Good Morning, Dear Readers!
Today I am taking a slight detour with my writing so some of the things I say and refer to will make more sense. What is this!? What is the reason for this change of tack?! I’m glad you asked. It occurred to me that I talk about my wide and varied allergies frequently, and perhaps people may be left with the impression that I live in a bubble! Fear not, Dear Readers, for I do NOT live in a bubble, though at times I feel as if I’m on the cusp of living in one. Allergies aren’t all bad… oh sure, there is the hives, the itching and the dried out skin of “dermal allergies”… but, there are many benefits of having so many allergies and I will address them now.
Offender #1: Mean Clean! various laundry soaps, fabric softeners, lotions and potions, perfumes and deodorants/antiperspirants, and many, many more.
This allergy started many, many moons ago, first with Downy Fabric Softener. More products have been added through the years, but, it’s not all bad, for real and for true. I have the benefit that my laundry will always be washed in Tide laundry soap, so it will always smell the same. Tide also puts out a lot of coupons, so I save money.
Perfumes leave me itching as a general rule, but I have a few select perfumes that I can use, and they all smell like vanilla and/or brown sugar. I always smell good enough to eat when I wear them! I’m like a giant sugar cookie walking around.
Lotions and potions are another animal altogether. I don’t even venture into Bath & Body Works as every product in their line causes me agony. Burt’s Bees Milk & Honey (see… more smelling like baked goods products) Lotion is wonderful, and then…. THEN there is Elemis Spa products – pricey, but they work wonderfully, and leave me smelling like the tropics.
Deodorants and antiperspirants, or as DH calls them “anti-stink sticks”, frequently leave me looking like a monkey with a bad case of armpit fleas (sexy, no?). What’s a girl to do when she can’t use these products 50% of the time? Eat less garlic and onions for one – that stuff permeates the body, and as much as I love them, I don’t like smelling like garlic. Good for repelling vampires, not so good when you’re around people you like.
Offenders #2: First Aid Fiends! adhesives for bandages and various medical products.
Oh yes, those, too! Band-Aid brand is generally safe, so it has created brand loyalty. When the itching from the adhesive is worse than the cut you’re covering up… you learn not to use brands that cause the issue. But the variety of other products that give me reactions, while causing initial dismay, have now left me with the ability to laugh at the reactions. Last year when I went through my EP Study (catheters going up through the veins in the groin to the heart), I left the hospital with this plastic-wrap-like material pulled over gauze in the groinal region. When I could remove it, I gingerly pulled it up to reveal…. an upside-down Mickey Mouse hat. I kid you not! I’d post the picture I took (come ON! Who WOULDN’T take a picture of that!!??) – but well… I doubt that family reading this wants to see that image.
Offenders #3: Foods…The Non-Menu
Thankfully there aren’t many in this category and no item has caused an anaphylactic response. Scallops are the first item on the non-menu; it took me three times of eating them (they were components of seafood platters) to make the connection between eating scallops and refunding dinner within the hour. Scallops taste fantastic! Don’t get me wrong… I really DID enjoy eating them. But, scallops are some of the more expensive items on a menu, so why spend the money on something that I’ll enjoy so fleetingly? I avoid them altogether. It leaves more room for other frutti di mare!
The other two items that seem to cause less-than-idealic reactions are: conch and duck eggs. The intense stomach cramping and overall feeling of “blah” could be seen as a bad thing, but I choose to look at it as a wonderful weight loss program. Eat a duck egg in the morning and then I won’t want to eat for another 24 hours. The effects of conch seem to last about 6 hours – eat it at lunch or mid-afternoon and skip dinner!
Offenders #4: Summertime-foes – Sunscreen, after-sun products and Insect Repellant
Often, when I say that I’m allergic to sunscreen, people think I’m joking. I’m really not. Friends have witnessed the affect that sunscreen has on me: hives. After sun products have the same effect except for aloe from an actual aloe plant – which I should really get one of these days. The same goes for insect repellant. Not even spraying it on my clothing helps, the fine mist getting onto any exposed inch of skin and causing itching.
Oh, I could hide indoors for the rest of my life, but those who know me, know that that wouldn’t work very well. Where does that leave me? Usually with a “healthy” tan when the sun is out, and with a dearth of insect bites when the sun is down as I’m covered up as much as possible. It’s not a bad tradeoff. I also end up with a good working relationship with my doctor because she has to check my skin every year (she has also agreed she wouldn’t hide indoors). I’ve also developed hyper-vigilance with tick-checking and mad tick-removing skills, not to mention checking over my skin for anything out of the ordinary.
Offenders #5: Only precious metals for me! Costume Jewelry is a bad thing…
I am allergic to Nickel. Nickel is used to make jewelry shiny. I used to just think I was really acidic when my skin would “eat” the finish from my metal eyeglass frames or rings would make my skin crack and bleed. No, it was this allergy to nickel rearing its ugly head. So, while it doesn’t save me any money, I now have to shop for fine jewelry. Gold, Silver, Platinum and Titanium. The benefit to this is that I only buy things I really love and know I will wear often. I tend to look at a piece three times before buying as well. If I keep thinking about it, and it’s there on the third visit and I STILL really love it – I get it. If it isn’t there, well then, it wasn’t meant to be mine.
I don’t always follow this rule… World Market and their $5 earrings has become an occasional weakness, but if I only wear them for a few hours, I’ll be okay. I’ve also taken to using Titanium barbells in my ears, which stay in 24/7. I like to think of them like planting perennials in my garden – reliable, always there and needs minimal maintenance.
The conclusion… Now you have it, Dear Readers. While not an in depth list of items that I can’t use or eat, it gives you a better picture of why it is that I frequently talk about allergies (at least to me it seems that I do). There are a variety of other things that cause me issues and are all quite random, but I’ll save those for another time. This post will also give you some background on some things I’ll mention about my recent trip!