Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: allergies

I can’t eat any of the sandwiches

In reading my stories (advice columns), I came across a post on Ask A Manager from the owner of a company’s wife who was disappointed because the employees of the company said they wanted money as their Christmas present this year. The post is here and I heartily agree with SHOW ME THE MONEY especially in this year of all years. I highly doubt that all the employees loved the lavish parties thrown in the past, but more to the point, this year of all years, throwing a lavish party of any kind (on Zoom or in person) would be so out of touch with reality. In addition, the letter writer (LW) mentioned that the dinners were at The Palm which is a surf and turf restaurant, and that there were plenty of options so that ‘even those with dietary restrictions have plenty to eat’.

Well. As someone with many dietary restrictions, I took a look at the menu of The Palm (as did more than one person in the comments). Most of the starters if not all have dairy or gluten in them. The salads have dairy or one of my ever-expanding veggies-I-am-sensitive list in it. All the steaks have parsley butter on them. I could eat a few of the sides, but that’s it. And maybe they could cook it without the parsley butter, but that means another thing to worry about. Also, alcohol. So much alcohol. Of which I do not drink. I have a really hard time eating in restaurants these days and not just because of the pandemic.

She also said her initial idea was to send something to each employee like a Harry & David dinner box or a wine & cheese box, but it was shot down by the employees. I couldn’t eat either of those, either. In addition, she said there would be the usual speeches by the owners (on Zoom), which, I mean….


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Neverending shrinking world

When I was young, I had to get allergy shots. I didn’t know why, but I had to get them every week. My mom never explained them to me nor did the doctors. All I knew was that I had to go get poked and then suffer through burning, itching, and short of breath. My brother went with me for a while, but then he stopped. I couldn’t understand why he got out of it when I had to suffer through it week by week. Nowadays, I would ask why I had to go through this, but back then, I just did what my parents told me to do. I mean, they were my parents, right? Wasn’t that what I was supposed to be doing? Nowadays, I would also immediately Google what was happening to me, but again, this was little me who knew nothing of that sort.

Recently, I talked with my brother about allergies. We had talked about it before, but this time, it clicked in my brain. He talked about how he’d had such a bad reaction to the shot, they had to stop. I asked if that was why he quit going and he said yes. I didn’t know that at the time and merely envied him for getting out of the miserable experience, but that’s how my family rolls. Or at least how it rolled when I was a kid. I honestly did not know that they were injecting me with the allergens in order to build up a tolerance for it. I was just miserable, hot, and itchy every week without knowing why. And I had a hard time breathing. My mom claims that shots worked for her but she’s not the most reliable narrator. My brother says that his clean eating has mostly cleared his allergies now.

Me, my allergies have just gotten worse. Now, I’m having food issues that I’ve never had before. I’ve ascertained that I have problems with gluten and dairy, plus I’ve given up caffeine. Now, I’m having more issues, and it’s really wearing me down. When I went to visit my BFF last year (right about a year ago), I had a violent reaction to a cauliflower dish that caused me to immediately declare cauliflower off-limits, but now I think that it’s more likely there was a cross-contamination. I have never had any reaction to cauliflower before. The reason I think it’s cross-contamination is because my response to my recent gluten mix-up was similar to the one I had after the Cauliflower Bezule, which was the most delicious thing I’d eaten in a long time. If it’s true that it was cross-contamination rather than a reaction to the cauliflower, then I’ll be very happy. I bought some cauliflower to try it out.

I’m also starting to have reactions to certain fruits including a stomachache, some tingling in my mouth, and just a negative reaction in general. Strawberry is the main culprit so far. This reaction is another reason I think I was wrong about the cauliflower. That intense of a reaction isn’t something that happens out of the blue.

Anyway. I’m tired and need to rest. Here is a video.

Paging Dr. Banner

Captain America: Dr. Banner. Now might be a really good time for you to get angry.

Dr. Banner (with a wry smile over his shoulder as he’s walking forward): That’s my secret, Cap. (Pauses, drops smile) I’m always angry. (Hulks out.)

