A safe and relaxing Valentine’s Day weekend away from home

 

Ocean Trails sign

On Friday afternoon, my partner and I headed up island for a weekend away. A wonderful birthday gift from family. We stayed at Ocean Trails Resort. The place we stayed in had a full kitchen which was great. We packed up a cooler full of food from home and grabbed safe utensils (as I do not feel particularly safe using plastic utensils that have been used to cook things I would likely be allergic to). It is always great to bring our own food as I feel extremely safe and don’t have any worries about the weekend. I can fully relax knowing that all the food we brought is safe and there is no chance of a reaction, especially considering the fact that everything we made had no processed foods in it, just vegetables, meat and rice. Safe as can be!

Before we booked the suite for the weekend, I called and made sure to ask whether the suites were pet-free and non smoking. They had assured me of both. When we went to the front desk to check in on Friday evening, I was extremely excited to see they had a sign which clearly stated their allergy policy:

allegy signSeeing this sign was a huge relief and sparked a conversation with the receptionist who explained that they understand how sensitive people can be with pets and smoke and know that pet dander can stay on furniture and in the carpet for a long time.

It was the first weekend away from home EVER I have not had to take any benadryl or other antihistamines! The place was spotless, buildings were newer and there were lots of windows we could open for some fresh air. No itchy eyes, scratchy throat or asthma attacks. It was truly wonderful.

If you are looking for a pet-free place to stay on the island, with a well equipped kitchen and fireplace, I highly recommend visiting them for a weekend, or perhaps even longer! We will definitely be going back there. :)

Thank you Ocean Trails Resort for a weekend we will remember! Conveniently located right next to Rathtrevor Beach, which we went to today, though it was very wet and windy.

How has your dad supported you?

Erika and Dad

Today I’d like to dedicate my post to my father. An amazing man who has been there every step of the way. He’s always stood by me, whether it be in -30 degrees or + 30 degrees! My dad has been my rock. Living with food allergies and asthma, there are ups and there are downs. As a teenager, my dream was to make it to the Olympics one day and to race internationally, in cross-country skiing! My family and friends were always extremely supportive and I am extremely fortunate.

Winters were always EXTREMELY busy, with races pretty much every weekend when I was at the more competitive levels. My dad and I were constantly away. We were a two man team a lot of the time, he would wax my skis and I would race my heart out. When I was in competitive sport, I never felt sad about my food allergies, or frustrated about my asthma. My dad would remind me to take my inhalers 30 minutes prior to my race and within a few minutes of my start as prescribed by my doctor. And he would have safe snacks for me after my race when I was needing energy! Together we made a terrific team! My dad would give me pep talks before each race and help me ease my nerves leading up to larger races. I loved hearing about how in the wax hut he had heard of a new trick to make my skis even faster, and other tips he’d gotten from other coaches or parents.

K0sk1n2d3 St4rt

He was always on the sidelines cheering me on and he was always there to cover me in a blanket or bring me my coat after the race.

My dad has always known how to enjoy the moment. We’ve had some fairly competitive races around the tracks and I will never forget those! Our family seems to get really competitive in Go Karts! I love it! :)

G0 K1rtsG0 K1rts 2rik3

In the summer it was cross-training in sprint kayak and training camps. He was always driving me around, just like the cross-country skiing races. I am fortunate to have a dad who goes out of his way to make things work, to find a solution and to keep us all smiling. So thank you dad. Thank you for being there for me every step of the way.

What are some of the greatest things your dad has done for you? Or perhaps moments you will always remember…

 

A weekend of safe meals away from home!

Salad Raspberry

This past weekend, I felt extremely safe with all my meals, even though I was far from home! The conference I attended was held at Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute. The kitchen staff had been provided a list of all my allergies by the conference organizers prior to the conference. Meals were buffet style for starters and breakfasts, and plated for the main meals. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, I would mention to a waitress that I was the one with multiple food allergies. They would nod, tell me to have a seat and shortly after, one of the kitchen managers would bring my plate out to me. The food was great and the staffs attention to my allergies and full understanding and appreciation of the severity of them was one of a kind.

Steak Dinner

Each meal, I felt included. My meals were almost identical to everyone else’s plates! They did a wonderful job at every meal. They even had a sorbet for me and a nice strawberry and mint fruit cup.

I had dessert with every dinner! A real treat :)

DessertSorbet

Thank you Kingbridge Conference Centre & Institute for such wonderful service. The staff were friendly and always smiling! Good safe food, attentive staff, a beautiful venue with squash, tennis and basketball courts, indoor and outdoor pool, an indoor running track and walking trails makes this Centre the perfect getaway!!!

