ELeVan ~ Honaker Farm Journal

elevan

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Remember to tell your loved ones how much you love them every chance you get...I almost lost the chance yesterday.

I almost died, checked out, without the chance to say goodbye - yesterday was the scariest day of my life! I have food allergies and my most potent allergy is the peanut which typically causes my tongue to swell, my throat to itch and my breathing to be labored...that didn't happen today.
My wonderful husband, made me breakfast in bed (pancakes). He ran out of our normal box and mixed half with a box that had been given to us. I ate them and they were really good. No problems. Had a glass of milk with them.
My mom, showed up about 15 minutes later for a visit. As we sat around the dining table (DH, mom, the kids and I) it became harder and harder for me to breathe. I didn't say a word about my difficulty though I coughed a few times, took a couple of sips of lemonade. As my breathing became worse I felt myself fading in and out but still didn't say anything as I tried to maintain composure and pull myself together. Concentrate on breathing I kept telling myself and when mom leaves I'll have DH take me to get checked out.
I didn't make it that far...I collapsed out of my chair as I blacked out. I came to with mom and DH standing over me wanting to know what was going on - chest hurts and trouble breathing. Do we need to call 9-1-1? Yes, I said, you probably better. We were all thinking heart attack as I've been under stress lately (quite a bit).
When the medics arrived my heart scans looked fine but my chest still hurt and I was still having trouble breathing. We decided to go to the hospital to get checked out.
In the squad on the way to the hospital I felt myself getting dizzy and going in and out again and the medics noticed me floundering and asked how I was doing? All I could get out was dizzy before I was gone. I woke up to them yelling my name and thumping my chest.
They told me later when I was coherent that my heart rate bottomed out and my oxygen level plummeted.
Then the next symptom began to show itself - my hands started to hurt...excruciatingly. Before my eyes I watched them swell as the medic was trying to put an IV in one. The IV was an impossible task in the hand with the swelling and blood gushed everywhere - I was covered in it. He moved to the other hand and tried the wrist, barely managing it as that hand was swelling too.
By the time we reached the E.D. my hands were so swollen that they were near ready to split open and my wedding ring finger was starting to turn purple and they were threatening to cut the ring off. I asked them to wait.
Then my chest, shoulders and arms turned bright red almost immediately upon being placed in an E.D. bed. What the heck is going on?
Almost a half hour later we finally got the clue we were looking for - my face began to swell - lips and eyelids. They started me on steroids and antihistamines.
Blood tests were ordered. Those came back that I might possibly have a blood clot, so a CT of my lungs was ordered. I also had elevated blood sugar, but it could be part of the allergic reaction - regardless I'll follow up on it. No clot was found.
Shortly after getting back from radiology both of my legs broke out in hives (rash). They were covered in hives and horrible looking and very very itchy.
It took them two steroids and 4 antihistamines to bring my attack under control. When they discharged me, my hands are still slightly swollen but that is it. I'll remain on meds for a few days.
The scary part? We were expecting to come home and find that the box of pancake mix was manufactured in a plant that processes peanuts...nope. So what caused such a severe allergic reaction? The worst allergic reaction I've ever had? An allergic reaction that almost took me away from my family? I don't know!!! And I have to wait at least 6 weeks to do testing to find out what it could have been because the meds to bring this under control would skew the results. I'm now scared to eat / drink.

Today's residual effects...my right hand is still slightly swollen along with part of that arm and it is remarkably weaker than normal. My cheeks are still quite a bit red, as is and my upper chest retains some redness as well. I ate a tomato sandwich earlier on a bun and my eyelids started to swell...looked at the ingredient list and there are a few common denominators between the two products from today and yesterday. So I guess that will give us a place to start. I see my PCP tomorrow morning to follow up on everything.

I feel like my body is turning on me this Summer. In May, my doctor found a lump in my right breast. We did surgery in late June to remove it, biopsied it and it came back that the cells were abnormal and of a type that had we left it alone then it would likely have become malignant in 2-3 years. Since we removed the whole lump, nothing more is needed but follow up mammograms yearly. Two days after that surgery, I had a severe gallbladder attack. Results from tests on my gallbladder showed that it had stopped functioning. So we removed it at the end of July. I'm scheduled to have a colonoscopy done in mid September because 4 years ago I had one done and they found precancerous polyps..I was supposed to repeat the test last year, so I'm a year late getting it done. With the way things have been going I'm afraid they will find more polyps. I'm only 37 btw.

DH just told me that maybe my body is telling me it's time that I should eliminate all "bad" stuff from my life that I can...processed food, chemical beauty products, etc. Maybe he's right. We don't eat a whole lot of processed foods. And I've already decided to quit shampoo and give the baking soda / apple cider vinegar method a try since my scalp has become super sensitive to shampoos (even sulfate free ones) and I don't want to move on to try prescription shampoo.

But THE biggest lesson I've learned from the past few months is that you need to let those around you know how much you care - often. You just never know what is going to come your way and when. I almost died yesterday, but I didn't. For some reason I've been given a lot of chances these past few months and for that I am grateful. Don't forget to let your loved ones know that you care, I know I won't let a moment go by without mine knowing that I care.
 

samssimonsays

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I am in absolute tears reading this! I am very glad you are recovering and will be praying for you (if that is alright with you that is). I wish you all the luck in finding out what is going on and I hope they are able to get to the bottom and that nothing else life threatening occurs!
 

elevan

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@Samantha drawz , prayers are fine with me. Prayers, positive thoughts / energy...I won't say no to any good vibes anyone wants to send my way.

The swelling in my right hand / arm seem to have finally come diminished...32 hours after it began. That hand is still weaker than it should be, hopefully the strength returns fully. The redness on my chest is gone but I still have a little bit remaining on my cheeks.

I'm suspicious that the culprit is soy flour. I have a known allergy to soy although it usually only causes me gastro-intestinal type distress, so I've never avoided it entirely. Yesterday, however, was my first experience with soy flour in that pancake mix and then the buns for the sandwich today had soy flour in them. I'll discuss it in the morning with my doctor and we'll do more tests, but either way I plan to avoid products containing soy flour from here on out just in case and trying to avoid soy altogether. Though avoiding soy is gonna be a hard one since they put it in just about everything! I'm also allergic to walnuts and corn, they are another that just cause gastro-intestinal distress. The concern that DH and I have is my allergies seem to be of a progressive type. I used to be able to eat peanuts and peanut butter - I didn't develop an allergy to peanuts until my early 20s. At that time if I came in contact with peanuts I just got an itchy throat. As time went by the itchy throat was accompanied by tongue swelling. Then several years later I developed labored breathing if I came into contact with peanuts. Now I avoid them at all costs. If my soy allergy went from gastro-intestinal only to life threatening that's a really scaring progression. Or this could be a new allergy development altogether. Another common denominator was Malted Barley Flour. I've had barley in the past, it's been several years, without issue. I don't believe that I've ever been exposed to Malted Barley Flour. It's a puzzle, but we'll figure it out so I can eat safely.
 

norseofcourse

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:hugs I can't imagine how scary that must have been! So glad they figured it out in time and you're recovering.

AND - I'm sure next time you'll let someone know right away if you have trouble breathing or any other symptoms, instead of trying to 'tough it out'?! Do they make some kind of medic-alert bracelet for multiple food allergies?
 

elevan

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@norseofcourse , yeah I think I learned my lesson about keeping quiet. I guess I didn't want to think it was serious, but then again I should know better that not being able to breathe is pretty darn serious.

I'll have to look into the medic alert bracelet thing, I'm not sure.

The doctor and nurses said it was the strangest progression of symptoms for an allergic reaction that they'd ever seen. Until my face started swelling we still had no clue what we were dealing with and that was more than an hour and a half after I'd ate the pancakes. The hives were the last thing to show up and the doctor said usually they're the first to show up during an allergic reaction. Nothing in my life has ever been "normal" so I guess why should I start now?! lol
 

Poka_Doodle

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Wow, I am not allergic to anything but seasonal and maybe a few kinds of Candy, but I shouldn't have them with braces and don't like them anyways
 
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