8.07.2013

Life After Anaphylactic Shock

This is part three of my story but I know it isn't the end. There are still more chapters to be written and perhaps I may share some of those with you too. But for now, if you need to catch up you can read about Life Before Anaphylactic Shock HERE and Anaphylactic Shock: The Episode HERE.

I want to reiterate I am sharing my story for two purposes: it helps me process what happened and I feel it is important to share experiences that can benefit others. My choice to try to go dairy free was to ease tummy troubles. I found it alleviated my stuffy nose. Little did I know that a simple choice could turn to a situation like this in my life. It was and still is unnerving to me.

I must confess, come Tuesday morning (the morning after going to the ER for anaphylactic shock) I didn't trust my own body. It felt foreign. Eating breakfast that morning took courage. Food seemed like an enemy. Plus I was on day one of four days of taking the follow up prescribed Predisone. I really don't like taking any medicines and was foolish to read all the potential side effects. That was unnerving. Knowledge is power but I got to say, sometimes too much knowledge may not be good for this running mom. And I needed to run.

Darling daughter didn't want me out of her sight so I took her out with me. My mom questioned if that was a good idea and I knew it would be fine. I needed to run. But I kept my run short with only 1.38 miles pushing darling in the jogging stroller followed up with 0.67 miles running with darling. I did this for my mom's peace of mind. And that day we had made previous arrangements to meet up with old family friends for lunch. My mom asked if I still wanted to go. Yes, I wanted to see our friends. Yes, going out to eat terrified me but I went. We were going to Olive Garden and I figured I would be perfectly fine with a salad with plain vinegar, not their dressing. I got some minestrone soup too since the waitress was very compassionate and knew I was avoiding dairy and assured me this would be fine. Logically I knew it should be too. But all other dining out plans for my vacation were not going to happen. It was stressful trusting food preparation from someone else.

That first week was really hard. I was stuck in the "oh my goodness how could this happen to me?", "did this really happen because I opted to go dairy free?", "how different would my life be at this exact moment of time if I never stopped eating dairy?", and the final "what about darling daughter?". Those questions still pop around in my mind but I am getting more used to them. I am getting more used to reading every single label for every single thing I put in my mouth. And I often read them twice. And I am being very careful until I get more information. I have an allergy clinic appointment scheduled for later this month so until then, I am even avoiding things that may contain milk and yes, food labels tell you that. And dairy can be in anything - barbeque sauce and corn starch are my recent surprises.

And I need to plan more. I need to think about how long I will be out and make sure I pack accordingly with my snacks and meals. I can't say "oh, I will just pick something up" because it isn't that easy. I never really liked to just pick things up but with that option pretty much gone, it is harder. I need to stay focused because one "oh, this is okay" may not be okay.

For example, on Monday I picked up some meatballs that I figured were fine. I ate them before going to Texas. I was okay. I once again stressed no dairy at all. Last time they didn't top the meatballs with cheese but gave me cheesy bread. This time, they still didn't top the meatballs with cheese but gave me buttery garlic bread. Both times I gave the bread to co-workers. Monday I ate some meatballs and began to feel a bit funny, nothing too intense, just odd. My head felt fuzzy-ish. I figured I was paranoid about the buttery bread that was on top and stopped eating. It was just 4 small meatballs and I ate maybe 2.

But you see I am not the same me. Yesterday I felt it wasn't right to get dairy at all when asking for no dairy. Since I knew the restaurant manager I talked to him about it and expressed my concerns. He was completely understanding and agreed 100% that I shouldn't get dairy-ish bread when saying no dairy but he was also concerned about the meatballs. He went and checked on the recipe and came back and told me to not eat the meatballs. They have some milk and cheese in them. Not much but some. I had asked if there was dairy in them, not once but twice. Both times I was told no. I don't blame anyone but it just goes to show you nothing is really safe.

As soon as he told me that the meatballs did have dairy it made since. I was beginning to feel odd eating the food. I am glad I stopped and have you heard the expression hindsight is 20/20? It is true. That proverbial light bulb went off. That itchy neck I had where I noticed some red bumps after eating the meatballs....it had happened before going to Texas too....I even complained then to my co-worker about my itchy neck. If only I could remember when and what I ate the first time but I am sure you may be getting that proverbial light bulb too. The thought that perhaps that itchy neck with little red bumps was my body responding negatively to the dairy in the meatballs.

To some Monday's experience may be scary. To me it adds a bit of comfort. Yes, my body is not happy with something I am eating and the allergy tests should pinpoint what exactly it is in that dairy that is upsetting my system. That kind of sucks. But what is good is that a wee little amount isn't as disasterous as a cake with sour cream, pudding mix, and butter in it! And what is even better is that I am very acute to listening to my body. I thank running for that.

I still wonder about darling daughter. I am sure I will be talking to her pediatrician too mainly because this question lurks in the back of my mind - "if darling daughter goes x amount of time with no dairy in her diet will see then respond to it negatively like I did?". As a mom, how can I not ask? For now, she still gets dairy with the occassional cheese and yogurt but our overall family meals are changing. Dear hubby couldn't put the spaghetti seasoning into his sauce he has used for eons since there was cheese in the mix. I have made a quiche without cheese and that idea troubled dear hubby but he ate it up. My lasagne making days are probably gone but I am contemplating what I could put into them to replace the cottage cheese I traditionally used. And finally, I am wondering what holiday treats I can make to start a new tradition for our family. The standard go-to's will be a no-no for me and hey, I would like to make something I could indulge in too.

You can read about how Allergy Testing Changed my World....again HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for your support.
Daily Affirmation: My body is a temple and it is growing stronger.

6 comments:

  1. I wish you well with your quest for answers. Be patient with yourself and don't try to learn it all at once. Sounds like you are doing a great job with label reading. It is hard. It is annoying. But it is important.

    ReplyDelete
  2. What a life changing thing this is turning into! No dairy I am sure is like trying to find gluten free and MSG free, etc. Those things are in everything!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just commented on your post about The Episode. My son's new allergist was so helpful in navigating this scary and complicated world of food allergies. Yes, it's a new world - packing everything, planning ahead. It's hard. But necessary. Good luck navigating your new road!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We do a lot of asian-style dishes that have absolutely no dairy in them at all and they're really delicious. It may be worth seeing a dietitian as well to give you more ideas on meals.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow... thanks for sharing your story!! That is a scary experience! It's great that you're so in tune with your body though!! I'm sure that helps!! I hope everything goes well with your appointment and you start figuring things out and it becomes easier for you!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hey RM, I'm going to send you an e-mail in a bit!

    ReplyDelete

Let's chat!