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 Post subject: Newly Diagnosed at 33!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 04, 2006 5:13 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
I'm 33 and just diagnosed officially last week with having a nut allergy..to be more specific, peanuts, cashew, highly allergic to hazelnuts, some walnut allergy.
I have grown up all my life eating all kinds of foods, and never having reacted.
There is no nut allergies recorded in my immediate family...
so what lead to the above conclusion?
Nov 5th my husband and I went out for Thai at 1 pm.
At 5.30 pm as we're driving back home I felt my heart doing flip-flops,a dn I felt I was starting to pass out. I said nothing to him, adn quickly opened the windo to get some air in..A few mins later as the feeling passed, I told him what had happened.
I later dismissed it to being "nothing".
Then all week, I had palpitations....my fingers felt numb, and clumsy. I started dropping things that required any fine motor skills.
I am an ER nurse and struggled to get through work. My brain literally felt like it was in a fog-like state...like being under water. I was constantly dizzy...but I kept on working. As the week passed and went into the next, My fingers became clumsier, as I kept dropping things at home. I could not feel the tips of my finger at all. My entire body felt like it was going through constant tremors.....
I finally gave in to my husbands requests and went to a clinic on a Friday night.
The doctor there looked at me like I was an idiot, and basically in her own words said" I dont know whats wrong with you. Maybe you have Multiple Sclerosis". I will set up an appointment for you to see a neurologist."
I left flustered, and needless to say upset. I had only been married 2 months, and moved to BC from my home town of Toronto.
That was Friday.
On Sunday, 2 hrs after my husband and I had had dinner at home ( a BBQ), I was sitting on the couch, adn all of sudden noted my mouth had gone dry, adn i was having trouble swallowing. Thinking it was "all in my head", I tried to ignore it. 5 mins later, I felt hot, flushed, and my heart was doing a marathon all on its own. Ofcourse, being a nurse, I am trying to self-diagnose, checking my pulse, and starting to get a little panicky...my throat was not feeling any better, and my tongue was getting heavy.
I insisted to my husband that we go out for a "drive"...maybe some air will help....
Out for a drive we did, and we could not have picked a more perfect night!
We had a few days of snow, and extremely heavy fog....He's trying not to panic and race towards the hospital. We finally pull over at the ER where I work at, and by now I am feeling a little better....I wanted to go home. 2 mons later, my throat starts to feel more constricted, so in we go. I get seen by the triage nurse quickly. My BP was high, and my heart rate had shot up too. I was hot, flushed....
So, when one of our ER docs see me, and we went throught he foods I had eaten...the only thing that came to mind was "Sweet adn SAlty" bars with nuts, almonds, adn cashews that I had eaten while at work all week, and that evening.
So, with the epi on board, and some prednisone, and benadryl, I felt better and went home. I was to see an allergist in the following few weeks. In the meantime, stay away from all nuts~
My husband and I became "Label Readers".....
And were shocked to see how much out there is made "in a facility that produces nut products", or made on "equipment that also processes nut products", or "may contain traces of..."
My ulimate question was " So, what can I eat now?"
Little out there is "safe"...eating out became a dilema....
I love dining out, and enjoy my food.....but this puts a bit of a damper on enjoying dining out.
I always have my epi pen with me, just in case.....
Amazingly enough, since I have abstained from all nutty foods...the feeling in my fingers having returned. the dizziness has resolved....my brain no longer feels like its under water.
I had my allergy testing done last week, and was "diagnosed"
Needless to say, I cancelled my neurology appointment.
It was not the begining symptoms of MS.
I have a heightened sense of what I can, adn will eat.
I have read through a few forums here, and it seems most of you have been dealing with this for sometime.
Any words on safe resaturants, or products out there?
Get this. Last week, we stopped at MacDonalds, asked the girl at the counter, who was all of 16 if their ice-creams were produced in a "nut free facility"
I might as well have had 3 heads......she had no answer for me, and asked two different people, and no one knew!~
I left with out a cone~
I went out and bought Chapmans cones instead.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 9:40 am 
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Joined: Thu Aug 11, 2005 6:48 pm
Posts: 614
Location: Ontario, Canada / Cambridge, UK
Welcome to the forum, Shairose. I am sorry to hear of your new-diagnosed allergies. We all know what you are going through, whether we have allergies ourselves or live with people who do.

