Sunday, April 10, 2011

Allergies and why we hate them...


One thing I really, really miss about living in Cali is that I had no seasonal allergy problems there. Maybe it was because I lived near the water both in Northern and Southern California so all the pollen just went out to sea, I don't know. But the joy of breathing freely, 24/7/365 is greatly missed.

My mother is allergic to shellfish and I was always deathly afraid of manifesting that problem. I'm a shrimp-grillin', crawfish-boilin', scallop-sautéeing sister. I need my surf alongside my turf. For years I prayed (and prayed) to be spared the seafood allergy. Watch what you ask for (or rather how you ask for it). About a month after my 34th birthday, I went and scooped up my mango-strawberry smoothie from Jamba Juice as per normal. About halfway through, I started feeling uncomfortable but didn't know what it was.

I went home, drank some water, and went to bed. The next morning I put some lemon in my tea, grabbed some apple slices and headed out. Less than an hour later I felt terrible again. I'm sure you've figured it out but it took me two weeks, three doctors and my lips swelling up like Mike Tyson punched me squarely in the mouth until I figured it out - I'd developed a late onset allergy to fruit. All fruit? I don't know, I tried six or seven and was so miserable I just gave up. So sure, I can still eat seafood - just don't put any lemon on it. 

I used to eat fruit a few times a day. There really is NO subsitute. I eat a lot of veggies and drink carrot and tomato juice <~~~so not the same. Thankfully, I can still drink fruit flavored tea. The Cherry Me Bloom and Strawberry Passion from Village Tea Co have saved my life. [Shout out to Martin from Village Tea Co whose party I missed... see below]

This week, BougieMom ate something that didn't agree with her. All we know is the throat started closing up. She got dosed with epic levels of Benadryl and bounced back the next day. Because old girl is 78, I freak out anytime something distrubs the Nellie-bio-eco-system. We're still not 100% sure what caused the reaction. 

Ninja Nouveau and I had two parties and a late dinner to go to Saturday night. We decided to pop in on the party his boss was giving first so we had the excuse of "we have somewhere else to be" to use as needed. I tasted the Asian slaw on a radicchio leaf and said, "I can't eat that, there's lime juice squeezed all over it." Ninja nodded and reached out to grab one. I said, "I also thought I tasted some peanut oil." Ninja Nouveau has been allergic to all things peanut since childhood. A little nugget I found out when I tried to inadvertently kill him with a slice of peanut brittle cheesecake. My bad.

Ninja sniffed the appetizer and decided it's fine. {Men!!!} He wolfed down three before starting to wheeze. I broke out two chewable Benadryl tablets and got him to chew and swallow before his throat closed up. He started to get that 'I need to be horizontal' (and not in a good way) look so I mumbled some excuses, snatched the keys from his hands and asked if he wanted more Benadryl or did he want to go to a hospital? He opted for more Benadryl. I stopped, picked up a Sprite and a bottle of Benadryl syrup, blended him up a yummy cocktail and back to his house we go.

In the meantime, the temperature changed for the umpteenth time that week and something had kicked up in the air. So there we were sprawled on his sofa. He's sipping a Benadryl Spritzer with a straw and I was inhaling Flonase with an Allegra chaser. We living sexy, ya'll.

Ya'll know the scene in Hitch with the food allergy? Yeah... like that right there. This Ninja broke out a really piss-poor version of Trey Songz' Say Aah. Then he switched to Teddy Pendergrass. When he started in on Bon Jovi, I prayed for the meds to kick in. He's lucky I didn't YouTube that mess. 

This week, Allergies: 3 - Michele: 0. Who else has allergy drama? And can't SOMEONE come up with a cure?!

47 comments:

Miss Jenkins said...

My allergies aren't as severe as yours, but I am allergic to all seasons and dust. I remember how hurt I was when I found out that not everyone was allergic to dust. That ish is everywhere. So yeah, all year long, I'm bound to have random attacks of sneezing, puffy eyes, barely breathing through my nose, etc. I feel your pain.

SassyJJ said...

OMG OneChele, I feel your pain girl! I am a NoCal native through and through and would brag about getting sick about once every 3 years. Low and behold, I moved to nasty, germ-filled, smoggy MD (near Baltimore) about 3 years ago and I LIVE in the damned pharmacy. Like, really??? Sneezing, runny nose, hack coughing and the like is not sexy for JJ. Even when I lived in Virginia for almost 10 years, it was not like this. Good thing I'm moving back to VA in the summer :).

