YouKnowWho & CMDeux, thanks yet again for taking the time to eductate and support--it's so appreciated, especially because I don't really have anyone in RL who gets this at all. DH sort of talks a good game, but is generally slow to adapt to change and this is no exception--I can tell he thinks I'm being paranoid, and no one seems to get that it's not quite as simple as avoiding scrambled eggs or a big handful of almonds.
Every day I seem to be adding more experiences to the "allergy file" in my brain, trying to sort through what is really happening. Not sure if it's making the picture clearer or more murky! Monday evening (about 7+hours after all the tests at the allergist), I was coaxed into a quick dinner with DH at a favorite restaurant down the street. It's a brewpub. After a bit of thought and many questions to the waitress, I ordered something that seemed safe, and a glass of white wine. Before our food even came, I began to feel funny. It started almost immediately after taking my first sip of the wine, but I think that might have been a coincidence. I stayed, and made it through dinner (once again thinking I was imagining it), until finally I was feeling so droopy and lightheaded, I told DH we needed to go. As soon as I got outside, I began to perk up and felt much better by the time we got home. Only then did DH mention that we were sitting right next to the door to the room where they actually brew...stuff. Not sure what they were brewing at the time, but he said people were coming and going through the door the whole time we were there, and it was often just left open (it was right behind me). They make all sorts of spirits as well as microbrew beer, and who knows what's in it, with all the crazy flavors of beer and liquor these days. Anyway, I was just stunned that once again I could possibly have reacted to something in the air. I said something to DH very similar to this:
Something to be aware of is that if your very serious reaction (and wow-- are you ever LUCKY to have had that self-resolve) was not that long ago, skin testing may show artificially elevated responses to a TON of things becaues of your entire immune system being on a hair trigger right now (and for the next few weeks, probably).
Many adults find that they react to MANY more things than they are actually allergic to by virtue of having their immune system so amped up all the time from exposure to a true allergen. It's a little hard to explain how that works, but it's basically like filling up a coffee cup-- once you get VERY close to the rim, even a few drops can cause an overflow (a reaction). If the cup were more empty, then that would never in a million years have happened. KWIM?
It's so interesting that you bring this up. I said the same thing after the restaurant debacle--that maybe because of the skin tests--so many of them, and I felt fairly sick at the dr's office just from the testing--that maybe I was all full of histamine and more reactive, and it wouldn't take much to push my immune system into overdrive. Sounds like maybe that really was the case, and hopefully that's partly the reason for the other milder reactions I've had since the first big one. I hope so. It's heartening to hear that things might calm down in the near future, because right now I feel like I'm going crazy, constantly feeling "off" and reactive in situations I wouldn't expect.
But I've come across some info that may (or not?!) shed light on WHAT I'm anaphylactic to. First of all, in trying to track down the ingredients in the angel food cake that was culprit #1, I found that many recipes contain almond extract
. Hmm, interesting, I thought. Maybe it really isn't eggs!
Then, when talking to a staff member in Bakery at the store where I bought it, she read the label to me, saying it didn't list almond extract, but "the label says it is made on shared equipment with products containing nuts." Didn't say which kind, though, just "nuts."
She gave me the contact info for the supplier who makes the cake, and the person there was very helpful, seeming to go out of her way to track down info that was confusing. She called me back within the hour to say that despite the statement on the package, that cake is made in a facility that does not process anything with nuts. (They have two plants; the other plant does handle breads and cakes with nuts.) Ugh.
Don't know what to believe. And to further confuse the issue, she added this: "That plant DOES process buns with sesame seed toppings, but according to my manager sesame's not really considered an allergen."
I said that actually it definitely IS an allergen for some people; it's just not one of the top 8 and doesn't have to legally be listed as such. (Putting to good use the knowledge I've gained from these boards!) She quickly said, "Oh, yes, that's what I meant!"
Anyway, now I'm stumped. I wasn't tested for sesame. There really isn't anything else in the cake that it could be, I don't think, but eggs or possible cross-contamination with nuts or sesame. Right now my plan is to wait for the RAST to come back, probably negative I guess, for eggs (seems like the odds are against positive if the skin test is negative, right?), and ask him to test for sesame.
This is all just...confusing. I do really want to know what is actually dangerous for me, and what is not. I suppose it's like the dr said, that if the egg is negative on the blood test, he will be much more worried about the nuts than if the egg is positive.