Is it a wheat allergy or not?
So because my problem with eating wheat has now reached the severity that I was vomiting over 30 times in the space of 1 hour, and so ill that my husband was on the verge of calling 911, my asthma specialist referred me to an allergy specialist, as this problem with wheat was the original cause of my asthma.
I have to say that I was eagerly anticipating my appointment, however as the appointment got nearer I got more and more worried that the allergy tests would kick off another attack of the severity of the attack that instigated these tests, and being in the middle of an allergy clinic would be the last place I wanted to be unless there was a toilet very close by and private.
However on meeting my lovely allergy specialist (and I mean utterly charming and friendly) I was completely assured that the skin prick tests would not cause a reaction other than on my arms.
So after some very detailed questioning about my symptoms, the initial cause (seafood poisoning in France), and other discussions, then a physical exam. Nothing too arduous. Just looking in my ears, up my nose and down my throat. Listening to my breathing with a stethoscope, and a bit of pummelling of my midriff for sensitive areas.
Then on to the pin prick testing.
It was decided to test me for 70 different allergens, plus the 2 control tests.
Forearms bared, and trying not to look too closely at the lancet that would be pricking my arms 72 times the testing commenced.
So how was it done? Well a drop from a vial containing a concentrated form of the allergen was placed on my arm. The first drop was a histamine, and the second drop nothing. These would act as the control, it was expected that I would react to the histamine, but if I reacted to the drop clear of any allergen then boy was I in trouble.
Working down my right arm in rows all the food allergen droplets were deposited. Then the left arm was subjected to the same procedure, more food allergens, and also environmental allergens.
After that came the lancets job. 72 pricks, one after the other in the centre of the allergen drops. And to be completely honest, it didn't hurt one bit. I'd naturally assumed that being pricked 72 times was going to be a bit irritating, but it wasn't even a nuisance.
By this point the histamine control drop was starting to get really itchy. And a big red, itchy hive was appearing, and I mean really itchy.
Now came the waiting part. Sitting with my forearms bared, and a warning against scratching anywhere on the arms, I settled down with a good book to take my mind off the need to scratch for the next 30 minutes.
On the doctors return he was surprised to see only three hives. The control and two others, though there were on my left arm, not my right which was all food allergens.
So what were the results?
The doctor was pleased to see that the two control drops were as he expected.
And unbelievably there was no reaction to wheat. Okay so I can feel the stunned silence. What do you mean no reaction to wheat? Well exactly that. The skin prick tests don't show a reaction to wheat, however as the doctor cautioned that's not complete proof of no wheat allergy. Blood tests can be used to confirm this result is not false.
And the other two hives? Evidently I had some of the biggest reactions he'd ever seen... to cats and dust mites.
Which is pretty amazing because I had a cat until I was 30, and never seemed to have a problem with any of my furry four legged felines. Dust mites? No longer a problem, having lived in the UK for 40 years they would have been a problem, though not that I was aware of it at the time. Now living in the prairies where it's dry and dust mites don't live it's not an issue. And as I'm not planning on returning to the UK I'm not worried about that result.
So, not allergic to wheat then. The doctor said that from my symptoms this is pretty much what he expected, he also hypothesized what might be causing the problem with wheat. So if you want to know more then you'll have to come back and read the next instalment of my "Is it a wheat allergy or not?" blog...