The other day I hinted that I had something incredible to share with you.
Four days onwards I am still finding it hard to wrap words around what has happened. Its that momentous.
Let me begin with the backstory.
For a number of years I had some serious health struggles. I was always exhausted. I was always sick. My skin was raging with eczema. My vitamin and mineral stores within my body were depleted. Life was becoming gray. I was always at the dr and spent a few years constantly being on and off antibiotics for various sinus and skin infections. The only solution was to take antihistamines and go to bed. Nothing was changing. Progressively it became worse.
I would have weird, seemingly random reactions to what seemed to be nothing and everything. There would be some nights after eating when I would break out in a full body incessant itch and rash, followed by nausea, tummy issues, dizzyness and what I termed, fritzing. Fritzing is when my brain began to short circuit and I would be unable to think clearly. I would get a reaction around my mouth and my lips would swell and tingle and hives would appear.
Then I had a breakthrough. I went to a gp at my normal practice and she confronted me about my health and began to join the dots and connect all the symptoms to a cause. No one had done that before. No one had given me a reason and a why for why my health was deteriorating. It had become my new normal.
After a few simple blood tests I got a phone call. I was allergic to wheat. My allergy score was off the chart, the worst this gp had ever seen.
I’m not a stranger to allergies. My daughter has food allergies and I myself have had an allergy to egg (and carry and epi pen) since I was in late 20s and several other allergies to things like seafood and animals. I dont like seafood or shellfish so had never been affected by that.
That visit to the gp began a 2 year process of specialist appointments and new discoveries. I had a blood test that cost $1000 to process the results and had to be sent to a university in Australia. The specialists were wonderful and we began to build a picture of a complex range of allergies and problems, including Oral Allergy Syndrome.
I immediately changed my diet. I went gluten free in April 2012. For 6 weeks I went salicylate free. In August 2012 I went dairy free.
My life changed. My health dramatically improved and I realized that many other aspects of my health had being affected negatively by food. There were gut issues that I had never linked with reactions that stopped. My energy increased. My skin cleared up. Joint pain dissipated. I havent being on antibiotics since April 2012 for anything, and have had no sinus problems at all since going gluten free.
However, my sensitivity increased and I found that when I ate something with gluten in it accidentally, I would become quickly and relatively seriously reactive. I had to become very vigilant in reading labels and in food preparation. Only 3 weeks ago I had cooked some delicious lamb chops with an oriental mint marinate. I buy them from my local supermarket and the label clearly has the ingredients listed. However, these chops I purchased from another supermarket. With no label. No ingredient listing. Within 10 minutes I was beginning to feel seedy. Within 20 minutes I was in the bathroom. Repeatedly. A rash broke out down my torso the next day, and I struggled with my energy levels throughout the week. I felt like I had been hit by a bus.
Food allergies had become part of my identity. Socialization around food became more challenging. I have eaten out once in the time since going gluten free, and even that wasn’t smooth. I haven’t had bread at communion since 2012. Cafes are not my friend because of the combination of allergies I have battled. I have become the allergy awareness person at our church, everyone knows my food foibles and the adventures I’ve had. I’ve been very public about my struggles and embraced the journey I’ve been on. I’ve catered for gluten/dairy/egg free people at conferences and camps. I’ve had many conversations with people because of the gluten free connection.
I have modified everything we eat at home. I spend $900 on my bread alone for the year. Yes. Insane eh.
I hope this paints the picture about how life changing what happened to me on the weekend is…