Tuesday, May 15, 2012

About Me

I have tunnel vision today guys. I spent a good portion of the afternoon finally getting our About Us page up and running... anddddd a majority of the time spent was going back through my archives, updating posts with the appropriate labels (sorry if some old posts popped up in your blog reader, I tried to keep it from doing that but I think a few snuck through). Sounds like a weird OCD thing, right? you are probably right. But I am also working on getting all the DIY and RENO pages updated and that is a big chunk of the work needed to get those up to snuff (what does that really even mean? I think it'll be the last time I use that saying...).

One thing I didn't include in the About Us page is something I've been struggling with lately. I didn't really want to talk about it on the blog, mainly because I'm not one to complain, specially publicly, but I felt maybe others can relate and offer some personal input. 

You may recall a Caprese Salad I shared with you guys back in January. I was darn near obsessed with it, eating it a couple times a week for lunch, but after the first week I started to notice I had stomach cramps afterwards. I didn't even really think about it, but after the second or third time I decided that the Balsamic vinegar must be giving me indigestion so I decided to cut the salad for a while. On and off for a month I had small cramping after certain meals, etc. but really didn't find it overwhelming or anything serious. 

Fast forward until our second or third day of holiday back at the start of March when I ordered a breakfast burrito and about an hour later while we were out shopping I found myself unable to continue a conversation due to lack of breath. I immediately knew something wasn't right and told Sean to take us home. I laid in bed for about 3 hours with shortness of breath and knife like cramping in my stomach. It almost felt like asthma, but I don't have asthma. I took some tums, but no improvement led me to believe it wasn't indigestion like I originally thought. After recovering over the evening I shrugged it off and decided to carry on. Everything was fine until 2 days later when I ate half a slice of tomato at dinner and yet again felt like I could not breathe and was doubled over in pain.

FINALLY it clicked: the tomatoes were doing it. Within the course of only a few more weeks I could no longer even enjoy a teaspoon of ketchup at breakfast without feeling the side effects and somehow have the same response to potatoes and potato based foods. YEAH I know, no chips, no fries, is life worth living???

So anyways, I tried to keep it short and simple and failed, but after living 28 years without an allergy I have a full blown life threatening allergy to Night Shade plants (Tomato, Potato and Tobacco and the most common). I now tote an epi pen and benedryl everywhere like my life depended on it... oh wait it does. How bizarre is that? I have really been struggling lately because until you cannot have a tomato or potato you really don't realize that THEY ARE IN EVERYTHING. It has been a blessing in that my food choices are really limited to more healthy options and that we cook at home nearly every night {I don't trust eating out after a few bad incidents} so our bank account is happy with that. 

If anyone else out there has dealt with this or any food allergy let's all drown our sorrows together and share some meal ideas because my same 4 meals are really getting played out!

Thanks for listening and be sure to check out the FINALLY updated About Us page right up top.

32 comments:

Rebecca said...

I am so sorry! Both my kids have sensitivities (though not life-threatening) to gluten, dairy, corn, soy, eggs and more! It's no fun!

Autumn Rujiraviriyapinyo said...

Argh! I am so sorry, Holly. I, too, have quite a few food allergies/sensitivities; night shade vegetables (tomatoes, potatoes, bell peppers and eggplant and grains and beans/legumes. I find lots of inspiration from "paleo" and "traditional food" blogs. Pinterest is also a great resource. All I can tell you is that, yes, it is a huge pain in the arse (especially since it affects my family, too) but it does get easier as you adapt. I now have a couple of restaurants I can trust to eat at as well. I love your blog and I look forward to seeing the transformation of your townhouse project. Best Wishes...

Liv said...

I just developed lactose-intolerance last year. I was 27, so I was pretty shocked to all of a sudden be on my deathbed because of milk sugar.

I feel your pain! I can barely eat anything pre-packaged because it ALL contains milk. EVERYTHING IN THE UNIVERSE seems to have milk in it.

It's not the same as having a life-threatening allergy, but I was sick for days before I realized the cause.

Jenny @ Anything Pretty said...

Nut allergy here! And it somewhat came on like yours. I have also hated nuts with a passion....the smell of peanut butter made me gag even as a kid. But it was not until college that I decided that pecans were OKish. Then I picked them out of batch of mixed nuts....and I swelled big time. My allergist was very surprised it took 19 years for it to happen. The good news is that people take nut allergies seriously and when you ask a server at a restaurant if something contains nuts, they totally get it and take it seriously. The bad news is the Epi thing and most of the diet plans I read and think about using are heavy on the nuts.

