I’ve overcome my allergies and asthma! Bring on 2017!

I just realized the other day that I hadn’t posted in almost a year and decided it was time to get back into a routine with my posting! So much has happened over the last year. I wanted to update you all and keep you posted on the successes as well as the hurdles I’ve been working through. After 8 years living in Victoria, British Columbia I have moved back to Montreal, Quebec to be closer to family, where I grew up. I’ll catch you all up slowly :)

On the allergy front, the past year has been filled with wins.

Firstly, I am thrilled to announce that I am still eating almonds!! It’s been over a year after passing my challenge to almonds, and I must say, having one more source of protein in my life has made all the difference.

Secondly, after 6.5 years of cat and dog immunotherapy, I can be around all dogs without issue and without antihistamines. My body seems to be considering the same for cats though it has not been as accepting of them yet. Emphasis on yet.

During the holidays, I had an exciting win! I tolerated 3 hrs in a house with 3 cats! I had taken some antihistamines and gone for short breathes of fresh air throughout the evening… That being said, I was in a house with cats!?!?! if someone had told me 10 years ago that one day I’d be in the same house as a cat, I’d have told them they were crazy… But they would have been right :) To all those out there feeling hopeless about your pet allergies, I urge you to look into immunotherapy and talk with an allergist. Reducing the severity of my pet allergies has changed my life. Everyone I run into who talks about having to deal with major allergy flare ups when they go to a family members house with a cat or dog, I say, you don’t need to suffer. There are solutions out there. There are advances in the science of allergies and asthma every day and the research is starting to come up with potential solutions to all of this. Please don’t suffer in silence. Ask me questions here if you want, or send me an email and I’ll gladly answer any and all you may have.

Getting control of my allergies has resulted in EXTREMELY controlled asthma. Without changing a thing for my asthma treatment, my lungs are better than ever! Allergies and asthma are a domino effect. Solve one thing, and another will be resolved too.

If there’s any wisdom to share with you all from the last year, I’d share this:

Ask questions and be curious.
Ask for help and never give up.

The answer you’re looking for could be right around the corner!

And most importantly of all… Keep smiling and focus on the positives! Trust me on this one. Focusing on what’s not working the way we like is not the way to go. Think of embracing the challenges you are faced with. Strategize how you might overcome them and who you might engage in your journey to success! And know that it’s ok to have moments where we feel down. I’ve had them too. It’s what makes us human. It’s what we do to get through these moments that shapes us. If you can find the strength and resilience to pick yourself up when you are at your lowest low, you can take on anything life throws your way.

Life’s a journey and we don’t have all the answers. Be open to asking others for help and guidance and you can reach your goals and milestones. I struggled with asking for help. Everything changed when I started asking for help and not feeling like I was burdening others by doing so. At the end of the day, it’ll be up to the people you ask to let you know if they don’t have time or the capacity to help you. To be your best self, one needs to believe that we are never alone. Friends, family, colleagues, medical professionals, people we meet on the ski trails or at a coffee shop. We are surrounded by people who all have their own successes and challenges. Speak up and you’ll get to where you need to go.

Wishing you all the best for 2017 and looking forward to sharing some recipes I’ve been saving up and some more insight with you all on how I’ve overcome my allergies and asthma. You heard that right. I have overcome them because they no longer control my life, I control theirs. 😉 They exist, there are foods I can’t eat and some places I won’t go with a ten foot pole like a pet store, but I’ve got the reins on my life and no one can stop me! Perspective is everything. Watch out, there’s no stopping me now.

In health,
Erika

 

Victoria Regional Transit Commission votes to keep existing pets on buses policy

Yesterday, after presentations from 3 delegations and a thorough report presented by one of the Commission members on the topic of whether or not to allow dogs on leashes on buses a decision was made. That decision was to keep the existing policy wherein working dogs are allowed on buses at all times, however other pets are only allowed on buses when in carriers.

This was a very interesting meeting to be present for as we heard about the research they had done, the surprising response to their survey that was posted in the fall and more about what other cities have as policies around pets.

The survey asked questions around how often you use transit on a weekly basis, how would this change if dogs on leash were allowed on buses and so on.

Over 50% of the public who responded to the survey said they did NO to a policy change which would allow dogs on leashes on buses. A little over a third said YES to allowing them and 10% said Sometimes. The response was even more overwhelming with Transit Operators with well over half of them saying NO to the idea of a policy change.

