(relatively) new to the site

Posted on: Thu, 03/09/2006 - 11:08am
LisaM's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

Hi everyone,

I've been posting here on occasion for a few months now so I thought I'd get around to introducing myself. I wasn't sure that I would stay around because I have been spending way too much time on another allergy message board (allergicliving.com) and need to cut back, but this is such an amazing site.

Some medical notes about myself:
I have environmental allergies, oral allergy syndrome, nasal rhinitis year round, and a host of food allergies (including peanut). When I was a kid I had severe asthma + I had eczema on my hands. Now I'm dealing with some mild respiratory problems---my respirologist and allergist have different opinions on this, however. I'm on meds for acid reflux too.

I've known about the PA since I was a kid--my mother never fed me peanuts because my uncle is anaphylactic to nuts. I wasn't all that serious about avoidance, though, until I got the proverbial wake up call--when I was in highschool I had a full blown ana. reaction to caramel corn which perhaps had peanuts....perhaps another type of nut. (Eating it in the first place was just plain stupid.) Had never been prescribed an epi. The word "anaphylaxis" had never come up in any medical appointment in spite of the fact that I had been diagnosed (by an allergist) with tons of environmental allergies as well as asthma and severe food allergies and had had ana reactions in the past (but I didn't know that that was anaphylaxis).

After that event, I was prescribed an epipen, but not shown how to use one or told when to use one. I think I figured that I would have time to pull out the instruction book and read it in case of emergency. (Which I did have to do at one point.) I now have the technique down pat! It has been a long learning process---but I learned.

Posted on: Thu, 03/09/2006 - 11:52am
Daisy's picture
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Joined: 01/16/2006 - 09:00

Hi Lisa,
I float back and forth between both sites, too. Since I have allergies other than just nut, the Allergic Living site has some advantages.
But this site is extremely active, and I've found tons of information that is still relevant to my other FA.
See you on both sites,
Daisy

Posted on: Fri, 03/10/2006 - 5:35am
NutsBugMe's picture
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Joined: 11/25/2003 - 09:00

Lisa,
Hi. I was just wondering what you are taking for the acid reflux? I'm having it constantly lately and it's driving me batty. I've taken Prevacid on and off but I couldn't afford to be on it long term. Right now, I'm using over the counter Ranitidine and also Alka-Mints, but they are not enough.
I really related to your post since I had severe asthma, allergies, and eczema as a child too. I still have the allergies (including environmental) and eczema.
Welcome to the boards here and I'll have to visit the other board some day when I have time.
Take care and stay safe.
Terri in the USA
(Severe allergy to peanuts, walnuts, and haddock - and avoid all nuts and fish)

Posted on: Fri, 03/10/2006 - 6:23am
LisaM's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

Daisy, Thanks for the welcome--I knew I recognized your username [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Hi NutsBugMe, I'm on Losec. Just started on it recently....2-3 months ago. It is expensive...but as a student I have a drug plan (it doesn't cover everything, but it is pretty good).
I have concerns about this whole GERD business. Here's the story: when I was a kid, I had severe respiratory problems--i.e. spent a lot of time in emerg + on occasion was admitted to hospital and stuck in an oxygen tent. My father has asthma; both sisters have asthma. When I was in the first grade, I was prescribed asthma meds and the visits to the hospital stopped.
In junior high, I was reevaluated by a respirologist, my meds were switched around---I was put on low doses of corticosteroids and my asthma was stable for years.
When I moved to Toronto (7 years ago) and was put up in a hotel as I waited for the campus residence I was supposed to be in to be built (I'm thinking more mold, dust than I'm used to), I started to have some mild respiratory problems---chesttightness, waking up at night occasionally. I was shipped off to a respirologist who put me on more asthma meds which didn't seem to work very much (they did a little, but for the minor problems I was having they should have totally helped). Then she ran me through a methacholine challenge which came back negative. All the breathing tests seemed fine...until she measured how I do at breathing in + she found some obstruction. (the curve on the graph flattens out all the time). So she suspected vocal chord dysfunction which is often misdiagnosed as asthma. My allergist, however, says he doesn't care what the respirologist says--I have asthma. How could I not with all the allergies. I would tend to side with my allergist except for my respirologist has been very thorough and has run me through all the tests whereas my allergist just seems to be making a pronouncement based on his clinical experience with other patients....but on the other hand it seems to me that I had a bit of an asthma attack when cycling in the fall in the cooler weather. Was it VCD? who knows.
Anyways, my respirologist shipped me off to an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor who said that my vocal chords look fine but my larynx is inflamed. Also, I was getting acid reflux sometimes....like when doing Pilates, lying down. But the acid reflux in and of itself wasn't that bad...it is very mild...but I suppose it is the inflamed larynx that is the concern here.
So my respirologist is trying to work on nasal rhinitis + acid reflux because they could both cause VCD. I've tried all the drugs my allergist has in his arsenal for allergic rhinitis....none of them work that well. He sent me for a CT scan. Yep, there's inflammation. Even in the winter. (I react to all of the pollens, grasses, ragweed but also to dust and some molds.) He sort of suggested allergy shots....but hesitated to start them because I might be moving soon...but I don't really know *what* I'll be doing just yet If I really wanted to start the allergy shots, he would probably be fine with it--I just don't know what I want to do.
Losec does help. But my concern is that I read that this type of medicine can cause an increase in IgE levels.....which is precisely what I don't need!
I'm also wondering (after doing a bit of research) whether I could have allergic eosinophilic esophagitis....which is often misdiagnosed as GERD. I do have trouble swallowing meat sometimes without water....I guess I'll ask my respirologist the next time I see her.
If anyone has any insights/suggestions about any of this, do let me know!
Lisa

