My Wake-up Call

epipenprincess:

Written by moi!

Originally posted on WhyRiskIt? Teen Allergy Blog:

Since developing my food allergies at thirteen I have had to use an auto-injector several times, but there is one reaction that sticks out in my memory the most. I was in grade eleven at the time and was going out for lunch with friends during a typical school day. Sometimes with food allergies, you don’t want to be different than your peers and want to feel like you can do everything that they can.

chinese foodMy friends wanted to go out for Chinese food and I completely went ahead with the plans without even thinking about possible allergens or the precautions I needed to take. It was completely irresponsible and one of my biggest mistakes. For the most part, I was responsible with my food allergies, but I never realized how serious they actually were. I devoured my delicious Chinese food with my girlfriends not even knowing what was about…

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An Update

Hello followers! It has almost been 2 months since I last posted and I am so sorry! But, I have a good explanation. First things first, I got accepted into pre health sciences next year and accepted my offer!!! I will be starting next fall so I am busy making money for my tuition. The main reason why I haven’t been posting is that I have been sick. Luckily my allergies have been under control and still no anaphylaxis since September. Still the occasional scare and hives but nothing serious. For the last two months I have spent a lot of my time in bed sleeping and resting because in February during exam time I developed an ovarian cyst that was hemorrhaging. I was unable to write my exams and was in and out of the hospital three times. Ovarian cysts bring on extreme pain, discomfort and an over all a feeling of crappyness. I had a follow up ultra sound recently as well as blood work. I have a doctors appointment monday that will hopefully bring good news and some form of way to help me with pain and such. The radiologists thinks it may be poly cystic ovarian syndrome, which would make sense since its hereditary and my mum has it. I will keep you guys posted when I have more info and I hope I am feeling better soon so I can get back to blogging!

Happy 1st to A Tale Of Anaphylaxis! + an update on what I have been up to!

Hello, just wanted to update everyone on where I have been and what I have been up too! First of all this week marks a year ago that I started A Tale Of Anaphylaxis! Thank you so much for your continued support of my blog and I look forward to another year with all my amazing followers. This year thanks to you guys, I have received close to 10,000 blog views and over 550 twitter followers! That’s amazing. When I started this blog I had no idea how big it would become. I have had some awesome experiences and met some amazing people through this blog. Being able to share my allergy experiences has not only helped others but it has helped me. Receiving emails from followers all over the world has helped to solidify why I write this blog. I have written 87 blog posts this year and I can’t wait to write more this year. Thank you again and again.

I have been quite busy lately and haven’t had time to write much. I had a fabulous Christmas with family and have been working a lot this past month. In one of my past posts I talked about a co-op position that I wanted at the hospital! After a long interview process , I was offered the position and I accepted. Starting mid February I will be doing a half day co-op at my cities hospital, in the discharge lounge. Bring on the scrubs!! I should also be finding out this month if I got accepted to college. My senior year is going by so quickly and before I know it, I will be at prom and graduation.
I have also been busy preparing for exams and finishing my end of semester assignments.

I have big things planned for 2014 for my blog and also some exciting projects. More details to come! Anaphylaxis Canada’s Youth Advisory Panel is busy working on some secret projects, we also have some crazy projects planned for this year. Will you be attending the teen workshop may 10th in Toronto. I attended last year and it is a great experience and a way to connect with other teens who are going through the same things. I will definitely be there this year and hope I can meet some of you. Luckily I haven’t had any serious reactions since September (knock on wood). The last couple weeks my immune system has been all out of whack and I had some days with mild reactions and lots of hives. Note to self: never take drowsy Benadryl and then go to school. That was a pretty rough day for me! Haha! I have been sick this past week with a intestinal blockage and have been in and out of the hospital. But, I am slowly getting better!

Enjoy your weekend and I will be up and writing soon. Happy 1st birthday to A Tale Of Anaphylaxis!

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Workshop for Allergic Teens – May 10th, Toronto

epipenprincess:

Will you be attending? I will!!

Originally posted on WhyRiskIt? Teen Allergy Blog:

Teen-Workshop-Banner2014

Save the Date!

Anaphylaxis Canada will be hosting its 7th Community Conference in Toronto on May 10th, 2014.

During the morning there will be a workshop just for teens. It will be a fun session lead by youth and will provide a cool opportunity to learn more, and meet new friends.

More details coming soon!

A group shot from last year's teen workshop.

A group shot from last year’s teen workshop.

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A Tale of Anaphylaxis Has a New Look!

As you may have noticed, my blog has a new look! I woke up this morning on this beautiful saturday and realized my blogs first birthday is coming up and it deserved a new fresh look! Plus its a new year, so that calls for some change. I have changed the theme, and even have a logo now (as seen at the top of my page). There has also been some changes done to the graphics in my about page and more to come for my ask page. I am realizing that it is looking better on a computer compared to my iPad so I will be looking into fixing that. What do you think of the new look? Comment and let me know! Happy saturday everyone!