It is going to be difficult to eat out at restaurants. You will need to avoid the types of cuisine that use a lof of peanuts/nuts and their oils (Chinese, Indian, Thai, etc). Your best bet is to stick with the large chain restaurants and ask a lot of questions. You will need to tell the server each time that you have a life-threatening allergy and possibly also speak to the manager. Ask about the ingredients used, how food is handled, if it is prepared near nuts, etc. You should stay away from all desserts served in restaurants. The same goes for bakeries. You need to be wary of certain breads or buns you may purchase in grocery stores. They could come from bakeries that make peanut/nut products and can be cross-contaminated. Hopefully you will find some people in the Vancouver area who can recommend restaurants they are comfortable going to. But I should also say that a lof of people with allergies avoid restaurants and always eat at home. This is a personal choice.

It will also be difficult to eat over at other people's places. If it is close family, they may want to get rid of all their nut/peanut products but you should always exercise caution when eating outside your home.

As for your home, you will need to eliminate all sources of peanuts/nuts to make your environment free of allergic products (foods, shampoos, cosmetics). This also includes products from people you live with (your husband, for example) because, in my opinion, if they use these products in your presence, they are putting you at risk. The same goes for eating these products. Traces will be on their hands, lips and even if their systems, that can be passed on to you through kissing or sexual intercourse.

I know this is a lot for you to deal with all at once. But you have made the important first step in informing yourself. This is a great forum to find support and get useful information on products. Do keep yourself updated by reading the threads here on a regular basis. I'm sure there will be a lot of people who will provide you with the information you require. Those who live in your province will also be able to recommend local products and eating establishments.

In the meantime, keep reading labels and finding out as much as you can about your allergies.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 11:42 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Hi Shairose.

I spent over 20 years being able to eat whatever I wanted - then suddenly developed allergies to peanuts and sesame seeds. By then I was married and had two kids.

The good news is - Canada is pretty good about labelling their products. There are quite a few companies we can trust here. (Chapman's, DARE, Kellogg's, General Mills, Christie, to name a few) One very important thing you need to know about labeling is - if it doesn't say *may contain* that does not necessarily mean it is safe. Canadian laws do not require the listing of trace amounts on products. Call the company and ask. Ask as many questions as you can think of. And if they don't make you feel *warm and fuzzy* don't eat their product. No food is worth it.

Did your doctor prescribe an epi-pen for you? You reaction was quite serious and you should be carrying it with EVERYWHERE and ALL THE TIME. Even if you don't plan to eat when you are out - bring it anyway. Also, make sure you know how to use it.

I chose not to eat in any restaurants. I would recommend that you stay out of them temporarily. Give your body time to bounce back from what it's been through. Then, if you want to eat in restaurants, speak to the manager - but also speak to whoever is serving you. Some people also speak to the chef.

I'm quite surprised to hear about your experience at McD's. They are usually quite good about dealing with food allergies. There is a form available that lists each of their foods and what allergens are in them. (I don't know if it lists trace amounts.) Of course, with me being allergic to sesame seeds - McD's isn't a place I eat at. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 12:48 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Hi Shairose, That sounds terrifying. The one other thing I'd suggest in addition to seconding the other suggestions would be getting all the info. you can from magazines like this one and from organizations like Anaphylaxis Canada. In retrospect, until I joined Anaphylaxis Canada and started reading their materials about 6 years ago I was remarkably uninformed about basic things like how to administer the epi (I think i figured that in case of a reaction i could quickly review the instructions) and about when to go to the hospital, etc., etc.


