Can an allergic reaction last weeks?

For those of you who don’t know why I’ve been radio silent, a lot happened in about 6 weeks ago and I’m still unpacking it.

I was let go from my contract because I was no longer needed to complete the job… in spite of the fact that I had just received a secondary extension of my contract, new extension phone line, a new email address, and the admiration of my peers at work less than a work day before. I found this out after being transported via ambulance from work to the hospital due to a reaction to peanuts. And I found out I lost my job while I was still on the gurney in the ER.

I thought perhaps I had eaten something wrong, but couldn’t fathom what. The truth was I had been touching a shared keyboard and hovering over Asian food for an extended period of time trying to help the person that had just come back from leave how to do things she learned years before.

And I didn’t black out, didn’t go into anaphylaxis. I just felt these heavy rocks in my chest, and the damn wouldn’t break in either direction. I prevented near death, but everything got bad, and fast. Including the chronic pain I deal with.

Why am I writing this? Well, like most things I write, this isn’t for me. This is for you. And not you “THE INTERNET.” This is for you. This is for you, the version of me, who just experienced something traumatic and decided to frantically go online to try to find a way to make it better, to mend the unmendable, to get from point A to point B. This is for you, the person who almost made it, who almost got to the place you needed to get to, and was stopped by a very large metaphorical brick wall. This is for you, the person looking for answers, reading hundreds or thousands of medical journals and anecdotes trying to figure out if what you’re experiencing is normal.

I’m here to tell you the two norms. Number one, when there is a chance to be fired due to something discriminatory, chances are it will happen. And nothing and no one can do anything about it without great sacrifice to you, your time, your work life, and your whole being. Life is unfair.

And number two, after going to your primary, the allergist, the dermatologist, or any other doctor, know that when you look up this blog post that YES you can be dealing with your reaction weeks or even months later. I went to my primary physician and the allergist who both denied that the rash that has gotten consistently worse across my body couldn’t possibly be due to an allergic reaction six weeks before. It took six weeks, going out into the middle of nowhere and scheduling with a country doctor to find out that yes, my body can still be reacting, or rather overreacting and that’s lead to very very sensitive skin, and a rash that gets worse before it gets better.

The cure to the rash is to not scratch, to not overwash it, to take an anti-histamine like Claritin or Zyrtec every day and then extra Benadryl before bed. Prednisone can ultimately make it worse. Hot showers, hot sunny days, aerobic activity, and to reiterate scratching can make it worse. I’ve been also putting on Benadryl cream so I don’t wake myself up scratching at night. The rash is still there, but it hasn’t gotten worse yet, so obviously the doctor in the middle of nowhere knows more than doctors in the city. This is the second time in my life I’ve come to that conclusion.

Now that I’ve finally revealed what’s been going on, I don’t need pity or anything. There are many things about this situation I could change if I would. And this is by no means the entirety of the story. There are things I can’t or won’t share because having an allergic reaction can be a very personal thing. At least to me.

But I will say this. If my second grade teacher taught me anything, it’s “onward and upwards”. It’s important to always keep yourself safe if you have an allergy, of course; while I don’t blame myself in any way, shape, or form from what happened, hindsight is 20/20. It’s important to stand up for yourself if you can, and recognize your safety is top priority.

Most of all, listen to your heart. It may bend or break under pressure, and you may find out your heart is as much a curse as it is a gift. That your strength is admired but only from afar. What they don’t know is when it comes to life’s little tragedies, you don’t have a choice. You just wish someone had been there to hold your hand, even if it was just for a little while. Even if it takes time for them to get there to do so.

Now that I’m in the position I’m in, I’ve decided to go after a new career. As I’m recovering, albeit slowly, I’m working on that new career path (which is the scariest thing in the world to me), some nice respite, and the comfort of knowing that how I feel and how I’m looking isn’t permanent. And maybe some time soon, I’ll look back at this and realize that I got better, that I’m happier, and that I’m the best programmer or coder I can be.

Stay salty, my friends.

