Monday, September 21, 2009

The Results Are In...

The doctor's office called with results from my blood test to determine if I am still allergic to shellfish... and they asked if I was sitting down. Somehow, someway I am no longer allergic to the little sea critters. Six years ago, I was diagnosed as being "highly" allergic to crab, lobster, shrimp, mussels, clams and scallops. This was determined via skin test, following a very scary and nearly fatal brush with gigantic bowl of seafood soup from my favorite NYC noodle joint. I was in shock. Here I was a California girl who had grown up on the beach eating shellfish (my favorite food) having to come to the realization that I could never eat it again. My doctor likened my situation to a cup being full. "Once the cup is full, that is it! No more room. Eat the shellfish and you are gambling with your life." And let me tell you, no amount of bacon wrapped scallops or lobster dipped in butter was worth reliving the hell of hives, slowed breathing, locked hands and freaky taxi ride to Mount Sinai's ER. I was done. And if I was ever tempted, my husband was right there beside me to remind me. "Don't EVER do that to ME again!"

So for the past six years I have dutifully avoided every California roll, every shrimp that accidentally made it's way into my chow mein, and I stopped eating at those fabulous hotels by the beach that offer a bounty of the fruits de mer. I even stayed out of the kitchen as my mom cooked up crab cakes for the family. If I hadn't decided to take a skin test, along with my daughter to ease her stress I might not have ever found out. I am not allergic to shellfish?

But (there is always a but) I do have a high reaction to histamine. This one is honestly a bit hard for me to explain, as I am not a doctor and the way that it was explained to me is still confusing. Apparently there are foods that have histamines in them and foods that cause a histamine response. Foods like citrus, chocolate, wine, pickles and shellfish. Because of this, it is still quite possible that if I eat one of these foods I could react to the histamine or my body can produce histamines that would resemble what I have experienced as a food allergy... hives and the whole enchilada. So now that I am conditioned to see a lobster tank and run, I asked the doctor if she thought that I would be safe eating shellfish again. And she thinks that I will be okay, but advised that I first take an antihistamine about an hour before eating. That should be enough to stop the histamine response, in theory. My husband has asked if he could not be with me when I try my little dining "experiment". He wants me to call him and let him know how it goes. And truth be told, I still pretty gun shy. The story continues...

(I just wish Ella will outgrow her allergies. Or some of them. I would gladly give up my right to eat shellfish if she could have wheat. If only...)

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