Posted on: Sat, 03/11/2006 - 6:07am
NutsBugMe's picture
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Joined: 11/25/2003 - 09:00

Thanks for the info.
Wow, you are going through a lot right now! I hope that you can sort it all out. I've had my share of health problems (still do) and it can get very confusing.
Best wishes,
Terri in the USA

Posted on: Sun, 03/12/2006 - 11:06pm
LisaM's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

Thanks, Terri. I'm not majorly sick or anything, but I do feel like I always have a bit of a cold especially when I wake up in the morning. And my quality of sleep could be better. Maybe allergy shots will turn me into the morning person that I think I might be!

Posted on: Wed, 03/15/2006 - 2:05pm
Adele's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Terri, I've been on Prilosec for acid-reflux. When I have problems I can take two a day instead of one. It really helps.

Posted on: Thu, 03/16/2006 - 5:56am
NutsBugMe's picture
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Joined: 11/25/2003 - 09:00

Lisa,
Good luck on the morning person thing. No matter how hard I've tried, or how many times I've tried, I'm a night owl! And since I'm in my mid 40's, I might as well accept it and resign myself to being a 2nd shift gal.
Adele,
Thank you. I'm thinking that Prilosec is over-the-counter? I'll check the pharmacy next time I go and if it's not I'll talk to my doc next visit and see what I can best afford.
Take care,
Terri in the USA

Posted on: Thu, 03/16/2006 - 7:59am
luisa's picture
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Joined: 12/23/2004 - 09:00

Lisa, welcome! This site is great, I have learned so much and I doubt it would have been the same without this tool. Learning everything in this world takes time or school wouldn't take so many years... [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img] I am glad you have come a long way and now you are better equipped to deal with your allergies.
------------------
Luisa
"Kites rise highest against the wind - not with it."

Posted on: Thu, 03/16/2006 - 11:28pm
LisaM's picture
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Joined: 11/04/2005 - 09:00

Well, Terri, I'm not much of a night owl either [img]http://uumor.pair.com/nutalle2/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]
Thanks for the welcome, Luisa!

Posted on: Fri, 03/17/2006 - 2:08am
Adele's picture
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Joined: 01/31/2005 - 09:00

Terri, Prilosec is available over the counter for about $28 for 30 pills. I don't know where you live in the U.S. but you can get the generic equivalent in Mexico for about $20 for a 3-month supply.
I'm curious if you were taking antacid meds prior to your PA diagnosis? There's an Austrian study that suggests a link between meds such as Prilosec (that shut down the acid-producing mechanism). The study suggests that when the stomach is no longer producing as much acid, large proteins such as peanut, can enter the bloodstream in a less broken-down state, making it easier for the immune system to recognize it as 'the enemy'. This doesn't apply to regular antacids such as Alka-mints, Tums, etc.
This possible link makes sense in my case as I've been on meds such as Tagamet, etc. since they came on the market years ago. I was diagnosed with PA a year ago though I probably had a mild allergy for years before an anaphylactic reaction caused my diagnosis. I'm 56 now.
*********************
Lisa - I've also had problems with asthma diagnosis. I have cough-variant asthma that is triggered by processed foods - along with cold, fog, dogs, laughing hard, etc. I think the food trigger is sodium benzoate, a known asthma-trigger. But my last asthma/allergist doctor was convinced I had a swallowing problem and prescribed a video-esophagram ($1000 test!)
Like you, I also occasionally have trouble swallowing things such as dry chicken. I argued that if my cough was caused by a swallowing problem then I would cough when I eat basic foods....which I don't. Anyway, I had the test done - and it showed normal swallowing. The test is simple. You just stand in front of an x-ray machine while you swallow different barium-loaded foods.
The test also showed a small, insignificant hiatal hernia and no esophogeal damage from GERD. When I occasionally have trouble with heartburn, I don't cough. When I cough, I'm not aware of having any heartburn.
If you have the video esophogram done - check the crackers, etc. that they give you to eat. Though 'peanut allergy' was all over my chart, it didn't occur to the technician to check the food labels.
The methacholine challenge is expensive so I haven't had it done. My lung volume test is normal - but then my dad's also was for years and he has exactly the same type of asthma. He is also on Prilosec for GERD. Food, among other things, triggers his asthmatic cough. He's been living with it for years and has had the same frustrations with doctors. As he gets older he also wheezes.
Does your asthma make you cough? When mine is bad, I cough continuously. A codeine based cough syrup stops the cough immediately....though some are contra-indicated for asthma. Hydrocod/hom (generic for hydromet) works wonders. One spoonful and I can sleep all night.
Does Ventolin (albuterol) help? Ventolin is diagnostic - and doesn't work on non-asthmatics. I've been on Advair now for 5 continuous months and finally see a noticeable difference in the coughing.
It seems that asthma can have different faces. If you don't have the classic symptoms from standard triggers, it's not as easy to diagnose. I think diagnosis would be easier if I wheezed instead of the continual coughing.
Sorry for such a long and rambling post.

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