The tomato/potato allergy must be much more difficult to avoid and have people take seriously. Good luck!

bagfashionista said...

oh dear...how odd is it that it would suddenly develop like this?

i'm not much of a cook, I just like to eat, so no help there...but erm..asian cooking? I am chinese, so bias, but i think that it may offer more variety since we don't particularly use too many of those ingredients.

Amanda @ willful/joyful said...

Oh my goodness. That's awful! After a severe intestinal virus I became severely lactose intolerant. Lactaid didn't work and just greasing a pan with butter would send me to bed for hours. Learning how to eat with a new allergy was so hard. Suddenly everything you want/like/crave is off limits. My husband had to endure many "Poor me, I can't eat anything!" pity parties, until I got used to my new diet. I learned to eat at home before I went to any social function with food and to always carry safe for me snacks in my purse and car. After a while I got used to it and didn't really mind eating without dairy. I was very lucky that my body was able to recover after a long nine months. In the end I was more excited about saying goodbye to the knife in my stomach than I was to eat ice cream again. You seem to be looking on the bright side (eating healthier and cheaper) so that will serve you well. Good luck!

Catherine said...

My boyfriend discovered that he had fructose malabsorption at the age of 26. It's such an unbelievable pain for him (literally and figuratively). There's lots of things that he can't eat- onion, honey, apples... the list goes on. It's funny how when you find you can't eat a certain food, you begin to realise how many foods that ingredient is in! Hang in there and you'll adjust to these new restrictions.

Red Hair and Freckles said...

My case is nowhere near as extreme as needing an epi pen, but at 20 was diagnosed with IBS (so not glamorous!) Think Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly and add stomack craps and doubled over in pain.......and my trigger is dairy! No more Chocolate, Ice cream etc etc

laxsupermom said...

I have a friend who is dealing with some late in life food allergies. She gets a response from basil(an allergy I'd never heard of before.) It's so hard to adjust what you've always eaten. Hope you get some great new recipes from blogland.

Holly Abston said...

I became allergic to avocados after my third baby. It's such a bummer. No guacamole for me.

The Old White Cottage said...

I don't have any allergies, but I wanted to say I'm sorry. I have good friends with allergies and it's not easy for them sometimes. Happy health vibes to you ...

MrsKBJ said...

Wow Holly! I am so sorry you have this allergy! I have never heard of a potato/ tomato allergy- hopefully someone has a can helps with some recipes! I am glad you are OK!

Holly and Sean said...

Thanks so much everyone! I am so sorry so many of you also share a horrible food intolerance/allergy. Specially milk!! My life revolves around milk.

Amanda, I agree, at this point I justdon't want to feel the pain! It can be unbearable.

Steph, I have actually really been eating a lot of Asian food! I just have to ask for no peppers and most of the sauces are fine (whereas traditional restaurants seem to base most soups and sauces with tomato).

Rachel said...

Gluten allergy here. And it didn't show up until after I had my first baby. Apparently you can be allergic to something but it not affect you until something 'traumatic' triggers it. In my case it was pregnancy. :( Sorry. My heart is breaking for your lack of salsa!!!

Jennie said...

I know how you feel- I'm allergic to peanuts and treenuts. For some reason people think it's only an allergy kids have, so friends are always trying to feed me "this great dish i made" without telling me the ingredients. It gets really frustrating, but I promise it gets easier.

It's so sad that you can't eat potatoes, though! They're my favorite!

cred said...

A bit off topic but the term "up to snuff" was originally coined in reference to the stimulating effect of snuff- powdered tobacco! A bit amusing that you unknowingly opened with a reference to a nightshade plant.
Not trying to make light of a serious issue but rather just hoping to add some humour. I know it's no fun completely avoid a group of foods.
I'm in the process of determining if I have casein sensitivity- nothing life-threatening but I understand the difficulty of avoiding specific foods.
Wishing you the best!

Tracey @ My House of Giggles said...

So sorry to hear that you're having to deal with this! :( My son has tummy troubles and we've had to avoid a lot of foods. It's so difficult! Especially to eat out, like you said. We're now following the GAPS diet and his stomach is healing!! I have a friend who all of a sudden started going into anaphylactic shock all the time (seemed she became allergic to a lot of things almost overnight). She has now been following the GAPS (Gut and Psychology Syndrome) diet/program and is no longer allergic. It might be worth a try for you :)

Holly and Sean said...

Hah! So funny Cred. I didn't even notice that, and thanks for explaining!

Tracey, thank you! I am going to look into the gaps diet. Oddly enough a few other items have also caused reactions so hopefully I see similar results.

E said...

