30 days of bizarre allergic reactions explained

24 hrs post reaction

Though many of you reading this have likely seen some of my Facebook and Twitter updates over the last month, it’s fair to assume that many of you haven’t heard from me since my last post, from a while back. In my last post I had mentioned I’d get back to writing more often, and I apologize for not doing so. As you all know, sometimes life gets in the way… In my case it most certainly did.

Fast forward to this morning… Quick summary to those of your reading this who have not heard a thing from me since my last post… June 8th I had a very severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis) and was hospitalized. Once in the hospital I continued having bizarre reactions for which doctors at the hospital could not explain. The last 4 weeks I’ve been reacting to foods I used to eat on a regular basis and did not understand why… Yesterday I finally got to see an allergist after 5 weeks of not really knowing what was going on. And it all finally made sense!!! The pieces of the puzzle finally came together! This morning I woke up feeling more confident than ever that my system will eventually calm back down and I’ll be able to resume the level of exercise I was doing before my June 8th reaction.

So. What happened on June 8th? June 8th I woke up early around 6am, hopped on my bike like I did most mornings and had a pretty intense hour bike ride. I definitely got my heart rate up there and sweat it out. I was really hungry after my ride and decided I’d have some almond butter on celery as a quick protein fix to tide me over until breakfast… Little did I know the combination of the celery, almonds and intense exercise sent my body into reaction mode. Within 5 minutes of ingesting the celery and almond butter, I started having symptoms of Anaphylaxis and knew I needed to administer epinepherine IMMEDIATELY. I administered my first dose of epinepherine and called 911 who dispatched an ambulance. After a few more doses of epinepherine, corticosteroids, and lots of antihistamines my body finally started to get the message that it was time to calm down! I’ve never had a reaction so intense as I did that morning… I was hospitalized over night, and sent home 24 hours later as I was feeling a whole lot better and symptoms of anaphylaxis had disappeared. 3 days later I had another reaction and found myself back in the ER… I had another 2 reactions the following days (while hospitalized) and we were pretty sure it was to the fresh cherries and raw carrots and tomatoes I had snacked on, because the hospital food was not the safest option for me. I stopped eating these things and things seemed to clear up. After a few days they sent me home. I had never been hospitalized before and though the doctors and nurses were great, I was happy to go home to my own bed.

The next few weeks I reacted to foods I had’t reacted to before and had some other weird things going on with my breathing and asthma. After speaking with friends and family, keeping a food journal and doing some research of my own, I suspected that part of the bizarre reactions might be a result of an oral food allergy syndrome related to birch pollen. Yesterday the skin prick tests confirmed it! And I was relieved! Many of you might be reading this thinking “Is she crazy!?! she just found out she’s got more allergies and she is relieved? No one is relieved to have more allergies.” Well, I REALLY am! And let me tell you why… Yes allergies can put a damper on life sometimes, but I would much rather know what I am reacting to and pick up a few more allergies than continue on not knowing what I’m reacting to. The rest seems to be my system trying to recover from all the reactions and medications I’ve had. And this will get better with the right medications, follow-up with my new allergist and time. As we all know time heals many things…

Once we know what we are allergic to, we can avoid those foods. Adding a few more foods to my list of allergies does not frustrate me in the least. It just means there are a few more things I need to watch out for. We all have different challenges we have to manage, whether it be health related or other. Being able to manage these and overcome them only makes us stronger! We need to embrace these challenges and not let them define us. I don’t let allergies define me. I’ve accepted the fact I have allergies and that I need to be more cautious than a lot of people. It doesn’t change who I am as a person. Even if I were to develop more allergies tomorrow, I’d still be the same smiling, positive, driven person I am today. Nothing can change that! Throughout the last 5 weeks I’ve learned many things… I could probably devote an entire post to what I learned, and I will… in due time. But for now I’ll leave you with the most IMPORTANT thing I learned which was “patience”. I learned to be patient with my expectations and my body and to trust that in time I;d have answers to everything that was happening. I trusted that in time my body would calm down and things would come back to normal.

If you stayed with me through this long post, I congratulate you!

Stay tuned for more updates and some key lessons I learned from all this, coming soon. 😉

Wishing you all a great day wherever you happen to be! Keep smiling and finding the silver lining. There’s always a silver lining! Often times it’s just really hard to find! Keep searching for it in those really difficult situations and you’ll feel enlightened. I know I sure have throughout all of this.

Do you have Food-dependent exercise induced Anaphylaxis?

One of my readers is wondering if any of you have FDEIA and would like to chat with others that do have this. Please read her message below and add comments below or contact me if you would like to be connected.

“Hello, like you, have been living with asthma and anaphylaxis related to peanuts and nuts since birth. I have no issue with any of these; I am so used to them they don’t bother me anymore. Since grade 8 I have also had sensitivities to something which was first assumed to be soy or legumes, but which I now believe to be some chemical or additive in processed foods, in particular meats. This doesn’t bother me too much, as it only causes uncomfortable but not life-threatening reactions. For the last few years however, I have a new one to add to the list (new ones aaalll the time – such a blast!). I have diagnosed myself with food-dependant exercise induced anaphylaxis. This is based on (so far) 6 different episodes. I know my body and I listen to it by now. All my symptoms match, but when I tried to explain this to emergency personnel or to two different allergists, they dismiss me by saying I must have come into contact with nuts. I’m sure you’ll agree with me that after a lifetime of avoiding our allergens and living in my own apartment which is completely allergen-free, this is not a possibility. I always have an Epipen and also a very attentive husband who always exercises with me. I’m just wondering if you have contact with anyone else who has this condition, diagnosed or not? I’d even consider some doctors who would be interested in studying my case, not necessarily for my own benefit but maybe they could learn something about it. Thanks!”

Food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA)

How much have you read or heard about food-dependent exercise-induced anaphylaxis (FDEIA)? Perhaps this is the first time you hear about this condition. This is one of the reasons I always keep my Epipen on me. One would not want to find themselves without it in a time of need.

With FDEIA; “the patient may go through life eating the food they are allergic to without any reaction, and it’s only when they exercise afterwards that the anaphylaxis strikes.”

I highly recommend having a read through the article below, to hear about a young mans’ reaction.

To read more, go to: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2197842/Going-jog-Dancing-Or-just-doing-gardening–How-taking-exercise-trigger-deadly-food-allergy.html#ixzz261SAazOm