I’m FREE!!! I finished my last final (and got a 100% on the math final! WOOT!) this morning and I’ve been soooo relieved. This has been the hardest semester for me yet, and at some points, honestly, I wondered if I’d make it through the whole semester and get everything turned in on time. So now, I have a whole month to take a break. I have some writing I need to do for a contest (and it’s also relating to food allergies), have some time with some of my best friends planned, and best of all, I have time to just unwind and sew and bake. And yes, also catch up on blogging here. I spent so much of this semester sick that blogging just didn’t happen anywhere near as much as I had hoped. Just keeping up with school, and also keeping enough “MC safe” food on hand was enough of a challenge.
Yet despite all the challenges, I was able to do some pretty exciting things over the last 4 1/2 months. In September I traveled to Europe to see friends and family… and my cousin’s wedding. 10 days in a foreign country, (ok, not quite so foreign to me, I’ve been there before and I thankfully speak the language) with celiac and food allergies was NOT easy, but with God’s help, I had a great time and didn’t get sick from food!
November I managed to help for 5-6 days with Operation Christmas Child at the local collection center where we packed shoeboxes (which people had filled with toys, school supplies, necessities, candy and other stuff) into cartons to have shipped to a processing center in NC before being distributed to kids in need around the world. I also got to see one of my best friends and bake her a gluten-free birthday cake (she called it, “death by chocolate”, you can find the recipe here).
I discovered a new flour that works amazingly well for everything I’ve tried it for so far (aside from bread). It’s really great and works well, especially for muffins. Oh, how I love to make muffins with it! I just LOVE muffins.
And, did I say, I managed to finish the whole semester? I also had a few challenges and well, things I discovered that I wish weren’t true. Both of them have to do with food.
At the end of November I ended up having anaphylaxis. Yes, again. Just 4 months after the last time. And this time, it was at home with food that had been safe the previous day. We still have no idea what went wrong, and so since, my mom has been having me give my silverware a quick wash before I use it, as everyone else grabs stuff from the silverware drawer even when they have food on their hands. Though they try to be careful, accidents do happen. This time, they nearly gave me another shot of epinephrine, and also ended up giving me a total of 3 nebs on top of IV steroids over the 4 hours I was there.
A week later, I discovered the not-so-wise-nor-fun way that I probably have actually been avoiding peanuts for the last 2 years for a good reason. I lay down on the couch right next to Shado, who was beyond excited to see me (though he had seen me only 30 minutes before), and he just could not contain his excitement that he jumped over and licked right next to my eye before I had time to cover my face with my hands. I’ve been licked by our dog mannnnny times before and never had a problem. So I knew it wasn’t him I was reacting to when within a minute my eye was itchy and starting to swell. I quickly remembered that he had been licking peanut butter 30 minutes earlier so I went up to my room to take benadryl (finally have some in liquid form!). When I came back down, my mom asked me if I took benadryl. “Um, yeah, why?” Apparently she could tell by just looking at me that my eye was swollen. The scary part wasn’t that my eye was swelling, but the time it took (less than a minute) for it to start swelling, and that within another 2-3 minutes I started feeling zoned out and dizzy and my throat started to swell. I was very very thankful when benadryl took care of it though, as I really did NOT want to need the EpiPen after anaphylaxis the week before.
So, now we have to figure out the safest way to test what I’m really allergic to as there are some foods I’ve been avoiding that I don’t think I need to avoid, but I have enough suspicion that something is up with them to not want to test it at home. We don’t want to end up with anaphylaxis unless there’s absolutely no other option, but because I have a strange history of having negative test results, but still reacting severely to certain foods, we (my doctors and I) haven’t decided on the best way to go about this yet. But I would like to know soon, so that 1, I can know really what I can and can’t eat (and hopefully nuts are one of the things I can add back in to my diet!) and 2, so that we can know what to have a dog trained for. Because of the past reactions I’ve had, and other factors, I’ve been increasingly limited in what I can do and places I can go, we’ve started seriously considering obtaining a food allergy alert dog for me. This would mean a bunch more freedom and the ability to go to some places that right now are off limits to me (like being an on-campus college student).
All in all though, I’ve learned a ton this semester, both from school and life in general. And over the next month I have for break, I’m hoping to share tips and lessons learned from my travels back in September and also other food-related stuff I’ve learned and baked over the whole semester (including tips for baking gluten free bread). For now, I’m just thrilled to be done with school and have time to breathe! One day at a time.