Thursday, March 24, 2011

Going NUTS!!!

When I was little I would often break out in hives. My mom would take me to the doctor and he would write it off as my nerves. I was sorta shy and my parents were moving me all over the place, that he just thought...

I don't think my mom ever really thought that was the answer, but it was the late 70's, medicine has come a long way since then, so at the time I guess her hands were tied. We then moved overseas to Asia, and the breakouts were few and far between. Hmm... I just kind of forgot about them.

Until I was sixteen.

That year we were back in the States for a year, living in North Arkansas. I woke up one morning, with hives EVERYWHERE. I was swollen from head to toe. My eyes were swollen, my hands were HUGE, my feet, well it hurt to walk. I was miserable. Missed a bunch of school because of it. The scary part came when my throat wanted to swell shut. This time around the doctor said ALLERGIES.

When the shots finally took over and the swelling went down, I had the tests done. I found out that me and Arkansas beauty don't really mix. I am allergic to so many of the trees found here, grass, hay, and the list goes on. I also found out that I was allergic to chocolate and aspirin.


Chocolate!!! SERIOUSLY?!!!

There were a few other food items that I had a mild reaction to, but I kept eating those. However, when I was sixteen, I learned how to say "No" to chocolate. The hives stayed away for a long while, but then I was back in Asia until I graduated and took a allergy medicine at the first sign of an itch. I was doing OK.

Fast forward a few years. I was married, had two very young kiddos, living in east Texas and then North Arkansas. The hives were back. I was miserable. Nature was blooming and my body hated it every spring. The medicine was taken around the clock. I hated the thought of shots. I survived that period. I finally started a different allergy medicine that seemed to help me better. In the last few years a prescription nose spray has been added to my medicine box too. I still have an attack during spring and fall, but it is more drainage now that hives. I have still skirted the shot issue. (for now.)

However, right after I had Kayla, I started having really bad heartburn feelings. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason as to WHY. They were worse when I was pregnant with Jordan. Sometimes I would be laid out on the floor miserable and in pain. For a little over 12 years I lived with it, taking different meds. In that span of time, I finally narrowed it down to happening a lot when I had any kind of nut or something cooked in peanut oil. I asked the doctor about it. At that time, my insurance wouldn't pay for an allergy test for nuts, but because of my allergy record, doctor thought I might have acquired an allergy to them. Just one more good thing I had to stay away from.

Do you realize how many yummy things are made with some kind of nut?

But I did it. Between the chocolate and the peanuts, candy bars have been pretty much off limits to me for a long time.

Fast forward again to last summer. I became one sick gal. Tests showed that it was my gallbladder. However, unlike most, I wasn't in any pain, just sick. My gallbladder was bad sick and had been for a long time, from the way it was filled to the brim with stones and wasn't working anymore. Doctors wer confused over the "no pain" issue. I was fortunate that I hadn't had any pain along the way.

Or did I?

When I started reading, I discovered that real fatty foods can bring on an attack. One of those foods could be nuts. When I described what I felt after eating them or when I would have small attacks, even when nuts weren't involved, the doctor said they sounded like gallbladder attacks. If that was the case, I had been having them since Kayla was born! She is fourteen and a half now...

Gallbladder was removed. Yet, I still haven't been able to make myself try a nut. The memories of pain are still to vivid. I mean what if I really am allergic to them and it just set off my attacks and...

Until last night. I was at the store the other day and came across the nut aisle. I found myself staring at the cans, longing for the healthy snack everyone else enjoys. I finally put the can in my cart, knowing the hubby would eat them if I didn't.

Finally last night, I got up enough courage to try a peanut or two. (three, four and then a handful or more) They tasted so good, but it was a bittersweet reunion. Dread of what could happen was always lingering in the back of my head.

But the attacks NEVER happened.

I am longing to do the happy dance right now. However, I am going to take it easy, and keep trying a little at a time just to make sure. But let me just say, last night I felt like this little guy was my new best friend.



Bridget said...

So glad you are able to enjoy them now! Kyle is allergic to peanuts, and good grief at the stuff that is either cooked with peanuts, or has a peanut warning on's crazy!

Amber said...


Been a long time a'comin', huh??

So can we finally share a plate of peanut butter cookies? Please say yes. Please say yes.


Southhamsdarling said...

Eating those peanuts must have been a real treat for you!! I'm anaphylactic but, unfortunately, they haven't been able to find out just what it is I'm allergic to, so I have had several attacks, when I have to use my Epi-pen pretty quickly!

Kristin said...

Ha! Glad you can have yourself some nuts now! :D

He & Me + 3 said...

That is good news. I have two with nut allergies so hubby's and I resist the urge to buy or eat things with nuts too. It is hard. So glad you are able to enjoy them again.

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Glad to hear about Charlie and your happy peanut dance! Now don't go too crazy... it just might force you to have an allergic reaction to exercising off the excess!


jules said...

Wow what a story. I'm so glad they finally got you figured out.

My son has gotten hives since he was little (he's 23 now) but they have never found out what he gets them from.

What kind of a doctor did you go to for the testing to find out what was giving you the hives?

Angie said...

Enjoy the nuts!! Hope you've seen the last of the hives!
Love ya, cuz

(The girls said to stay away from roasted chestnuts. "Allergies or not - they're just nasty!")