Archive for the ‘Allergies’ Category

(From someone who worked at St*rbucks.) If you have a milk/dairy allergy AT ALL. DO NOT. I repeat. DO NOT. Drink Pumpkin Spice.

It contains dairy IN the syrup that is used to make the drink. Even if you get it made with soy, you will still be getting doses of dairy in there.

Depending on the severity and intolerance it can and will cause reactions. I found that as a barista I was constantly warning people about the dairy in the product. No one ever seemed to tell them that there was dairy in the mix. More times than I can count I heard people realize that’s why they kept having reactions, or that’s why it made them sick.

People legitimately do not know that pumpkin spice no matter what you do will always contain some amount of dairy.


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I am back from my business trip and generally had a really good time. I was up in the mountains, and despite the altitude (~7,000 feet) I got in a fair amount of walking. And it snowed! I haven’t seen snow is years, so that was a rare treat (even if it meant the trails were too muddy for hiking). I had packed a windbreaker and layers, so other than having to buy a hat I was well-prepared for the weather. I hadn’t, however, taken into account that Utah is officially in the Southwest, and garlic is used to season almost everything.

If you’re new to my blog (and I’ll admit, I don’t talk about it often), but I have a fairly severe allergy to garlic. As in “my-throat-closes-up-and-I-can’t-breathe-carry-two-EpiPens” kind of allergic. I can usually tolerate a little dried garlic if it’s mixed into pre-packaged food (anything with “spices” on the boxes probably has trace garlic in it), as long as I don’t do it too often. The Southwest is pretty blatant about their garlic usage, so it’s easy to identify but hard to avoid. There was a “food allergy buffet” (lots of gluten-free, etc. foods) but 4/5 had garlic in it, and the 5th was pork (no pork or red meat either- sometimes it amazes me that I weigh as much as I do). It’s a rare allergy so I did notify the conference folks ahead of time, but I ended up having a cheese quesadilla and frenched fries that meal.

Speaking of, you know that I’m lactose intolerant, right? Even lactaid can only save me so much. I am currently going completely dairy-free for a few days/weeks until my body settles down.

None of this is really a surprise though- I came prepared with lots of me-friendly snacks and oatmeal so I could make breakfast in my room; every other meal I was able to find good alternatives, and every other single thing about the resort was amazing. They were super-kind about my feather allergy, swapping out my comforter, checking all my pillows and bringing me an extra blanket (which I ended up needing when the snow started!). I did them leave feedback, both good and bad, and especially praising the chef and server who helped with my food issues.

To be honest, I don’t think of my allergies and dietary restrictions as being particularly major or, well, restricting. It was just one of those cases where I’m reminded that I’ve shaped my immediate environs so I don’t need to worry about these things on a regular basis. The joys and tribulations of leaving your comfort-bubble, right?

As for other health stuff, my right hip was pretty bad the whole trip, which was very disappointing. The plane ride out was painful and I never quite 100% recovered from it (maybe just as well I didn’t try hiking after all). I also never managed distilled water for my CPAP and learned that dry air causes things to evaporate faster, so I need to refill more often. I had the usual dry-air problems: dry skin and nosebleeds, but I never needed to use my inhaler which I count as a win! Staying hydrated avoided any altitude sickness headaches as well, so go, me!

You’ll notice that I haven’t said anything about the actual conference so far- this is long enough so I’ll make it a separate post. I also have PICTURES! So I’ll post some of those as well. Stay tuned!

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Still waiting on bloodwork results, but research has confirmed that 100% of the random symptoms I’ve been experiencing for the last few months are part of the fibro suite. Part of me still hopes that the bloodwork comes back clear, but then I’ll have to address each individual issue with my medical team- it’s a bit to think that a fibro diagnosis would be “easier”. *sigh*

Speaking of my medical team, the endo I hoped to transfer to is moving out of the area, so I am stuck with my current doc for a while longer. The medical centre where my rheumatologist is plans to add a new endo, so once they have someone on staff I’ll make an appointment.

All this is going on the week before I fly out to Utah for a week-long conference. Yesterday was a dental cleaning and today is my allergy shot. I am starting to think that this was foolish on my part, because by the time I get out there I’m already going to be worn out. This will also be my first flight carrying my CPAP machine, so that should be… interesting. As soon as I land I need to hunt up a pharmacy or grocery store to pick up distilled water; I can get by on bottled water for a couple days in a pinch. I think I will be glad for the humidifier though- it is very cool and dry there. Packing extra warm layers for chilly evenings- which reminds me, I should pack my largest heating pad. *adds it to the list*

And while I’m making my packing list, that reminds me that I need to do a review here. I have discovered the joy that is SmartWool socks! I’m practically giddy about them- one of the few times that I wrote a review for a commercial site. That will  probably happen after I get back (and recover) from my trip.

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This will probably be my main topic for a while, so it you find it as boring as dirt, please check back in a few weeks. Usually once I get my living space up to a certain standard of neat/organised then I calm down. And that’s really what all this is about- anxiety.

My anxiety is still the most difficult aspect of my health to be open about. I have been feeling overwhelmed lately, and I attack that by bringing my immediate environment under control. I get compliments at work all the time about how organised I am and how nicely decorated my office is. It’s very flattering, but when I say that I “have” to be organised or else I don’t function, well, the meaning just doesn’t get through. I keep my office in subdued lighting and very calm so I can focus and have a retreat when things are hectic. I sometimes I have to deal with very stressful situations for my job, so keeping a neutral environment is comforting when I have to do things that I know are anxiety triggers.

