In other news, I’m apparently allergic to everything.

Originally my plans for this week were to finish up Family Man and get it turned in, work on revisions of Second Hand if they came in, and otherwise continue finishing Dirty Laundry. I was well set to meet all my goals too and maybe even have some spare time.

Tuesday afternoon I went to the allergist, and I’ve had a very different week since then.

While my no-sugar, no-flour routine has done very well, allowing me to eat a bit of meat and even a bit of dairy again, I still have too much chronic pain plus in the past few months I’ve developed a recurring swollen upper lip. A month ago it was so bad my husband made me go to the doctor, who made me go to an allergist. As a part of that process I had to stop my antihistamine I’ve taken daily for several years now to control my intense and unexplained itching, which meant by the time I got to the appointment I was a hot, hot mess. The allergist was amazing, and he made the appointment almost a good time. They poked and scratched me and made me breathe into things to see what was going on. It turns out quite, quite a lot.

I am allergic, it turns out, to above all else, dust mites. Like, a lot. It’s weird because I don’t sneeze or cough, though I did always have stuffiness and sinus that I’d assumed was just part of being human. Turns out, no! Who knew? Allergists, apparently. The damn things are everywhere, and in my house they’re crazy bad because when you can’t bend over and do too much physical activity like lifting and reaching and scrubbing, your house it turns out gets pretty rancid bad in the deep depths of itself. Dan, Anna and I spent many hours on the bedroom, me in a mask. It was hella gross in there, I have to say. De-stuffed, de-grimed, washed (in hot water) and zippered up everything remaining in allergen-proof covers, except the box springs which we will get to later. This business is expensive.

The dust mite thing is the most royal pain in the ass I have encountered yet. The cleaning is intense and needs to be regular. I get points for having almost all hardwood floors, though I don’t know how much it helps your cause when you clean them only before guests come. I favor a lot of curtains and blankets too, which are apparently nice mite factories. I don’t even want to know about my air ducts, though I have a call in to a guy to get an estimate. We had to buy those crazy expensive filters for our furnace and air-conditioners. I bought an air purifier which I haul between my office and bedroom, though I’m not sure it’s anything more than a $99 security blanket. Oh, and I have to wear masks when I clean. And flush my eyes and nose out. And wash my hands a lot. And basically this is really fucking annoying for me and for all those whom I love and live with.

But wait, there’s more!

I am also allergic to milk. I’d already cut way down, but now it has to be gone, period, nada dairy. So no more goat cheese or cream in my coffee unless they give me soy milk. No cheese ever, period. No whey or “milk products” which let me tell you they stick in everything. (Salt and vinegar potato chips sometimes have milk. And sugar. WHAT THE FUCKING FUCK.)

It’s funny, because I’m kind of mourning milk now, even though I’ve been very blasé about its loss to me already. Maybe it’s the finality, maybe it’s that it’s going to be such a pain in my ass to get coffee at a lot of restaurants. I don’t know, but it’s sad all the same.

But wait there is still more!!! Because I cannot have eggs either, ever. This, Virginia, is very, very sad.

It’s not so much that I adore the taste of eggs (ironically I’ve only eaten them as a stand-alone dish for the past decade) but that they’re in a lot of things and they make for easy breakfasts in restaurants. Look at my list of things I can’t eat now: sugar, white flour, milk, eggs. Tell me what I order at Perkins. Or more to the point, at the hotels I will eat at during these cons I keep going to. Holy fucking crap, this stinks.

I mourn eggs as a dish too. Marie took me to her favorite Fort Collins restaurant, The Egg And I, and there were so many yummy egg things, and now I can’t order them anymore. I hardly got to try them, and now it’s over. Oh, sure, I could just pretend I wasn’t allergic, but that always goes over so well with me once I remove something from my diet. I’m mourning them and calling it done.

So now I am a vegan who occasionally eats a little meat, probably now when I can’t figure out what else to put in my gullet while I’m traveling. Having cut out meat for six months, I’ve found that having it more than four times a week makes me feel very gross and uncomfortable, so it’s mostly vegan for me. Vegan with complications, that’s me.

What’s weird is how minor my reaction has been to the food. I think I’m just numb to it all, like whatever, it’s another food limitation, tell me something I haven’t heard before. I keep dropping weight, five pounds a month (at my height you’ll have to get a microscope to see it), and I swear most of it is because figuring out what to eat is such a PITA I just don’t or I eat hummus and chips or strawberries or a salad. I joined Sam’s Club mostly because they sell Sabra hummus in monster truck tubs for $5, and it’s worth the membership for that alone. If they sold blue corn chips too I’d likely camp out in the parking lot.

Maybe my reaction has been muted on the food because the dust crap is so incredibly consuming. Oh, I forgot my other environmentals: dog and feathers and mold. So I had to call the Marriott in Anaheim and make sure I have a feather-free room, and I’m shopping for travel dust mite covers and trying to suss out how I tell the maid to leave me my weird extra sheet and pillowcases. I have to make my bedroom and office as allergen-pristine as possible, which has meant removing a lot of my favorite things because they’ve become part of what makes me sick. The cool hand painted glass I won from Jeff at a recent Tina’s Christmas has raw old wood on the edges, so it has to go until I polyurethane the frame. My beloved Japanese handmade wallhanging made by a college roommate’s mother has to be dry-cleaned and put behind glass before I can hang it again. 90% of my books had to go because they collect dust and mold. Any and all clutter that could be culled was, and the cats can’t have their litterbox in my closet any longer. Well, I don’t miss that last one. But everything else, yes.

To make things more exciting, I’m not supposed to be the one who cleans, and I’m the one who is home and has the time to do so. Even when I clean with a mask on I can tell this is what’s making me sick, because it makes my whole body go nuts and my lip swells to new heights to the point that I had to start Prednisone today. It seems to be helping so far.

