Attack of the Peas

Hey everyone!

Once again, I know it's been awhile. But once you hear why I'm sure you'll forgive me.

I had a freaking allergy attack!
Not just slight pain, but a full blown reaction.

If you didn't read my first post about my disease, I'll give you a little background. I was diagnosed with Eosinophilic Esophagitis, which means that I have an overabundance of eosinophils, a type of white blood cells, in my esophagus. When I eat something I am allergic to, they see that food being harmful and swarm my esophagus to fight it off. My esophagus becomes inflamed (part of an immune response. Have you noticed that when you have cuts, they become inflamed?). Then when it becomes too inflamed, I have an esophagus spasm (I only recently learned this).
So Wednesday night rolls around and I'm starting to get that dreaded "heartburn" sensation. I thought that I'd be able to sleep off the pain, but it got too bad. Then I had an "allergy attack" which I call my muscle spasms. I feel an incredible pain in my upper abdomenal region. It feels like my esophagus is tightening and loosening, which I suppose it is. It causes all of my muscles to become tensed to the point where I have trouble breathing and my back aches.
Anyways, this went on for 2 1/2 hours before I decided I couldn't take it anymore. So around 2:30 AM, my two AMAZING roommates drove me to the emergency room. There they asked me a ton of questions for over an hour then finally give me morphine. They ran a bunch of tests to make sure it wasn't something else (Tested for: white and red blood cell count, cardiograph, chest xray, electrolytes, and kidney function). All of those came back with normal. Then around 5:30 AM we finally got to leave, me all hopped up on two doses of morphine with a bag of Percocet in my pocket and my roommates falling asleep (Did I mention how much I love my roommates!?)

Later that day on Thursday, I decided I could make it to my noon class after having missed my first three classes. As I was headed to school, I started getting that "heartburn" and tightness feeling. It started getting worse so I left right before class started. I got home and had another freaking attack. My boyfriend rushed over and helped me figure out what to do. I took the Percocet for pain but it didn't kick in for over an hour. Ryan and I called my doctor and my parents and considered taking me back to the ER. Fortunately, I started feeling better. I made an appointment with my gastroenterologist for the following day, which was great. Anyways, so my pain died down, though it just felt numbed. My pain was gone but I couldn't eat anything or hold anything down. I was so nauseous and my esophagus was so tight I could barely even swallow my pills. But it all worked out.

So that Friday I went to my gastroenterologist who informed me that I was having muscle spasms. He gave me GI tract muscle relaxers for me to take if/when (which is hopefully never) I have another spasm. He also put me on a corticosteroid, which is pretty much an asthma inhaler in which I have to "swallow" the air. Seems sketchy to me but it works, though it makes my voice hoarse.

So what now?
Who knows... My disease is so new that they don't know very much about it. I think my next step is to make an appointment with my allergist to be tested for the things I wasn't tested for before (such as tree nuts, fish, and shellfish which are 3 of the top 8 most common food allergies). Then we'll see where I go from there.

Now, on a lighter note, my world was changed a few weeks ago.
I picked up a copy of Living Without, which is a food allergy magazine, and opened up to an article all about EE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis)! It talked all about it and about the people that have it. There are children that have so much trouble swallowing that they have to have feeding tubes! I'm so lucky that I don't have to deal with that. My case seems to be pretty unique in that I have the severe pains and muscle spasms. The most common symptom is trouble swallowing, which I don't have that huge of a problem with. Anyways, my life changed because I found out that there is a program right here in Colorado for EE! In Denver, only an hour from where I live. I also found out that they are doing research for it at University of Colorado in Denver! I decided right then and there that that's what I want to do in my future. Previously, I devoted my life to those with food allergies, but now I'd like to specialize in EE. I feel that I'd probably have to go to medical school for gastroenterology so we'll see what happens. Either way, I still want to deal with food allergies or the immune system. I actually emailed the program coordinator to see if there was anything I could do, including volunteer or intern. My hopes are set high but I can imagine it would be tough to get into.

Anyways, so that's what I've been up to.

Also, I was thinking about having a blogging buddy! My friend Val has been very interested in allergy free foods and always runs up to me telling me she made something without SOME PP (The acronym they came up with for my allergies: Soy Oats Milk Eggs Peanuts Peas). I brought up the idea that she could share the blog with me. She loves cooking and I love baking, so it would work out well. It may or may not happen, but I just wanted to give a heads up!

I'm going to try to post a recipe soon. It's a really good one, but I ended up writing more on this post than I thought I would and it's quite late.

But let me know if any of you have any questions or have heard about EE or someone that has it!


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Alexis Gusts said...

So I just started reading your blog, and I really like it! Also, I think it's pretty damn cool that you've used this condition to come up with some great ways to help people in your future! Rock on! :-)

Mother; Teresa said...

I pray for more research and answers on EE. These attacks are scary for you, your family and friends.