It doesn’t always succeed, unfortunately. Friday I found myself increasingly tense and on the verge of an anxiety attack. I left before things could get out of hand, but it’s very rare for me to “lose it” like that, especially at work. I have been off my anxiety meds for just about six months, but bad allergies and poor sleep for a week had put me on edge to begin with, and I just had no buffers left.

I think part of the anxiety stems from the fact that (if all goes well) in the next 6-12 months we’d like to sell our house and move someplace a bit nicer is the same area. I find myself looking around the house and thinking about what it will mean to get the house ready to sell, and pack everything up to move. We still have boxes that were never unpacked from our last move, and we have a lot more large pieces of furniture than we did last time around.

In all, channeling my anxiety into putter is good in the long run- it’s just an intensity of behaviour that I haven’t seen since before the anxiety meds, and I’m still readjusting. It’s good to get rid of the open container of spices that I last used in 2009, the over-the-counter treatments that have been replaced by prescriptions, and the three grocery bags of clothes that were too small for me one size ago and exploded all over the shelf in our closet and onto the floor. I am considering restarting my anxiety meds, but there are discussions with doctors going on (and I am changing away from my current endo, which was its own source of anxiety, so the new doctor might want to provide some input on any prescription changes).

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Spring Cleaning

I am way, way behind on posts, but for moderately good reasons (I think). This past weekend was a good example: Friday was a friend’s wedding after work, Saturday was dinner and games/double-date night at our place, and Sunday was dinner with family and more Moving of Furniture.

All the furniture acquisition is prompting me to reorganise a bit. I now have more than double the drawer space that I had previously, and in moving things around I am trying to thin things out and organise rather than just dump more stuff into drawers.

This is slowly creeping into all facets of my life, including cleaning out:

  • …the fridge. Four half-full bottles of barbecue sauce? I might need an intervention…
  • …my wallet and purse. Carrying cards that expired 6 months ago? Silly but typical. Two years?! Uhhh…
  • …crafting supplies. Paint that hardened into bricks? That can go. Sharing the wealth of good stuff by de-stashing with friends and co -workers. Would much rather that things be used than just sitting in drawers (especially since some are going to be used for charity fundraising- yay!)
  • …my car. Which wasn’t at all bad- I tend to be uber-neat in my car.

I am working on boxes of items to go to Goodwill and pet rescue.

This is all going a bit slowly in fits and spurts. My allergies have been terrible and I haven’t been sleeping very well. I also missed a weekly weigh-in and am getting back on track with tracking what I eat (I didn’t fall too far behind, but it’s easy to let things slip). The leftover Easter candy floating around the office isn’t helping any!

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…and Allergies Begun! Hubby and I are both suffering and our cars are covered in oak pollen. I know that I shouldn’t complain since most of my friends and family still have their cars covered in snow, but even so…

And speaking of spring, insert annual time change gripe here. Need I say more?

In happy spring news however, the mockingbirds were warbling in the front tree yesterday and we saw one collecting nesting material, so hopefully they will rebuild last year’s nest that was partially knocked down by storms a few month back. Yay!

After two weeks of limiting my sodium I’ve had a fairly significant drop in weight, which confirms that my intake was too high and hindering my weight loss. I find that limiting sodium also puts we way under my daily points, so balancing my eating plan has been a challenge. I have already dropped a point from my daily target, so hopefully that will balance out further, soon.

I asked hubby to nudge me to get back on the treadmill. After his first “nudge” session, we then discussed encouragement versus nagging, lol! I was exhausted from grocery shopping and had done extra walking yesterday and he was hassling me to do five minutes on the treadmill, so I agreed- as long as he did 5 minutes on the elliptical. Good for us both in the long run, but I am still wondering if it was a good idea the way my knees and hips have been.

My RA has been having “mini-flares” for the last month or so. It’s painful and exhausting. I’m trying to do all the right things, but mostly all I can do is wait it out. I had a frustrating conversation with a colleague who I do not see regularly, who is convinced that if I just keep trying different treatments I’ll eventually find something that works (she is into some more esoteric health techniques). I finally gave up trying to explain that it doesn’t work that way- something that’s great now could stop helping a few weeks or months from now; there is no permanent “fix” for this. And while managing my diet and moderate exercise is good, heavy exercise can cause even more damage. I have a hard time determining if something is everyday pain or injury pain, so it’s hard to know when it’s okay to push myself for an extra mile and when it’s time to take a break. She means well, but I don’t know her well enough to go into every detail of my health history.

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Sometimes, I hate calling the doc because I am just plain embarrassed.

I did something dumb-ish yesterday and had to let my allergist know. While putting out the garbage cans I pulled a couple weeds from the sidewalk cracks. My left hand was swarmed by a couple of angry ants and I picked up five nasty bites. This pretty much means I don’t get another allergy shot until the new year due to their holiday schedule.

My hand is okay- two bites on the outside of my thumb, two on the web of the thumb (OW) and one on the side of my palm between my pinky and my wrist. I cleaned the bites immediately and took a benedryl but boy did they burn (and itch). I couldn’t find the hydrocortisone so I used my bite stick. Other than being zonked from the benedryl I thought I was doing okay, but the bites blistered up overnight and one ruptured.  I woke up part way through the night and my hand is stiff with swelling. I have them covered today and they alternately hurt and itch. I can’t imagine what this would be like if I hadn’t been getting shots for the past year. Things are going to be a bit awkward for a few days, to say the least. *sigh*

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