Happy Allergiversary to Me (Take Two)

I’m big on anniversaries, and today is a big one.

One year ago today, two major life changes happened. The first is that I stopped working in a dirty, rude, horrible office. The second is that I went to my current doctor for allergy testing and found out I was allergic to 46 of the 75 scratch-testable foods.

And so it began.

It’s hard to believe how much I have learned and changed in the last year. I’ve become a better cook and a better eater. I’ve become smarter about my allergies. I’ve learned to accept the reality of the situation and ask for help when I need it. I’ve survived multiple epi-episodes, and overcame a fear of the epipen. I started a crusade against xanthan gum and a started eating pineapple, pears, and cherries. I realized dried fruit is kind of okay. And processed foods have a lot more shit in them than we realize.

I was supposed to have a challenge today to commemorate the occasion, but yesterday at work, I had a terrible airborne reaction and had to get more epi. Apparently, one week after anaphylaxis, I can’t be around lettuce and nuts at the same time and eat within a few hours. Live and learn. That’s what this year has been for me. Living, and learning.

I can’t challenge anything else for another few weeks, and I have to stay careful for the next few days and super careful over Passover when I’ll be far away. But, I got an Auvi-Q! The doctor and nurse decided that the full dose of epi is too much for my body at once, and I react better to the pediactric dose (people who can’t eat are smaller than regular sized adults, I guess), so since I needed a new prescription, they gave me one for the newfangled cell-phone like robot epi injector. I’m obsessed, less scared, and hope I never have to use it.

But the important thing is, I can pinpoint my reactions. I don’t have questions as to “am I allergic to chicken, all I ate was chicken?” which was the case last year. I know what happened. I had cottonseed oil, it fucked with me, and I’m super sensitive. That’s a huge step from last year, and I’m so grateful to be on a road to sorting this all out.

Anyway, here’s a massive tally how far I’ve come so far this year — foods in bold are foods I am NO LONGER allergic to (or testing positive to):

  1. Lettuce
  2. Barley (in the form of beer)
  3. Cacao Bean aka Chocolate
  4. Orange
  5. Green Peppers
  6. Clam
  7. Garlic
  8. Cinnamon
  9. Coffee
  10. Cow’s Milk
  11. Grapefruit
  12. Malt
  13. Olives
  14. Peas
  15. Plums
  16. Soy
  17. Tomato
  18. Wheat
  19. Baker’s Yeast
  20. Walnut
  21. Almond
  22. Avocado
  23. Beef
  24. Blueberry
  25. Buckwheat
  26. Broccoli
  27. Cabbage
  28. Cantaloupe
  29. Cottonseed
  30. Egg Yolk
  31. Flaxseed
  32. Hazelnut
  33. Mushroom
  34. Mustard
  35. Peanut
  36. Pistachio
  37. Pork
  38. Potato
  39. Rice
  40. Sesame (won’t kill me)
  41. Sunflower seed (in oil)
  42. Cashew
  43. Onion (in some forms)
  44. Tuna
  45. Codfish
  46. Salmon

That’s 22 foods back in my diet at least to some degree! That’s incredible. That’s nearly half of the foods back in. And we’ll see how many more get added back in once I complete these challenges.

Thanks to everyone who has been so supportive of me this year, and prior. I spent 25 years of my life thinking that I was possibly crazy and making it all up. And this year, I’ve proven the opposite. And it’s really reassuring to know I’m not crazy, and that there are so many people out there who both want to make sure I don’t die and believe me when I say it’s a possibility. Thank you for encouraging me to go to the doctor and to listen to him and for helping me navigate these crazy dietary changes. More than anything else, I feel blessed. This year taught me just how blessed I am. I wish I could also eat more, but hey. One step at a time.

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