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Food Allergies. Strike Again.

(You guys might be sick of reading about these sudden and urgent attacks on my body all of the time…but not nearly as sick as I am of having these sudden and urgent attacks all the time.)

Who the hell knows why, or what, or how, I was hit so hard by yet another allergic reaction. I checked the ingredients for Chicken Marsala (since that is what I had for dinner an hour before I went into high alert bad situation) and none of the ingredients were are on ‘my list of things to avoid’.

Unless, I have developed New Allergies?

[*shudder*]

All I know is that I am terrified of food.

Again.

Which is a bad thing. When you are too scared to eat because you face detrimental adverse reactions, you choose not to eat at ALL. Thus, further endangering your health. Fun. Fun. Fun.

When you have an allergic reaction, there are several symptoms which can present themselves in various degrees. Sometimes those symptoms are mild and other times they are down right horrifying.

I am almost used to the mild allergic reactions. I can feel the inside of my eyelids getting itchy. I can see my lips exploding and puffing up like Mick Jagger. My ear lobes become firey and hot. When I see my face changing from flat and pale to swollen and bright red, that’s when I know its time to grab some antihistamines and right quick.

Normally two Allegra pills can stop an allergic reaction dead in its tracks. Except for when you have to take it every day as part of your medication rituals. Since I have built up a tolerance for it, Allegra is no longer capable of doing the job.

Benadryl is really the best medication for an allergic reaction, but I can’t take the fast acting liquid kind. Why? Because it is loaded with Corn Syrup. Since I am allergic to Corn, I am allergic to all things with corn byproducts as well. And by the way, corn-starch and corn-syrup are in almost everything.

(Seriously, ever read the backs of food labels?)

The other kind of allergic reaction is only about 87% more alarming than the first kind.

This kind of allergic reaction is the same as the one above, only worse. And comes out of nowhere. It hits you really fast and really hard. There are no symptoms slowly creeping up on you, which give you an indication and the much needed warning that you might be in danger of going into anaphylaxis shock.

Within seconds, your entire body (not just your face) feels like you are being stabbed with burning-hot-itchy-spiky-needles. Then come the hives. The hives raise your skin and form welts all over your body. And as much as scratching the hives feels good…it is not a recommended activity since that kind of move only makes matters worse. Especially when your fingers are so swollen that your hands look like you are wearing a baseball catcher’s gloves.

The last part of this kind of high intensity allergic reaction is the evacuation process. Your body knows it is under attack and wants to eliminate any and all substances that you have consumed over the course of your day entire lifetime.

Saturday night, I had the second kind of allergic reaction. I cannot begin to tell you how scary that kind of reaction is. But I am sure going to try.

Thankfully, my mother was in earshot of my cries for help from the toilet bowl wherein I was mid-evacuation (from both ends of the torso) and covered from head to toe in giant itchy painful welts that make you want to rip your skin right off your body.

My mother (having suffered from massive food allergies herself) knows exactly what to say and do in these situations. And she has the ‘Jedi Mind Trick Hand Waving Powers‘ (which we will get into later).

As my mother put freezing cold wet towels on my back and forehead I cried, “See. See. This is why I don’t eat when I am at work.” “This is why I don’t eat during the day until I am home, and know I will be safe.” “This is why I have no vitamins and nutrients in me.” “I am afraid to eat.” “Even when I am careful.” “Why is this is still happening?”

And, just for the record, my allergic reactions are becoming more and more severe every time.

What’s scary? Is that I never know if I am going to end up in the hospital, or have to jam the dreaded Epi-Pen into my upper thigh. What’s more scary? Is the not knowing how long the allergic reaction will last. What’s the scariest? Is that even when you are incredibly-super-careful, these types of reactions still happen for no apparent reason.

As I cried to my mother, I asked her just how bad my back looked to her. I wondered about my back because that was the only part of my body I couldn’t see from where I was sitting. In addition to the hives and welts, the itchy burning hell, the rest of my body looked very sunburned like I had been in a tanning booth for an over extended amount of time. Rather than answer my question directly, she employed the use of her ‘Jedi Mind Trick Hand Waving Power‘ skillz.

Let me tell you how that works.

A few years ago, I was in the back seat of the car with my parents. My father was driving. He asked my mother if he should turn left and go to the grocery store. After all he wanted to pick up Ice Cream. My mother waved her hand by my father’s face in slow motion (from left to right in a half circle) and said, “ You don’t want to go there…you want to turn here so we can go home instead.” “Okay”, said my father with no resistance. “Your right. I don’t want Ice Cream.” After a few seconds we all noticed my mother seemed to have used the ‘Jedi Mind Trick’. What was funnier? Is that it worked. Because even though my father really wanted Ice Cream, we never made it to the grocery store. We went home instead. Happily. For years now my mother has been able to use the ‘Jedi Mind Trick Hand Waving Powers‘ to bend another persons will to her desires. It is quite amazing.