Guest Blog Post: Dr John Weiner answers some of the most pressing allergy related questions!

I am very excited to have the oppourtunity to have Dr. John Weiner as a guest blogger today!! I had some questions for him regarding allergies and luckily he was thrilled to answer! You can check out his blog http://www.allergynet.com.au . Here is a brief description about him :) Enjoy!

Dr John Weiner is a medical doctor specializing in Allergy and Clinical Immunology in Melbourne, Australia. He is a part-time PhD student at Monash University in Melbourne, studying e-Professionalism. John maintains AllergyNet Australia, the longest continuous medical blog in the world, which was launched in January 1998, was recently archived by the National Library of Australia.  John microblogs on Twitter @AllergyNet. 

1. How did you become interested/ involved in allergies?

My initial love was Pathology, and I specialized in a branch called Anatomical Pathology. That involved a lot of time looking down a microscope. I was fortunate enough to obtain a Fellowship at the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Washington DC. I sub-specialized in Eye, Ear, Nose and Throat Pathology, and after two years returned to Melbourne as a hospital pathologist. Allergy often involves the eyes and nose, so I learnt a lot about allergy. After six years I hankered to treat live people again, so I became a Fellow once more, this time in Allergy and Clinical Immunology. After two more years, I opened my clinic. That was 24 years ago!

 

2. Do you have any allergies?

Just one. In 1972 I was a 24-year-old intern. I spent three months in a country hospital that was 4 hours drive from Melbourne. A patient there gave me a large bunch of Protea flowers. These grow well in Australia, but are South African, and in fact the King Protea is the national flower of that country. By the time I walked the half-mile back to my quarters, with the large bunch slung over my shoulder, I was covered in hives.

Of course, I have blamed the Protea for the last 42 years. It could have been something I ate, a tablet I may have taken, the exercise itself, or something else. But I never bothered to see an allergist. As the great physician Sir William Osler said over a hundred years ago, “the doctor who treats himself has a fool for a patient”!

 

3. What do you think is the biggest challenge that people with allergies face? How should they overcome this?

OK, up to about 15 years ago the greatest challenge was acceptance. The public then considered all allergies as trivial.

Now the greatest challenge, I believe, is delineation. By that I mean a separation between true, important allergies, and dietary or other changes as a lifestyle choice. When an adult goes to the restaurant and says “no dairy please”, we should remember that the owner hears this request say 50 times a week. Maybe one in 200 such (adult) customers have a true cow’s milk allergy that is potentially anaphylactic. This can downgrade the potential importance of these allergies in the mind of the owner. A clued-up food seller would ask “Are you anaphylactic?” and “Do you carry an epinephrine (adrenaline) injector?” The allergy sufferer then knows immediately that the food seller is in the zone. Both the seller and the customer can then have an intelligent and informed discussion about the food or meal.

How can this challenge be overcome? Put simply, by education. From schools, associations, food regulatory bodies, and governments. And, yes, from you and me through social media. Remember, it’s the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

 

4. Do you believe that one day we will have a cure for allergies?

Absolutely. A proper vaccine for food allergy, I believe, will be available inside 15 years. By “proper” I mean a short course of treatment resulting in a cure.

There are already reasonably good immunotherapy treatments for hay fever and asthma (allergy shots). Most of the world, apart from the USA, has also used oral immunotherapy for 15 years, again for hay fever and asthma, and it is hoped that the FDA will approve such treatment in 2014.

 

5. Have you any advice for newly diagnosed people?

Well, it depends a bit on the diagnosis. There are protocols in all countries on advice regarding anaphylaxis, asthma, upper airway disease, eczema, hives and so on. Philosophically though, the best advice is a thorough explanation from a caring allergist, even if a cause cannot be found. Most people will accept that approach and this helps them plan their life.

More practically, seeking a list of available resources through national allergy bodies is also most helpful, and Twitter is replete with excellent resources.

 

6. Why do feel there is an increase of allergies in the last 10 years?

As your readers are aware, there are many theories, but no proven reasons. These include the hygiene hypothesis, delayed infant feeding, pollutants, diet, and vitamin D. I favor the “hygiene hypothesis” – a combination of the allergy genes together with reduced infection in early life. There are a lot of epidemiological studies to support that view. I feel that epidemiology (the statistical study of the causes and effects of health and disease) is a most valuable discipline. Of course, it is statistical, but then so is most of medicine! UCLA Health has a nice poster on the hygiene theory http://fooddrugallergy.ucla.edu/body.cfm?id=40

 

7. Anything else you may want to add? 

As a 65-year-old man, I am so impressed with young men and women (like yourself, Sydney) who have used social media to educate and inform. Way back, we were hampered by both personal privacy, and the restrictions of pen and paper. Now, the culture and technology have changed. We can blog away our innermost and pressing problems, and receive support on a global scale. For those with allergies, this has been a godsend. To all those who take the time to share their experiences, keep up the good work! And thank you for allowing me to be a guest on your terrific blog.

