A is for Autoimmune

A is for Autoimmune

Getting allergy shots every two weeks was a nuisance but I had high hopes that the effects would increase my wellbeing, so I tolerated them. Life was good, winter was mild,e and the future was promising, what more could we wish for? I was feeling a bit stressed, and had light insomnia, but nothing to be really worried about.

On April, strange things started to happen, and I didn’t know that life was never going to be the same.

One evening, while eating a bit of ham, my tongue, lips, and throat began to swell. Remembering the apple episode, I panicked and went to the ER. They looked at me weirdly enough to realize that ham doesn’t often kill people, but they didn’t have answers for me, just a recommendation to go to my allergist as soon as possible. This episode happened again and again with random food, and it was becoming something annoyingly frequent. More foods were becoming forbidden, and I was at a loss about what it could be and whether I was going to eat something and die. My insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue got much worse, and I lost so much weight during those months that I could barely walk, and spent hours crying because I was just starving.

My allergist didn’t have answers either, and I was slowly seeing how my body stopped cooperating at all. To insomnia, anxiety, and fatigue, I had to add palpitations, migraines, joint pain, heartburn, and a long list of ailments. And nobody had answers for me. Many times I thought I was going to die of malnourishment, and doctors just didn’t completely believe that I was reacting to everything. I spent months barely surviving on pork chops and broccoli.

Long before I had to stop practicing capoeira, and almost stopped pilates too. My body just couldn’t take more stress, and I’d lost so much weight that I had to keep my energies. It was the only time in my life that I counted calories, to make sure I was ingesting enough. We took a vacation in Lanzarote that summer, but I seldom left our apartment.

I read a lot on the internet about my symptoms and possible causes. I know it was not the most recommended thing, but doctors weren’t helping, and they were just sending me home with a shrug and some antihistamines. During some time I believed I had histamine intolerance, because I was having debilitating 48-hours migraines, especially after eating eggs. But it just didn’t explain the rest of the symptoms.

After several months I got them to send me to another specialist, and I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease which was causing my angioedema, and a possible mast cell activation disorder. I had some answers, lots of pills, and still a long way to go. The most important thing is that I had a bit of hope and I started thinking that I was going to make it.

I had to take large quantities of cromolyn and antihistamines, and also prednisone temporarily. I hated prednisone. It made my life more bearable, but it also gave me terrible insomnia and mood swings. The only bad arguments I had with my boyfriend were during those times.

I then discovered the Autoimmune Protocol and, although I didn’t trust it from the start, I had nothing else left to try. I purchased The Paleo Approach by Sarah Ballantyne, and read it from beginning to end. Back then, the only grain I could tolerate was sorghum, but according to this book, I had to stop eating all grains and sugar, apart from other things that I already couldn’t eat. I didn’t lose much trying. After a month following this diet, I started to react to fewer foods, and five months later I didn’t have antibodies present in my blood test results.

 

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