Hello everyone, first I guess some background would be appropriate. I am self-diagnosed, mostly because being diagnosed means I have to find a specialist. So how do I know? Well, six months ago is when I finally stopped eating peanuts. This was one of many things I tried to do in order to identify what was causing this horrible rash I would sometimes get. Long story short, after trying no-peanuts for a week, I ate a bag of M&Ms one day (not peanut, just regular - but they are made on the same assembly line), the rash came back. Ever since Ive been checking labels, not trying anyones home baked anythings, and staring longlingly at snack food isles that I used to ransack with no concern.
I feel you pain, people! This is like a spell or a curse someone put me in, I used to love peanuts so much, eat nuts and PB everyday. But its not even that that bothers me as much as the ignorance and the constant vigilance. Usually, no big deal, but, apparently even doctors are ignorant about this sort of thing.
I get a rash, I sometimes have fever symptoms, and I get incredible, incredible abdomonal pains after eating peanuts. These are all recognized signs of peanut allergy. Three years ago, I had a stomach problem so severe that I couldnt eat normal food for months and months. I saw specialists, nutritionalists, everyone under the sun. I got medicine, I got tubes put places inappropriate for this form, but still, I couldnt eat, I would reject anything I ate through one end or the other. Except rice and occasionally steamed veggies on a good day. This lasted until one week when I quit my job and laid in bed waiting to starve. Magically, I woke up happy and healthy. I took up a grave shift job, and a few months later, the stomach thing slowly crept back up. But this time, it came with a rash and insomnia. The rash was so bad, that even though I could stomach food, I couldnt sleep once a day, more like once every three or four days.
This whole time, I'm exhibiting signs of PA. But everyone is telling me, "It's just stress". I've learned, it's never "just" one thing. Anyhow, I have yet to go to a doctor, but, I just ate something that may have had peanuts in it, and that's what prompted me joining - my stomach is killing me and Im red all over. But I can breathe fine, thank goodness. When I avoid peanuts, I feel fine. I feel better now than I ever have in my whole life, and that's sad. I'm 23, so how long has my body been trying to tell me this?!
I typed waaay more than I bet you ought to on a forum, but, too bad, I wanted you to know my history before asking a few questions:
- Help! What do I look out for? I can find the allergy statements, I can read the ingredients, but what sneaky things are lurking that I have to look out for? For example, can I trust "Product of Mexico"? What's this about shea butter I hear?
- Doctors - I dont like em, but I need to see one. Any pointers on getting accurate results and finding a specialist that can help?
- I am thinking of one day moving to Canada or Europe - any from there? How are their laws about allergies?
- But for now, Im trapped in NJ. Anyone from around here that wishes to share some good resturants that are allergy conscious? Anyone want to get together and complain about this stuff? hahah I'm new so bear with me. Thanks.
On Mar 10, 2008
While I personally do not have a pn/tn allergy and my DS does, I still wanted to say WELCOME to the group!
Sounds like it has been a long journey for you. Seems to make sense from what you say that pn and possibly even tn could be the reason for your illness. Where you work, was it around pn/tn?
Most of your questiosn I actually cannot answer, but I know for my DS who is just over 1 year old we keep our house pn/tn free and that includes all products with "may contain, manufactured, etc...." warnings/statements on them. When eating out I always ask to talk the manager or cook and verify there are not pn/tn around where my DS's food is being prepped/cooked. We do stay away from all bakery items and I don't let him eat foods that other people have prepared at pot-luck type events. Not sure about food from Mexico....
I would look for an allergist specifically, who will probably do a Skin Prick Test (SPT) on you. They say SPT is more accurate than a blood test, but both can still have false-positive/false-negative results.
Not sure on the Canada/Europe stuff either.
As for food places in NJ I think I've seen a couple threads on the "Travel" board for places in NJ and you can check out the "Support Groups" to see if there is a local support group in your area.
On Mar 10, 2008
Hi and welcome,
Yes I would get to an allergist asap. They can test you for PA and confirm for you. If you are Ige allergic to peanuts you need to have an Epi pen prescription - I didn't see where you talked about having one?
With all that you have going on It seems like it might be something in addition to a Ige allergy to peanut. Perhaps the allergist can help you figure it all out.
I do believe that Canada is somewhat ahead of the US interms of labeling laws etc. Europe I'm not sure.
On Mar 13, 2008
Welcome... First I definately would see an allergist. From what I understand Skin test are more accurate than rast test. But allergic is allergic. In January 2007 ( i think) the US passed a labeling law that states that manufactures have to clearly label if there is any of the 8 common allergens inthe product. That is why you see a lot of " may contain" statements. We don't eat them.