 

** Thank you Dr. John Weiner for your answers and insight. It was a pleasure having you on my blog!

When life hands you lemons: a lesson on not letting allergies hold you back!

As much as we like to not believe it, our allergies do hold us back sometimes in life. But, I think what really matters is how we handle the situation and over come it! My dream is too become a nurse and next year I will be starting schooling to fulfill that dream. The job seems safe for allergies right? Clean, not a lot of food and hey it’s in a hospital? Well like everything in life there is always little bumps along the way. I am in my grade 12 year right now and working on getting a co-op placement at the hospital for next semester. I applied for the geriatrics wing and had an interview this week. The interview was going perfectly until my allergies came up in conversation and they saw that as an automatic red flag. For liability reasons I was not able to be in the geriatrics wing because my co-op would be during meal time and it was too much of a risk. Luckily the interviewers had alternatives for me and I will find out if I got a position later this week but, as you can imagine this was upsetting. This was not some school potluck I had to leave or a close call at lunch with friends, this is my dream. Something I want to do for the rest of my life. Hearing you can’t do something, even if it is in your best interest, can be hard to take. Don’t get me wrong, I would much rather be in a section that if safe for me and its best to figure this all out now before I enter the work field, but it’s still hard. But, like I always say, you just need to remain positive and learn from the experience. This minor bump in the road won’t change my dreams of becoming a nurse, just trains me for the obstacles I will face later in life. No matter the profession I would eventually face a similar situation. It will feel like your allergies are getting in the way of your dreams sometimes but don’t let them. There is always an alternative and a way to work around a sucky situation. If you are passionate about your dreams, follow them and fight for what you want. When life hands you lemons, make lemonade!

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Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays & Thank You!

Since Christmas is quickly approaching and the next couple days will become very busy for everyone, I wanted to take this time to wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays. And also to thank you for your continued support throughout 2013. Consider this your virtual Christmas card! This January will mark a year that I have been running this blog, A Tale Of Anaphylaxis. During 2013 I have met some amazing new followers via Pinterest, WordPress, and Twitter and received hundreds of fabulous comments. Thank you all for your continued support, feedback and kindness. After every allergic reaction and Epipen you guys have been there sending warm wishes and virtual hugs that have really made a difference. When I started this blog I had no idea it would get this big and that I would be able to help others through my own experiences with food allergies. I am looking forward to writing, sharing and meeting new viewers during 2014! I wish you all a fabulous break that is filled with family, friends, food and love! Thank you again and Merry Christmas, 

                                                                                                                                                                – Love, The Epipenprincess 

 

 

*Photos via Pinterest & Tumblr. I do not own them*

Holiday Gift Exchanges

Although its something that may be overlooked, holiday gift exchanges can pose some issues with food allergies! But, not to worry they are very doable. Last night I went out with a group of  girl friends to do a gift exchange at Jack Astor’s. I had a delicious meal of asiago shrimp and smoked mozzarella ravioli, topped with fresh baby arugala! Now without getting into the story to much, I will say a gift was brought that contained one of my allergens. It is important to remember that if you have allergies, or someone in you friend group has allergies that anyone could end up with the gift so its best to make sure it is safe and suitable for everyone. Candles, sweets and body products always seem to be a popular present for gift exchanges so it is best to check and see if it contains any allergens. And if you have allergies make sure all gift givers are aware so their is no awkwardness. I know that last night I was sort of put in an awkward situation with the gift that I received because of my allergies, but I took it with a gracious heart and took the higher road. With allergies it can be frustrating when things like this happen but it is best not to make yourself sick about it and remember that mistakes happen and not everyone fully understands our allergies. We often assume our allergens are just at pot-lucks, restaurants and other food events but they can even be hiding in gifts! Keep an eye out and stay safe this holiday season! 

 

*photo via Pinterest

Trip to Tim Hortons Takes Wrong Turn..

Well, yesterday taught me that it is important to remember that allergens aren’t just hiding in food; but also beverages! Yesterday at school and friend and I decided to pop out to the Canadian favourite Tim Hortons for a hot drink before our next class. I ordered a white hot chocolate (which was delicious by the way), because I figured it’s just hot chocolate! After returning to school and I sat in Year Book class I began to feel extremely nauseous, sweat and just feel plain crappy! By the time I got home from school I felt terrible and figured I had come down with the flu! Today I was telling my friends about my experience after drinking the white hot chocolate and a friend of mine who works at Tim Hortons explained to me why I felt so sick. She says that white hot chocolates from Tim Hortons are loaded with coconut oil (which I am allergic to). I am so thankful that it didn’t result in anaphylaxis and a trip to the ER. From now on I think I will avoid the white hot chocolate and keep in mind that my allergens could be hiding in my drinks!

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*I do not own this photo.

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