Monday, June 1, 2015

In the World of Wellness: Food Allergy Treatment 2.0 - Test Types, Brain Fog, and Gloom

Wellness is a term widely used that has multiple meanings around health and positive life style changes leading to well-being. Here we will use the term "wellness" in those ways and also as a means of defining a life free from disease as well as a way to explore alternative medicines, what they offer, and what this could mean for you. Being more informed = better decisions for your own well-being.

In the World of Wellness: Is it confusing in here or is just me?
Ugh, life (with food allergies).

As mentioned in my last post on this, I had completed my 60+ days of being free of the foods my body hates and was totally loving life. I felt super-duper good, the puffy eye situation I couldn't figure out forever had gone away, and in general, life was better than it had been in a while.

I went to Healthwaves to get what I thought was a similar food allergy test so I would know how I was doing. I was incredibly disappointed when it came back with new, low rankings of other foods I was now allergic to. I went back to my doctor to do a follow up visit and find out what the heck was going on with me. This is where I learned some very, very valuable things.

First, the type of food allergy tests you can do on your own through Healthwaves are IgE tests, which only measure immediate reactions. This is why I had some new allergies show up on it. The key about this test is that a score of 1 (which is what all of mine are) is considered gray area. This means you may or may not have a reaction. The antibody score is so low that it's hard to determine. The best way to know for sure is to avoid all of those foods for about 3 weeks, then eat 1 food a week. You will know if you have an adverse reaction to it because it will come on immediately. If you don't react in any way, you're totally fine, which is more commonly the case with a 1 ranking.

IgG tests (that doctors order) measure delayed reactions, which is really what you're after. Both are good to know, but you want this one in particular. Delayed reactions come on within 2 hours. This means if you eat something and you later experience a stomach ache, bloating, gas, a runny nose, a sore throat, a headache, or fatigue, then you're having a reaction.

My doctor wasn't at all concerned with my IgE test and told me to do exactly what I wrote about above to be sure. She did say, however, that I should probably continue avoiding all of the foods from my IgG test for an additional 6-12 months because, well, my intestines and my leaky gut are pretty serious. I was also instructed to take Intestamine for 4 more months to help rebuild my gut. This was going to be my plan and will probably still be because I know for a fact that it works, however, things have gone a slightly different course.

The Boyfriend's dad referred me to a doctor friend of his who specializes in allergies. The idea was to get me tested for everything and anything - food, environmental, etc. - to see if this could be corralled once and for all. I decided to put Plan A on hold and go with this because, well, why not? I have nothing to lose.

I've only had one visit, but it was a doozy. Testing, questions, testing, testing, testing, get the idea. I have another appointment with more testing in a few weeks, but for my first action I was supposed to eat everything I was allergic to and keep a journal of exactly how I felt (physical, emotional, etc.) afterwards. I agreed to this with the caveat that I would not eat gluten (I know exactly what that one does to me).

It has been HORRIBLE.

Delicious and far more interesting from a meal perspective, but horrible.

Aside from the obvious ailments of physical pains, getting my puffy eyes back, and looking kind of awful lately since starting this, the two most interesting things that I can now say are for sure tied to my food allergies are brain fog and what they refer to as a "sense of doom."

Having brain fog means not being able to focus, getting easily confused, or having overall mental fuzziness. Keeping that handy-dandy little journal made it incredibly obvious just how easily I was triggered by certain foods and how severely they made me fall into dumbness. It's like one moment you're reading a book and the words are clear, precise, understandable, and the next second everything is blurry and you're not really sure what's going on in the story. Or in life. Or at all. To say it sucks is an understatement.

The sense of gloom is no better, but I find it far more interesting because of this article I mentioned several weeks ago. There were days when I felt like the world was falling apart. Days when I thought nothing in life was good or could ever get better. Days that, for absolutely no reason, made me feel sad. Just as it was with the brain fog, each of these times directly tied back to something I had eaten. The mood shift was so serious and awful that I would stop eating all the "forbidden" foods for a couple of days and only eat what I knew for sure wouldn't cause any reaction. That was all it took to bring me right back to normal.

I mention these two key items because it seems that many people experience them as well thinking that they're either normal (they're not) or that they stem from somewhere else. Maybe they do. But, maybe they don't. It pains me to think that there are other people like me suffering when they don't need to. People who may not be aware that something as seemingly innocent as food could be the reason why they're experiencing these things. Trying to beat food allergies and leaky gut isn't necessarily easy. However, in my own opinion, knowing why I feel the way I feel is very, very important to me and worth all the tests and all the time invested.

I'm giving up all the food-allergy-foods today because, as I said, this has majorly sucked. I'm waiting to see what my next plan of action will be from the doctor. I'll keep you posted. Until then, I will live vicariously through all of you and your normal eating.

P.S. I've got a jam packed weekend coming up so I won't have a new post next Monday. Thanks for your patience while I, you know, live life and stuff.

No comments: