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Posted on: Tue, 05/17/2005 - 1:36am
McCobbre's picture
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Joined: 04/16/2005 - 09:00

I have adult onset PA that I found out abuot two years ago (I'm in my late 30s now). I've known my DS is PA since he was 1, and he's 7 now.
Since I was a kid, I've had some problems with pecans and other tree nuts, but not enough for me to stay away from them. The problem amounted to an itchy mouth or swollen parts of my lips which sometimes occurred--and I knew that eating acidic foods prior made it worse. I still eat them unless I've had acidic foods prior.
I found out about my PA 2 years ago in a circuitous way. I had an allergic reaction after putting on some Everything Nice lotion at an Origin's store in the mall. We'd gone out to eat beforehand and had had wine and a red sauce over pasta. About 15 minutes after putting the lotion on, my hands started swelling up and my nose began running. By the time we got to the car my lips and tongue were very swollen. I always carry a vial of Benadryl with me for DS' PA, and so I drank some and let some just swim around in my mouth for a while, and things improved. When we got home, I took more liquid Benedryl and called the store. If my son were having those symptoms, I would have used the EpiPen on him, but for some reason I didn't use it on myself. Luckily, things turned out okay in spite of my stupidity.
I went to an allergist for testing, and he suspected chamomile (based on the lotion ingredients and other foods that I said I was sensitive to, like avocados and tomoatoes, etc.) So he did a skin test. I was positive for chamomile, so he prescribed an EpiPen for me. He said having the wine and the tomato sauce before putting on the lotion ripened my system for a worse reaction.
I was absolutely shocked when he said, "And you're a 2+ for peanut." I actually laughed. I hadn't known they'd even tested me for it. I told him about my son.
It made sense. After business lunches at Thai restaurants and business trips where I would buy cruncy Peter Pan and Welch's Concoord Grape jelly and indulge, I would often have bad GI problems. I thought it was because I so rarely ate peanuts that I'd developed an intolerance to them.
But you know--and this is difficult to admit--I don't know that I've "gotten it." I totally get my DS' PA and have a very strict comfort zone and go to great lenghts to protect him. I'm very diligent for him. There are no may contains in our house.
The other night DH (and in this instance that stands for Dumb) bought some chips and didn't read the label, and they were fried in peanut oil. Our DS reacts to peanut oil. One of his severest reactions was to it. I hadn't read the ingredients before taking a bite, and it tasted just awful. So then I looked, yelled at DS, and threw the bag away. I didn't want it in the house.
As far as not getting my own PA yet, I'll sometimes eat a may contain. And I might go to a Chinese restaurant with a group of adults. And last year I had a Snickers bar at work. I'm just not as careful for myself as I am for my DS. And sometimes I wonder what it would be like if I did have an ana reaction. Would I be able to identify with DS better? Would I be able to tell him about how the EpiPen feels and that it's not so bad? What makes this worse, is that I have asthma that's not being controlled well right now (I'm trying several different meds to get it under control), and I know the higher risk for PA and asthma.
I know this sounds crazy, but all of this goes through my head. I do not have a death wish. I've also not had a severe reaction. And I know the next one could be--I know all about that. I just haven't fully accepted the PA dx for myself.
[This message has been edited by McCobbre (edited May 17, 2005).]

Posted on: Tue, 05/17/2005 - 4:10am
Adele's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

McCobbre - you and I have some similarities in accepting PA but also similar histories. I was diagnosed in February. I can't believe I'm the one warning someone else to be careful...but our histories are so similar. DON'T EAT A SNICKERS!
So this is how 'I got it'.
I also had years of unexplained GI problems - almost always when I was away from home, eating out. (My diet at home is pretty basic.) I can think of a dozen different occasions when I was SO sick on trips...some of these times I remember eating PN prior to but I never made the connection. I thought perhaps garlic with the culprit.
No other symptoms but GI.
One of my New Year's resolutions was to eat healthier meals - so through the day I would munch on 1/4 cup of raw Spanish PN. I felt really lousy. Simultaneously, we had flooding in the area where I live. I use well water and heard they were warning people to boil their water....so I decided that I must have cryptosporidium or giardia.
Most nights I couldn't eat dinner I was so nauseated. I thought the peanuts were aggravating the situation so I tossed them. BUT I had a bag of trail mix! I ate that daily - avoiding the peanuts in the mix and still felt sick. (Hmmm - still sick from cross-contamination!) By now I'd been sick for 3 weeks and was scared. I called my GI dr. and made an appointment. In the meantime, I ran out of trail mix. Felt much better!
A week after feeling back to normal - thought I'd recovered from giardia - I bought another bag of peanuts and ate 1/4 cup on the way home from the grocery store. By the time I got home I had stomach cramps. Within 20 minutes I had horrible cramps, vomiting and diarrhea. I was soooo sick. This was when 'I GOT IT'. (I'd only had one other thing to eat that day - much earlier - which is how I made the PN connection) duh!
I drove myself to the Urgent Care...it was closed. Drove to the ER - arrived behind 2 ambulances and was told it could be up to a 4 hour wait. So crawled home and fell into bed. (can't believe I drove myself...) Thank God it didn't kill me! 6 hours later I was back in the land of the living.
I found PA.com and posted a question...could this be PA? Cancelled the GI dr. appointment and made one with an allergist and got a positive skin test. Allergist said that it WAS ana, even though it was all GI.
So - though you haven't had ANA, I can bet you wouldn't have to ingest many PN to push you over the line. I can understand you questioning the 'may contains' - I do too but then I remember how horrible I felt eating trail mix contaminated with PN.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one having trouble accepting this. Be careful! Please don't eat any more Snickers.
p.s. Since eliminating PN's from my diet, I can't believe how great I feel! No more GI problems at all. Amazing.
[This message has been edited by Adele (edited May 17, 2005).]

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