Last week, I had my second appointment with my allergist. In the time between my first appointment and this one, I had been writing down everything I ate, symptoms, and questions in a red Moleskine notebook Pete got me when this whole process began. Writing everything down has been really great for helping me find patterns and remember what I’m experiencing, especially since appointments are months apart. I’m grateful that Pete has been so encouraging in helping me keep all of this data, because it was really useful when it came time for my appointment.
The main point I emphasized with my allergist was that most of the symptoms I’ve experienced have been in my head, for lack of a better phrase. I haven’t really had any of the stomach or breathing issues common to people with food sensitivities, but instead am getting frequent headaches and a sense of haziness that I’ve never really experienced before. It feels similar to terrible sinus pressure, but all over my head instead of just on top of my sinus cavities. It’s not dissimilar to being hungover, and is coupled with fogginess that sometimes makes it hard to concentrate and feel alert. Even though the discomfort is manageable most of the time, sometimes it is pretty miserable and frustrating for me because I just don’t feel like my usual self.
I am also noticing that some foods (especially fruits) I eat frequently start to give me these headaches after a few weeks of eating them regularly. For example, I used to eat apples pretty much every day, but now even a quarter of an apple gives me a a painful headache and fogginess that sometimes lasts for more than 24 hours. Even though this seems to be the main cause of my headaches, there are other times where I can’t explain what is making me not feel well.
After explaining all of this to my allergist, he suggested something I never would have though of: that my symptoms may be those of food-induced migraines. I’ve never heard about this before, but at least for now, it seems like this hypothesis could make sense. There isn’t an overwhelming amount of information on food-induced headaches online, but I’ve read through a few articles (here and here) that reflect some my experiences.
This means that my next step is to visit a neurologist who specializes in headaches, and to see where things go from there. Even though this is a bit scary in some ways, because having to see neurologist just sounds so serious to me, I’m confident that it will at least bring me one step closer to having some answers.
On somewhat of a lighter note: the other important question I had for the doctor was how to re-introduce foods I haven’t eaten in over six years, such as eggs and tree nuts, back into my diet. He recommended that I start small, such as a quarter of a hard boiled egg, and if I feel better, gradually work up to eating a full egg on its own to see how I feel. Of course, there is always the possibility that some of these foods will still be problematic for me, but I can’t help but be increasingly optimistic about the potential to eat these foods again. Omelets for breakfast? Almonds for a snack? I can’t explain how awesome that would be!
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Life continues to be good to me in other ways as well. Pete’s band is starting to wrap up recording their first studio album, and it’s been amazing to watch the whole project unfold and come to life. On our most recent trip to Philly for him to record, we checked out Federal Donuts and Cantina Dos Segundos (order the pescado!) – and had a great time with all of our friends there. Earlier that week, we also had the opportunity to watch the Space Shuttle Discovery arrive to DC, allowing me to nerd out to my heart’s content.
So, things are busy but going very well, and I am incredibly optimistic about what the future holds in regards to my health. More updates to come!