{Allergies} Well I Guess I Should Have Seen That One Coming!

by Leighann on October 10, 2012

I suffered horribly from allergies as a child. In fact I still suffer daily. (And though I hate to use the word “suffer” in relation to my child’s diabetes, I find my allergies to be debilitating at times and they definitely affect my daily life.)

I have a true milk allergy. No, I’m not lactose intolerant. That’s what everyone thinks when they hear “milk allergy.” I got that response as recently as two nights ago. “Oh, I didn’t know you were lactose intolerant.” “I’m not. I’m allergic. There’s a difference.”

I will say that I have somewhat outgrown my milk allergy as I have aged. I tolerate processed milk products such as cheese, and yogurt, and ice cream. Though I have to wonder how well I’m really tolerating it. But hand me a glass of milk and my eyes will swell, get red, and itch and water. I had to leave work one day about 10 years ago because someone brought in a package of Oreos and a gallon of milk and I stupidly had a good helping of both.

I’m allergic to dust and mold, which are unavoidable, as well as a host of other foods, pollens, and animals. I’m crazy allergic to beets, of all things. When I eat them my throat starts to swell and burn. It used to be easy to avoid beets, but I buy a lot of organic foods and they are often colored with beet juice.

I’ve gotten allergy shots several times over the past 20 years. I’m currently getting allergy shots and I don’t think they are doing one damn thing to help, but given the fact that I’m at “maintenance” I’m reluctant to quit.

I take an allergy pill daily and I don’t think it helps. I just know that I’m even worse without it.

It’s not surprising that one of my kids also has allergies. Q’s allergies have gotten so bad that she’s constantly rubbing her nose. She takes allergy medicine almost daily. She has had a few times that she couldn’t breathe and needed a breathing treatment and we think it was allergies.

So at her recent yearly check up with the pediatrician I asked about allergy testing. My goal with it was certainly not to have her get allergy shots like I do, but to see if there is something that she’s particularly sensitive to that we can avoid.

The pediatrician recommended not the allergist that I see, but one that specializes in kids. Oh, and is in another town…of course!

We just can’t catch a break when it comes to seeing specialists!

This allergist is actually in the same town as our endocrinologist, but luckily also sees patients at a clinic that’s half the distance.

But this appointment meant an afternoon away from school and missing her weekly guitar lesson.

I am happy to say that the method that this allergist uses for testing seems a bit better than the scratch tests that I have always gotten. They use small white plastic things with tiny prongs on the ends. There are eight of these on a handle, which are dipped into the allergens and then rolled onto the back.

It didn’t hurt. It tickled.

Until the itchy burning started.

Allergy TestingQ’s back was on fire! She was screaming and writhing and telling me that she really needed to scratch. And she had to wait 15 minutes like this.

Fifteen minutes while on fire is a LONG time. And with every minute her back got more red, more swollen, and more itchy.

The nurse came in at the 13 minute mark and started writing down results and when the doctor came in at 15 minutes, some of the spots had gotten even bigger.

Q couldn’t have been more relieved when they sprayed her back with what I’m assuming was Benedryl to stop the itching.

I was not surprised about a few of her allergies, but the overall results were very surprising to me.

┬áCome back next week when I tell you what she’s allergic to.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 katy October 10, 2012 at 7:18 am

Yikes! The picture is making me itchier than a rumor of lice. I’m glad you’re solving the mystery.

Allergies are…overblown autoimmune responses, aren’t they? So are PWDs more likely to have them?

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2 Leighann October 11, 2012 at 5:58 am

I’m not sure if PWD’s are more likely to have allergies, but I was just having that exact same discussion with someone. It would make sense, wouldn’t it? My understanding of allergies is that the body mistakenly thinks that something totally innocuous, such as pollen, is harmful and launches an attack…thus the symptoms. In type 1 diabetes, the body for some as of yet unknown reason thinks the beta cells are bad and kills them off.

Every time we get the note in the backpack saying “There has been a reported case of lice in your child’s classroom,” I itch for three days!

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3 Amy Scheer October 11, 2012 at 9:16 am

Allergy shots are only effective for, what is it, 20% of the population? Whatever the statistic, if they’re not working for you, you’re probably in it! That’s why I went off mine. I’m like, This is STUPID. I was getting 3 every week and seeing no change.

I’ve had some success with homeopathic meds. It’s also important to work on intestinal health, as much of the allergy battle happens in your gut.

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4 Leighann October 11, 2012 at 2:32 pm

At my last check up with my allergist, when I told him I didn’t think I had improved he said, “Huh. That’s odd. Maybe you’re one of the people who doesn’t see a benefit until you’re at the strongest dosage.”

Not reassuring!

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