was in pain and didn’t want to move. I had the most horrible gas, and felt like puking. I curled up in a ball on the sofa and sipped on hot  tea hoping it would calm my stomach. My stomach stayed tied up in knots for 2 days after that. Of course now I have another theory: was it the rye? Test, test again. I bought store loaves of rye from 3 or 4  different sources. trying one or 2 slices at a time.  Every time I ended up severely bloated and miserable for hours. So, ok, now I have 2 food allergies- right?!

Fast forward another couple of years and I was trading with a massage therapist that was having her knees replaced because her nightshade allergy had produced (Rheumatoid?) arthritis enough years that her knees were permanently damaged. Logged and noted.

Fast forward another couple of years. I got pregnant with Ian. I knew that gestational diabetes was a thing in my family. I also knew my mom’s version was atypical in some respects but couldn’t remember how. So I started logging everything. What I ate, how much of it, when, and what my glucose numbers were afterward. I noticed a pattern that took switching practitioners 3 times to acknowledge. I noticed that only certain foods were causing glucose spikes, and if I avoided those I was fine. The person that finally acknowledged the pattern explained that any stress on the body will raise glucose, and that an allergic response could definitely stress the body. It was suggested to eliminate the offending foods and see if I still have any glucose problems. I did so, and voila- the glucose issues disappeared. Anytime I misbehaved and ate a “bad” food my numbers would spike astronomically high. I would get 300’s off of 2 TBSP of mashed potatoes, but I could eat a full serving of wild rice and still be relatively normal. I got through the pregnancy just fine and had a beautiful healthy 7 pound baby boy with just diet control.

My theory is that in my body’s efforts to protect the baby, it flared my allergies to an extreme response so that I would notice more quickly and quit doing the offending behavior. Now, I know my list of foods that this process revealed, but since I’ve given birth the allergies have not backed off. I had sincerely hoped they would have, but it seems they are as bad as ever. I now take 2 different allergy medicines: Singulair and Zyrtec, and still have to do breathing treatments regularly or use my inhaler when I’m away from home. It’s so severe now that I am contemplating seeking a compounding pharmacist to eliminate the corn and potato products in my medicines.

I’ll go over my pregnancy defined list (in addition to the Red40 and Rye) and their symptoms now. It may be TOO MUCH INFORMATION for some, but if you are on a healing journey, you may find all the gross details helpful.

  1. Nightshade Family: Tomatoes, Peppers (any except peppercorns), Eggplant, Potatoes, and Gogi Berries.- This family skyrockets my blood sugars, causes my asthma to flare instantaneously, and at least tomatoes and potatoes leave me swollen and with joint pain. The inundation also causes my seasonal allergies to go off the charts so that I end up with runny nose, sneezing, and itchy watery red eyes. Symptoms will back off within hours, but if exposure was severe, remnants last for 2 weeks.
  2. Corn- loose stools, flatulence, bloating, my body refuses to fully digest food at the meal it was involved in, and thus I miss out on helpful nutrients, and the worst symptom by far is the severe joint pain. When I’ve consumed corn I end up with joint pain so severe I have trouble walking, even standing, and it has lasted 2 to 4 days each time. I now refuse to eat corn knowingly due to this. In the last 6 months I’ve had corn twice accidentally because of eating food made by friends, in which I didn’t ask the ingredients. Needless to say that doesn’t really happen too often, I can’t stand the consequences.
  3. Wheat- This is one of my lesser allergies, too bad even the lesser one is significant enough to want to avoid it. I get mild bloating, sometimes accompanied by stomach discomfort. Usually some constipation, and occasionally bloody stool.
  4. Soy- very similar reaction to wheat, but usually more severe bloating.
  5.  Lactose/dairy- bloating, massive flatulence, stomach cramps, intestinal cramps, hiccups, and IBS type stool responses.
    1. Lactose, Soy, and Wheat I’ve learned are still cause for great concern because of their relation to the thyroid. Being hypothyroid with allergies means that if I could afford the testing I’d probably be diagnosed with auto-immune hypothyroidism. Simply meaning my allergies cause the immune system to attack the thyroid. Essentially, there are molecules in those 3 foods that are very close in structure to molecules found naturally in your thyroid. If your body reacts to one, it attacks both. It is felt by having a thyroid dip even while taking thyroid medicine.
    2. Thyroid dips include: severe fatigue, depression, anger, mood swings, cold hands/feet, heart palpitations/chest pain, blood pressure swings, swelling in the extremities, and many more that I don’t always get- these are my common symptoms. For more info, please see StopTheThyroidMaddness and HypothyroidMom.

I’ve read recently the link between leaky gut, thyroid problems, and food allergies. On top of that the doctor in Vaxxed  was noting that a large number of the kids affected had been ill prior to vaccination and had taken antibiotics for the illness. His theory as I understand it, is that the killing of good gut bacteria made them more susceptible to things passing beyond the gut lining, and whatever passed through made it to the brain and did permanent irreparable damage, such as has been seen in people with advanced stage Whipple Disease. If this is the case then there is a very strong likelihood that the vaccinations not only triggered the allergies, but also may have caused brain damaged that led to my chronic battle with severe depression. The upside is that what I’ve been reading about leaky gut suggests that once the gut is healed the body can begin to heal and restore itself to pre-injury functioning. It’s a very very slow process, but one that is completely attainable through avoiding allergens and taking proactive steps such as bone broth and probiotics. I am hopeful. I’m working on getting myself back into avoiding the allergens like the plague, and from there I’ll add in the broth and probiotics.

And hell, I’ve come a long way already. I’ve figured all of this out: mostly on my own, and done all the hard work this far. I’ve lost 60 pounds and kept it off (had lost almost 100, but gained 40 back after birth), and I look damn good for someone that struggles through every day. I think I’m going to congratulate myself, so that I at least have myself on my side!

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