In both my research and that of the Commission, it was clear that some transit Commissions across Canada have not opened up discussions to the public on the matter. I would like to thank the Victoria Regional Transit Commission as well as Vancouver for opening up this topic to the public, as we all have a right to speak up when it is a matter of public safety. They are going above and beyond to ensure that they make an educated decision and incorporate the public’s opinions in their decision. With surveys, presence on various social media platforms asking these important questions, accepting letters and emails and phone calls on the topic.

They have agreed to keep the policy at this time, however they may reconsider once Vancouver has made their decision about their own Transit Policies.

Watch the Video Clips from Chek News and CTV News to learn more:

No leash dogs allowed on Greater Victoria buses – Chek News

No pups on public transit, unless in a carrier – CTV News

A wet start to the week…

Today we woke up and opened the door to check the weather. Turns out today is a “heavy rain” day. One of many living here on the west coast of Canada.

On days like today I am always very aware of my breathing as after rain there is often mold. There are giant puddles everywhere! Days like today I think of how much fun we had as kids jumping in puddles and the water didn’t bother us in the least.

Allergy injection for me tonight. Then I am finally at my maintenance dose. After  3 months of trying to get to maintenance, I will be able to take the maximum dose, on a monthly basis, I am finally there!!!  Relief. Regular allergy injections definitely make my schedule busier as I have to wait at the walk-in clinic to get them. However, it is well worth the wait as the doctor administering the injections does her best to administer in a way that rarely triggers a reaction. I am fortunate to have found a really good doctor at the walk-in.

Let’s ring in the New Year!

Erika Profile - China Beach

Thank you for all your support and encouragement in 2014! It has been one busy year and I would not be where I am right now without you. Thank you to my family, friends and fellow readers. :)

I have some great plans for 2015 as my #1 goal to raise awareness still stands. I am planning some giveaways and other surprises for 2015 and my question to you is…

What would you like for 2015. What questions do you have? Who would you like to write a guest blog post? If you would like to share a story or tips in 2015 or know someone who may want to, please send me an email at erika.ladouceur@livingwithallergies.ca or submit a contact form on my website. I would love to have various guest posts to share different angles of perhaps similar stories.

Wishing you a safe New Years’ celebration tonight with your family and friends. Let’s make 2015 a year to remember! Wishing you all great health and happiness in 2015.

– Erika

Safe Holidays?

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How were your Holidays? Were you able to eat delicious food surrounded by those you love without a reaction. Thanks to wonderful friends and family who truly understand my allergies, I had a reaction free Christmas. Even my environmental allergies were well controlled as I avoided any environments which might have triggered a reaction.

If you and your family went to friends and family for dinner, did your hosts understand your food allergies? If they had pets, did they understand how your asthma and allergies would be affected?

Hopefully you had great safe holidays and that New Years will also be a safe one for you. If you are going somewhere, please prepare ahead and communicate your allergies and the level of severity. Better to be safe.

Have a wonderful Monday!

Erika

 

Happy Holidays!

I would like to wish you and your family a happy holiday season!

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Remember to be safe and not take any risks with food that you are allergic to. You do not want to end up in the ER on Christmas Eve. I’ve been there, done that and do not wish that upon anyone. We spent December 24th driving to the hospital and all evening in the ER for observation. Please be cautious when eating away from home. There is no such thing as being “too careful”. Ask lots of questions, bring food you know you can eat and let others around you know about your allergies and that you carry and epinepherine auto-injector so that someone can help you if you have a severe reaction. Plan ahead.

As for environmental triggers, speak up and let others know when you are having a reaction or your asthma is flaring up due to pets, smoke, incense or candles.

 

Happy holidays!

Erika

Scent-sitive – Tips to making those of us with Asthma feel safer during the Holidays

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Scented candles are one of many triggers that can cause a healthy person like me to have an Asthma attack. Many people do not understand that the chemicals, fragrances and scents that go into these candles to make them smell like cranberry and orange, pumpkin and spice, or vanilla (only a few mentioned) can trigger wheezing and serious troubles breathing for people like me. People who are Asthmatic.

I have always found it hard to explain to people that the scented candles are triggering my Asthma and are the culprit. Many do not believe a candle could do such a thing. But it does. Incense is just the same, and often worse, as it will give off more smoke. Don’t get me wrong, I love scented candles; my lungs don’t.

During the holidays if you are hosting and you know that one of your guests has environmental Allergies and/or Asthma please ask them if scented candles and incense are one of their triggers. There is a very good chance they are. Holidays can be one of the most stressful times for many of us who live with Asthma, environmental Allergies and food Allergies. If someone has told you that candles and incense trigger them, please respect that.

In the simplest of terms, think of scented candles and incense as you would perfumes and colognes. If friends and family have expressed that perfumes set off their Asthma, then candles and incense will likely have the same effect.