Last night I consumed something I was allergic too. I was lucky and only subjected to a rash on my cheeks, light hives on my neck, itchy skin, nothing a couple of Benadryl wouldn’t solve and a bit of makeup would cover up this morning. I don’t, however, know what caused it, which is more annoying than anything. I went over the ingredients list several times and still feel puzzled by the whole exchange. Needless to say, I won’t be buying that item anymore.
Hi, my name is Miranda and I have crazy allergies. I’m the friend who dreads going out with new people. It feels like a parade of all the things that might kill me or just make me incredibly sick. I don’t generally drink in bars because cherries are prevalent and they might actually kill me one day if I’m not incredibly careful. I have to explain that I’m not “picky” but allergic and that yes, there is a difference. I actually love trying new things and providing it won’t kill me or make me ill, I’m always game. But it usually feels like I have to explain some dirty secret and I become the “difficult” friend. I do my damnedest not to be an annoying person.
It doesn’t help that among all the crazy, about fifteen years ago I gave up eating red meat. I still eat meat, just not cow. I wish I could say there was some moral reason behind it, but honestly, I just didn’t like the way it made me feel. Fast forward to the only time I’ve tried to consume red meat since then and I was sick for three days. I’ve considered reintroducing it to my diet but it feels like a lot of work and stomach aches for something I don’t miss much.
I used to suffer from stomach aches all the time. Crippling, doubled over, I can’t think or breathe moments because my body thinks that this plethora of items is poison. Annoying doesn’t begin to explain it. It’s been about five years since I learned what most of these items are. I might be that annoying person to go out to dinner with (besides breakfast is where it’s at folks, eggs all night long!), but my life is better now that I know. I no longer have hives on the regular. Instead, it’s only when I’m not careful about what I put into my body. I don’t have immobilizing stomach aches since I stopped eating wheat. I can breath better and my tongue doesn’t go numb now that I don’t consume onions, apples, or mushrooms. There are about 30 things on the list but I only have to worry about seven or eight of them on the regular.
Sometimes it feels like being the girl in a bubble. I won’t even let cherries into my house or classroom as if I touch them I hive out. Let’s not talk about the last time I consumed them by accident. I once (okay twice) washed my hands with a cherry pitted soap, and what followed was like something only special effects department could pull off. My hands started to swell, crack, and bleed. A firey rash ran up my arms and in a matter of minutes, misery ensued.
So why am I sharing what I earlier described as a dirty secret? Because it shouldn’t be. I am who I am and I can’t help the things I’m allergic to. In recent months, I’ve made friends who also share some of my crazy food allergies and it was this release of tension I hadn’t known I was holding. It sounds dumb and I belittle it, as there are worse things in life. But what I did learn, is that sometimes just knowing I’m not alone on Allergy Island makes it easier.
Today I still feel itchy and like if I look in a mirror my face might be scarlet (it’s not but it doesn’t change how self-conscious I am about it). Today I had a conversation with a coworker about her allergies and it just reminded me that I wasn’t alone. I also had a student tell the class about her own run-in with new allergies over break. So, I wanted to share. In case someone else out there in the vast internet void was feeling like they might be consumed by life today.
You are not alone.
You got this.