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2008: The Tour Continues

2008: The Tour Continues

February 29, 2008

On Thursday I made the next stop on my 2008 East Coast Doctor Tour, a highly respected allergist/ immunologist. I was stabbed with a million needles, or maybe only 100, in an effort to find out what the heck is wrong with me.

The good news: According to the tests I am not allergic to any foods, at all.

The bad news: According to the tests I am not allergic to any foods, at all.

Therefore I am no closer to having an answer.

I am however highly allergic to the entire state and my house.

He suggested the next stop on my 2008 East Coast Doctor Tour be a gastroenterologist in case I have some GI issue that is making me feel like I am dying when I eat. And then see a doctor that specializes in the crazy.

Okay, he didn’t say that. But he wanted to.

Rob wants to make me eat foods until I have a reaction. But that doesn’t really appeal to me.

I went to my husband’s office for the first time after my appointment. He has worked there for five years. I didn’t want to rush it.

The High Point of My Day: Being asked if I was my husband’s daughter.

Posted by Chris @ 10:01 pm  

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  1. Heather's Garden says:

    Ouch on so many levels. You’re crazy young looking, but so is Rob. He didn’t deserve that! I hope you can figure out what’s making you sick. As you’ve written before it’s so scary that each bite is potentially lethal.

    Chris says: Eh, he is a big boy. He thought it was funny.

  2. Kellie says:

    Okay, I usually don’t comment (you’re famous and that? Scares the crap outta me!!), but…..his DAUGHTER?! ACK!! You KILL me. I’m a month away from 30 and have ONE child. ONE. And I? Look like 4.2 miles of bad road. You look AMAZING and for my 30th, I want to look like you. So, please tell how it’s done.

    Sorry you aren’t closer to having an answer. But, it’s good news that you’re not allergic to any foods.

    I am done making an ass of myself now and shall return to being a lurker.

  3. Jeanne says:

    The high point of your day?

    The high point of February!

    I nearly sprayed beer on my monitor. Very funny.

  4. Lisa says:

    Hey……..Could you have some kind of acid-reflux thing maybe?? LOVE reading your site daily and have tried several of the recipes you list and they are awesome! Have a great weekend!

  5. Jamie AZ says:

    Ugh, so frustrating! I would probably start adding a forbidden food a week to see if I have a reaction, maybe in really small portions. I know it’s not an allergy situation, but one of my good friends went to the doctors for nearly a year for upper-GI/heartburn/reflux/etc. type symptoms that wouldn’t go away and finally in the 12th month, someone figured out that she had a huge gall stone (22×8mm). Pretty unexpected from someone who’d had their gall bladder removed 8 years earlier. The stone had been there, undetected the entire time. So maybe the gastro will come up with something… (wishful thinking!)

    Congrats on not looking your age! :)

  6. Annie says:

    Hey Chris- have you been tested for Celiac Disease? I guess the GI doctor would be the one to do that. Consider it! My son has it which is why I think of it whenever someone mentions food/allergy/GI issues.

    Good luck getting to the bottom of this.


    Chris says: I haven’t been scoped, but I have been on a gluten free diet for a year.

  7. Crisanne says:

    They can do testing for Celiac with a blood test (though sometimes it requires a biopsy to be detected). But if you’ve been gluten free for a year, it won’t be accurate.

    Funny how my immediate reaction is to give you information when you didn’t even ask for it.

    You made me laugh about being mistaken as your husband’s daughter. Definitely the highlight for the month.

  8. Stephanie says:

    I’m sorry you haven’t found any answers. I’ve only been reading for a few weeks, so don’t know the backstory. I’ve been dealing with some GI issues for 6 months and get to start what I’m sure will be a lovely doctor tour of my own. Hope through all of it you’ll find an answer somewhere. It’s the not knowing that really sucks.

  9. Amanda says:

    LOL, you mean I’m not the only one who has been mistaken for their husband’s daughter? Okay, good, I feel better now. (Had a guy at a resturant ask my husband that once) I’m 29 but apparently look about 14. I’ve had people ask me if I was old enough to have a credit card, the cable guy asked me why I wasn’t in school, if I was old enough to be picking up a prescription …. One of these days I’m going to learn to be quick enough to come up with witty replies…. (BTW, I LOVE your blog!)