Hope you and NN feel better soon!

CaliSlim said...

Allergies: The bane of my existance.

They began when I was a wee tot moving to Los Angeles (smog) and now that I'm in GA now...in the spring pollen coats everything.

Thank heavens I don't have specific food allergies. I love it too much! My allergies like to act up towards everyday things, like say...grass. :-/

Keith said...

I feel your pain Chele. I developed a shellfish allergy about two months after moving to South Carolina from ATL. Anyone who knows me, knows that I love Shrimp and Crab. One evening back in July 2010, a week after returning from a 3 week long excursion to LA for job related purposes I decide to venture out to Joe's Crab shack because i had an incredible craving for seafood. I ordered a great big plate of crab stuffed shrimp, crab stuffed mushrooms, maryland crab cake, crab legs, fried shrimp, and tilapia filets. Yes, I know what you're thinking, I went a little overboard, but I had an intense craving, which needed to be satiated. Of course this seafood feast fit for King Tritan, was more than satisfying and I went home happy (oh yeah add in 2 drinks and I was a buzzed, happy camper). Later on that night around 2am I kept getting calls from my mother, who never calls me that many times at that hour. She was calling and sending texts expressing her extreme disapproval for a lady I met, whom she knows(another story for another time) . After about 10 calls/texts I finally got up to answer her and that is when I noticed the full onslaught of a near anaphylactic reaction. We're talking swelling around the mouth, reddish skin, hives, itching, the runs(sorry if thats TMI), as well as dizziness. I thought it was just a one time thing and a couple of days later had shrimp again from a local chinese eatery and of course broke out in hives and redness/swelling. Ive stayed away from all shellfish since then, much to my chagrin. Also in this time I've developed an allergy to ibuprofen, which causes hives as well...major #FML!

Anonymous said...

Maaaaaannn! I might as well be dubbed "bubble baby, extraordinaire"! My most horrific experience was in boot camp. We were on our first field exercise and we were instructed to put on sunblock. Now, I rarely put anything onto my face, which helps me maintain my flawless complexion. drill sergeant was NOT having it. After various threats and such, I reluctantly put it on my face. The next morning, I was greeted by a swollen, drooling version of my former self. Long story short, I am allergic to a chemical they put into sunblock. I can only wear a clinique moisturizer that contains some sunblock.we found this out after countless allergy tests and a uv test. I won't even get started on my laundry list of food, plant, and animal allergies. All I can do is laugh at myself

David Parrish, Jr.(Inkognegro) said...

I could write a book on Food Allergies.

I was born allergic to my mother's Breast milk. Top that.


My girlfriend curses my shellfish allergy to this day.

Its been a long journey with me and food. I feel your pain for sure.


and let me add, as a restaurant professional.

If you have a food allergy. TELL ME UP FRONT, regardless of what youre looking at. You don't know WHAT kind of shenanigans are afoot back there to make food taste distinctive. And for God's sake, don't lie and say you're allergic to ish that you merely hate. That's so wack, ole boy who cried wolf ash mofos.

Sarah said...

Allergies are a pain. I have them too although different ones from yours. My seasonal and dust allergies are kept under control with vitamin C. I don't want to be a product pusher, but since it might help, I take TriVita's Vital C in powdered crystal 2000 mg a day with 1/2 in the morning and 1/2 at night. This even allows me to be around my sister's cats. Before, it would take all of an hour in her place before I'd be in complete allergy misery. Now, as long as I stay away from them, don't pet them, vacuum regularly, and escape outside at critical times, I can go without Benadryl. Benadryl gives me a splitting headache these days so its a no-go. As for food, with me it is dairy and grains or any food with too much starch. The dairy seems to be an actual allergy. With the grains, it isn't clear if it is an allergy or just an inability to digest starch. Those two are in almost all cooked dishes either pre-made or homemade. It makes eating out virtually impossible and traveling difficult. I found that if I forget to bring food with me, then I'm better off having water and going hungry than eating something that is going to cause problems later.

I hope you, the new guy, and your Mom are all feeling better.

Jubilance said...

2 words: allergy shots. I had extremely bad allergies as a child, and allergy-induced asthma. After 11 years of shots, at age 16 I went off them & by 18 I was completely allergy -free. Even when the pollen is super thick, I'm good *dougies* Its kinda nice to be the only one who isn't miserable due to the pollen.

