Well, I do not know where to begin. Most people ask me, “Have you had food allergies your whole life?” Well, yes. My parents did exactly as they were supposed to do; and slowly introduced new foods into my diet with seemingly no issues. However, about the time I was toddler, I began experiencing some intra-oral itching and would say “my mouth itches.” Believing me to be a typical picky-eater, my complaints went unnoticed. Back then, food allergies were relatively unknown. Even my pediatrician (who was wonderful) suspected nothing. It was not until years later, that I swelled up rather significantly after accidentally eating my known allergen that we realized I had a food allergy.
Again, still not properly treated or referred for proper treatment, I continued to just avoid to my known allergen, which “worked” for a while. Eventually, I became so ill (turning blue) I went to the ER for treatment. I was referred to a local allergy and asthma group for follow-up and evaluation. I was diagnosed as having severe asthma, put on high dosages of asthma medications, etc. I did not have childhood asthma. My breathing tests were always phenomenal…so, yeah.
So, after a few years of telling this doctor that I felt the drugs and treatment were making me worse (small mushroom cloud ensued) I then decided, as an adult who is aware of what is going on with my body I will get treatment from someone who willing listen to me, the PATIENT.
Which brings me to the past several years. I have a new allergist, who takes the time to listen. It really is the small things. He reviewed my records, the breathing tests, did some lab work and confirmed the food allergies and added a few things to the list. Did radically changing my lifestyle to accommodate the food allergies require a lot of me, absolutely. Some days, I am tired of the cooking and the prepping and all the other little (and big) things that go into staying safe. But, I do not feel like I am standing on a the edge a cliff with a vice on my throat waiting to clamp down at any moment.
Back when my allergy was just one thing on my list, it was easier to dismiss, to consider an after-thought. Now, things are so different, in ways I still struggle to put into words. I am not my food allergies, but I would be lying if I did not say that my food allergies have taken a heavy chisel to the soft wood of my life and forever changed this sculpture in a way I could have never foreseen.