Anaphylaxis is an acute, life threatening hypersensitivity reaction, involving the whole body, which is usually brought on by something that was eaten or injected.
Last Friday night John and I went to Stanleys Fruit Market here in chicago to pick up some fresh veggies and berries to prepare dinner. We have been eating roasted peanuts in the shell as a snack because it is gluten free and on my diet. Unless you have anaphylaxis, peanuts,in moderation, are good for you. If you have Anaphylaxis things like peanuts, wheat, and eggs can kill you as I learned this past weekend.
We start opening the shells and eating the peanuts. They tasted funny to me, the texture was chewy and they tasted raw. We looked at the bag and noticed it said “Raw”. Maybe that is why they tasted raw, because they were. It’s funny, I have been eating peanuts at baseball games since I was a little girl and I never knew they were cooked in the shell. I guess I never really thought about it. Of course peanuts are raw at first, all food start out that way, Hello-Terri! They were different than what I was use to. I liked them better roasted, however, the texture was intriguing to me. I continued to snack on them until dinner was ready.
I have had allergies my entire life. They have gotten much worse as an adult. I had a skin test as recent as last year. They said I was allergic to Weeds. I was never blood tested, only skin tests. After we ate dinner which was late, I went to bed complaining of a headache at 10 pm. At midnight I started to experience the worst allergy attach I had ever had. My throat and ears and eyes were itching and a few hours later breathing thru my nose was not an option. I was tossing and turning and then finally got up at around 5 am to the bathroom. I noticed I couldn’t open my eyes. I turned on the light and I gasped, I was unrecognizable. My eyes were swollen shut, I couldn’t open them. I was kind of still sleeping and I didn’t want to wake John up in the middle of the night. I figured whatever was wrong with me I wasn’t going to be able to fix it now. I decided I would handle it in the morning and I went back to bed. About a half an hour later I woke up again. I decided to take another zantax( over the counter allergy pill). I took it with water and it got lodged in my throat. Thank god it did because right then I knew exactly what was happening to me. I couldn’t swollow the pill! I knew my insides were swelling up and It started to get harder to breath thru my chest. My nose passages were completely blocked and it was only a matter of time until my chest cavity was swollen shut too. With a little panic in my voice I said, “John… get up! We have to go the hospital right now! He turned on the light, took one look at me and within minutes we were in the car. John wanted to go to Walgreens first to pick up benedryl and maybe to avoid going to the emergency room. I wanted to avoid going to the emergency room too so I agreed to stop at Walgreens first and check in with a pharmacist. We went to the pharmacist, he showed us where the benedryl was and he looked at John and said,”Get her to Northwestern hospital right away!” Thankfully we were only a few blocks away. When we arrived the administrative woman took one look at my face and called the nurse. I told her It was getting very hard to breath and I felt week. Within a minute I was in a room on the bed with three nurses and a doctor at my side . The dr. asked John what was different that I ate last night. John said, “Raw Peanuts”, right away. I told them I was having trouble breathing. The Dr told the nurses to get IV, a concoction of meds and then he said, “check her throat.” The nurse said, “it’s swollen”.He asked me, “Are you have trouble swallowing? What does it feel like?”. I said, ”Yes it was hard to swollen and my insides feel like I was just given a shot of Novocain in my throat. He then instructed the nurse to, “Do it right now.” He said, ” We are going to give you a shot in your thigh. This is going to hurt and then you will feel an anxious-nervous feeling like you would get starting a race or giving a public speech”. It all happened so quick. Within seconds after the shock of the adrenaline shot, my lungs opened up. I was able to breath thru my chest again. I was listening to the dr. tell John what happened to me. I was diagnosed with Anaphylaxis, a life threatening allergic reaction.
Today I have anaphylaxis. I have to carry around an epi-pen wherever I go. This is the name for the adreneline shot that I got in the leg that opened up my chest cavity in the hospital. Did you see the movie “Pulp Fiction”? When the woman almost overdosed and the drug dealer stuck that needed in her chest really hard and then she came back to life? That is what an epi-pen is and it will save my life if I am ever exposed to peanuts and any peanut products ever again. I also have to wear a necklace warning people that I can die if I eat peanuts. The Pharmacist at Walgreens (who filled all my prescriptions after my hospital visit) told me the next time can be 50 times more severe. I asked, ”Fifty times more severe?” What exactly does that mean?” She said, “It means that if you were ever exposed to anything with peanuts again it would take minutes, not hours, for your air passages to close up completely. The Epi-Pen is the only thing that will give you time to get to the emergency room for additional treatment.
I walked out of Walgreens feeling scared. After a few hours of digesting all that had happened in the last 12 hours, I had a break thru. My fear turned into a great new possibility for myself and my life. I am highly allergic to peanut and peanut products. If I don’t eat them I won’t suffer from allergies anymore. Woo Hoo! It has been three days since I was in the hospital. I haven’t eaten any peanut butter and my allergies are gone. No more itchy throat, no more congestion and no more sneezing! My kids and John are excited too. Finally mom gets rid of the sniffling and sneezing which had become annoying for everyone to live with. Not only that but now I need to read every food label and by mindful of everything I put into my mouth and my cooking.
I believe everything that happens in life has a purpose, a silver lining.
Thank you again to our first to market NoOodle adopters who have Diabeties, celiac decease and other foods allergens that can be life-threatening. You have shared your stories with me over the years thru emails, letters and conversations. I remember every one of them. Your stories of inspiring changes that you needed to make to keep yourself, your children and your loved ones healthy are heroic.
I hope in some way my story of “Anaphaylaxis” will inspire you too, thanks!
Be mindful, Be grateful, Be… Healthy & Happy (-: