Monday, February 23, 2009

Allergic Reaction

Recently Dave was tested for food allergies. We already knew of some sensitivities that he has-- bananas, pumpkin, and walnuts, and milk. He has eliminated the first three from his diet, and milk he took out for 6 months and gradually put back in his diet. He can handle small amounts of dairy, but has trouble with plain milk. He thought he might have more food allergies related to his recently diagnosed Eosinophilic esophagitis. His test results came back positive for a wheat allergy and a banana allergy, but nothing else came up (I think the pumpkin and walnut allergies are oral allergy syndrome which wouldn't show up on a regular allergy test, and the milk is a sensitivity not a true allergy).

The doctor said he was surprised with the banana allergy-- it's the worst he's ever seen in someone and when he took a look at the test results, the first thing he thought of was "wow, it's amazing he's alive." Well. I don't know about that, since banana is very easy to avoid and the only time he ever accidentally ingests it is when he gets careless with reading labels and buys a fruit drink that has banana in it. While he does have reactions to being in the presence of bananas, it's usually not that bad as long as he keeps his distance. Wheat, on the other hand, was not nearly as strong of an allergy, so at first we thought he'd be okay with our regular diet. Then he had a severe reaction to whole wheat pancakes followed by a snack of mac and cheese not too long after. His body completely rejected the food and he felt awful for hours after the fact. And we eliminated wheat from his diet immediately.

Today we visited with some friends who made a lovely dinner of corn spaghetti (the noodles actually tasted pretty darned good! I was surprised) and pie made from spelt flour, which was the best tasting pie crust I've ever eaten I must say (spelt+homemade lard=deliciousness). Well, in their house, they buy bananas, unlike us, and Rose saw them and went crazy! She must have a banana, right now. So I allowed her, since this was a treat she doesn't often get. I usually buy a small bunch and they are eaten in 2-3 days, being stored in a plastic bag the whole time so Dave doesn't accidentally come in contact with them. Later on, she grabbed another banana and took it to me to have me help her peel it. I was about across the room from Dave. This banana was pretty ripe, which Dave has a stronger reaction to, but I figured being 20 feet away he would have no problem. Within a couple minutes, he was choking and having a severe attack. He started wheezing after his body rejected his entire dinner. He was worried about a potential headache that often follows an attack like this, and told me this was the type of reaction he gets (minus the food rejection part) when he is in contact with perfume, which often ends in a headache for the rest of the day, with the longest lasting half the week. This makes sense, since he didn't actually come in contact with the banana, just the smell of it. Quickly, my friend Emily and I made the kids finish their bananas, took all the banana peels outside, and washed the table.

I'm still in shock how quickly the reaction happened and how severe it was. Dave thinks the reason the attack was so severe was because his body isn't used to fighting all the time anymore, since he's been without wheat for about a month now. The banana fumes just overloaded his system entirely and his body went into panic mode.

I guess I'm not ever going to buy bananas again, which is okay since I just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle and am trying to eat food more locally anyway.

Okay, maybe the occasional banana as a bribe to my kids at the grocery store. But that's it.


Les said...

They can always find a banana at Aunt Leslie's!

Momma Sarah said...

Oh my! I didn't realize that his allergy to bananas was that bad! If you like Animal Vegetable Miracle, you might like Nourishing Traditions. (Which could help with his walnut allergy - they are soaked with sea salt for 8-12 hrs and then you 'roast' them in the oven - I haven't had a problem with any nuts since I've started doing this.) So, bananas are his kryptonite, eh?

Emily said...

20 feet away? Really? I have a huge living room!

Carolyn said...

I'm bad at estimates. I guess it was like 10 feet. But still!

He has bruising on his lungs because of the attack and can't do anything strenuous for a week because of it. I would say that his banana allergy is now considered life-threatening.