Thursday, October 28, 2010

What The Heck Is Smut? (Part 3)

I would like to start by saying that I am completely fascinated by the process of allergy testing, as well as being amazed by the amount of information that my allergist has amassed during the course of her career.

Wow.

Who knew?!

I won't bother to bore you with all of the gory details. We'll just get straight to the results - many of which my doctor was sure of BEFORE we did the official testing. She's just that good....and I'm apparently that typical. (Can I just tell you how wonderful it is to be told that I am not crazy..and that I am, in fact, quite normal?)

I am allergic to:
  • all of the inhalants they tested me for, excluding the aforementioned Smuts and Elm. This includes pollens, molds, dust mites, and animals.
  • Dairy.
  • Yeasts....which by extension includes sugar as well.

The yeast/sugar problem is one that I'd not heard of before Dr. Fowler and I spoke this summer, and it's a fascinating topic - albeit one that's beyond the scope of this post. Suffice it to say that a lot of things fell into place in our conversations - both before I was tested and once we had official confirmation.

So what do we do about it?

  • For starters, sleeping with the windows open is now out, and I need to get new pillows. (The mattress needs to be replaced, but that's another story.)
  • When we go visit my parents, I need to spend a bit less time outdoors, and we need to have them use the furnace instead of the wood stove.
  • I need to become crazy about cleaning.
  • Dairy is obviously out of my diet. My reaction to it was pretty strong. (Still itches.)
  • Because of the yeast problem, I will soon be going on a very strict diet which will basically include only meat, veggies, beans, eggs and fruits - rotating them as much as possible so that I don't develop any more allergies. (In a perfect world, only eating a food once in every four days.)
  • That means I can no longer eat or drink: sugar, yeast, grains, vinegar, fermented products, or any food that potentially carries mold - like coffee, tea, nuts, seeds, or melons.

Yep, take a good look at those last two lines and see if they make you cry a little bit. I'm afraid I threw my mother into a total panic when I read her the full list of off-limit foods. The direct quote was, after a pregnant pause, "What are you allowed to eat besides water?"

Also, I am going to start allergy shots next week, which should help to desensitize me to many of my allergens. My understanding of the situation was that my reactions to the inhalants weren't as serious as the food problems. Rather, it's a case that my body is just dealing with so many at a time that it's in a constant state of crisis. Dr. Fowler was very clear in that I needed to start the shots...and she apparently doesn't say that to all of her patients.

Some good news - My BKB's husband has the same yeast problem, and so she is going to be a wonderful resource for me. She's been there, done that, and has lots of advice about ways to do this without making the entire family crazy. Also, I discovered (Thanks Facebook!) that one of my P.E.O. sisters had similar test results (w/o the dairy thing), and once she figured out how to work her allergies she found that yeast and dust were the only things she had to manage. In fact, I get the general idea that once we deal with the big allergens - which for me is going to be dairy and yeast - than the rest won't be so problematic anymore. Most people I know find that they can eventually reintroduce a lot of the foods, so long as they are careful.

The even better news - Dr. Fowler is certain that by eating clean I'm going to dramatically improve my health in a relatively short amount of time.

You would think all of this would be triggering all of my usual emotional reactions, but I am remarkably at peace (for now). It's one thing to worry about avoiding food because you 'shouldn't' eat it for whatever reason. It's quite another to know that food could make you sick. (And for the record...it's not that I can NEVER eat any of the off-limits foods again, it's just that I will have to eat them consciously knowing that I will have to pay for it in some way.)

More importantly, I find that I'm feeling hope...for maybe the first time.

And, I'm feeling quite relieved. Amazing what a few answers will do for a girl!

5 comments:

margene said...

Before I was diagnosed I had a suspicion I was Celiac. I didn't realize I would be reading labels like crazy and preparing the bulk of my own food. Once diagnosed and on the diet I felt so good, for the first time in years, and that made it very easy to find my way. Good luck!!

hlmauera said...

I just started reading your blog off of Ravelry. I'm enjoying it a great deal.
I'm so glad to hear you found some answers. I too just went through all the testing and even though I have most of the same symptoms and have to take 24 hour antihistimines twice a day, I am not allergic to ANYTHING. I'm not sure whether to be sad or glad... I'm not allergic...so what's wrong with me? Having answers must be comforting, even if it results in hard work. I look forward to hearing how you do from here forward.

Bonnie said...

What a wonderful allergist. I wish you all the best - sounds like you are finally armed with the knowledge you need to feel your very best!!!

Wondering what the doc said about mushrooms/fungi - can you have those?

I myself now eat a gluten-free diet and little or no sugar except for stevia. Stevia doesn't affect me the way granulated sugar, honey, and other sweeteners do.

It really is true,we are what we eat! AND, everybody's different, even within the same family. What works for one person doesn't work for another.

Good luck!

A Day That is Dessert said...

I am so glad you're finding some answers Kristin.

Kathy said...

hi htere... we went gluten, dairy, egg, and sugar free for awhile last year. if you need suggestions for thanksgiving, checkout my posts from last year.

Unfortunately, my partner isn't willing to keep it going, especially with his 16 yo son in the house now. But I am still doing gluten/dairy free most of the time.