Monday, March 11, 2013
Today was a follow up visit to the allergist. As I answered the questions on the registration form I remembered how unique my allergy is. I could only answer yes to one question: Hives? Yes, I have hives. I spent a long time trying to figure out what was causing me to have hives. They were occurring frequently, making me miserable. Benadryl eased my discomfort but made me drowsy and I was missing work. The hives seemed to occur 2 to 4 hours after I had eaten, so I thought something I was eating was causing the hives. I thought my first food enemy was BBQ, so I stopped eating BBQ. One Mother's Day I ate bacon for breakfast and my head and inside my ears started itching. Within 2 hours I had hives and blisters occurred where my clothes touched parts of my body. No more food for that Mother's Day and I stopped eating bacon. Another day after a few bites of sausage gravy, I started itching on top of my head. I stopped eating sausage gravy. Then I thought the problem was the nitrates in processed meat so I stopped eating processed meat. But I still had hives. During an appointment with a dermatologist, I explained my situation and he suggested I visit an allergist. He said I might be avoiding steak for no reason. I made an appointment with an allergist. As she listened to my story, she asked questions. "Do you spend much time outside?" I smiled because I always enjoyed nature and had recently started working for the conservation department. My job involved spending time outdoors with teachers and students. Then Dr. Tuck asked, "Have you been bitten by a tick?" Well, you can't live in southeast Missouri and sit in the shade of a tree without getting a tick on you. My answer was, "Yes." How amazing that the one allergist I happened to visit knew about this rare allergy. She took a blood sample to send to the University of Virginia and told me it would take 2 weeks to get results. I finally was diagnosed with alpha galactose almost 2 years ago. It is caused from a tick bite, ticks that live in southeast Missouri, southern Illinois and Australia. The saliva from the tick causes the person to have an allergic reaction to the protein enzymes in mammalian meat. So I don't eat any mammalian meat.
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