How much more could I possibly be allergic to? I can’t write this post like I wrote Part 1 and Part 2. Before, fear and acceptance had already run it’s course, and I had successfully made the necessary changes. This time is different. I am living in Part 3.
Mid September, my asthma began another silent attack. My resting heart rate increased, feeling fatigued began to feel normal, and breathing normally became harder and harder. Some symptoms are so familiar to me that more times than not they go unnoticed until it is too late.
When running is going well, and I run outside daily without asthma attacks then I am fine, right?
When I take 2 daily allergy medicines, a preventative asthma inhaler, a rescue inhaler, and avoid all the foods I have discovered I am allergic to and all possible asthma triggers, then I should be fine right?
Because I have been and still am lacking all of the information.
I based my food allergy information on reactions that I had prior to and immediately after my first EOE emergency. (EOE, short for Eosinophilic Esophagitis is an auto immune disease that causes white blood cells to build up in the esophagus which causes narrowing, tightness, and strictures.) When I went on an elimination diet because of the EOE diagnosis, it ended up being very similar to the diet I already followed. The only other food I stopped eating was eggs since it was a high risk food.
For four years, I lived on a wheat free, soy free, nut free, legume free, egg free, sunflower oil free, most of the fruits free, most of the vegetables free, and probably some other foods I am forgetting free diet. I ate at only one restaurant, and ordered occasional macchiatos from Starbucks. I accepted it, got used to it. It was fine. Manageable. I ate as much as I wanted of the foods that were ‘safe’, and that was enough to fuel my body for running and life.
On September 29, my ‘luck’ ran out. A combination asthma attack and allergic reaction (that I didn’t realize was even occurring at the time) left me with the fear of not knowing what was wrong with me. My rescue inhaler wasn’t effective, my blood pressure was all over the place, my throat felt swollen, and I couldn’t think.
My doctor prescribed a 5 day treatment of high dose prednisone and ordered an Ige blood test. The Prednisone was all too familiar, but the blood test was new. I was tested for all common food allergies and regional allergies (common trees, grasses, weed, mold, etc).
I knew the regional allergies would be off the chart. Normal/High reaction range is .10-.34. My reaction to all grasses, all trees, and ragweed… at least 5.0 and up to 13.0.
The food allergy results, however, came as a surprise. They showed me that I have been poisoning myself this whole time. My most severe food allergy on the test? Tomatoes. What did I eat on Saturday night? A gluten free, soy free, egg free, wheat free pizza. And Sunday? Baked Lays and salsa. The test also confirmed that I have an allergy to corn (4th most severe food allergy from the test). My Sunday morning breakfast? A bowl of gluten free Frosted Cheerios (contains corn). And the chips I had with salsa? Contains corn.
Are you kidding me? When is this madness going to stop? I am currently mourning the loss of popcorn, Baked Lays, Frosted Cheerios, salsa, ‘allergy free’ pizza, Fritos, and Blue Bell’s Homemade Vanilla Ice cream. But if I look on the bright side, I get to add egg whites to the list of foods I can eat. (***eye roll***) The other confirmed allergies I already knew about. Peanuts, almonds, sesame seeds, soy, wheat, pea protein, hazelnuts, almonds, and more…
October 6, 2018
Breathing became difficult again on Saturday, and I was once again ‘sucking air through straws.’ I used my rescue inhaler all afternoon with little improvement. When the feeling of ‘impending doom’ refused to subside, I went to an urgent care facility. They injected me with a corticosteroid first and then started a breathing treatment, but my lungs became more irritated, and I couldn’t get enough oxygen in. I fainted twice, and they injected me with epinephrine which helped instantly. After a full breathing treatment, I was good to go home all worn out and baffled by how bad this was getting.
The answers I had about managing my asthma and allergies are gone. There is something else going on, and I am making it a priority to find out what so I can smile confidently and live my life.