  10. kate says:

    I think the allergists make stuff up as they go along. My husband has had similar food reactions as you, his tongue and his hands swell up. The allergist also said he wasn’t allergic to anything. Thankfully, both times he knew he had eaten a Caesar salad with a glass of red wine. He doesn’t do that anymore and hasn’t had a reaction in a few years. I always figured it was one of the foods reacting to whatever else he was eating and that’s what he was allergic to. Hopefully you can introduce things back into your diet and have your epi pen at the ready. Good Luck!

  11. suburbancorrespondent says:

    Digestive enzymes may be helpful - I know they helped keep my babies from fussing on my breastmilk (apparently I wasn’t breaking down my proteins well enough, so they were passing through into the milk). Maybe undigested proteins are passing through a leaky gut in your case?

    But you’ve probably already considered that.

    And there’s a blood test for celiac, isn’t there? No need to be scoped for a diagnosis.

  12. Sarah says:

    What about Eosophilic Esophegitus? I mangled the spelling on that… but it can cause children & adults to feel like their throat is blocked…….

  13. Regina says:

    I cannot fathom how frustrating your food situation is. Of course you don’t want to try testing various foods to see what happens! It must be a very, very hard trial. And I also wonder - even as “old” as you are, is it frustrating that everyone tells you how young you look? Or is it a compliment? For the first several years of my teaching career , parents told me ALL the time that I looked very young, called me “Sweetheart,” etc. It was very irritating to me. I know that when I am 70, I should be glad to look 50, but I didn’t really like how they secretly held that against me or thought I was “Less of a teacher.”

    I’m glad you’re including a few more photos of yourself. It’s great to have a picture to match the wonderful stories you share with us. Thank you for giving us a glimpse into your great world. It really is a privilege to read your website entries.

  14. Denise says:

    Next stop Roto Rooter! Have they seriously not thought about celiac yet? It’s not an allergy.. but hey it sure will make you do many of the things you do!

  15. BetteJo says:

    Your husband’s daughter?

    Hell, I don’t even get pity-carded anymore. Sigh-h-h.

  16. Kay says:

    Do you still have your gallbladder? If yes, I would highly recommend trying that route. I’ve heard a lot of cases like yours that resolved completely when the gallbladder was removed.

  17. PollyS says:

    I know you’ve gotten tons of advice since your problems began. But may I put this little bug in your ear? A friend’s daughter was diagnosed with an allergy to legumes. Now think about the ramifications of this one. Peanuts and soy. They are in everything! The parents were so very afraid for her life. They couldn’t let her go anywhere by herself for fear she would eat or drink something with peanuts or soy or some other bean hidden in it.
    After about 6 months, my friend who is usually very reserved, positive and open to alternative medicine had had enough. The fear that gripped their family had to stop. So they took the daughter to a major medical research center (Stanford) and had tons of tests done and the doctors there concluded that it was a minor heart condition that was causing the reactions. My friend said she never would have thought she be thrilled to hear her child had a heart problem.
    I never asked how a heart condition had the same symptoms as an allergy. I was just happy that this was something that could be managed with meds until she was a young adult and then have a minor surgery to correct the problem.
    Maybe the doctors on your tour are looking in the wrong direction?
    I wish you well.

  18. josy says:

    are you sure you are really having reactions? or did you just run out of blog fodder and so invent a mysterious medical condition? is there a name yet for people who fabricate medical problems for their blogs? internet munchausen?

    i’m not serious in the slightest. as a matter of fact, my son has the same problem- he’s reacting severely to every item he puts in his mouth, it seems. gluten, dairy, nuts, eggs, citrus… the list goes on. and he’s only two. it’s a nightmare, not knowing where the next reaction is going to come from or what he’s going to react to next.

  19. Hatchet says:

    Nice job on the compliment! A good compliment can keep one warm at night for quite awhile.

    As for Rob’s suggestion, an allergist would actually refer to that as a “food challenge”. Those are best done by the doctor and in his office. You know, after they’ve also completed your bloodwork. First they stick you to get a general idea of your allergic reactions, then they do blood tests to see more specifically how you react and then they do a food challenge.