I didn’t care much for The Avengers (the first movie, which is the only I saw), but this line stuck with me. Here it is in video form:

This is me, and I’ve never heard it put so succinctly. You don’t need the backstory of The Incredible Hulk to understand what Dr. Banner is saying, but it helps. Very basically, Banner’s Hulk mode runs on rage. In the earlier films/comics, he had a hard time controlling it. I haven’t read it in some time, so I might be misremembering it, but he tried to tamp down his anger and he would get caught off-guard by it and bad things happened as a result. In this movie, again, as much as I can remember, which isn’t much, he’s pretty chill most of the time. So, him saying this showed that he had gotten a handle on his temper and controlled it rather than it controlling him.

I feel this so hard. I am angry all the time, but I’m still in the ‘trying to control it’ phase. I dealt with it for two decades by numbing out. For many years, I couldn’t feel anything at all. I was seriously and chronically depressed, and everything was stuffed way down deep. It’s hard to look back at the younger me without wincing at what a hot mess she was. But, instead of embarrassment, I feel sorrow and compassion for her.

I’ve been sick these past few days. Not sure exactly what, but it’s either sinuses or allergies. Perhaps both. We’ve been having weird weather (supposedly polar vortex?) with frost warnings at night. We almost had snow last week, but it was just a bit too warm. I’m so fucking exhausted. I snoozed on and off all last evening. I’m not able to do much of anything, and I have no interest in anything.¬† I know that’s depression, but it’s more than that. My nose feels as if it’s being pricked over and over again by a thousand tiny needles, and my brain is full of cotton. I concede it might be the cusp of a migraine, too, but whatever it is, I just can’t find the wherewithal to give a shit.

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Mental and physical health in the time of you-know-what

It’s May. I’m having a hard time grasping that little fact. I’m also having a hard time remembering when my personal lockdown started. I want to say it was…March…early? Late? Not sure any longer. I know it was before my birthday which was nearly a month ago. Time has lost all meaning, and I know I’m not the only one who feels that way. It’s also interesting how many people are having vivid dreams, which was something I assumed was only happening to me. There are reports of people dreaming about people who ignored social distancing, making the dreamer panic. Mine have had nothing to do with COVID-19, but they are very intense. It’s weird because I used to have extreme anxiety dreams and before that, outright nightmares. Now, however, my dreams are intense but not anxious dreams–well, not in the classic sense. They are the least-troubling aspect of my sleep at the moment, which is saying a lot.

I’ve given up on trying to regulate my sleep. I go to sleep whenever I go to sleep, and I get up whenever I get up. If I snooze at any given point, then I snooze. I’m of the mindset that whatever gets me through at this point is fine. Within reason, of course.

Side Note: I read all these people joking about drinking 24/7, and I don’t find it funny at all. I already thought people in America drink too much (let’s not talk about Britain), and I don’t like that the pandemic is being used as an excuse to get plastered. I do sympathize with self-medicating, but….Yeah, I’ll just leave it at that.

I mentioned last time that the one bright side to this mess is that my allergies and sinus issues have been drastically reduced, which strengthens my theory that nature is trying to kill me. I mean, it makes perfect sense that if I’m allergic to everything in nature, keeping it at bay will be better for me. Now that I’m able to test this hypothesis, I’ve found that it’s true. What does it mean for life after this pandemic clears (if it does)? I don’t know. It’s not realistic for me to not ever go anywhere ever. I mean, I could do it, but I don’t think it’s feasible for the long run.

I’m also thinking about what to do about life in general once the restrictions ease. People in my neighborhood are pretty lax about best practices, and it’s tripping me up whenever I see it. I can’t remember the last time I saw someone wearing a mask in my neighborhood, including when I went to the pharmacy. It’s bizarre, and it makes me angry. I’m working on letting it go and reminding myself that I’m hermetically sealed for the most part.