*~*

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Vanilla Wafers You Can Eat

When you find a treat that works, you tend to stick with brands. So it’s no wonder that the next time I went to the grocery store, I’d end up bringing back a box of these bad boys.
Now, I’ve snuck some Oreos now and then out of sheer desperation, so I know what Oreos taste like. After all, I was only a bit allergic to soy when I was younger (nothing like I am now). So when I saw KinniKinnick’s version of chocolate sandwich cookies, I immediately pounced, devoured, and enjoyed every last cookie in that box. But there are a few more things on my list I’ve been waiting for.
Vanilla wafers were one of them.
I know what you’re thinking. Why? Well, banana cream something or rather, smashed vanilla wafers topping this or that. A definitely following of those mad for banana pudding or vanilla wafers with strawberries. Yes, fanatics of the wafer exists.
And again, like the Oreo, there are plenty of recipes for this cookie. And again, I’m tired so I’m not baking anything this week.
But in any case, vanilla wafers are great, and I think these are great. I haven’t had any since I was maybe 8 years old, so I don’t remember exactly what they’re supposed to taste like; too many brands on the market didn’t just say soy. They said “may contain” peanuts or “manufactured” with peanuts. Weird, right?
But I ate these vanilla wafers, and I love these too. Again, texture ever so slightly courser than I remember, but not bad. Flavor is VANILLA. It packs a punch without tasting bad. But you do have to enjoy vanilla.
So the leading question is “Are you saying yes to the dress”? Well no, I gained a tiny bit of weight from KinniKinnick but if you’re asking me to say yes to the cookie?
“Would you get this again, T-FG?”
Yes, Yes I would. I love you, cookies.
“I love you too. Let’s go to bed- I’ve got the milk.”

Why I’m Still Gluten Free, Er, Sort of

If you have a chronic illness, it’s easy to be reminded that everyone has an opinion.

Food allergies are one thing. Those I’ve lived with since infancy. But a chronic illness, as debilitating and unknown as fibromyalgia is, is like swimming through pea soup. There are no answers (as of right now), and anyone who tells you they know as much or more than you is wrong. Even doctors.

People with chronic illness or chronic pain know that everyone and their mother have a solution. But that solution may not be the right one for you. And when you decide that solution may not be right for you, those that “suggest” can become defensive:

  • “Well if you don’t try my way, then you brought this upon yourself.”
  • “It’s you’re fault you’re sick.”
  • “Maybe you want to be sick.”

Anyone who has had a chronic illness for a while can tell you they’ve come across those people. In fact, many of us have parents, siblings, even romantic partners who have gone down that path. They may not even believe it, but at the end of a long conversation it just pops out as though somehow they need to end their thoughts wrapped in a little bow to be put neatly away in the back of their mind. Just because it’s easier to live in a world that is “us” versus “them”  or “right” versus “wrong” doesn’t make it right.

Those people who victim blame you for an illness out of your control believe in the “just-world hypothesis,” as if you being sick restores some kind of moral balance in the universe. It’s meant to be. Kismet. You’re meant to be sick or even responsible for being ill in the first place. But victim blaming and using the just-world hypothesis are simply two very instinctive responses that say more about the person saying them than you being sick.

In the end, this leads to more problems than solutions, and more questions than answers. I don’t have an easy way of out this nor any advice except for one thing. You do you. Being sick allows you to develop a thicker skin, and eventually this kind of stuff just rolls off of you. With time, you can either smile and nod, pretend you didn’t hear the comment, or even use logic and your own intelligence to explain why they’re wrong (which doesn’t work but will make them feel like a jerk deep in their gut because at least for smart people, offering that kind of commentary doesn’t sit well for very long).

You’re probably now asking “Okay T-FiG, you’re rambling. What does this have to do with the title of this piece, anyway?” Actually, it has everything to do with it.

For the fibro, I’ve tried just about everything people have suggested (short of crystals and reiki). So from the spiritual to the emotional to the physical, it’s been a long journey, but I’ve finally come to the end of trying things. The last thing on that list was vegan and gluten free.

But here’s the thing. Gluten free didn’t work and neither did vegan. There are just as many gluten free products that were making me feel ill as non-gluten free products. And the not feeling well from those products didn’t correlate to the fibromyalgia in any way, shape or form; I was having really bad abdominal issues for months until I switched back to my original diet of pretty healthy occasional gluten diet. What I found in the end is that yes, I should try to avoid eating every since bread product I can get my hands on, but that doesn’t equate to gluten free.

The reason why I’m still partially gluten free is because a ton of gluten free products out there are now also allergy-friendly. So I’m stuck with it whether I like it or not. And honestly, that’s really not a bad thing.

