When I was pregnant with Thomas, 16 years ago, I developed an apple allergy. I go into full anaphylactic shock.
Over the past year or two, while my body has been otherwise failing me physically (more on that to come) I’ve been also developing new and exciting allergies as well. The one we’ve been able to pin down is spaghetti sauce. But we ruled out, on our own, that it wasn’t the tomatoes, mushrooms, parsley, oregano, or, basil. So about a year ago, I went to see an allergist. The following is pulled from my tumblr from the next day.
“So I went to the allergist yesterday for allergy testing. See as an adult I’ve developed an allergy to apples (awhile back though it’s gotten much worse in recent years) and very recently Prego pasta sauce. Both make my throat swell closed.
Now I can avoid both, but what is it about the Prego that sets me off, was the million dollar question. See, with some careful experimentation we ruled out tomatoes, mushrooms and your more common herbs that would be used in a pasta sauce. I mean fully ruled out. We’ve since switched to Kroger brand red sauce and I can eat it just fine. Tons of it. We also buy Stouffer’s lasagna and I also eat that just fine. A few other red sauce things, just fine. It’s only Prego brand sauce. So what’s in Prego that isn’t in the others? Is it how they preserve it? Also, the label is no help. So my doctor referred me to the allergist.
“So you think your throat swells,” this brilliant doctor asks.
“Well, my throat becomes tight, I can’t breathe very good, and I have a lot of trouble swallowing.”
He proceeded to confirm I have no trouble with tomatoes. No trouble with mushrooms. Proceeded to confirm we use basil, oregano, and parsley all the time, no trouble.
So what does he test me for?
Tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, oregano, and parsley. Nothing else. Not a damn thing else.
Like fam, I’m not saying there is a test specifically for the preservatives used by Prego, but come on. There has to have been other options than the common ingredients that I, on my damn own, completely ruled out and stated as such. Red pasta sauce is a staple of my diet. I love mushrooms and eat them all the time. Pat seasons a lot of things with those exact herbs, If any of that gave me trouble, we’d know by now.
What the FUCK was the point of going to that office, I cry, beg, and ask. What did I
His professional advice? Stay away from Prego and apples.
Yeah. Really? Because I look forward to using my EpiPen. That’s an experience to be cherished.
And whatever this mystery ingredient is, I guess I just have to hope not to run into it again.
He did offer, very matter of factly, that if I wanted to bring in some Prego, he’d test me for that to see if I was allergic to it or not.
Because, after all, I only think my throat swells shut.
I must also be imagining that tightness in my chest that comes with it. And all the other classic symptoms of Anaphylactic Shock.
I knew I needed a second opinion from someone who wouldn’t gaslight me, but I was not in a good place so I put that off a bit and continued to narrow down, on my own, what I was allergic to, with EpiPen in hand.
In time, I realized I was allergic to all jarred pasta sauce, and even some pizza sauce. But it remained true, that it wasn’t the tomatoes, mushrooms, basil, parsley, or oregano.
Pat eventually made his grandmother’s red sauce from scratch, otherwise using all the same ingredients, and I ate SO MUCH of it and did not have a reaction. Not even a hint of one. This has led us to hypothesize that it’s the preservative I’m allergic to.
So it was time to go to a different allergist and get that second opinion.
I was there bright and early Friday morning. I explained everything, including the failed allergist appointment the year prior, to the doctor and just preyed that she would be different.
And OMG. That was one of the most validating appointments with a doctor I’ve ever had. She came for my life and then validated every tiny bit of it.
Now she was honest, and confirmed what I kind of suspected, that there was no test for the preservatives. But she listened to everything and declared it both not unheard of, and the probable source of trouble.
Then she did full allergy testing on all the usual suspects.
The first, interesting thing to note, is that I’m not actually allergic to apples. Not even a little. I’m apparently allergic to birch which
I’m apparently also allergic to dogs. I’ve just failed to ever notice it.
Something, something pollen and ragweed and shit that will cause reactions in the fall when everything is dying, which I basically already knew and had told her about. But it was good to have that validated.
She had also decided, before she even did any testing, that she was going to put me on an antihistamine. The goal being to calm my body down some. However, the tests did confirm that was a good idea.
There were no other reactions of note. So while there are other undetermined things at this time that I’m allergic to, they aren’t anything that’s going to show up on a test. Just like that preservative. So all I can do, really, is keep a journal of sorts and track what I eat that causes a reaction.
And keep my EpiPen on me.
So that is basically that.
On Monday the 4th we’ll talk about my anemia. That’s been a bit of a bumpy ride too. But I’ll fill you all in, in a few days.