It’s That Season Again…Not Holidays, But Horseradish

First of all, sorry for the TERRIBLY LONG OVERDUE post. Seriously. So much has changed since I’ve last blogged, and I’m sorry I’ve been too busy to keep you all updated. The food challenges are going well (yes, I will recap them, no I haven’t any failures as of late!), and life is generally good.

But I’m inspired to blog tonight because I’m frustrated with my body, and blog and body share two of the same letters, so I figured this was the answer.

I’ve decided I’m entitled to a handful of “woe is me” posts a year, so consider this the (hopefully) cap of 2013’s.

It’s horseradish season again. I remember this starting last year in February, and I was all mentally prepared for that — the halting of grocery shopping, the need to rely on others, not really eating half the foods I can eat because they’re too close to horseradish in the supermarket, the fear of impending death every time I went into Whole Foods. That was February Cindy’s problem…or so I thought.

On Thursday night, I went to Whole Foods to buy an eggplant, and they were next to mushrooms and on top of lettuce, and I called my mom asking how to navigate the situation when I noticed that diagonally under the eggplants was my enemy: HORSERADISH. Like, a ton of it. Where it usually isn’t, at least not in that abundance.

So I ran. I ran away from the offending root toward the fruit section where I saw pomegranates that I’m mildly airborne allergic to and ran farther and started to cry.

I didn’t leave the store with an eggplant. I figured out how to make eggplant/zuchinni parmigiana, though, so WIN! (I’m trying so hard to be peppy and positive. Probably helps that I just slayed Superbass in my totally sane “rap to see if you’re breathing well” diagnosis).

Anyway, I cried about the horseradish and its early resurgence into my world for a while. Not just horseradish, but this reminder that the littlest things can be so hard for me, for all of the people who have food allergies, especially airborne allergies. That going to regular places is a life-risk. It’s not like, “Oh let me grab some groceries.” It’s “Oh, I need to grab some groceries, hope I make it out okay and can spend the rest of my day as planned and not in bed, or worse.” Plus, sometimes I just want to eat. And when my airborne allergies make it harder to eat the things I can eat because of their proximity or my getting sick, it’s just horrible. I feel helpless and hungry.

Tonight, I wanted to spend time with a friend who was hungry, and I accompanied her to a restaurant. I was fine staving off my own hunger to join her where I couldn’t eat. That’s par for the course, and I’m fucking Tiger Woods of this restaurant golf metaphor. But then I wasn’t fine. I could feel the avocado and lettuce of her salad on my tongue. I’m usually okay around those if the space is big enough, but those allergies are the kind that you don’t know until you know, and I knew. We moved outside where I could get more air and less avocado. But to no avail. My tongue was prickly, my throat was hurting, my thoughts slowing down. I felt like I had at the moment before my doctor stopped me at my avocado challenge way back when.

So I came home. In tears. Because I wanted to hang out with her. I wanted to then come home and eat dinner. But I have to wait for the Benedryl to kick in first so whatever I eat next doesn’t get conflated with the previous poisons. Because my body does that. It loves to have allergic reactions all the livelong day to foods that are generally fine because it lives on the tipping point. If my body were a Lady Gaga song it would be “The Edge of Allergy.”

I should be able to be around my friends when they eat without dictating their diets (and making them feel guilty for something they didn’t do wrong — J, you are TOTALLY entitled to your dinner, and if you feel bad for even a second I will feel worse). I should be able to have normal social interactions. I should be able to eat dinner when I damn please and grocery shop, too, and get along just fine. And 99% of the time, I do.

But it’s horseradish season.

And I’m the one who has to hibernate.*

*I may be overdramatizing. But hey. It’s a good closer.

Oh, Dating with Food Allergies…

If I wasn’t half asleep I’d probably expand on this post a little more, but Howaboutwe’s Marla Pachter has it pretty much covered. Love her sense of humor about how awkward it can be to go on dates with a ton of food allergies. Read her article here. It’s hilarious.

Just a few comments, and excuse the potential lack of cohesiveness to this post — I do need to catch up on sleep now that I AM ON MY LAST FEW HOURS OF PREDNISONE after a whirlwind of 12 emotional, insomnia-filled days…

1. You’re not supposed to mention things like weird illnesses or awkward dealbreakers on a first, or even second date. It’s like, everyone has their thing, but you don’t need to broadcast yours to the world like it’s a bright red flag. So if my thing is food allergies, how do I not do that on a first date that’s dinner related? Yes, we can go to drinks or minigolf or the beach but if some guy says “Hey Cindy, I want to take you to dinner” and I say “Howaboutwe go minigolfing instead?” I’m sure he’ll say why, and then it’s like, do I lie? Do I say, “I just prefer minigolfing” and come off all weird and high maintenance? If it goes somewhere, he’ll find out that dinner’s hard, so there’s no use pretending it’s not. I guess I just have to be the girl guys don’t want to take to dinner. I have to give off a minigolfing vibe. Maybe invest in some polo shirts and golf cleats.

2. I have totally suggested a guy order food I was allergic to while on a date so that he would fail when he tried to kiss me. True story. I was all, “yeah, you should order that mushroom pasta, mmmm it sounds so good”  when he was debating between that and the dish I was having and then later I was like, “oh no! so sorry, you had mushrooms, let’s just wave goodbye…” Sometimes, you know at the start of the date where it’s going, and I saw it was going nowhere, and got myself out of what could have otherwise been an awkward head-tilt that’s only good for my amazing masseuse May. So, there’s a plus side to dating with allergies.

And now, for my long awaited sleep…