But I think enough time has passed with this illness and my food allergies where I am my own best advocate. No more trying new things unless there’s substantial scientific evidence. No more being swayed by people who use victim blaming in its many shapes and forms. The biggest truth I have found from this experience is that the only person I need to answer to is myself. I am my own person. And sometimes, instead of doing everything everyone wants you to do, you find your own way and your own balance.

So now, I’m gluten free…sometimes. Because of food allergies. Because sometimes I do need certain grains in my diet. But not because it helps with the fibro. And for now, I’m okay with that.

 

Gluten Free Oreo-Like Cookies You Can Eat

Oreos are great, but if you can’t have wheat or soy, you’re really out of luck. And there are two things in this world I miss terribly due to food allergies. Okay, more than two. But a big one is Oreo cookies.

20190213_153645I’ve been lucky enough recently to come across a cookie that resembles Oreos in many ways, but that also happens to be gluten-free, peanut-free, soy-free, and dairy free (it still may contain eggs). Kinnikinnick is a Canadian-based company in Edmonton, and boy am I glad you exist. I’ve gone through their website, and now I’m so excited to try even more of their products. But the one I was most eager to try?

Chocolate sandwich cookies. The rich flavor of chocolate, the definite snap of the crisp cookie, and the center filling. There’s ice cream made after these cookies. Cheesecake. Eclairs. Cookie butter. Other cookies. Cookies stuffed in cookies stuffed in cookies. Or cake. Or cupcakes.

Needless to say, our society has a love affair with the original Oreo cookie.
And I’ve seen a ton of recipes for mock Oreo cookies, but who has the time or the energy to do that more than once? It’s just a lot of work and while I hope to make homemade ones someday, I kind of felt like I was waiting for a change in the wind.

20190213_153603Are they exactly like Oreos? No, not exactly. Let’s be honest, if you’ve lived with food allergies or intolerances longer than a couple of months, you know that the real deal is going to be hard to come by. But don’t knock it ‘till you try it. Trust me, these are worth a buy.

Slightly more crumbly than their name-brand counter part, these cookies will scratch that itch you’ve had for decades now. It’s good with any kind of milk, the flavor is damn spot on, and the texture, though less smooth than expected, is totally doable. In other words, I’m buying this box of cookies again and again.

Finally, if I want gluten free Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, I have a viable substitute. Ice cream, dairy or otherwise can be made. Cheesecake can be made too. And I’m so excited for this that I may just go out after work and get more of these cookies. And hide them from my family so I can bake something fun this weekend.

Chocolate sandwich cookies, I’ve been waiting for you. Welcome home.

P.S. They do twist like the real deal!

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That Food Allergy Girl Overall Score:

  • Taste: 8.0
  • Texture: 7.0
  • Price: 8.0
  • Accesibility: 10 (Supermarkets everywhere near me, at least)
  • Repeat Customer: Yeah, definitely

Overall: 8.25

Have you tried these cookies? What do you think? Hit me up on Instagram or comment below!!

 

 

My Confession: I like pineapple on my pizza.

Right now you’re probably thinking “Oh come on this does NOT warrant a post.” Oh, but it does. It does and it’s making me hungry just thinking about it.

Pineapple on pizza is one of the most controversial things you can talk about these days that isn’t political but can incite violence. No kidding, people get downright nasty when you tell them that you like Hawaiian Pizza or just pineapple on a pizza. “That’s nasty,” they say. Rude! So rude!

I like it, okay? I love it. In fact, my favorite pizza includes pineapple, pepperoni, and sometimes olives. Actually my secret favorite is everything on it (except red onions- sometimes they taste a bit metallic). Really, you have cheese, tomato sauce, and bread, and I firmly believe you can put nearly everything on it.

Edit: I have never tried it with sardines. I’m not sure I want to.

Edit Edit: Yes, I am lactose intolerant. But sometimes, you just can’t beat a good slice of pizza.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this. Not just because I’m hungry, but because. No, it’s because I’m hungry.

But I was watching YouTube- Rosanna Pansino, and it turns out she AND her sister like pineapple on pizza too. She has 10 million subscribers. She’s a super star.

And Deadpool. Deadpool likes pineapple and olives.

But let’s look at this logically. Why do some people like pineapple on their pizza? It’s not THAT weird of a combination.

Think about it. You have something sweet and something savory. What other things in the world are like that? Salted caramel, anyone? Dipping French fries in soft serve ice cream? Sweet and sour soup?

See? Pineapple pizza is in good company.

