My food allergies came on very fast. One day I was fine and then I wasn’t.
At first it was just some small hives on my neck, so I put some hydrocortisone cream on it and didn’t really think much of it. Trust me I am not unfamiliar with having hives or eczema and have literally carried hydrocortisone cream around in my purse since high school. Well then the rash spread into full blown hives all over my body. So of course I go to the doctors office and he suggests we do a basic food allergy test. Meanwhile, he prescribes steroids to knock out whatever was going on. After taking a strong amount of steroids for five days the rash goes away. But, then two days later after finishing the meds the rash came right back.
So of course I go back to the doctor… and he has my results. He says he has never encountered an allergy test like mine and now has to refer me to an allergist. Basically, the allergy test (immunoglobulin E test) was positive for wheat, dairy, egg whites, peanuts, almonds, shrimp, and sesame. Not to mention to multiple other allergens such as dust mites, mold, and mouse pee (really? ha ha)… Different types of grasses and trees and of course cats and dogs… which yep there are three cats in my home. Go figure.
I was literally living on Allegra until I got everything under control. I cut out everything, lost a bit of weight, and was scared to eat anything. Eventually the fear ebbed but trust me I do not think it will ever completely go away. This is a journey for me and one that I have only had about a year to adjust to. So, I have a lot of room to grow and learn about living with allergies.
But, I realize that as I finally start to feel comfortable and get back into the swing of things – going out and eating new things – that is when something happens. Getting comfortable and forgetting to read a label like I have done before. Or, thinking that eating at my universities cafeteria was a good idea because they have an “Allergen Free” station. Not that I am discouraging anyone from trying anything new, I am just saying be your own advocate and be sure to ask questions before eating something new or using a new product!
Sometimes, especially for those of us who get food allergies when they are in their 20’s, we sometimes forget that this is our new reality. That we now have to pack a lunch when we go anywhere for a long time, and we can’t just stop somewhere to eat like everyone else. At first I told myself “Well this can be a good thing, I always wanted to be thin.” But, other times it hurts to watch people eat whatever they want without any fear. Just remember this world is always changing. Maybe stopping at any random place to eat will be our reality once again or for the first time for some of you… Well I can dream can’t I?
I wouldn’t have made it through this past year if it was not for my family and friends. There are always going to be people who question you and your allergies. There were even a few times where I wanted to eat something I knew I shouldn’t, just to prove to people this was serious. But, don’t put yourself in that position. You know yourself better than anyone else and there will always be people questioning you. Especially if your allergies come on at a later age and out of no where (like they usually do). Just don’t listen to the nay sayers and take care of yourself.