This year has been an extremely hard year for me. Since January I have been struggling with some unexplained health issues after being sick with what we believe was Covid. I have written about my crazy health journey a few times here on the blog. I have been sharing what we learn along the way. It has been difficult finding answers. Almost twelve months later we finally learned that I am suffering with type one adult food allergies.
My symptoms this year have been all over the place. I have been dealing with chronic fatigue, joint and muscle pain, and a myriad of neurological problems. There have been times when my mouth has become itchy, hives appeared all over my face, and rashes appeared on my arms. The migraine headaches, dizziness, confusion, and brain fog were sometimes scary There were times when I couldn’t even complete a sentence, because my mouth couldn’t form words. And I won’t even go into detail about all the stomach issues that I have had this year.
Blood test results initially showed a positive ANA which points toward an auto-immune disease, but it remained undiagnosed. My doctors knew for sure is that my body responded to a viral infection with an auto-immune response. We thought it would end up being Celiac Disease. We were shocked that my test for Celiac was negative because I recognized that food was triggering most of my symptoms. Even still, adult food allergies were the furthest thing from my mind.
Doctors being dismissive
My doctors began to tire of me and began dismissing me every time I walked into their office. The Rheumatologist slapped a Fibromyalgia diagnoses on me. My primary doctor told me that I had non celiac gluten sensitivity. Then he informed me that sometimes we just do not get all the answers. Both doctors suggested therapy and even prescribed antidepressants. I’m pretty sure at some point my husband even began to think I was crazy.
I was beginning to lose hope. It was terrifying to think that this was my new normal. I had more answers about what was NOT wrong with me than I did about what was. But then months later something crazy happened. My doctor decided to run a random food allergy test that came back positive… sort of. Turns out that he ran the wrong kind of test on me, but at least adult food allergies were getting discovered. He had me believing that I was allergic to ten different foods. Luckily that is not the case. We learned that day that he is NOT an allergy doctor. It did at least open the door for a referral to an actual immunologist/allergist who was able to run the right test.
Adult Food Allergies
It took a very long time to get my allergy test results back. My allergy doctor wanted to send them to the Mayo Clinic for analysis. Once we got the results back, we learned that I have a moderately low type one allergy to wheat, melon fruits, and avocado. She prescribed me an EpiPen and told me to avoid those foods completely.
SeriouslY? An EpiPen?
Wait! What? Enter all the screeching sounds here! Adult food allergies and EpiPens? I don’t need an EpiPen! EpiPens are for people who go into anaphylactic shock when they ingest a food that they are allergic to. I have NEVER had any sort of anaphylactic response to eating food. At least I thought I hadn’t. Turns out that many of my symptoms actually are considered anaphylaxis and are also causing a flare up of pain that originates from a hypermobility syndrome (a genetic connective tissue disorder) that I inherited. Adults who develop food allergies later in life are at more risk of those anaphylactic symptoms becoming worse over time and possibly even developing neurological diseases. Just because my throat doesn’t swell shut today doesn’t mean that it won’t tomorrow, and I’m almost willing to do anything that will rid my body of pain!
Adult Food Allergy Education
Doctors and scientists aren’t quite sure yet why adults suddenly get adult onset food allergies. Research is still very much needed, but a viral infection trigger is being looked at. When doing the research, I find that eating foods that produce even a moderate IgE response can be dangerous. The foodie in me wants to continue eating all the wheat. After all I’ve never even come close to dying from eating a slice of bread! And sourdough bread baking has become a passion of mine! My reaction to food is very mild compared to other people with type one food allergies. At this point I have to decide if I want to completely change my lifestyle in order to avoid a severe reaction (which could potentially happen tomorrow) or just continue with life as usual and keep my EpiPen handy just in case.
I’m not going to lie. I do NOT want to have to change my diet this drastically. Wheat is literally in almost EVERYTHING, and I honestly don’t think I would get the support that I need from my friends and family… not because they don’t love me, but because this is dang hard y’all. I’m not sure I can do it, and I definitely don’t think I could if my life didn’t depend on it. Asking Jason and the girls to make this kind of change might just be too much. Asking friends to accommodate my special dietary needs just makes me feel guilty, needy, and like someone that would become a nuisance for them. After all… this isn’t something they signed up for anymore than I did, and I have already begun to feel people pulling away from me.
Is it 2021 yet?
I am very thankful for answers, even though it is not the answers I thought I would get. I was truly hoping that I would end up with a diagnosis that could easily be managed by taking a prescription to make things better. Instead I ended up with a diagnosis that requires a total lifestyle change! I’m still unsure of how I want to handle this. I’ve made it this far into my life eating wheat. Maybe I will be just fine if I continue. But then I remember all the symptoms that have made me so miserable all year. If cutting out wheat from my diet will make the brain fog, migraines, body aches, and the anxiety go away, maybe I need to listen to the doctors.
The new year is approaching, and I have a feeling this next year may end up being even harder than this one. I am, however, extremely grateful for answers and a plan of action that I can take to get my health back on track. God has been amazingly good to me this year. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering that when I am curled up in bed crying in pain, or when I am laying in the dark with a migraine. But the majority of this year has gone by with almost zero answers until now, and I am grateful that I get to start out a new year with a plan to make things better.