Saturday, March 29, 2008

Something New

I'm always amazed how I can learn something new without even trying.

Today, I learned that anaphylactic shock is not limited to the airways. I learned that there's a little thing called gastrointestinal anaphylaxis. Who knew? Well, the allergist knew!

I went to the doctor this morning for a yearly check-up. I've been seeing an allergist since 2003 after I was stung by a wasp and found out, rather unpleasantly, that I'm violently allergic to insect venom. Anyway, today's visit was just a regular check up, but I brought up a concern that's developed over the past few weeks. I can't eat cherries anymore. I love cherries, used to eat them all the time, but a few weeks back, I ate some and got so sick that I honestly thought I was going to die. I wasn't sure if it was an allergic reaction at first, though as time passed, I was more and more convinced, given the itchy tongue and swelling lips. I'll spare you the rest of the details. Trust me, you WANT me to spare you the details. Let's just say it involved me sleeping on the bathroom floor.

So, the doctor checked me out and determined that yes, I've suddenly developed an allergy to cherries. What's more important, though, is that she thinks my terribly painful irritable bowel (which I've been dealing with and taking medication for since last year) may not be an irritable bowel at all. It might be on-going inflammation from other, undiagnosed food allergies. All the symptoms, while certainly in line with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, also fall into the category of Gastrointestinal Anaphylaxis. The main difference is that Gastrointestinal Anaphylaxis can lead to full Anaphylactic Shock and kill a person. That scared me a little. Or a lot.

I'm going to be keeping a food diary for a while and see if my painful belly is due to something I'm eating. The doctor seems convinced and is planning on doing some new allergy testing to get to the bottom of it. I've always known that allergies can develop suddenly--especially food allergies--but I always thought of it as something that happened to other people. I guess I might be in the category of other people now. The doctor recommended a website, which I've had a chance to check out. Apparently, it's gotten more popular because of Donald Trump's Celebrity Apprentice, but I'd never heard of it before. It's www.foodallergy.org and if you have food allergies, you should check it out. It's very helpful.

5 comments:

jAMiE said...

Gosh...i hope your food diary helps you, it sounds like a very good idea. My mother has irritable bowel, not fun...my heart goes out to you...take care of yourself, k.

Anonymous said...

I'm so very sorry you have this problem.

www.foodallergysupport.com

If you need support, this is a good place to start. You will find a lot of people who know something about GI anaphylaxis (from experience unfortunately).

All the best to you!

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