Monday, April 14, 2014

Allergy and food sensitivity

Allergy and food sensitivity....

I have had this ongoing battle for literally FOREVER with allergies... and sensitivities...
For a large part of my adult life it was manageable and I took it in my stride...
and yes I had itchy...patchy skin at times...but that was me...and I got on with it.
But then I had a little health hiccup ... 
and its been a roller-coaster ride ever since.

I have kept a journal on a side blog just as a record for myself...
and I have collected a few beautiful readers along the way...
but today I had a little more info to share and thought maybe it might be interesting and beneficial either to others...or to me if I were to share it here.

I feel as though I bang on about my sensitivities and allergies far too much...
I hate being that person who cant eat this....or cant eat that...
who cant put that on their skin....and who spends far too much money buying books...
visiting alternate treatments....and adding supplements to my cupboard that I cant even tolerate.

I am embarrassed talking about it among my friends...
I feel contradictory...
I blame food in one conversation.....and in another I blame stress...
or maybe a product I used....and the truth is....it is all of those things...
and its difficult to navigate and manage.

The hardest part is that I now have a list of foods and products that affect my skin..
and another list that affects my stomach..
and yet another list that gives me migraines...
and even then I'm in trouble..
My lists aren't accurate enough....its pretty clear I am still eating foods that aren't suitable...and more than likely omitting foods that I could be enjoying.

Just as a visual...(oh how we all love a visual haha) Here are a few recent pics from my sensitivity diary I keep on my phone...I can only get skin shots...its impossible to record every time my stomach feels like this on the inside or my head is splitting in half.
Fortunately I have the sweetest.... most patient husband.... who when I miserably tell him I have reacted to something....will always start listing the foods he believes it could be...his words are always...
"Ok....what have you eaten?" then between us....we try to nut it out.

But it makes me sad.... that I fritter and waste both his and my hard earn t money on chasing the answer..
I couldn't count the amount of dollars I have spent on specialists... alternate therapists..lotions.... supplements... food alternatives....books...access to online sites...
not to mention fuel as I trek to Adelaide for appointments.. and follow ups.
Its not about the money though....its about the fact that after ALL of that...
I am in exactly the same spot...albeit a little worse than I have ever been.

My dear hubby is frustrated by my enthusiasm at every new step when I come home excited that 
"This is the key...this is it....it all made sense.."...only to find that a few weeks in that I am no better...more disillusioned... guilty at the money wastage yet again....and I plunge into miserableness. 
He is always the counter-balance.... when I am over excited he brings me back to earth...and when I am so miserable and down about it all....he brings me back up.
I never actually tell him how much I appreciate that in him....I sometimes hate that he doesn't get all excited along with me...but when I'm having a bad reaction and feel so blotch...itchy and red...he loves me anyway....and I love him to bits for that.

So...
I have tried...
The usual dermatologists...immunologists... I've had allergy testing...skin pricking...and all amount of steroid creams...prednisolone...and antihistamines.
Then in the few years....
I visited Naturopath one  - I had liveblood testing...and followed a 12week detox... for a number of problems... including adrenal fatigue and leaky gut... I came out the other end feeling much improved but still something wasn't right...I was still having flare-ups.. and as my old habits crept in I began to feel achy... fatigued and unwell again.
I ate low Salicylate for some time....and it helped...but wasn't exactly the answer... some of the foods on the high-sal list I tolerate....and then I react to others that are low-sal...so it was not clear cut.

So I visited Naturopath two - I liked him a lot...and he soon had me feeling better in myself...he had my adrenal fatigue sorted....but his expertise wasn't on individual food sensitivities...and at that time I was fairly certain the Tamoxifen I was taking for my BC was affecting me...and he wasn't 
(and quite rightly so) prepared to make any recommendations regarding that so I sought out Naturopath three...who was a GP as well ... she was in more of a position to bring a valid argument to the table over the Tamoxifen and also had some great suggestions about my diet as well. I was disillusioned after a few months though when I had a mountain of supplements ...and my stomach was worse than ever...
 and I found the supplements were contributing to that.....so I stopped going.

I gave up for awhile....I thought I could nut it out myself...
I began a diary...and kept a record....including photos of bad days
I kept up my exercise...and ate well....although at times it was hard...and I was frequently envious at what others could eat....and I couldn't.
Oh how I would love to tuck into a bowl of bircher muesli....with berries and yoghurt...
but nope...I don't tolerate oats....berries or yoghurt!

So....it was a few weeks ago ..in a state of fed- up...that I made a decision to follow another lead I had been given.... yes...it was Naturopath 4 (Gosh I hadn't realised it had been that many)
This time I was tested for foods ....and it was interesting...
A lot of the foods I already avoided were on my 'sensitive list'....good job super-sleuth Mardi!
but some others were added... the big daddies being.. Gluten and Dairy...
So.... I have a 12week healing plan...
then hopefully some of the foods will be added back.
I have been giving my healing plan a good shot which means..
I have a restricted food list..
My diet it to include a lot more protein and larger meals....
and I had to stop any intense cardio activity.. just while my body is so inflamed... this goes a little against my usual way of thinking....but I am giving it a chance.
I'm a  few weeks in.....and I cant really notice any benefits just yet...but I know these things are never an overnight fix...so I am not discouraged in the least.

What I found interesting though was that a few months prior I had stumbled across 
"The Low Histamine chef" - Yasmina Ykelenstam ..
I had read....and read her blog and a little light bulb went off....it sounded a lot like me.
(Obviously knowing how easily I can latch onto something as 'the answer' I was cautious)

So at this consultation....and for the first time ever....I was told that I have a histamine related disorder..and having had read so much about it previously....I was almost excited that if nothing else.....I had maybe found a pathway that summed me up more accurately.

There is a wealth of information on the web on histamine disorder...
and just this morning I read through this list....
and although I by no means have every symptom....I do have a lot in common with this list.
I also know that its utterly ridiculous to just assume I have something because it sounds like me...and because someone does a "woo woo" test and tells me I do....in order to be certain it would require actually being tested and diagnosed medically.
But....in all honesty I doubt I would bother at this stage...
I feel from my reading that I its something I could be mindful of without the need for testing.

I bought Yasminas book...
I love the concept of not only reducing foods that irritate but including foods that are anti-histamines as well.

I guess now...I persist and see how I go.

I would love to hear any experiences anyone has to share...
its through sharing resources and ideas.... that some of the best answers are found.
x Mardi x

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