Friday, December 31, 2010

A Dairy Allergy I Told You So

I was about six before anyone figured out that it was a dairy allergy that had me writhing with pain all the time. My mom made it easy for me and it never was all that hard to live with, once we knew the problem, and I never felt like I was missing out.  

When I was 16/17 or so, I started sampling little tastes of dairy-- a dollop of sour cream here, some butter on my pancakes, even a scoop of ice cream-- and I got bolder when it appeared that I was no longer allergic. I loved it and the knowledge that dairy allergies seem to disappear as you get older kept me happy.  

It didn't last long though, because after a couple years of dairy consumption my allergy reared its ugly head and came back to bite me in the arse.....HARD. I have experienced just about every reaction you can have, but it seems that gastrointestinal pain is my specialty. 

I have found ways to cope, learned to "time" allergic reactions and tried in vain to give it up, but butter is a wonderful thing, lol. I really should avoid it all together, because it is a health issue and not something I should mess with in the way I have in the past few years.  With each episode taking more out of me, lasting longer, and leaving me feeling like crap I have really become more restrictive over the past six months or so. 

Still, no matter how many times I retreat to my room to roll around in pain, lock myself in the bathroom or try in vain to make myself sleep it off, I don't think anyone here understands how painful and uncomfortable it can be. 

Almost two years ago now, Missy all of a sudden developed an allergy to dairy. It still is really weird, but she started having these really bad cases of hives and facial swelling and after doing the whole diet elimination routine it turned out to be dairy.  Now that she does not have a whole lot of dairy in her diet, when she does have some she will just develop a rash of hives on her face or neck and she goes on and on about it, laying out on the couch and crying to herself while holding a hot or cold compress. 

I've told her so many times, when she laments that I don't know what it is like, that I do know what it is like and that I would prefer hives over the GI reaction any day.  We've been doing this back and forth for two years now, Missy insisting that my tummy pain can't hurt more than her hives, lol. 

Well, as you can imagine, Christmas was full of dairy-- cheese balls and creme pies and egg nog and butter on everything-- and while I cherry picked through the meal, Missy fully indulged.  And she kept it up. A couple days ago she developed a weird tummy ache that had her on the couch all day, it subsided, but then yesterday morning (after a full day of dairy treats) she woke me up in the early morning because she had been dealing with intense cramping and bloating for hours and could not take it anymore. 

I went through the whole, what hurts, where does it hurt, what are you feeling, do you need to throw up.  And the more she described her pain the more familiar it sounded, until I was finishing up her sentences for her and describing the exact pain she was feeling.  That child moaned and cried and kept me up all night while I worried about it being something else, but being almost one hundred percent sure it was because of dairy.  

Even though I told her it would not help, she insisted on taking OTC pain medication and tummy tamers, and I turned out to be right because it did abso nothing for her.  Once the worst of it was over I got my "I told you so moment" when she looked at me and asked if it was always like that for me.  I reminded her that she didn't even have the pleasure of taking up residence in the bathroom.

So it seems that Missy is not as lucky with dairy as she thought and according to our doctor less than 4% of the adult population has or will develop a dairy allergy. Lucky us.

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