Monday, January 11, 2010

A mystery of sorts

One night when I was at my mom's house we were sitting around the table eating a nice dinner when I suddenly felt my face get warm. Then it got hot. Then it got itchy.

I contemplated a Benadryl, but since I wasn't having other symptoms I held off out of fear it would zonk me out since I had had a glass (or two) of wine as well. The itching persisted a little through the evening, but went away about morning.

New Years Eve we were at my brother in laws house with pizza and beer in front of us. A few slices of pizza down and a half a beer and the heat came back, then the itching started.

I had thought things had resolved and we were back home. I made a fabulous dinner of chipotle short ribs in my new Le Creuset Dutch Oven (LOVE that thing) and wouldn't you know that my face swelled, got read and started itching.

At that point the swelling was new, but still no breathing issues. I itched throughout the night and that morning when I woke up to my swollen face I waited anxiously for the doctor's office to open so I could phone in.

Thankfully they fit me in early in the day and the doctor (a new one at my usual office) didn't really have to ask me what was going on, why I was there. It was quite obvious.

We chatted about the obvious. Affected areas being face and neck, no torso or leg involvement. Obvious hives and itching. Ruled out detergent. (I had thought it an option since we had been at my mom's and I had washed our clothes there.)

Truly I didn't care what it was, I just wanted it to go away. I declined the offer for blood work and jumped on the steroid and antihistamine.

I expected the meds to wipe it out quickly. Much to my surprise, it lingered. It lingered while AB and I worked as detectives to try and deduce what was causing this.

I don't really have allergies per se at this point in my life. At age 18 I tested positive for everything INCLUDING the negative control, when I had skin tests. And at that point, yes, I was allergic to everything. But slowly over time my allergies abated and I don't even experience seasonal allergies.

So a food allergy? Seriously?

I was a touch skeptical, I asked if he was sure it wasn't rosacea. The doc repeated, "you have hives and frankly I am surprised you aren't having breathing issues".


We have come up with some suspects and eliminated them from my diet and reintroduced suspect food slowly.

I have ruled out wine. (Thankfully, that was one of the first things I decided to rule out.)

I have ruled out pork. (An unlikely allergen, but I can say it isn't active in me.)

I have ruled out gluten or wheat.

Likewise milk and dairy.

Also ruled out seafood.

What have I not ruled out?

Yeast is on the fence. Most of the time I get no reaction, but there have been occasions that have made me wonder.


And the big one, the one that I have eliminated for just over a week and the one that AB thinks it is... beef. Beef is the only food that I have consistently eaten prior to each of the attacks. Beef... wouldn't be as bad as gluten. But when you live with a BBQ loving husband... well let's just put it this way, it's what's for dinner. Often.

I haven't done the strict elimination test since I haven't had anaphalactic reactions. More just messing around trying to figure it out.

The doctor suggested that we do blood testing if I get a positive response, after the steroids and antihistamines. Of course, there is also the chance it is also a fluke and I will never get another response off anything. We can hope!

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