Hi there, I never post comments on your blog but have been a loyal reader of your blog for many years :-) I developed a life-threatening allergy to cow milk protein (i.e. all dairy - and milk and its byproducts are in EVERYTHING) at the age of 27, back in 2003. I know exactly the pain you are describing, the feeling of knives going through your gut and not being able to move an inch for fear of that pain.

DH and I never go to restaurants anymore, sad, but there are worse things in life. It just wasn't worth the risk and hassle anymore. We have always cooked our own meals so that didn't change, I am very happy and after some months/years, you really do learn to accept it and realise how lucky you are to have all the good things in your life that you have.

One tip: get more than one epipen. I always have an epipen in my purse, but also have one in the car, and one at home. Check their expiry dates and write down when you have to replace them with new ones.

You will know which ingredients to look out for. I researched all the ingredients with dairy and printed a small list that I carry with me in my wallet, so when I'm grocery shopping or we're at a friends' place and I want to try their bread rolls or any other food and they have kept the packaging, I can check the ingredients then and there.

One of the hardest things is not so much the fact that you (and DH and kids) have to get used to it, but the fact that other people can be very ignorant about it. You have to educate them, make them aware that it is life-threatening, and that it is NOT just an intolerance to a certain food, it is an allergy.

This is getting too long so I better stop here :-) Just remember, you are not alone in this, as you can tell there are plenty of other people with adult-onset allergies. You will be fine, you will adjust, and you will learn to prepare many different recipes that will give you just as much joy in eating again.

Good luck and stay positive!

Kyra said...

Oh bummer, no more french fries?! I feel for ya, my son is almost 4 and has dairy, egg and peanut allergies. Until about 6 months ago we also were dealing with a wheat allergy as well but he grew out of it. We didn't eat out at all, I read every label obsessively and I felt bad constantly about all the things I couldn't feed him that kids usually love!

Michelle said...

I feel your pain!! I'm 32 and just found out I have a sensitivity to gluten, potatoes, corn, and rice! Sounds fun right?? :) I have found this website full of great recipes that has helped me a ton! http://www.elanaspantry.com/
enjoy!

Michelle said...

I'm 32 and just found out I have a sensitivity to gluten, potatoes, rice, and quinoa! I found this website and it has a ton of helpful recipes!!
http://www.elanaspantry.com/
Enjoy!

Marsha said...

As you can probably tell from all of the comments, food allergies and/or sensitivities are not that uncommon. My daughter can not handle dairy and all of us now no longer eat dairy. There are a ton of substitutes and resources out there for those of us with special dietary needs. You may even be surprised at the number of restaurants out there that cater to it. Hang in there. It's not all bad.

kaylan said...

shellfish may very well be the death of me so i'll join you with your epi pen!

i don't even particularly like shellfish, but even cross contamination is enough to start the swelling and shortness of breath so eating in restaurants is a gamble. i wouldn't say it gets better, but you get used to it at some point.

Sunnyluna said...

Awh, so sorry to hear that. 20-somethings are prime time to develop new allergies. Weird, huh.

It's great that you're eating healthly with the family! I've been more careful about healthy foods, unprocessed foods, organic, etc and my body appreciates it.

Yes--carry that epi pen! Safety first!

Best of luck to you.

x said...

So sorry to say this but I believe there is a strong chance all your painiting may have caused it. I had a similar experience and after a virtually total exclusion diet and natural remedies I;m now free. But my house is chemical free from the carpets to paints to cleaning products. All the best, and believe it IS curable xox

Chandra said...

My children and I have sensitivities. We have actually recently started following the paleo eating plan which was recommended by my chiropractor. www.marksdailyapple.com has lots of great advice. Basically it is meats, veggies, fruits & some good fats. Very easy. We grill different meats each night, and fill the rest of the plate with lots of veggies & some fruit.

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Jenski said...

I must say that totally sucks. I would talk about awful tomato season would be, but that is just mean.

Julie said...

Oh, that sucks, Holly! I know! I'm allergic to citrus in any form. People expect allergies to shellfish or peanuts, but they don't expect citrus and look at me funny when I send back a glass of iced tea with a lemon slice on the rim.

Hang in there and keep trying new recipes and you'll develop a stash of favorites that are "safe."

Charlotte said...

My husband developed an allergy to meats (pork, lamb and beef) about 15 yrs ago. The last time he went into total anaphylactic shock and nearly died. Since then we are really adept at identifying any meat products in foods.
It's quite inconvenient only being about to eat foul and fish. Yuck.

Lori Vasicek said...

Hi, are you sure that this a food allergy? I too have adverse reactions to nightshades, but not because of an allergy but Chronic Lyme Disease and a new disease called Protozoa rheumatica. Just sharing my thoughts. Hope you are feeling better.

Lori

 
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