Friday, March 20, 2009

Allergies - The Saga Begins

I have had hayfever my entire life, as long as I can remember. It was seasonal, and while living in Colorado it would start when the trees started blooming and end when everything was frosted in the fall. No biggie, really, as long as I remembered to take my antihistamine.

In college, I began to notice that my throat/palate would itch when I ate or drank anything peach flavored. Things like Lipton Peach Iced Tea or Peach Snapple or even Peach Jolly Ranchers would 'get me'. And on the rare occasion that I ate a fresh peach, sometimes that would 'get me' too. But not always. Go figure.

Randy and I got married and about two years into our marriage we moved to Ohio. For a time, my allergies were actually BETTER, which isn't unheard of when moving to a new location. As expected, my body decided to react to the local pollens a year or two later--and with Ohio's summer seasons being longer, the much higher humidity, and the overall warmer climate, my body had plenty to complain about!

Four years into our marriage, Duncan was born and we moved back to CO. Again, my allergies kinda subsided--or else they were just less since we were back in the dry, short-seasoned, less-growing environment. I continued to react to peach things(and even craved them madly, which is an ironic thing with my being allergic to it). I believe I also was reacting to orange juice at this time, but not enough to give it up.

Six years into our marriage, we had moved back to Ohio and a few months after that Hunter was born. I was given antibiotics in the hospital which might have something to do with my state of health in the long run... I kind of sank into a depressed state at this time, operating on little sleep and learning how to parent 2 kids in (what was to me) a foreign environment, far away from blood relation. I think it was at this point that I felt my body had started to rebel against me. To betray me.

Two years later, eight years into our marriage, Ivy was born. I was able to have a natural birth this time around(yeah!) and felt much more in control of my world. BUT, the August following the June birth was the ABSOLUTE WORST Ragweed Season of my life (followed by the next two Augusts). I was nursing and afraid to take antihistamines on a regular basis lest they reduce my milk supply. It was around this time that I started making correlations to what I was eating and how my body was responding and started to really research what the heck was going on with my body. I was finding out that I was really reacting to a lot more foods than I originally thought, if I paid attention to my body and what I was eating.

I had thought maybe it was Oral Allergy Syndrome, a condition where your body mistakes the proteins in certain foods for the proteins of pollens you are allergic to, and reacts accordingly. I was working off of this assumption, until one day I reacted to raw broccoli. It was the only thing I had consumed for a few hours, and the reaction was unmistakable and almost immediate. It was an itchy palate and itchy ears that was just about enough to drive me insane, along with the runny nose and sneezing. After taking a Benadryl, I went back to researching.

After not much research, I found a few sites describing Salicylate Sensitivity. And, come to find out, just about ALL of the foods I was reacting to on a regular basis were moderately high to very high in Salicylates!
So, for a time I went on a low-salicylate diet. I felt vaguely better, but was still struggling mightily. So, back to the research.

Here are some of my symptoms that could occur by themselves or in any combination:
~ Almost instant palate itching when coming into contact with an offending substance
~Ears itching
~Eyes itching/corners irritated and red and burning
~Nose itching
~Drainage down my throat
~Stuffy nose/inability to breathe through my nose(I hadn't been able to breathe through my nose since Ivy had been born until she was about 3 years old!)
~Redness/irritation at the corners of my mouth leading to cracking, especially after consuming anything in the nightshade family(tomatoes, peppers, etc). It would heal only after I was no longer exposed to the offending food.
~Difficulty swallowing
~I felt like I was living in a fog the years after dd(my third) was born. Probably for longer than that, now that I think of it.
~I would get tunnel vision type symptoms, could not concentrate for the life of me, difficulty multitasking, very extreme irritability/depression, overwhelmed by/oversensitive to places like Walmart with all the smells and colors and once you get up to the front to check out the beeping would nearly drive me insane.
~Skin feeling like it was crawling and there was nothing there to be seen. Skin that burned/hurt/itched but again, nothing visible
~Eye twitches
~Skin breakouts
~Horribly chapped lips that just would not heal until no longer exposed.(corn in meds does this to me)
~Stiffness/soreness from the base of my skull to my shoulders. Last fall it radiated down one arm for awhile. I got a massage from a friend in massage school who said I was very tense maybe that was all stress. I do know that today I was fine in that regard until I went in and got my allergy shot, though, so I think it has something to do with allergies...
~Jaw Pain.
~Fatigue, lack of energy and stamina.
~Digestive issues-heartburn/acid reflux, stomach pain/pain on lower right side under ribs after eating, constipation
~Changes in my cycles

I believe that covers it for now.
More tomorrow! There is hope!


Homegrown said...

You say you have allergies to soy, and you also mention living near soy and corn fields. Have you considered the pollen as a potential as well the plant residue in the air from the tilling and other farming processes? Do these farmers use large amounts of Roundup as the soy is most likely "monsatan" Monsanto Roundup Ready soy and the corn gmo as well with it's own internal pesticide? This could be part of you issues. This is something that must stop in this country is the growing of unnatural food such as gmo soy. We must some how get these farmers to go back to the natural ways and stop adding $$ to monsatan.

Tanya said...

Yes, that is definitely on my radar. My soy/corn issues have gotten better with my treatments, but ever so often I have a sort of "relapse" and have reactions to things that are derivatives of my allergens (corn is the worst of these two, for me).

The whole area in which I live is used for agriculture, mainly of GMO corn and soy and all that those crops entail. I don't have a lot of control over it, though, other than what goes on on our own property.

We have thought about moving...we'll see what happens.