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 Post subject: Thank You
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
Thanks to all for writing back.
Yes, I have an epi-pen, and do carry it out with me every where we go, regardless of whether we're planning on eating out or not. I have gone over the signs/symptoms of an ana. rtn with my husband, as well as instructing him on how to use the epi-pen in such an event.
As a Reg, Nurse in the ER I have seen more than my fair share of allergic rtns...from mild to severe....but that night that we're driving to the ER ( And I know better that driving to a hospital in the event of an allergic rtn involving the airway......Call an Ambulance! Thats what we tell our patients, right?!) I kept telling my self this was "all in my head"....
In one of the threads, I had made mention that I even reacted to the Life Brand Honey and Nut cream/bath gel....which now I know contains Brazilian Nut Oil.....
But are there any shampoos out there to stay away from?
What about make up products?
Any particular brand names, or specific product that you know of that I need to eliminate?
Pls let me know.
In the meantime I am looking into getting a Medic-Alert Bracelet.
Thanks for all your support!
PS> My husband recognises the potential severity of the reactions and is keeping away from all nuts....and we're also clearing all "nutty" foods/products out of our pantry.
Word of caution, and I will be contacting CloverLeaf (company famous for canned tuna)....
Last week at work I had a small can of their flavoured Tuna..Spicy Thai Chili Tuna.
Allergen caution on the label stated "Wheat".
30 mins after I ate it, I got flushed, palpitations, and nauseated and dizzy.
I alerted on off the staff members of this, and basically waited for the feeling to "pass"...
20 mins later I felt better. regretably I had alsready thrown out the can ( For the UPC code)
But It also occured to me that the same company also make a "Satay Tuna" with peanut sauce.
Could it be possible that there ma have been a possibilty of a cross contamination?
The allergist thought it to be possible!
Soooo, my point being that even though the allergy alert says one thing, if the company produces anything with nuts in a facility, they should also be putting that info down on their label.
My symptoms for the week and a half were by no means "classic text book".....
Anyhow, will be writing to CloverLeaf and will keep you updated!
Thanks for the info!
Shairose


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 Post subject: Thank You
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 5:35 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
Thanks to all for writing back.
Yes, I have an epi-pen, and do carry it out with me every where we go, regardless of whether we're planning on eating out or not. I have gone over the signs/symptoms of an ana. rtn with my husband, as well as instructing him on how to use the epi-pen in such an event.
As a Reg, Nurse in the ER I have seen more than my fair share of allergic rtns...from mild to severe....but that night that we're driving to the ER ( And I know better that driving to a hospital in the event of an allergic rtn involving the airway......Call an Ambulance! Thats what we tell our patients, right?!) I kept telling my self this was "all in my head"....
In one of the threads, I had made mention that I even reacted to the Life Brand Honey and Nut cream/bath gel....which now I know contains Brazilian Nut Oil.....
But are there any shampoos out there to stay away from?
What about make up products?
Any particular brand names, or specific product that you know of that I need to eliminate?
Pls let me know.
In the meantime I am looking into getting a Medic-Alert Bracelet.
Thanks for all your support!
PS> My husband recognises the potential severity of the reactions and is keeping away from all nuts....and we're also clearing all "nutty" foods/products out of our pantry.
Word of caution, and I will be contacting CloverLeaf (company famous for canned tuna)....
Last week at work I had a small can of their flavoured Tuna..Spicy Thai Chili Tuna.
Allergen caution on the label stated "Wheat".
30 mins after I ate it, I got flushed, palpitations, and nauseated and dizzy.
I alerted on off the staff members of this, and basically waited for the feeling to "pass"...
20 mins later I felt better. regretably I had alsready thrown out the can ( For the UPC code)
But It also occured to me that the same company also make a "Satay Tuna" with peanut sauce.
Could it be possible that there ma have been a possibilty of a cross contamination?
The allergist thought it to be possible!
Soooo, my point being that even though the allergy alert says one thing, if the company produces anything with nuts in a facility, they should also be putting that info down on their label.
My symptoms for the week and a half were by no means "classic text book".....
Anyhow, will be writing to CloverLeaf and will keep you updated!
Thanks for the info!
Shairose


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 05, 2006 10:43 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:20 am
Posts: 122
Hi there.

Well I can certainly sympathize with you! I was diagnosed with tree nut and soy allergies at 33 as well.

I never really 'tuned in' to the reactions I felt after eating big handfuls of almonds or drinking soy chai lattes. Throat closing, itchy lips, difficulty breathing. It has been a year and a half since being diagnosed and I will admit although it has been difficult to adjust to, my allergies have only made me more aware of what I am putting in (or on) my body. For so many years I would eat all kinds of garbage without consideration to the effects on my health. Now I am more conscious and it has made all the difference in my health.

I would recommend the assistance of a good allergist, dietician, purchasing some good books and cookbooks and educating yourself / your partner/ friends and family on your allergies. It is a transition and you will work through it with time and 'find your groove'. This forum has been a great source of support for me and it has been invaluable to speak with others who are going through many of the same experiences.

Take care. We're all here for you!
TMcG


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:23 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Shairose, welcome to the forum.

One thing I would really watch out for is jam and jellies. They are pretty easily cross contaminated by someone preparing a peanut butter and jam sandwhich. Even though I always cook all food for my daughters, once (over a year ago, when I still went to my MILs house ), I had brought my girls their own food, but had forgot jam for my daughters bread. My mother in law tried to give her jam from her fridge which I refused. As it turns out, yes she does use the same knife on pb, and then place it in the jam jar.

So, even if family and friends try to accomidate your allergy, and you ever eat at other peoples houses, watch out for the jam. Jam can be in baking and meatloaf and can sneak up in unexpected places. Also, if you or your husband ever ate PB in the house throw out your jam and buy new ones. If he is one of those people who loves his PB, then I he could always eat peabutter...as long as you are okay with peas.


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 Post subject: Re Pea Butter
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 12:39 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 04, 2006 4:35 pm
Posts: 115
Location: Vancouver
My husband did his own little on-line research and told me about Pea Butter.
Sounds interestng!
Does it taste like peanut butter?
I'm not quite sure what stores in Vancouver sell this stuff, but will go looking for it.
Anyone living in Vancouver, if you happen to know where I might be able to purchase some let me know.
Would appreciate it!
Shairose


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 07, 2006 1:24 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
There is a four page thread about peabutter in the peanut allergy forum of this board.

I eat the stuff all the time. My husband (no food allergies) likes it with banana. I like it with molasses. My grandson prefers *grandma's special peanut butter*, and someone was given one of my cookies (from the recipe on their web-site) and didn't know it was made with peabutter instead of peanut butter. She said they were the best peanutbutter cookies she had ever tasted and wanted the recipe. :lol:

I buy it at grocery stores or Walmart. It shouldn't be to difficult for you to find since the company originated in the West Coarst of Canada. (I think) It is usually in the same area as other bread spreads - like peanut butter.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 3:39 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Quote:
Word of caution, and I will be contacting CloverLeaf (company famous for canned tuna)....
Last week at work I had a small can of their flavoured Tuna..Spicy Thai Chili Tuna.
Allergen caution on the label stated "Wheat".


I called CloverLeaf. I have been avoiding all their products since finding out they have one with peanut.

The CSR told me that the flavoured tuna's are in a separate facility from the regular tuna. I did not ask specific questions about the facility the flavoured ones are in.

I just wanted to let people know that the regular tuna and albacore are still safe for people with peanut allergy


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Apr 02, 2006 12:44 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 16, 2006 11:24 pm
Posts: 94
Location: Toronto area
Shairose - that must have been very scary for you to have experienced. Dining out can be difficult - and as someone else mentioned - check and re-check not only restaurants but labels in stores as they do change. Whenever I find a nut-free product, I call the company to thank them for keeping their product nut free (sometimes they send coupons too - bonus!! :lol: ). I also call when I see a warning is no longer there eg. regular Cheerios used to be nut-free then for awhile said "traces of", then went back to no mention - when I called, they said they'd moved that product to a new plant.
But for dining out, I find so many waitresses, waiters, think if it doesn't have nuts IN it, it's nut-free - no concept here! :roll: so I always ask to see the ingredients. One waitress assured me their ice-cream was safe - I still insisted to see ingredients and pointed to the Allergy warning at the bottom - she was surprised! :shock: - can't be too careful!!


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