Jasmin said...

I'm the opposite of you--since moving to San Francisco from California my allergies have gotten worse. The seasonal ones haven't been too terrible, but apparently I'm mildly lactose-intolerant and allergic to eggplant. I don't have any wheezing/throat closing reactions so far, but at this point I only ingest the above when (TMI alert!) I know I'll be near a bathroom.

rozb said...

I didn't have allergies until my late 30s. First, it was the yellow pine pollen that coats everything in the spring in Virginia. Then, while cleaning my dog's kennel out, the dander caused my to have my very first asthma attack. Now dander (especially cat dander) will cause me to get swollen itchy eyes and skin rashes (I keep Benadryl within easy reach).

Fortunately I can still eat shellfish like a raptor for now. Living in Virginia and not being able to eat seafood would hurt my whole heart.

Get better Chele and NN.

David Parrish, Jr.(Inkognegro) said...

Every Week from 3-7
Every two weeks 8-15
Once a month aged 16.

The Good news? MAD Early Dismissals from school, son.

digal704 said...

OneChele, what a weekend! My 16 year old has had allergies, including raging exzema and a touch of asthma since birth. I have that late onset eczema, dermatitis and allergies. Drugs, aveeno and Kleenex are my life!

aishao1122 said...

i have developed a late in life intolerance to dairy, so no cheese (and I love cheese) no cows milk no yogurt, recently i have also added ALL nightshade foods ( so many things on that list that i love that it's insane) let's start with
tomato ( and all it's byproducts, so no ketchup, no doritos, pasta sauce nothing with tomatoes at all)
paprika,
sweet peppers,
cayenne pepper (which is from sweet peppers),
most potatores (including my new faves sweet potatoes)
eggplants
the link to more info is here: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=62

also a recent addition is the intolerance to phosphorous foods i.e. bananas (which is also shared by my younger sister)

when i worked in a seafood restaurant i developed an low level allergy to it, due to all the exposure( and that's the only thing we ate for hours on end), i won't need an epi-pen for it, but eating too much will make me into Will Smith from Hitch.

i can't eat out, because paprika, cayenne pepper, or tomato powder is inside EVERYTHING. then there is no dairy what so ever means if buttermilk is in that sauce im going to be sick at your table

Life sucks sometimes. sorry about the fruit, that sucks im Jamaican and can't imagine not eating mango or pineapple

aishao1122 said...

Same here, it sucks cause my makes a mean eggplant parm

aishao1122 said...

Nothing worse than someone saying they are allergic then eating a derivative of the thing they are allergic to O_o to the lady who told me she's lactose intolerant then ordered alfredo sauce and new england clam chowder. How exactly did you think it became white???? I see you

TreyCharles said...

I don't know what the ingredient is but I have to use all the dye-free, unscented laundry stuff. And no bleach. Makes staying in hotels an adventure. The side-eyes when I break out my own sheets - good times.

Just_A_Thought1218 said...

I have the worst allergies. Pollen, dust, grass - if it blooms, grows, greens or sprouts I'm probably allergic to it. I didn't used to be allergic to dogs, but now I start to get itchy and the sneezes soon follow. But nothing is as bad as cats. Just walking into a cat owners home can be a deathly proposition. And yes, cats can sense this deadly power they have and try to get all super cozy.

Thankfully I'm not allergic to shellfish, cuz I don't know what I'd do without it. But, I'm keeping my fingers crossed because my mother wasn't allergic to it until she had me (her second child). I think it runs in families, so I'll be on the lookout.

Angel Blanca said...

Life-long allergy sufferer, here! I'm allergic to all living plants & animals. Despite twice-weekly allergy shots throughout my youth, and regular use of allergy & asthma medications, I've never outgrown allergy "seasons," which last year-round. Thankfully, I've never had food allergies, but my list of environmental allergies and two medicines to date, have given me enough fun memories (including one that left me laying on the shower floor leaking from every orifice).

When she entered high school, my daughter, who I had nursed for 13 months to keep her immune to allergies, developed allergic reactions to fruit. I still can't believe this, but this is my reward. Thankfully, her experiences have been uncomfortable, but not not life-threatening.

Of course I would hope nothing severe would befall N. N., I do have VERY find memories of that scene from Hitch, and would have LOVED to see his reenactment ;-)

William Martin said...

