Fast forward six years later. I’m in my little Honda Civic with my mom and my cat someplace in the middle of Texas. My dad is not too far behind, driving the truck with all my belongings. I am on day 2 of my three-day drive moving to Arizona.
I start to itch all over. First, it’s my tongue, then my hands, followed by everything else. Huh, I think I must be super allergic to the grass in Texas. Then I feel severe pain in my stomach as my bowls move against me. Mom, I have to use the restroom, I say, panicking if I’ll make it in time. We pull over at a rest stop. I remember my dad trying to talk to me as I run into the bathroom but not being able to articulate what was happening. Forty minutes later, and after a few check-ins from my mom, I emerge. Okay, I think I’m good now; it must have been something I ate. We get in the car and continue towards Arizona. Less than 10 minutes later, I feel the pain again, and we stop. As I sit on the toilet in the gas station, I feel my throat tighten, and my fingers swell. At this point, I knew something was wrong but continued to ignore my gut even after seeing myself in the mirror. My face is swollen to the point that my eyes look squinty, and I have hives all over. I go straight to get some Benadryl before we leave. My parents are concerned, but we all are confident that Benadryl will help.
We got in the car and continued without further incident. Even though I knew that this reaction is not what people would consider normal, and I had a gut feeling that this was food-related, I still hoped that this was a one-time thing. I was wrong. I had no idea what the next couple of months would be like before I finally got answers.
It took me five months to see a doctor between finding a job and the three-month waitlist for new patients. Meanwhile, I was having allergic reactions weekly and prayed every time I wouldn’t die. It wasn’t until one of my friends talked about her gluten intolerance that it even occurred to me that I may be allergic to wheat. As she described her symptoms, It hit me that every time I went out and drank only beer, I had terrible stomach and bathroom issues the night and morning after. Maybe I hadn’t been drinking over my limit; maybe my body was telling me it couldn’t have beer. I eliminated wheat from my diet, and things got a little better, but I was still having extreme throat-closing allergic reactions. I would have trouble breathing as my whole body would swell and itch as I spent hours in the bathroom.
I tried to get an epi-pen as I waited for the doctor’s office to accept new patients, but every time I called, the nurse told me that if my reaction gets that bad, to just go to the emergency room. I was terrified waiting for that appointment, hoping that I would survive until then.
My appointment day finally arrived. I was both excited and nervous that I would be ignored again by my doctor. My doctor quelled all my anxieties as soon as she started asking me a list of questions about my past eating habits and how I felt after eating, taking thorough notes and writing down a list of what foods to test me for. I almost started crying twice during our conversation.
I had a lot of stomach pain growing up, especially in the mornings after breakfast. At one point, I had stopped having milk with my cereal because my stomach hurt less without it. When my doctor shook her head and gently told me it wasn’t the milk, it was the cereal; I took a deep breath pushing back tears. I let myself and society tell me for so long that my weight was the reason for all my stomach issues that it was a relief to find out that something else was the reason for those problems. The second time I almost cried was when I told her I just couldn’t drink soy milk more than three days in a row like it was typical to have day-long stomach pains after eating food. If I do on the third day, my stomach just hurts for hours. She turned to me and said, oh, you’re allergic to soy then, We’ll test you, but I have no doubts that you will test positive. I finally cried.
After being pricked three dozen times, my results came back that I’m allergic to;
I cried my whole way home. I finally had answers.
My allergy journey continues in part 3
Disclamer: I am not a medical professional there for anything I say or do on health, mental health, fitness, or anything medical related. None of the information or advice should be seen as advice from a certified medical professional. Only a certified medical professional can advise you on what’s suitable for your health. Anything you do or try after reading this site and blog, you do at your own risk, and I am not liable for it. Please seek the advice of a medical professional on everything medical, health, and fitness related.