So there I was, half hysterical, and shivering with the kind of uncontrollable shakes that come from deep down inside your body, when I asked my mother, “How bad does it look from where you are?” “Is it getting any better?” “I really don’t think the medication is working.”

“Its not that bad”, she said while waving the half a circle hand motion in my face. “You are going to be fine.” “It’s starting to look better as we speak.”

And I believed her. And once again the ‘Jedi Mind Trick Hand Waving Power‘ skillz came into play for the next 45 minuets.

Any question I asked, or any statement I made, were countermanded by her use of the slow motion hand waving movements over my face while stating the opposite of any thought I had in my head.

And It Worked.

Finally, my symptoms started to subside enough for me to come out of the bathroom, but not enough so that my father wouldn’t have to go to the store in the middle of the night to buy Benadryl Pills.

I don’t know how Benadryl affects any of you, but for me, Benadryl has the same affect as shooting up with black tar heroin. I nod-out forever. The day after taking Benadryl is always The. Worst. Combine the medication hangover with left over Mono and you have one very unproductive Sunday.

Sunday was supposed to be the first day I was going to try to get up, and get out of bed and get dressed. Dressed in real clothes. For the first time in 2 weeks. But those efforts were obviously thwarted.

Gee. I wonder what’s going to happen to me today?

Never. A. Dull. Moment.

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  • Oh God, I feel so bad for you. This is awful. You must be feeling so ill. Your Mum is amazing. You are amazing that you even have the strength to post. I am so worried for you. Not knowing when this type of reaction is going to strike must be so debilitating. I admire you so much for the way you cope. If only I had the medical know-how to offer a solution. What can I do, Meleah? I really want to help even though I am at the other end of the world. Take it as easy as you can. Thinking of you…….

  • wow.. that is so intense.. i cannot even imagine what that must be like for you … please rest and feel better… XXOO

  • I feel for you. Sounds like a lot at one time. Too much actually. I hope you feel better soon.

    We had a big discussion in the office about sugar and the lack of real sugar usage in US products. You go to other countries and they actually use the real thing. None of this by-product stuff we have here.

  • I am feeling so SORRY for you right now, if I could take ANY of your ailments away for you, I would in a heart beat. I had BAD allergies when I was younger and out grew them. I couldn’t eat any fresh fruits or veggies. I did outgrow most of them over the years. How you stay so strong, and still blog about it is beyond me. I’d REALLY like to learn the “Jedi Mind Trick Hand Waving Powers”. Does it work on 2 year olds? When you’re feeling all better, you should make a movie about her powers!! Hang in there!! And now you’ve given me a challenge to coe up with a cake that you can actually eat…..and t won’t taste like shit, I promise!

  • Meleah

    Selma:
    Its annoying. Its really fucking annoying. I miss the days of being able to eat whatever the hell I wanted. I wish I had KNOWN when it was going to be the last time I was ever going to be able to eat mashed potatoes. I would have gone swimming in them. For today, I am too scared to eat AT ALL. After one of these major outbreaks I have to go back to the Allergist and explain what happened. And, more than likely I will need to be tested for MORE food allergies. The Crohn’s has eaten away most of m y intestinal lining so I have virtually nothing to protect me from an adverse food reaction. Unfortunately, there is NOTHING you can do. (other than keep my spirits up, keep writing amazing blog posts that distract me from this whole disaster, and keep me laughing) There is nothing I can do either. And it BLOWS.

    Paisley:
    I cant stand it anymore. I really really cant stand it.

    Urban:
    Even the all natural crap is too risky for me. I dont know what I am going to do. It looks like another month of PLAIN GRILLED CHICKEN and YOGURT for me.

    Chef Mom:
    Stop. Please DO NOT feel SORRY for me. I hate when people feel sorry for me, I am not looking for sympathy. That makes me feel crappy. This is just the way it is for me. I love that you are CONCERNED. That shows me what a great, and supportive, and wonderful friend you are. Hell Yes Jedi Powers rule. I will ask my mom if we can video a ‘demo’. I dont know if it will work on two year olds? But we should definitely TRY it! And Yes Please!!!!! I would LOVE to indulge myself with one of your cakes. mmmmmmmmmmmmm. Any day! xxoo xxoo xxoo

  • That sounds absolutely horrifying and I’m so glad your mom was there to help take care of you. It’s obvious she not only knows how to help with your physical symptoms, but how to help you deal with things on a psychological level as well. Give your mom a hug for me, ok?

  • Aw, you poor thing. I can’t even imagine what you’re going through. Hang in there – as best as you can!