You seriously could have YouTubed dude's "Say Aah" groove.
Allergies are nothing to play with.

booboonotthefool said...

That throat closing up shoulda had you act the doctor! An epi-pen would have calmed that right down. I don't have allergies, but I DO know that the throat closing up is dangerous. Glad everything turned out..

I'd recommend you go see an allergist..and by you...I mean both of you.

blackprofessor said...

No food allergies, but my skin has been hypersensitive since birth!! I am allergic to some fabrics, anything with fragrances and/or dyes, dust, fake metals, and pretty much all hair care products including perms or other chemicals. None of that scented bath and body stuff for me either. At this point, Dove soap, Vaseline lotion and Whole Foods hair care products are all I can tolerate...

michaeldavis said...

well I didn't know how bad it was...on behalf of everybody at the second party you missed (EPIC!!!! , btw) I apologize for all the texts,etc.

I had an allergic reaction to penicillin a few months back..crazy rash all over my face and my throat was closing...my friend who is a Dr. told me what to do over the phone and saved me. Craziness.

But those shrimp shooters from the party yesterday though....amazing :)

OneChele said...

My luck, they probably had lemon juice in there ;-)

OneChele said...

We've both been to allergist and NN has an epipen he just didn't have it with him... helpful!

OneChele said...

Yes, I have this one too plus a sensitivity to bleach AND an allergy to down/feathers. So I'm uber-high maintenance at a hotel.

C Nelson said...

Sadly, I have your mom's shellfish allergy. At least, I do when I eat shellfish from American shores/stores. Frozen crab legs from back home don't trigger it -- something in the water, is my guess. In any case, I nibble a restaurant crabcake once every couple of years or so, usually managing about three bites before the warning signs set in, and leave the stuff strictly alone the rest of the time. (My kid sister has the eggplant allergy; I feel extremely lucky to have dodged that bullet. I'd rather do without crabcake the rest of my life than give up baigan choka.)

I also have the full spectrum of environmental allergies -- pollen, mold, dust, dander, feathers. My pillows are stuffed with that hypoallergenic gel filling, because otherwise I'd never sleep. The family has always had at least one dog, and currently the count is three, so Claritin-D is my best friend year-round, and I'm mad at meth labs for making it harder for me to come by my daily dose of breathing without being looked at strangely.

Crystal said...

I have seasonal allergies, but I have a cousin who is allergic to alcohol!!! Poor thing!!

ASmith said...

I'm in one of the WORST cities for those with "outside allergies" and it's terrible. I can't breathe at night when I lay down... my electric bill will be sky high through all this because one of the FEW remedies I've found is cold air. I need it all the time.

I ran a quick, quick errand. I mean I maybe spent a total of 60 seconds outside and I was still sneezing like no tomorrow. My mornings are terrible. It takes at least an hour to be clear enough to leave the house (that is, no coughing, blowing nose, doing weird things with my nasal cavities...)

In sum, Chele, I'm feeling your pain to a certain degree. I'm not aware of any food allergies of the throat closing variety, but with my body... Lawdamercy.

ASmith said...

Um SAY THAT on those meth labs. I'm tired of feeling like I might get a visit from the police because I can't function without my Zyrtec-D!

E Morris said...

Chele - Back in '09 I had gotten the same weird fruit/vegetable allergy. Mine was only to fresh fruit/vegetables and juice when it was cooked I was fine. Went to the doctor he gave me an EpiPen and a daily dose of Benadryl. Mine turned out to be stress related and is now completely gone. It maybe be an option for you just an FYI.

And in DC my allergies run rampant, I love the the spring but hate the pollen.

CaliGirlED said...

"I was born allergic to my mother's Breast milk. Top that."...Well dayum! What could top that? Woo woo woo (in my Sinclair voice).

CaliGirlED said...

Born and raised in L.A. with allergies since birth! Used to be just sinus issues and mild asthma incidents here and there. I mean I would get an inhaler once every few years, they would expire before I used them good. Then low and behold, I turn 30! A little over a month later I go to Vegas, partake in the seafood buffet at the Rio (ok, I loaded up on crab legs), and had an allergic reaction that damn near killed me. Throat closing, hives, redness and swelling, blurred vision, the works! And my first (hopefully last) ride in an ambulance! Yep I'm talking IV stat. Get to emergency and they proceed to pump 5 different kinds of drugs in through the IV.

