You may have noticed I haven’t been around as much lately. While I haven’t quite fallen off a cliff, it somewhat felt like that during the last couple of weeks. To make a long story short, we just moved.
Not only did we just move, but we moved to a small apartment with a teeny tiny kitchen, no mold (more on that in a second), and I had my very first anaphylactic allergic reaction as soon as we moved here.
But that’s getting ahead of myself.
We had recently come to the realization that a sudden upturn of moisture in our rental was creating mold issues, and that we needed to get out of it as soon as possible both for our children’s health, and also so our landlords could do the work they needed to on the house. There were some real health concerns that we had for a variety of reasons so we were motivated to attempt to move quickly.
We found a new place for ourselves, and then started a rather arduous task of packing everything up, and also sorting through all of the mold damaged stuff in our basement (most of which was simply tossed) in 2 weeks. Let’s just say we got no sleep for those weeks!
We just barely made it to the move date after I pulled a muscle in my back (that feels much better now after seeing a chiropractor), and barely had everything ready to go on our move date.
The next day, I repeated my snack from the day before – some pecans and dark chocolate chips when I suddenly had a burning face. I was confused by it, and went into the bathroom only to see my face start to turn bright, bright red and hives start racing down my arms and chest and neck (I didn’t know it then, but they also reached my legs). It got even more terrifying when less than a minute later I was starting to black out with a swelling face, collapsed on the floor while trying to give 911 our address.
Thank God, the reaction started improving and I began to be able to breath normally again. By the time the medics got to me, I was stable enough that they allowed my husband to drive me to the ER. All in all, let’s just say we went out and got my first epipen right away after being discharged from the ER.
While sorting through the craziness of the situation, and the scariness of it too, I’ve had all sorts of practical questions as well.
I found it interesting that I went my whole life without a true allergy (though I had some intolerances, they didn’t bother me that much since I took care to improve my diet – and nuts and chocolate never bothered me at all) only to have such a huge reaction. This is certainly not unknown. Adult onset of allergies is serious and, unlike children’s allergies, are usually here to stay for high percentages of us. In fact, my maternal grandmother also developed allergies as an adult to nuts and shrimp.
But the fact that it hit me like that after going through a very, very stressful month, a lot of mold exposure (which was bothering me a lot when we were sorting through the mold ruined items in our basement), sleeping very little, and eating somewhat irregular is just fascinating. Perhaps not related, but certainly I am keeping an open mind about it.
This just happened last Sunday, so I haven’t had much time to look into it, but certainly toxins are something that have been connected to a rise of true allergies. For example, a Canadian study linked air pollution in the first year of life to a higher risk of allergies at the age of 1. A common pesticide found in our water and on our produce, has also been linked to serious allergies.
I’ve now also lived in the city for 3 years, and pollution, although not the worst here, is not great. And the house we used to live in was right across from a city park, where I would see herbicides sprayed regularly (interesting to note that the pesticide noted above can also be used as a weed control product).
So while I start puttering around my kitchen with no dishwasher and no oven, and while the kids adjust to what they consider “a whole new life” that was suddenly thrust on them, I am also grappling with living with a life-threatening allergy which is a brand new thing for me.
While it is doubtful that I will get all of my “why” questions answered anytime soon, you better believe that my ears are going to perk up when I hear of any research on the topic!
Meanwhile, I’d love to also hear from you all! I know that you probably have resources and your own stories to share, and I’d love to hear them. I’d especially love to hear if there were things that any of you, with adult onset allergies, were able to do that calmed down that allergic response.