My food allergy journey began after I had Jocelyn. I began noticing patchy hives and eczema on my body and raccoon-like scaly rings around my eyes. I went to the doctor and was given steroidal cream for my skin, moisturizer for my face, and an eczema treatment plan. Nothing worked. It wasn’t until I ate popcorn one evening that I realized I was most-definitely allergic to corn. Within the first few bites, my lips swelled, my mouth itched, and there was no doubt I was having an allergic reaction.
I made an appointment with the allergist, had a skin-prick test, and reacted to absolutely nothing (not even the histamine). I’ve had seasonal allergies my whole life, so I guaranteed the doctor that this was not a normal occurrence for me. Blood tests were ordered, and six vials of blood later, my corn allergy was proven. The paperwork stated “moderate to severe corn allergy.” My allergist explained that the tricky thing about food allergy levels is that they can only predict how sensitive I am to the allergen itself, not how extremely I will react. Furthermore, I could react differently each time I come in contact with the allergen; one time I could get hives, the next time I could enter a full anaphylaxis episode. Armed with an epi-pen and encouraging words from my doctor, “Well, you’re my first corn allergy….don’t know what to tell ya, kid. Good luck to you!” I began my research. (As it turns out, the first thing I learned was children’s liquid Benadryl is recommended as a first line of defense for food allergy reactions… and also contains corn syrup (note: the company has since changed the inactive ingredients list).
It took about a day for the reality to sink in: CORN IS IN EVERYTHING! Of course that’s not entirely true, but one look at this infographic reveals the daunting truth.
About 18 months after getting my corn allergy under control, I was pregnant with Henry. We had a great time speculating with our family/friends if/how my allergies would change with another pregnancy. Some people guessed the pregnancy would reverse my corn allergy while others decided that I’d become allergic to “everything but water,” etc. etc. Sure enough, it took just a few months after birth for the hives to show up. Because I had become such a food allergy
expert researcher Googler, I knew that I needed to keep a food journal for a few weeks and then begin an elimination diet of my proposed offenders. By the time my allergist appointment rolled around, I had narrowed down my list to “something that is common in a lot of foods.” I’m super helpful, huh? I elected to be tested for the top 7, along with more obscure things like sesame seeds and sunflowers. Thankfully (thankfully?) my skin prick test worked this time and the itchiness pointed to soy. My first thought was “Hooray! I have an answer,” which was quickly followed by, “oh boy…I’m allergic to soy…” If corn is the most commonly used ingredient in American processed foods, anybody want to guess what the second most common ingredient is? I will leave you with this…. 🙂 Soy Poster