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Covid, COVID, covid…no matter how you spell it

It’s week whatever in lockdown, and I’m about the same as I ever was. Unhappy about the golfers not practicing good social distancing/masking, but I know that’s a me-problem. Meaning, I’m in my house. There’s no way their germs can reach me. I know that being outside in a widely-dispersed area greatly negates the risk, and yet. The fury rises within me, and I have to talk myself down. I can’t control other people, obviously, so I can only do my best to distance myself.

Speaking of which. I’ve read several people online with compromised immune systems saying they don’t know if they’ll ever feel safe to go out again. I can relate. I have a very mild case of agoraphobia–it’s more accurate to say I really don’t like to leave the house if I absolutely don’t have to–and it’s ratcheted up during this time. All the fears that have been percolating in my brain in a low-key fashion before this mess have bubbled to the surface, and I don’t know how I’ll be able to feel comfortable around other people again.

On the plus side, my sinus issues have gone down a ton. I’m still a bit afraid I’m having sinus issues right now, but it’s nothing compared to what I used to get. Which has led me to the conclusion that the outside really is trying to kill me. I mean, what can the conclusion be but this? I’m saying this in jest, of course, but it’s not untrue. I’m allergic to almost everything on earth up to and I like to joke including the air, and, obviously, I can’t control the environment around me when I’m outside. Now that I’m only going out to smoke (yes, irony alert) and to grab up the packages delivered to me before I put them in the garage to live out their natural lives–yes, that’s where the packages go to live–before disinfecting everything, of course.

Side note: I’m trying not to freak out at the ever-changing information as to what is and what isn’t helpful when it comes to covid-19. It’s hard, though, when even the experts are changing their recommendations¬† on a regular basis. Remember back in the day when us plebes were absolutely not to wear masks ever and they wouldn’t help, anyway? Now, it’s mandated in some states that you have to wear them, and it’s heavily recommended.


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Health matters

I’m trying to put off gulping my migraine meds the minute I wake up, but it’s not going swimmingly. Some days, I’m able to stave off the headache, but sometimes, like today, my brain is throbbing very unpleasantly. It’s reaching the point where I need to take the meds or it’s going to get much worse.

Side Note: I used to take six Ibuprofen in response to a migraine. Obviously, that’s not a good thing to do nor is it effective, and it’s really hard on the liver, so I stopped. Instead, I started taking two Excedrin Migraine or the generic equivalent. Well, actually, three, but I cut back to two. Three is better, but two does the job as well. If I take it early enough, it drastically reduces the migraine if not eradicate it completely.

I read that Ibuprofen is more for generalized body pain rather than localized such as a migraine, which made sense to me. I discounted it as useful for migraines (both for me and in a general sense), but now I’ve read an article that it can actually help some people with migraines–50% of them. So, it’s useless to me, but not for others, apparently.

I worry about taking Excedrin Migraine every day.¬† The Googles has given me a long list of possible side effects to each of the three main drugs in it. The basic gist is that I should ask my doctor–which I will when I find a new one. My old one left, and I haven’t found a new one yet because it’s such a pain in the ass. I have a laundry list of things to ask my new doc, which isn’t making me any more eager to find one.

I’m worried that my health isn’t going to get any better. Or rather, this is the new base that I have to accept. I’ve dealt with being dairy-free and gluten-free, and it’s fine for the most part. Caffeine-free was much harder to do, but I’m fine with it now. I am having a very difficult time with the idea that I may have to give up something else as well. I’ve already given up so much! Do I really need to eschew, say, onions? I also feel like a whiny baby because I don’t have Celiac disease, and there are others who have it much worse. Yes, I know it’s not a competition, but I feel like a punk for not being able to soldier through. It doesn’t help that I am friends with several high-functioning people, and I can’t help but compare myself to them.


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The road is long…and bland

my heritage.
My lifeblood.

