Two kids with food allergies, Raelyn, age 17, and Zeke, age 16.
When we think about food allergies, we think about the little boy who can’t eat peanut butter, or the little girl who can’t drink milk or eat macaroni and cheese. What we don’t think about are the rare instances that people don’t know what they are allergic to…they just know they are sick whenever they eat.
Zeke and Raelyn are two of those people in:
As I watched the episode, I found myself personally relating to Raelyn. Raelyn was diagnosed with a shellfish allergy in 9th grade, but recently started having random reactions to almost everything she ate. The food allergic reactions ranged from slight discomfort on her tongue and in her throat, to severe anaphylaxis that caused convulsions and an inability to breathe.
Raelyn was constantly using her epi-pen and going to the emergency room for life saving treatments just because she ate.
Her allergist diagnosed her with Idiopathic Anaphylaxis and told her almost exactly what my allergist and psychiatrist told me – your immune system is out of whack for some reason, and you’re not reacting so much to food as you are to your emotions. That is basically what I heard Raelyn’s allergist tell her. Basically, “Calm down!”
In my case, as the doctors were telling me, my chronic levels of stress and anxiety, plus an untreated mood disorder coupled with marital problems and stress related to my oldest child’s speech delays and a new baby in the house – basically, my body’s immune system couldn’t take it anymore. At that point, my body reacted by releasing histamine.
Whenever I thought about the problems in my marriage, had a fight with my husband, or just became worried too much, my tongue and throat would begin to swell and I would have a panic attack. My extremities would go numb, and I would go to the hospital where they would pump me full of Benadryl and epinephrine.
On my 2nd visit, I got a prescription for Prednisone to reduce swelling on my tongue and throat. My third visit was a trip in an ambulance, and the doctors were stumped. My 4th visit, the doctor said, “I don’t think you’re reacting to food. I think you’re having an allergic reaction to stress.”
I went to see my allergist. He put me on another antihistamine, but it made me worse because it gave me the rare side effect of additional anxiety. He also did blood testing to see if I was eating something constantly that I was allergic to, but the results were inconclusive.
The allergist didn’t want to give me a skin test because that would require me to go off allergy medication, and he felt that was risky business considering the intensity of my allergic reactions despite the regular amounts of antihistamines already in my system on a daily basis.
He recommended hormonal therapy in the form of birth control. Did I forget to mention that this also happened right when I resumed menstruating after our 2nd child was born. He was 8 months old before my period returned, and with that period and all the stress in my life, the hormones and the anxiety built up in my system and it was the straw that broke the proverbial camel’s back.
The birth control did nothing but screw up my cycle, but I stayed on it, because, when I saw my psychiatrist, he believed it may be helping a little bit. And then he diagnosed me with Dysthymia and put me on Prozac. Before I left, however, he highly recommended that I visit a Naturopathic doctor, since all the Allopathic doctors I saw up to the point were stumped on how to help me and/or what was wrong.
The naturopathic doctor didn’t use magnets or do any allergy testing like Raelyn’s homeopath did. She did, however, give the same recommendation that Raelyn’s doctor gave – get off gluten and take these supplements.
They don’t mention what supplements Raelyn took, but my Naturopathic doctor had me taking 3,000 mg of Vitamin C and probiotics. She instructed me to stay on the Prozac until we figured my body out.
Following her instructions, I became well again, and stopped reacting to all foods and stress. Even when I have the occasional panic attack, I do not have a life threatening allergic reaction. I am still allergic to specific foods: tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, and most raw fruits and vegetables (Oral Allergy Syndrome), but I can eat most foods again without getting ill.
The mind is a powerful thing. You can create illness in your body because of chronic stress and anxiety or an untreated mood disorder. Sometimes, such symptoms can be fatal. It’s important to get the help you need to reduce stress and anxiety and to seek treatment for a mental illness or depression.
Your body can only handle so much before it begins to break down. Chronic stress levels wear out the body and make you tired and more prone to infections and catching viruses that are going around. Once the infection or virus enters the body and makes you ill, your weakened body will most likely react more harshly to the invaders and create a sicker you with symptoms that hang on to you for much longer than other people.
Question: Have you ever had a mystery illness that the doctors were stumped about? What was the outcome, and did you seek alternative treatments and advice to solve your health issues?
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