  • Meleah

    Terri:
    It really is terrifying. I, too, am very happy to be living HERE while all of these issues keep happening. I have no idea what I would do without my MOM. She knows how to calm me down when I am scared like that, because she has been through it a million times herself and you really think you are going to die. -In her case a few times she almost DID die, so she knows when my symptoms gets too out of hand its hospitalization time. (I will be more than happy to pass along a hug to her from you). Thanks. xxoo

    Mimzie:
    I am hanging in there. The full body swelling and internal panicking went away after 3-4 hours, but the itchy welty hives took 3 Benadryl Pills and 12 hours to go away. Whew. Just glad THAT’S over.

  • Let me rephrase it then…You are a wonderful person, who does not deserve ANY of your ailments, therefore leaving me wishing you didn’t have to go through all this. It makes me sad to see you suffer. Makes me sad to see anyone suffer!
    And the challenge is on…. I will find a way to make you something delicious!!

  • More proof that MOMS are great! I wish her Jedi mind Trick worked on husbands, because the trash needs taking out and I’m slowly reaching NAG MODE.

    I’ll do it, too… all through ESPN updates. Ha!!

    While I feel about as useful as Britney Spears’s panties, I do hope you get better and continue to stay tough! 😀

    Your descriptions reminded me of a few Asthma attacks I’ve gone through… I didn’t know what the hell was happening to me (I knew I had Asthma, but at the time I didn’t really understand what it was).

  • Holy shit!!! This was horrible to read. I hate all this crap you have to deal with. I just hate it. I hope you’re back on your feet today. I’m thinking of you and wishing you well (if only wishing it all away would work).

  • How do you deal?
    I had the second kind of allergic reaction a couple of times. Made it to the hospital just as my throat was closing over.
    I would not want to deal with that on an ongoing basis…
    Hang in there 🙂

  • Meleah

    Chef Mom:
    Hey! Your Gravatar (photo icon) is working (AND I LOVE IT) And I Love You. xxoo And Thanks Sweety. Truly. You are so good to me. I am really looking forward to some of your homemade FOOD.

    Jillian:
    While I feel about as useful as Britney Spears’s panties” ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha THANK YOU for making me laugh Out Loud. That was a great sentence. Isn’t it scary when you DONT KNOW what the hell is happening? That is the worst. and yes MOMS are The Best.

    Momo:
    I feel MUCH better today. Thank you. I swear your son and I would make great buddies with all of our health issues. At least he’s a lot funnier than I am! And I sincerely do believe that ‘Well Wishes’ totally help. so Thank you. xxoo

    Dawn:
    So you KNOW how awful this shit really is. Ugh. Im hanging tough as usual. xxoo

  • Lee

    Having issues with food is worse than being an alcoholic, drug addict or anything. No matter what, everyone has to eat. And you’re right, you get to the point where any decision about food feels like it’s going to be the wrong one. That’s why anorexia, bulimia, chronic over-eating, or anything else like that is so hard to address.

    Then you take a situation like yours where the body can have such violent reactions against even foods that are good for you and everything just sucks. I’m so sorry you have to go through all of this Meleah. I can’t even be real supportive in offering an relief because no one can offer a remedy that can be helpful with any kind of confidence it won’t make things worse. Just know that there are a lot of us thinking about you.

  • Sometimes the “ear lobes become firey and hot. When I see my face changing from flat and pale to swollen and bright red” happens to me … right out of nowhere. I wonder if I have an allergy of some sort??

    I feel so bad for you, it sounds like you really have had a rough go of it lately. While this is a serious post, something about the black tar / Benadryl comparison gave me a good chuckle 🙂

    Hope you are feeling better this afternoon!!!

  • Meleah

    Lee:
    I really think I am on the path to anorexia. Im too afraid to eat. Not because I am afraid of getting FAT, but because I am afraid that I will die. But NOT EATING leaves me with a depleted immune system THUS the mono, and seven million sickness I get all the damn time. It amazes me that food is so harmful to someone like me. By you leaving me a comment IS being supportive. I am thankful that I may be lacking FOOD, I am certainly NOT lacking in blog support and friends. At least that FEEDS my soul.

    Speedy:
    Dooooooood. Yes. THAT IS AN ALLERGIC REACTION. Get that checked out. I didn’t mean for this post to come off so HEAVY and UPSETTING. Im glad to hear that someone found ONE sentence to LAUGH about. Thanks daring!!

  • It is very scary. My neice who comes to stay with me often is allergic (like you are) to everything!! I’m usually on edge and watching her every move.

    My daughter snuck her some cake when she was little… She’s allergic to eggs and BAM!!!!

    I feel for you and I wish there was something they could do to help!!

