In February 2010, I spent countless hours at doctors’ offices and hospitals. My boyfriend drove me to every appointment, no matter how early it was, without complaint. There was a time when he even took me to the E.R. The end result of all the discomfort and pain I went through, was asthma.
For the last two years, I had my asthma pretty much under control. I take a maintenance inhaler, an emergency inhaler and I was taking a daily pill. But, this past summer was a completely different story.
Around the time we moved out to Charlottesville, I started having really bad chest pains. I wasn’t responding to any of my medications, which was scary. My general practitioner there switch medications in hopes that it would help, but it didn’t. Instead, I had to spend more time at doctors’ offices and hospitals. My doctor recommended that I get a chest x-ray to make sure I wasn’t misdiagnosed in 2010. The chest x-ray came back normal and she said I looked okay for being asthmatic. The pain continued, then worsened, and there were days were I would have to leave work early.
Because the x-ray didn’t show anything out of the ordinary, my doctor recommended that I get allergy testing done. As a child, I had been allergy tested six times, and I wasn’t thrilled with her suggestion. When I was younger, I was allergic to environmental factors. When I was retested, most of the environmental factors were still a trigger for me.
In August 2012, I found out that I was highly allergic to corn, and moderately allergic to eggs, cantaloupe and bananas. After being tested, we realized that my allergic reaction to corn was mimicking my asthma attacks and that’s why I wasn’t responding to my asthma medicine. My food allergy-related attacks were non-responsive.
Let’s not forget oral allergy syndrome (OAS). The true definition of OAS is, “OAS is perhaps the most common food-related allergy in adults. OAS is not a separate food allergy, but rather represents cross-reactivity between distant remnants of tree or weed pollen still found in certain fruits and vegetables. Therefore, OAS is typically only seen in tree and weed allergic patients, and is usually limited to ingestion of only uncooked fruits or vegetables.”
As an example, I have an allergy to Birch and Kiwi cross-reacts with Birch. When I eat kiwis, my lips swell and my tongue itches. I get the same reaction when I eat straight soybeans. But, I don’t get any reactions from other fruit or veggies that cross-react with Birch.
I can’t decide what is worse: dealing with food allergies on a daily basis by reinventing my diet or the way people look at me. When I go out to restaurants, parties or corporate functions with my family, I have to explain why I can’t eat a certain food. This of course brings on the look of pity or intrigue, followed by comments by, “Oh poor you,” “Man, that sucks because you’re missing out on all cool food,” or “That must be an inconvenience to you and your family.”
This blog will track my every day life as I go through a trial and error of trying new foods that can fit into my diet.