Going Native: My Review On Native Deodorant

This is probably one of the first posts I’ve done that doesn’t involve food, but I thought I’d branch out just a tiny bit and see what happens.

With the possibility that Fibromyalgia may worsen with environmental factors (yet to be proven), I have looked for more natural options.

Less Doritos *sob* more banana chips. Less “natural and artificial flavoring” more “5 ingredients or less.”

That’s when this lovely ad popped up on Facebook. And of course once you click on something, it haunts you with more ads. And more and more until you give in to the pressure of the feed and sink into the deep chasm that is Facebook. So I thought “Why not? Let’s give it a shot.”

Things like makeup and deodorant with natural ingredients are harder to come by- either there’s a price issue or they have soy. Soy is in EVERYTHING. Since I’m allergic to soy, that puts a damper on what I get. I was surprised that when I clicked on the ad I wasn’t allergic to the ingredients in Native Deodorant. Excited, I chose the coconut and vanilla flavor and waited for my box to be shipped.

There are instructions once you get them. I personally was nervous because it said I had to cut out other antiperspirants and deodorants cold turkey. And shower before use. And not use on broken skin. And only use two swipes of it.

To my astonishment, none of this was difficult. Yes it took a couple of days for it to work longer, but I wasn’t allergic to it in any way. Sometimes I’d smell coconut and vanilla, and I realized it meant it was working. And now that I’ve used the product for months without fail, I feel like I can actually make an informed decision.

There were maybe 4  or 5 times it didn’t meet expectation. That’s it. Every other time, it worked fabulously. No pit stains, the sweat was down to a minimum. I mean I’ve used heavy duty stuff, the kind that stings or itches. This actually did a better job, and I don’t know how.

*tell me your secrets, oh Native one*

In any case, I truly think this product is one of a kind.  A regular sized deodorant is $10 and comes in the mail in a very neat box. And if you’re nervous about scents or want to give one to a friend, they also come in travel size.

Overall, I’d give this product a 10 out of 10. At least for the coconut and vanilla. Next up I’m trying the fig and honey. We’ll see how that one goes…

Scent: 10

Presentation: 10

Affordability: $ (A tube lasted me months so I feel like it’s worth the price)

Sensitivity: Minimal if at all issues; 9

Overall: 9.67

 

Udi’s Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins- Yea or Nay?

It’s definitely a treat, but when I’m hungry and pacing through the grocery aisles, there’s one place I tend to stop: the bakery aisle. It’s hard not to skip, especially if you can smell it the moment you walk in the store. I beeline for the specialty section tucked in a corner of the store and there I find my muffins.

I know what you’re thinking. It’s so easy to make muffins, why would I get blueberry muffins? Well, whenever I go to the grocery store hungry, this is the answer to my problem. The moment I get home and put away the groceries, I pat myself on the back and reach for a muffin before proceeding to eat/gnaw on partially frozen blueberry muffins for the better part of 10 minutes. I’ve done this so often that I didn’t even know what it tasted like completely thawed or even warmed up. Bad T-FG!

For me, Udi’s Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins obviously isn’t a new product for me, just a good ol’ standby. So when I got them the most recent time I went to the store hungry, I PATIENTLY waited just a bit longer to eat them soI could give you a proper review on the nuanced flavor of a frozen blueberry muffin.

I’ll admit, it was worth the wait. I’ve always liked blueberry muffins, but these bad boys really satisfy the sweet tooth. Not too sweet with that fun chunky sugar on top, you bite in and it’s like any other muffin. Shocking, seeing as these are gluten free. And soy free and peanut free, so obviously I’m on board.

The only drawback is my preference for more fruit. I do think that sometimes when you make muffins homemade, you can add a bit more fruit or swirl in the thawed frozen blueberries which pulls the flavor throughout the batter. Udi’s I don’t think is the type to skimp, but I do think that it’s just not enough blueberry for me, either.

Still, this treat is wonderful, and on repeat both in my grocery basket and on Instacart. Highly recommend!

That Food Allergy Girl Overall Score:

  • Taste: 8.5
  • Texture: 9.0
  • Price: 8.0
  • Accesibility: 10 (Supermarkets everywhere near me, at least)
  • Repeat Customer: When I’m hungry and grocery shopping (will always be a bad combo)

Overall: 8.875

And now for your viewing pleasure… A puppy

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Puppy photo by:Ryan Walton