A food allergy story

I’ve had skin sensitivities since I was a kid – none so stressful I went to any doctor except, when I had poison ivy – all over my face and body – that swelled my lids shut. ‘They’ said I probably got in some smoke or something despite trying to avoid it while out in the woods as usual.

Usually just a persistent pimple, one at a time- though would last ten days, instead of rapidly clearing. I was extra gentle with scrubbing, avoided strong astringents, and tried to pay attention.

Didn’t find out it was related to my activities, until I went to Nepal the first time. There my acne cleared despite the near lack of bathing. Cool. If I could find out just what changed – there so many possibilities; could even have been the lack of stress or immersion in the beauty. Maybe I’ll never be sure, and yet I’ve made great progress although it took much worsening, before it seems, I turned a corner.

Still I have some issues; not everything in order -my stomach hasn’t quite settled down. My ‘digestion’ is incomplete or still sensitive.

Hadn’t had any KNOWN food allergies, but one by one, the evidence mounted. First I linked the puffiness and flares to sushi – my favorite restaurant food. And place where my ex and I sometimes did have fun.

From there, it took a while, ten years, to slowly worsen.

My lids started swelling, cracking and splitting, subtly at first then all at once flared. Before a mild chronic condition lasting years, I’d been seen several times already to my primary care physicians (MDs). Ophthalmology wouldn’t see me until I’d ‘put hot packs on them 15 min four (4) times a day for three (3) months’. That is ~ 120 hours of home therapy before they would see me.

Meanwhile, not being a squeaky wheel, I did the treatments as recommended.
The sensation of warmth enveloping my eyes and forehead from the moist compresses did feel lovely- was a home spa treatment. I hadn’t spent much time sitting alone with myself outside of meditating, doing nothing (with eyes closed). Of course I was still distraught at times, and sitting thusly did bring me comfor

On my way to the Arctic Circle, I had a glass of wine to celebrate dinner. This was the first time in months. Next morning I woke up noticing my rash had really flared- erupting in new, larger places. All were painless- red spots only ones I knew about – or could hide with my glasses. (The wine was delicious, I’ve got to admit it went ‘great’ with my steak.) Since then, with a couple of exceptions, all fermented beverages are out for me -including Kombucha – which of course isn’t really, Cha from the Kombu region; the latter is definitely not fizzy)!

This time though, I looked up on Dr. Google, and rosacea fit for most of the symptoms. Since I felt well otherwise I didn’t go back to my otherwise unhelpful doctors. Rosacea was a diagnosis I’d been given years earlier. Heat directly worsens it, as well as alcohol, spices, and caffeine.

This time I made new compresses with mint and aloe, stuck them in the freezer. Little by little, my eyes began to clear. Even the little red spot inside my inner lid faded. (While I haven’t tried it, a rosemary wash sounds nice too, and also may be a vowel remedy).[1]

According to MKSAP 18, the constellation of eyelid (and face) rash with a violaceous Gottron’s plaque is ‘pathognomonic’ for a particular autoimmune inflammatory disorder. The latter I noticed noticed on my hand, after I ate shellfish when my lids simultaneously flared. Interesting connections between ~40% of those with dermatomyositis (amyopathic) and a couple of specific cancers. So I’m quite happy to be using dietary avoidance successfully with now months between flaring – when previously it was continuous.

I always found the specific allergy stories fascinating- often there is significant stress or association with over exposure in a traumatic setting. The funniest thing about my specific allergies [2], they all seemed to coincide with offerings at upscale hotel breakfast banquets. At this point I can eat happily, at very few places…otherwise, I’m no fan of flavored yogurt and seedless fruit-as eggs and oats are out leaving me toast (I hope).

Ironically I would be eating these foods on two occasions – at medical conferences and on vacation with my then husband. Those foods reflected a lifestyle that is, for me, deplorably stressful (and for most mothers).

Personally I believe these allergies are part of my shedding process = not a one of those foods are ~good for me anyway.[3]

I’m thinking there may be another one or two- these last bits of releasing a past life and settling down are going more slowly, but I’m hoping I can figure that out without collapsing my wave form! I almost went to get measured for antibodies at the naturopath, but then at the last minute decided “no” and here’s why. Once I measure – if I have a positive test, even if it’s “false”[4] , once I have the positive test, any indiscretion is experienced as a form of punishment to my soma. Currently I still have plausible deniability- as my diet is radically different than it was 2 years ago .

My Reiki master offered to ‘release’ my (spiritual) need for an allergy, but I told her I’d wait and see what else it had to tell me. Either way, I don’t think I’ll be hanging out at the breakfast bars anymore.

[1] Please see AEIOU medicine (haven’t published yet) for clarification. In this case sing O-E-A-Y
[2] Except for oats which make me itch and wheeze, I don’t have a type one hypersensitivity (IgE-mediated allergy), but rather my reaction is probably type 2 (antibody) and 3 (complement); hopefully not 4 (cell-mediated). These food sensitivities are like a fixed drug eruption- (another disorder we know little about) with headache (perhaps from cytokines Il-1 and Il-6- indicating Toll-like receptor activation), GI symptoms, malaise and fatigue- very much like a bad hangover that acutely lasts hours. I’ve seen Systemic Lupus Erythematosis (diagnosed early, and probably mild) be caused by foods too- as it cleared with clean diet.
[3] Eggs Benedict, custard, angel food cake…were all my favorites and gone for good.
[4] My allopathic professional academy specifically denounces IgG food antibody relevance – measurable levels are common in adults but nonetheless seem to be tip of iceberg for ANY immune dysregulation. Several patients came to me with stories about empirically avoiding egg, wheat, and milk, with good results for chronic nasal stuffiness and infections.

By Dr. Jen Wyman-Clemons, MD

Dr. Wyman-Clemons treats the body, mind, emotions as well as spiritual wellness using tools described by established teachers and authors and her own experiences as she experiences an ongoing sense of (loving) energetic intrusion (possession) since 2019. She has ~thirty years of clinical experience as an allergy and internal medicine physician (ABAI, ABIM) has completed requirements to practice as a yoga teacher, USUI Reiki Master, and astrologer.

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