It’s been over 4 years since I discovered that I have a wheat allergy. I discovered this after months and months of symptoms, without any assistance from any doctor. They all thought I was nuts, that there was nothing wrong with me, and that the symptoms I had were a figment of my imagination. No doctor helped me, despite me begging with several to figure out what was wrong with me.
At the time I was eating a lot of wheat products (cous cous especially), and my reaction was what I considered histamine related. I later figured out on my own that I would eat something with wheat, and within five to ten minutes, sometimes sooner and sometimes a tad later, my face would begin to burn and turn bright red. My ears would burn so hot that they would turn purple. I would get very agitated and wired, like I was getting an adrenaline rush. At the time, because I had no clue, I would sit with cold packs on my face for hours trying to get the heat to dissipate. I was frustrated and scared that there was something wrong with me that the doctors couldn’t find. Sound familiar? One day I was eating lunch–which consisted of cous cous (which are basically little teeny tiny balls of wheat) and cheese, and cottage cheese–and as I was coming to the end of the bowl I felt my face burning. And it struck me that I had been eating cous cous a lot, and that the majority of my reactions were after I’d eaten lunch or dinner (I never eat breakfast). But because the reaction would sometimes happen later in the evening, I didn’t attribute it to food. And because I had no allergies, the “histamine” part of the reaction was foreign to me.
On my own, after my own research about gluten and celiac issues, I abruptly cut out wheat from my diet. Unfortunately, when I say abruptly, I mean I attempted to cut out all wheat from my diet. It took me a very long time to realize that there was wheat hidden in all kinds of things I didn’t know about, so I continued to have reactions at times without knowing why. But once I learned, I began feeling better. I always knew when I’d accidentally eaten wheat because I would start to get a burning face and feel really agitated. If we were out to dinner, I would start twisting and turning in my seat, or I’d be repeatedly adjusting my position in my car seat. It is very uncomfortable and quite discomforting. We’ve stopped eating out unless it is somewhere that offers a gluten-free menu, or I stick to things that are plainly cooked, no sauce, and I skip the bread products. So in essence, we eat out fairly rarely, and when we do we go to the same places. I don’t eat at other people’s houses if I can help it, with the exception of my parents’ house. If I have to go to a function, I stick to raw vegetables and/or plain turkey or roast beef (like deli meat if there is a tray), or cheese slices on a deli platter.
So the “not again!” part is that last night I did something stupid. I was out at Wegman’s and I picked up a rotisserie chicken for dinner. I checked it online and although there was no wheat in the ingredients, there was an allergy warning saying there could be cross contamination to wheat, nuts, tree nuts, shellfish, etc. But every time I eat out there is a chance of contamination. So I took the risk. And last night I believe I suffered for it, because my face was burning and my ears were so so hot. I had to drag out the old ice pack and sit with it for about an hour. But I figured it was my mistake. I had a moment of weakness and I suffered for it. Sucks that it was over a stupid rotisserie chicken that wasn’t even all that great. I mean, if it had been a chicken-fried steak, that almost would have been worth the aftermath. Maybe an Outback bloomin’ onion… <drool>. ANYWAY, so I figured I did it to myself, and I would know better. But tonight, after dinner, my face started getting hot. But I had nothing unusual for dinner. I’m very confused.
And as my face started burning, I wanted to cry. I’m not sure I can make my way through this allergy situation again. The only thing I had in common from last night to tonight was potatoes (if it wasn’t the chicken last night). But I had potato chips with lunch and had no issue. So WTF? W.T.F. ?? Figuring out the allergy the first time was a pain, but at least I was able to single something out fairly easily (once I realized it was an allergy reaction). If I have to start eliminating food again, I’m going to go nuts. I have such a dysfunctional relationship with food as it is, putting myself on an elimination diet could send me spiraling into a direction that would be really bad for me.
Right now my face is not too hot and it’s been just over an hour since it started. And I haven’t had to use an ice pack, so maybe I was just too warm after dinner (even tho I felt chilly). And I didn’t end up with the burning ear or the chills or the agitation…so maybe it was an anxious reaction? I don’t know. But I guess I have to start paying attention again. *sigh*