Almost constant wheat/gluten exposures continue to be a problem. It’s getting to the point now where I have no idea what’s causing them. I need to start taking steps now to get some answers and to figure out what’s going on.
I had an appointment with a new allergist this past Thursday. The week before that, I was taking Benadryl almost every day. The paperwork from the allergist said to stay off antihistamines for four days before the appointment. Antihistamines can interfere with skin testing. They need to be out of your system before skin testing is done. I was not happy about this prospect at all considering how often I had exposures. I decided I would do all I could to avoid cross-contamination. I didn’t eat food prepared by others and was very careful with the food I did prepare. I managed to stay off antihistamines from the Friday before until the day of my appointment. I had some suspicious but mild symptoms on Monday afternoon and messed up a batch of brownies I had made on the day of my appointment. Those were all I noticed in that six-day period, a definite improvement from before that period of time.
At first, I questioned that the brownies may have been a problem, that something else may have caused my symptoms, but I had a couple of the brownies Friday night and had symptoms afterwards. Something definitely went wrong when I made them, but I still have no idea what. I’m also hoping that the mayonnaise I made while the brownies were baking and the pimento cheese I made last night are okay. I had made a batch of brownies previous to the ones I made this past week, and those were problematic also. I ended up giving them away to a friend. I’m hoping that others will eat the brownies from this recent batch too. Right now, I’m so frustrated and confused because I have no idea what’s going on. It may be continuous wheat/gluten exposures. It could be reactions to another food. In the past, when I’ve felt it necessary to eliminate another food, I would usually get more intense and different symptoms before I began to suspect another food. Right now, though, I seem to be dealing with my run-of-the-mill wheat/gluten symptoms. I really don’t think another food item is involved, but I need to find a way to rule it out somehow.
While in bed yesterday morning, I was awake and couldn’t go back to sleep. It gave me time to think over things, about my reactions and what they could mean and how to figure out the root cause. I finally came up with a plan of attack. I strongly believe my symptoms are due to trace wheat/gluten exposure. Thinking about how I had done better in the days leading up to my allergist appointment, I decided to cut out any cooking or food preparation that involves a recipe with more than just a few ingredients and measurements and/or takes steps that could invite higher cross-contamination risks. I would also not eat food prepared by someone else unless I knew it was safe or felt confident that it would be safe. For example, we’re having a pizza lunch at work this Friday, March 4th, and gluten-free pizzas are being brought in from Pizza Hut. I’ve never had an issue with the Pizza Hut pizzas, and as long as they’re handled in a way that prevents cross-contamination, I don’t think I’ll have a problem. I’ve already discussed with the person getting them and bringing them in how I could make sure that the slices I eat won’t be contaminated. I’ll definitely be staying away from baking brownies or any other baked goods during this period as they seem to be the things causing me the most trouble lately. I’m going to see how things go and see if I have fewer symptoms and can manage to stay away from the Benadryl. If things get and stay better then I can almost bet that my problems have been stemming from wheat/gluten exposure since I don’t plan on making any other dietary changes. If not, then I’m hoping I can notice a pattern with another food ingredient and figure out what to try eliminating. Right now, I have no idea of any other foods causing problems, so I’m hoping that by eliminating sources of wheat/gluten exposure, I can somehow pinpoint if another food or foods could be causing problems.
As a precaution, I decided to replace some plastic measuring spoons. Several of them had landed in the garbage disposal and were in there when it was run, so they have some knicks on the actual spoon portion. I don’t know how much wheat/gluten they would have picked up from inside of the garbage disposal, and they’ve made many, many trips through the dishwasher since then. It seems unlikely that they would be the problem, but at this point, I figured it would be safer just to replace them. Even if they don’t bother me now, who knows how much more sensitive I might become in the future. I don’t plan on replacing seasonings, spices, and other food items that may have come into contact with the spoons until I know for sure those have been causing problems. I haven’t noticed any issues with food items with which the spices and seasonings have been used, at least not yet. Soon, I plan to test out my mayonnaise and pimento cheese that I just made, and if they’re fine, then the spoons were most likely not the problem.
One thing that might surprise people reading this is that I don’t plan to eliminate gluten-free processed foods. I know many do better eliminating these foods and preparing their own from scratch. Ironically, most of my problems have stemmed from my own cooking and food preparation. It’s pretty bad when you can’t even eat your own cooking! I’ve very rarely had problems with gluten-free labeled foods, and I would bet that the times I did have problems, it was actually due to something else. If I start to suspect them at some point and feel the need to eliminate them, I’ll do so at that point in time. Right now, I have no reason to suspect them and actually feel safer eating them because they require little to no extra preparation and handling.
I have a follow-up appointment with the new allergist in about two weeks. I’m hoping I can have some things figured out by then to share with him at the appointment. Maybe what I’ve been able to find out along with my test results will help us to figure out what’s going on. I have more confidence that this new allergist is willing to do the investigation necessary to help me figure out what’s going on. He did skin-testing on me at my appointment. All came back negative. He’s also rerunning the wheat IgE test and well as running other tests. I believe he’s trying to be thorough and cover any and all bases. The doctor who ran my initial wheat IgE test basically said that she did not suggest a food challenge due to my (supposed) gluten intolerance and had no suggestions for alternatives and did not request a follow-up appointment for skin-testing or anything else. I figured I’d hit a dead end there.
Hopefully doing this elimination would help provide some answers and will help me get better in other ways if nothing else is causing problems. Maybe I can get my skin to clear up a bit so that it doesn’t look like something someone could use for playing connect-the-dots. I also hope my nails can grow back stronger. When they’re weak, I tend to pick at them and the skin surrounding them, and my fingers and nails end up looking terrible. If other foods are causing problems, then perhaps I’ll be able to pinpoint them without wheat/gluten exposure symptoms getting in the way. Finally, it may help my doctor diagnose me with a food allergy or perhaps point us in a different direction.
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