So, I’ve been doing some lackadaisical research into what I’m intolerant to because I don’t have the energy to do a deep dive. In addition, I’m resentful about having to cut something else from my diet. I didn’t like cutting out gluten and dairy, but it was fairly easy to do so. I had a harder time with caffeine, but I don’t miss it now. The problem is that I eat the same thing pretty much every day, and to cut out one thing from my staples feels inappropriately large. I think it might be something in the nut family. I’m currently enjoying a dark chocolate peanut butter that is the best of the chocolate spreads out there (of the ones I can eat). I have it on a bagel or a hamburger bun (which is cheaper than the bagels by half), and sometimes I slap some jam on it.

I’ve not had a problem with this, but I ate a few spoonfuls yesterday sans bread and jam. That didn’t sit well with me, and my bowels were not happy with me for the next few hours. It’s vegan and gluten free, so that shouldn’t be an issue. I’ve noticed an itchiness inside when I’ve eaten nuts before, so I’m keeping my eyes on it. It’s not noodles, thankfully (rice noodles, natch), but I’m concerned it could be rice. I will not deal well with it if it’s rice. I already did not deal well with people telling me I should eat brown rice instead of white (I know, but I don’t care), and if I turn out to be sensitive to white rice, well, I am not going to be a happy camper. I’ll just leave it at that.

I’ve also noticed that I feel the worst in the morning when I just get up. Today, I had a piercing headache–the kind that turns into a migraine if I’m not careful–and a shallowness of breath. I still have the breathing issue, though I took care of the headache problem (it’s a minor headache now, which I can deal with). I’m exhausted, even though I slept for almost seven hours. That’s how I know I’m sick–when I sleep more than six hours.

I hate being like this. I hate not being really sick because I feel like I should fight through it. It doesn’t help that my mother is the type to ignore her health until she can’t. She had back surgery three weeks ago, and she was up and walking two days later. Now, she wants to walk 30 minutes a day, and I told her to pace herself. There are other issues including my father is being an ass to her. It was to be expected, but it’s still difficult. I’m thinking about going there for a week or two, but that would come at a great cost to myself. I’m worried about her, and while I knew what would happen would happen, it’s infuriating to see it play out in real time.
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Running out of patience

I’ve had enough with the sickness, but it has not had enough of me. Last night, I ate something that hit me hard. I’m pretty sure I know what it is as the symptoms came within minutes of finishing something, and it does not have wheat/gluten or dairy in it. You know what that means? It means there is something else I’m allergic/sensitive/intolerant to, and I have to do some more fact finding. I think you can guess how happy I am about that. I’ve had issues before, and I’m tired of it. That means I have to figure out the other thing that makes me shit my brain out*. It happened five minutes after eating this thing (not naming it because it’s not the fault of the product, which was actually tasty), and then I was running to the bathroom every fifteen/twenty minutes for the rest of the evening.

TMI, but the whole post probably is. It’s the kind of thing where you have to run to the bathroom and pray you’ll make it in time. My stomach is fine, fine, fine, and then GOTTA RUN NOW! Shadow did not appreciate that as he was on my legs the first time it happened. I didn’t shove him off exactly, but I moved my legs with quickness. He was not pleased, and he let me know about it, but I had roughly ten seconds to make it to the toilet, so I paid him no mind.

Side Note: I was describing the symptoms to my mother while she was here, and she said it might be her issue as well. She’s been having similar problems, and she decided to try to go dairy free/gluten free as well. I told her she could try my dairy-free cheese and cashew milk. She complained that they did not taste like the real thing, and I patiently explained to her that they wouldn’t. She had to not think of them as substitutes but as their own thing. After one day, she gave up because it was too hard.

Side Note II: My father has the opposite problem (constipation). As he was listening to my mother and I discuss our problems, he said, “I know this sounds strange, but I wish I had your problem.” I didn’t explain to him why he should not say that to someone, but I certainly thought it. I had heard similar things when I was anorexic/bulimic, and it always made me feel worse. Like, I’m dealing with this really difficult thing, and you so blithely make a joke about it? No thank you. I didn’t demur with my father, however, because I knew it wouldn’t make a difference.