Thankfully Dan’s parents (God bless you Tom and Nina) are going to come help us on Saturday while my mother distracts the child. Technically Anna helps a great deal, but I don’t think we’ll miss a ten-year-old during the projects. It’s also not good for her anxiety, because she flips out and needs to wear a mask too. And truth be told between her father and I, she’s got to be allergic to something.

I’m also not supposed to wear makeup (so breaking that for RWA) or but anything at all on my lips, though I’m cheating and using Vitamin E oil so my lips don’t peel off my face. I’m also supposed to try avoiding almonds, since I had a questionable reaction to that and they want to get me to as clean a slate as possible first. (I drink a lot of almond milk and yogurt and eat almonds and its flour in almost everything.) I have a slight, it turns out, allergy to cats, but it’s very low, and honestly, they’ll take my babies out of my cold dead hands. Sadly that has been done way too much lately, though the cold and the dead have not been on my part.

So this is my update. Totally not writing, though I did finish editing Family Man with Marie and got it turned in to Sasha Knight at Samhain today. There haven’t been any edits yet for this round of Second Hand, so I win there too. Two out of three isn’t bad, I guess.

20 Comments on “In other news, I’m apparently allergic to everything.

  1. Holy hell. Don’t you ever get to the point where you think soon you’re going to have like…broccoli left? That’s it, just broccoli. And maybe some kale. :/

  2. I’m getting there on the edits. Promise.

    And watch out for whey and casein or X caseinate (like sodium caseinate). Those are all milk based. And Stonyfield claims they make a soy yoghurt, but it has milk-based acidophilis, which pissed me the hell off.

    Lots of Asian restaurants?

    • God, if you HAD done the edits, I’d have been a hotter mess. So thanks.

      Yeah, IDK about the cons. Be glad it’s Cali, I guess, and hope for lots of food funky friendliness? The dinners are all GF and I signed up for vegan, so here’s hoping.

  3. Ack, and dear God, what a right PITA. So sorry to hear you’re having such nasty issues. I hope the cleaning makes things 100x better for you. Sounds like it’s time to buy an air purifier and a UV light, too.

  4. Ack. I’m sad for you. Sad for the loss of eggs and cheese, but glad you’re not allergic to kitties. That would be the worst.

  5. Man, reading this made me feel sniffly. I’m also super allergic to dust mites and feathers and I’m lactose intolerant, so you have my sympathies, although everything but the dust mites sort of registers as “mildly irritating” for me, not on the scale you’re experiencing it. (Down allergies are common enough that hotels are pretty accommodating, I’ve found. We won’t talk about the time my ex-boyfriend almost killed me by failing to mention the new quilt was down, though.) The dust mites thing is hard because they’re everywhere, and I live in this charming, 100-year-old building, which is nice, but also Dust City. I have to wear a mask when cleaning, too, or else I’m sick for a couple of days afterward.

    I hope all these changes translate into your feeling better!

  6. *BIG HUGS*

    Ok, I was feeling sorry for myself because I’m now intolerant to onions and their relatives and they seem to be in everything, but… That’s minor, comparatively.

    Um. Ener-G Foods (who I tend to avoid after discovering their bread basically turns into cracker-sized slices when you freeze it) has this stuff called “Egg Replacer” that might be of interest for baking.

  7. wow, Heidi, that bites! Weirdly, I also went to an allergist recently and I am allergic to…nothing. So, I guess I need to thank you for taking on all those nasty allergies so your little sis didn’t have to. But, I’d gladly take one on for you…you pick it.

  8. Do you take any medications? My sister developed every food allergy under the sun – and was so diagnosed by an allergist – but it turned out to be her narcolepsy medication that was the main culprit. The immune system is complicated.

  9. God, that sounds awful. It probably would’ve been a way shorter post if you had simply listed the things you can still eat cause it sounds like there’s not a lot on that list 😦

    Dust mites are a major pain in the butt since they’re everywhere. A friend of mine had to tell her daughter the other day that she has to throw out all her stuffed animals … At least when you’re an adult, you can see the long-term benefits of being sensible.

    Regarding the vegan stuff and eggs, I’m not vegan but I love the recipes on this blog: and she has a lot of alternatives to using eggs in your cooking.

  10. Poor you…I can empathise…I have FM & am allergic/intolerant to fruit, most vegetables, all herbs & spices, latex (hence I have 4 children…condoms are made from latex!), A LOT of medications & most flowering plants. Oh & I have coeliacs too. You adapt. You chill. You survive. Then life becomes fun as your own particular type of weirdness becomes ‘normal’ for you & yours.

  11. Oh Heidi, I am so sorry! It must be incredibly frustrating to have things keep getting taken away. You are handling it very well must say, I so impressed with you. Hopefully once you get settled into the routine of things it will be a bit easier. Sending you good thoughts!

  12. I was diagnosed with Chronic Urticaria and Idopathic Anaphylactic Disorder 3 years ago. Basically, I am allergic to life and all the food to maintain it!! I have lived on the same 3 foods for going on 4 years! I live in a mask and gloves majority of the time and no longer even venture out into public because possibility of a reaction! I was not always like this, one bad reaction to pain medication seven years ago, now allergic to everything. I have a life threatening allergy to olives and olive oil! Hazelnuts too! Soy & corn are next as big offenders. Really? Soy & corn are in everything! I reacted to everything the allergist tested me for, then he sent me to an immunologist and I had the ALCAT done- 120 foods- reactive to all! Last food sending me to the ER was maple syrup and carrageen (seaweed)! Best of luck to you especially, when the world seems to not understand.

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