With a mother from New Orleans, needless to say, I wasn't convinced that I was allergic to shellfish. The Rio just served me up a bad batch! Went to the doctor and insisted on an allergy test. Well what do you know, I'm allergic to dogs, cat, dust, pollen, etc. And the one with numbers OFF the chart? SHELLFISH!!! GTFOH!!! My mother, bless her dear heart, offers to make me gumbo without the shrimp and crab. Mama that's just chicken soup, I'll pass!

My first allergy season in Houston last year was a breeze. This one right here, I just want to cut my head off!!!

Nicole said...

Is only ah Trini could talk bout Bagian choka! Damn! yuh could fins we anywhey eh?

Natasha Hunter said...

I have pretty mild allergies, mostly a lot of sneezing and by the read of things I sure hope it stays that way!

I used to kill milk, I mean a whole gallon gone in like two days, but when I returned from Bootcamp I couldn't handle the stuff anymore. Now it's almond milk all day over here, I recently saw some coconut milk in the store but I'm a lil' skeptical- has anyone tried it?

CaliGirlED said...

Bought some Claritin-D for the first time about a month ago. Was asked for my idea. As I gave the strange look and slowly began to pull it out the pharmacy tech explained why it was necessary. WOW!...Where are you from? I might need to make that my next vacay spot just so that I can enjoy my shellfish without stressing over whether or not I'll have to take my second ride in the ambulance, or falling right to sleep cause I took 2 Benedryls to avoid a reaction!

Mykeia said...

I know that I am late but I just got the opportunity to read this...So I understand where you are coming from in relation to adult on-set allergies.
I turned 28 and could no longer eat salmon, uh hello, I live in Oregon--who in Oregon doesn't love and eat salmon?! I am still really, really bitter about this.
Last year end of August in Hawaii I developed some allergy to something, I thought it was maybe the swordfish or my new tattoo but no...symptoms kept coming up after keeping a food journal and multiple allergy tests and what turns up: gluten/gluten and dairy for me = no bueno. Yeh Doxepin!

C Nelson said...

Coconut milk isn't a milk substitute like almond milk; it's the liquid you get from the inside of a mature coconut, and is more of an ingredient than a drink (it's thick and pulpy.) When it's just the liquid contained in the middle of the coconut (not squeezing the pulp) it's called coconut water, and that's a beverage -- clear and sweet. Still not the kind of thing you want to pour over your cereal, though.

C Nelson said...

*laughs.* As Nicole spotted, I'm from Trinidad and Tobago -- specifically, from Trinidad. You want to go there anyway; it's one of the most beautiful places God put on this planet. My mother makes a trip back every year, and usually she brings the crab legs (among other things!) back with her; I've never had a reaction to those.

C Nelson said...

You sure can. :) I was born in Arima; we emigrated when I was twelve. Where in Trinidad/Tobago are you from?

CaliGirlED said...

Ok thanks!

J. Jackson said...

I am a NorCal native, and hardly ever was sick while I lived there. Lo and behold once I moved to Charlotte it seemed that during the summer I STAYED sick. Runny nose, watery eyes. I just chalked it up to catching a cold. It seems that I am allergic to pollen. I will have the Muxinex handy during the summer...

Green Teresar said...

Pei pa koa is pretty decent cough medicine (from herbal as I remembered), great non alcoholic medicine, some western cough medicine are more effective, but this is non drowsy.

You can access info online @
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nin_Jiom_Pei_Pa_Koa
http://ninjiom.50webs.com/

Natasha Hunter said...

Nuh uhh... not that one, I'm familiar with the one used in sauces. Silk has an actual milk like product now, I saw it next to the Almond Breeze. It's called Pure Coconut, and on the carton it's pouring like milk... I think I'm going to try it.

josephdecostta said...

There are so many different types of allergy. An Allergy is a disorder of the immune system often also referred to as atopy. Allergies can cause a runny nose, sneezing, itching, rashes, swelling or asthma.

mole removal said...

 I think it is possible swordfish, or my new tattoo, but no symptoms, has been to ... to keep the food allergy diaries and after several test, why there is up: gluten / wheat gluten and dairy products for me.

Joseph Rhodes said...

I really hate allergies. They keep on coming back and it irritates me. Good thing there are things I can do to reduce their effects.

chiropractor chicago

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