If you are looking for a place to stay somewhere near Toronto I HIGHLY recommend a visit! The staff will take great care of you.

For food allergy and environmental allergy accommodations, I rate them as a 10/10.

 

Close friends, family, and loved ones

Beach View

 

I have been extremely busy lately, juggling health, multiple jobs and such, and have taken some down time, to relax, re-focus and plan! Health challenges can often be overwhelming, though it is so rewarding when you finally get a grip on things. Whether it be dealing with severe food allergies, environmental allergies, asthma, a serious chest cold, or injuries from sports or an accident, it is easy to get pulled into a downwards spiral. Times when we are perhaps not as healthy, having the loving, caring and supportive family members, relatives, colleagues and close friends around will make things a whole lot better.

Having someone who is not afraid to give you a pep talk and get you back on track is key! When things are not going so great, it is easier to lose sight of our goals. I’ve learned that the best possible thing I can do to prevent myself from losing sight of my goals, dreams and other plans is to be able to kick myself out of the blues. A quick pep talk usually gets me back on track, though often times, a hug or chat with a close friend or my sibling is needed. I like to go for a walk, or sit on the beach and listen to the sounds of the waves breaking, or watch the calm water on a day when there is no wind.

Do you ever find you are overwhelmed by health challenges? If so, how do you get back on your feet and try to see past the present struggles? Do you tell yourself it is only temporary? Do you tell yourself you’ve gotten through it before? Who do you call for a chat?

Shampoo, conditioner and body wash

Natural hair products

In following up to yesterdays’ post…

If you are anything like me, the products at the pharmacy or local grocery store just won’t cut it when it comes to shampoos, conditioners and body washes or bar soap. All the fragrance, perfumes and other scents always make me itchy or give me hives. Have you ever read the ingredients on your shampoo bottle? Or on the bar soap you use? If you haven’t I’d suggest having a read. All I can say is that most conditioners have wheat and/or soy.

Did you know that… another common ingredient you will find in most of the products on the market these days are parabens. Parabens are used as a preservative in many products, beauty products mainly. I’ve gotten hives from them in the past.

My scalp used to be itchy all the time! I switched to these natural products and now, I could never imagine trying a new product. They work great and I never feel itchy. If you are considering switching to a natural soap, be sure to read ingredients VERY diligently as you’ll notice that a lot of the different brands out there use soy or almond. When I first set out to find new hair and body products, I spent a lot of time reading and re-reading labels.

And when I go to the hair salon, I either bring my own products, or go prepared to have an itchy scalp for the next 24 to 48 hrs… Read an earlier post of mine; Time for a Haircut? about trips to the salon.

Tomorrow’s post will be about perfumes and makeup…

Wearing a mask on the bus

photo

Have any of you considered wearing a mask on public transit or on chartered buses? I have worn a mask when on larger chartered buses for longer trips, like 1 hr or more. I have never worn them on public transit. I will be taking a chartered bus at the end of the month and know, without any doubt that I will be wearing a mask. I have a stock at home and am ready to sit next to the window and strap my mask on. I’ve had reactions in buses before and wearing the mask makes me feel safe.

So what’s the difference with wearing a mask on local public transit over a chartered bus? Well, triggers are definitely the exact same, so the benefit would be the same. Well worth it! The difference is that I would get a whole lot more stares and feel much less comfortable on public transit. The crazy thing is that other countries wear masks all the time. But here it would get quite a bit of attention. People wear them for colds and illnesses, however wearing them for allergies might not actually be all that common, if in fact it happens at all.

How do you deal with triggers on the bus. Would you wear a mask?

The triggers on the bus go…

What a way to start the day! Sitting right next to us on the bus was a girl dowsed in perfume. I was trying to keep my antihistamine use to a minimum as I’m prone to getting really drowsy from most of them. This morning I’m starting it off drowsy. The perfume coupled with other triggers on this bus have my nose running, eyes itching and some coughing to go along with it. This bus is quite a closed trigger environment. I can’t wait to get outside. Another 10 minutes in this trigger filled environment. Never been more excited to get to work.

And just when I thought I had had my fill! Here comes the cologne. Eek. This is getting absurd… :(

When you take public transit, do you get ups and downs with triggers? Perhaps some bus rides trigger your allergies and others don’t? That’s what happens with me. Especially when you are on a bus with smokers, perfume, pet dander and a ton of dust! Fun, fun, fun.