Side Note III: It’s really interesting how invested Americans are in the idea of faaaaaaamily. I was explaining something about my father to someone, and they were saying, “Oh, maybe he’s trying to be sympathetic in a really awkward way”, and I said, “No, he’s just a narcissist.” The uncomfortable silence was palpable, and I swiftly changed the subject.

What was I talking about? Oh, right. My dodgy stomach. Hey, I watch a bunch of British YouTubers, so I’ve absorbed some of their lingo.


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Hating everything…including myself

I hate the summer. I hate everything about it. I hate it with the intensity of *irony alert* a thousand burning suns. I’ve tried to describe how much I hate summer, but it’s hard to find the words to do my feelings justice. If I were to try to use my words without filters, it would just be a stream of curse words whenever I think of summer. I know I bitch the most about the heat because I am a delicate fucking flower who wilts in anything above 70.

Side Note: On Friday, one of my taiji classmates said that we could go to the lovely park on Saturday for class. Quick context: we had been going to her condo and using the rec room for the last few Saturdays, but it had already been booked for this week. That’s when she said we could go to the park (my teacher offered her house, which was where we met on Friday as well), and I said with a laugh, “You can, but I won’t be there.” It was supposed to be ‘feels like’ 95 on Saturday, and while it ended up more like ‘feels like’ 89 or so, no way in hell I was going to do anything remotely physical in the heat. Right now, the ‘real feel’ is 81, and it’s not even 11 a.m. yet. I know I sound like I’m whining when I bitch about the heat, and I am. It has such a great effect on me, however, that I can’t even think after a minute or two of being in the heat. On the way back from taiji Friday, I stopped at the gas station to buy some snacks. That’s another post for another day. I step out of the car, and–by the way. The A/C on the driver side is broken. Only the driver side. That’s how I know there is no god.

Anyhoooo. Two minutes in the heat, and I’m a wreck for the next hour. Not only am I exhausted and sweating profusely, I am angry. Not just irritated, but actually angry. I’m enough of a bitch as it is; I do not need the hotness to shorten my temper. When I’m in the heat, I’m acutely aware of how miserable I am. It’s all I can think of, and my whole world has narrowed to how fucking hot it is. Earlier, I said that anything over 70 starts that miserable feeling, but if I were going to be real with you, I’d say 65 is really the upper limit of my comfort zone. It makes it interesting for me to read debates on hot vs. cold because even the cold people are more like ’65’ is perfect. I have my heat set for 62 during the day and 60 at night (in the winter). Some of the cold people were saying that 68 was good. That’s considered cold? That’s me shorts and a tank top if I have to be civilized.


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I’m my own worst enemy

I’m tired. My sleep is fucked, which means at least I’m not sick. My sinuses are still all over the map, and I’m squarely blaming that on the weather. It’s been 50 to 89 and everywhere in between. I’m loving the former, but not the latter, and my body really doesn’t like the rapid changes. I’ve also become even more intolerant of heat, and my love of the cold is gradually diminishing as well. I used to be able to keep the car windows open until it was well in the sub-zero temps. Now, I close it when it’s zero.

I have said that the problem with getting old isn’t that I can’t do what I used to (though that is starting to be a problem), but that it takes much longer for me to recover. I used to be able to get by on four hours of sleep a night (barely); I could go out until the wee hours of the night and sleep it off the next day. Now, I could go out all night, but it would take a few days to recover.

I also have to admit that my depression is back and not going away any time soon. It’s low key, and it’s not paralyzing the way it has been in the past, but it definitely permeates my mood. There’s an ever-present feeling of ‘why bother’, which seeps into everything. It’s frustrating as hell, and I know the only thing I can do about it is to go to therapy.

*deep sigh*

I do Not want to go to therapy. Not because I think it’s worthless; I don’t. I am a big proponent of therapy, and I have been in it many times in my life. I have learned a lot from therapy, and I know I could learn more. However, the thought of finding a new therapist makes me want to curl up in a ball and never get up.

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