Saturday, February 20, 2016

allergy series part 1

I went into anaphylaxis right before Thanksgiving weekend. I was shopping at a Sephora in an outdoor mall after an exam and dinner with a friend. I was trying a lot of products on my hands (oils and moisturizers) my eyes began to get itchy and I knew it was some sort of allergy so I left and went into Scheels to wash my face in the bathroom.

The eyes were so itchy I decided to walk to my car and go drive to get some antihistamine at a drug store. By the time I got to my car my ears BURNED in pain, my head hurt really bad, I was dizzy, my palms itched, and my eyes were so itchy and swollen so I couldn't see to drive.

I went into Kona Grill which was by the parking lot and begged them for some Benadryl if they had any. They were so helpful and I took it, but it wasn't really working and my symptoms had gotten worse. I got hives from head to toe, my tongue swelled out of my mouth, my whole face was swelling, my voice changed from the throat/tongue swelling, head still hurt, and I was dizzy so I just kept sitting down and didn't want to move, and at that point I asked them for an EpiPen .......and they called an ambulance instead. 

I gave the ambulance people wrong personal information during my interview (I found that out later after I got better) and they asked me for permission to drive me to the hospital. I told them through my large tongue that my husband was on his way and he could take me ( a poor attempt to avoid extra $$$$) . He was thirty minutes away and so I let them drive me one mile to the hospital after all.

At the hospital things continued to get worse with that "impending doom" feeling I learned about in school but didn't understand until now and then stomach pain (which could have been anxiety/doom related instead of allergy mediated-hard to tell). They gave me epinephrine and four hours later I was sent home with mild swelling and steroids.

The images below were about one hour after the epinephrine (so after the swelling and hives had gone down from the initial reaction). We didn't take any pictures during the peak of the reaction for obvious reasons when you have a life threatening event happen to you, but it would have been cool to have in retrospect.

The next picture was after the doctor said "I'm starting to see what you look now!" 

"I do NOT look like this are you kidding me?" 

anaphylaxis food allergy adult

Below is a screenshot from Jake's snapchat you can add him by his username found here.

anaphylaxis food allergy adult

Getting ready to head home from the hospital in this last photo and feeling much better!!

anaphylaxis food allergy adult

Through immunocap testing, skin testing, and oral challenge testing we determined the allergy was most likely caused by an almond or sesame or peanut or cashew or English walnut or pecan. Yes, I found out I had many allergies. I had the strongest results for an allergy to almond proteins but  it could have been any of them because I am allergic to proteins in all of that list and each reaction is unpredictable in severity and the proteins a person reacts to can cross react. So that's great. 


Did I eat almonds, nuts, or sesame that day? I had a chicken enchilada for lunch , no nuts.

Did this just come on all of the sudden?  Yes, it can develop suddenly.

Have you ever had an almond or peanut ?  Yes I like almonds a lot and peanut butter. I had a lot of almond milk with my Shakeology every morning.  Looking back now, I do remember I had a shower gel a few weeks before the reaction that caused my legs to break out and I kept using it because it was free in the mail - and the first ingredient was almond oil. 

Did I react to something in Sephora? Not likely this big of reaction from a topical product. The natural oils I tried on did have cold pressed nut oils and I'm a nail biter the odds are high that I ingested it anyway. Was there the potential for recalled cumin that contained ground almond shells still being used (from bulk purchases a few months before) at the restaurant I ate at ? - yeah it could be a possibility too in a locally owned shop. 
<<That was the largest recalls ever according to what I read from the FDA - they didn't know how many cumin brands were affected and how long it was going to last.>>

Does this give you anxiety about what you can eat?  Yes the adjustments I've made will be in an entirely different post because it was actually a big change. It's getting much better though.

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