About a week ago I had my first ever allergy test.
I knew I needed one... last September around my birthday, I pigged out on shrimp and then proceeded to break out in hives. It's not like I had never eaten shrimp before. It's just that it had been a very long time since I lived somewhere that shrimp wasn't ridiculously expensive (compared to say, chicken). So, I went and bought a huge bag of frozen shrimp, cooked them up and ate them on a lovely salad. It was delicious. But it was also more shrimp consumed at once than I had probably ever eaten before. And I got all red and bumpy. A few days later, we did another test, where I ate more shrimp, one by one, until I stopped eating due to itching.
Well, only a few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant! Hooray!! And then the midwife informed me: No, you have to wait until after the birth to have an allergy test, and you shouldn't eat any shellfish in the mean time.
And here we are, almost a year later. It took me a good 2 months to get up the courage to call the doctor for the test. See, I had grown up hearing about how awful allergy tests were. My mom had over a hundred performed on her back and arms as a little kid (She's allergic to all sorts of random things. You can ask her about it sometime.) and I had other friends have them done when they were little, too. Even my hubby had an allergy test done when his parents discovered he couldn't hear very well because of sinus swelling (he's allergic to dust mites). Anyways, you hear about the scratches, the pain, the grids of little stabbings... not fun. But it had to be done, and I made the call, and... they couldn't fit me in for a month. A whole month of anxious waiting for a not-so-fun appointment.
When the day finally arrived, I had my little Willow with me, and a wonderful friend at my side to keep my fears at bay as well as hold Willow during the appointment. I talked to the doctor, and he decided to do a general panel of western Washington plants, as well as a common allergy panel (dust mites, animals, etc.) and of course, shell fish. Looking back, I sort of wish he had done other common foods while we were at it. Maybe I will talk to him about it at my follow-up appointment? Hmmmm. Oh right. Story...
Ok, so the pain wasn't anything like what I thought it would be. Yes, they draw a grid on your back and number it. But they don't do scratches anymore. Just little pokes that make you jump. Not even stabs, really. More like someone poking your back with their finger, and they kinda need to trim their nails.
The results: I'm allergic to Washington! Hahaha... no, but really, I am. Coast Maple, Cottonwood, Poplar, English Plantain and Lambs Quarter, and CATS. Of which we have 2 that sleep on my face at night. Oh, and sensitivity to dust mites and Western Juniper. Fortunately, shell fish came up negative, which is great, since I love it. They did do a blood panel, just to make sure, and I haven't gotten the results quite yet.
What am I going to do about the cats? That explains a lot... the waking up with headaches, consistent post-nasal drip that I always had and thought was normal... it's not. We are NOT getting rid of them. Ian and I love our kitties! The doctor told us to get the out of the bedroom. No more nighttime snuggles. I dunno... we're trying it out to see if it helps, but it kinda makes me sad, and I can tell the kitties miss us. We'll see how long this lasts. In the mean time (once the blood work comes in) I'm going out for sea food!
Oh yeah, why did I break out in hives from the shrimp? If I'm not allergic, the doctor said it could have been a bad batch of shrimp, and it was the toxins I reacted to. Not fun, but should be a one-time event. Whew!