  • Oh that just bites BIG TIME. You just can’t seem to catch a break can you?? My daughter Sofia got hives all of a sudden last weekend …and they scared the living shit out of both of us. I had never seen or experienced hives up close. But what you said about it happening SO FAST was dead on, I just took her to the ER because I had NO IDEA how or what to do. I still do not have any idea what brought them on…scary. Wish I could give you hugs and lots of liquor to make everything seem a bit more bearable… Feel better…

    xxoo

  • Cool! I’m new at the Gravatar and wasn’t sure if it would work. I really liked the word “Pastry” round my buttocks…shows where it really does all go! I love you too, and I will make you the best darn meal I can!! xxoo!!

  • You know, my husband had food allergies really really bad. It was a life long problem. We read a book called “Allergies” by Alternative medicine magazine. Their premise is that you get allergies because your barriers are faulty. (Barriers are: gut, skin, mucous membranes, etc.) Heal your barriers and end your allergies. You know what? It worked. He still takes some supplements and sometimes needs specific things – lotion or oil for his skin, saline to wash out his nose. We take probiotics every single day.

    But he’s free after a life time of illness. He was on steroids and pills. He doesn’t take anything now.

    All those years of illness led to a destruction of his thyroid. I wish we had figured it out earlier – but when I met him it was probably too late.

  • You just really scared me. I had this flash of sometime, someday, never hearing from you again because your mom wasn’t there to rescue you that time. My hope for you is that you hang in there with your positive attitude and that someday you will be rewarded because they will find a “cure” for your allergy issues. In the meantime, maybe you can put a button up to donate to food allergy research to in hopes of hurrying that cure along.

  • Meleah

    CatScratch:
    My whole family is always on edge around me too. Its scary to see someone you love go through that. and no one wants to be the ’cause’ of it either.

    SomeGirl:
    Take her to an allergist. ASAP. They can do a scratch test on her skin and you can find out right away what she may be allergic too. Did the hospital treat her for an allergic reaction? Did they refer you to a specialist? The NOT knowing is the worst….but once you know then it is much easier to deal with. But I know how scary it is.

    Chef Mom:
    I LOVE your Gravatar. Its sooo damn cute just like you.

    Claudia:
    My grandfather has been trying to get me to take proboitics for years. My Crohn’s and Food Allergy combination make things a little more difficult. But I will take a look into that. Thanks.

    Beth:
    Unfortunately, there is no cure. You just have to stay away from the things you are allergic too. and Hell YES thank GOD I live with my parents. Who knows what could have happened otherwise.

  • Danny AKA CGB

    Not good Mel. 🙁 Hope you feel better soon !!! Take Care, Talk to you soon.

  • Zhu

    This is indeed not fun at all! One of my students had a kid who is allergic to so many things… and he has strong reactions to it to, like they have to go to the ER pretty much each time. She said it was so hard to feed the little kid, who doesn’t understand why food is so “mean” to him.

    Hope you feel better soon!

  • Well, at least you had SNL to comfort you Saturday night, right? Unless the reaction made you, uh, all ‘googly eyed.’

    😉

  • Meleah

    Danny:
    Yep. All. The.Damn. Time. (this is WHY I need someone to TAKE CARE OF ME.)

    Zhu:
    Nope. Its not ever fun. And its hard to make the post FUNNY. I dont understand why food is so MEAN to me either.

    Michael C:
    Damn Skippy. Now I want to get me some plants with googley eyes.

  • Well good gaud. i feel bad for you. i’ve never been allergic to anything, so i don’t know what that’s like, but from your description: ouch.

    that Jedi Mind Trick is cool. i will have to try that. if my version doesn’t work, can i borrow your mom. 🙂

  • Meleah

    Valerie/Natural Woman:
    Ill ask my mom! She is handy like that!

  • THIS…IS…..HORRIBLE!!!

    I’m so sorry that one thing after another keeps happening to you. It’s awful. You have to catch a break sooner or later with this health stuff. Those are wonderful Jedi powers and I’m glad they helped you out. But I would be freaked out to eat at work with those reactions you describe. Be careful, you.

  • Meleah

    Ricardo:
    I hate this shit. I hate it soooo much you have No Idea. This is why I walk around life all day
    Starving Angry and Tired.

    Thanks for your sweet words.

  • Meleah, there is nothing I can write here that will fittingly portray how I feel about what you are going through and what you must be feeling. I care an enormous amount and I send you all my dearest wishes. I am glad you have your wonderful family around you…. and I am keeping you in my thoughts.

    Be safe and take care 🙂

    Graham xxoo

  • Meleah

    Graham:
    Thank you for all of your support all of the time. You are such a love.

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  • OMG! Thank goodness you didn’t have an even worse reaction (although this was no walk in the park, I’m sure). You poor thing. It really scares me that people can have such severe reactions to foods and /or drugs that we think are so innocent. But I have to admit that I did laugh at your son shooting pictures because he obvioulsy knew it was going to be blogworthy material after you survived the attack. 😉

  • Meleah

    I cant stand having food allergies. I feel like it robs me of so many great things in life.

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