    My daughter, she is allergic to nuts but not deathly allergic. As far as we know. Until we have the moolah to do the food challenge, we’re still keeping her away from nuts.

    Except me. She’s gotta live with me.

    Good luck Chris! Keep going until you get an answer.

  20. Bronnie says:

    haha! what a compliment!
    I work for my dad and customers are aware that my dad’s daughter works for him (me - I do). But one once thought that his business partner was his daughter.
    His business partner is 54, my dad is 52. LOL.

  21. Jennifer says:

    I hope you figure out what it is soon.

    I am nine years younger than my husband and no one has every asked if I’m his daughter! Maybe someday…

  22. carrie says:

    I wish you had answers, for your sake. This must be so frustrating.

    But hey, what a compliment, the husband’s daughter comment! That’s gotta make up for a little bit of the day, right?

  23. Brigitte says:

    Wow, I think being asked if I was my husband’s daughter would be the high point of the entire month for me, too - and would be brought up (by me) at every gathering thereafter, forever and ever.

  24. CathyC says:

    OMG!! you were asked if you were his daughter? was he mortified?
    Sorry your tests haven’t revealed anything, but Annie makes a good point about Celiac.

    ***Anyway, can you please address HOW you keep your house clean? it was asked by another poster yesterday and I am hoping for some good advice**********

  25. maddy says:

    Glad you don’t have food allergies, but sorry you are still seeking answers.

    TOO FUNNY about the daughter thing. What a scream.

  26. Dawn says:

    I am not familiar with your symptoms but feel your pain. I suffered with a condition, gastroparesis…paralysis of the stomach, for 2 years before finding a GOOD GI. I went through several poor ones. I am cured now and here just to offer a bit of a happy ending to you!

  27. Wendy says:

    Hi Chris - I’ve been reading for so long now! I was just thinking about it, and I think the first post I read was maybe the collapsing pool?

    Anyway, with all due respect to doctors - some people with gluten intolerance do not find relief from being on what is known as a “gluten free” diet. By this I mean that it is not until they remove all grains, even corn and rice which are staples in a gluten free diet, do they find relief.

    My husband does not eat any grains now. No oats, barley, rice, corn, wheat, spelt, etc. It isn’t as bad as it seems at first. His stomach is now at peace!

    If you are interested, try this website: http://www.breakingtheviciouscycle.com for more details. Although we deal with a specific IBD, many people with all types of IBD have used information from this program successfully.

  28. jody says:

    “The High Point of My Day: Being asked if I was my husband’s daughter”

    Oh yeah! LOL! I love it!

    You seriously need to talk to my friend P. She was just diagnosed with celiac and is exploring the world of gluten-free. She is a cook, so this is traumatic for her on so many levels.

    I am thinking some nice, sea air will do you some good. ;*) My allergies got 100x better when I moved out of our old house and down to the coast.

    And a pool………oh yeah, that will make everything better.

  29. fidget says:

    my allergist told me there was no way i was allergic to gluten or cats according to my test results. Too bad both have landed me in the hospital. You may have to suck it up and go on an elimination diet. Given your current food situation you would probably need to start eating plan rice noodles or white rice and then start adding other stuff in- SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much fun! I’m sorry there were no answers.

  30. Dot says:


    I can only suggest, briefly, that food allergies don’t show up on the test if you haven’t eaten that food recently. So if you have been avoiding the offending food for some time and the doctor tests you for it, you will probably come back negative. My sister has terrible food allergies and cannot eat ANYTHING!!! Good luck to you - I hope you figure this out.

  31. Ruth H says:

    I gave up on allergists years ago. I’ve been diagnosed with allergies to everything and allergies to nothing. In that case I was told I was just “sensitive” to certain things and if I were tested with distilled water it would show a reaction! Oh sure!
    You probably don’t want to hear about my 12 days in a research hospital this summer where they tried desperately to find something wrong with me, and couldn’t. But the only really honest doctor at the end said you know, “we didn’t test for whipple disease.” Look that up, it may help you. I’m still a mystery diagnosis case but wish I really knew what caused my problems this summer.

  32. Lucinda says:

    Can I add to your insanely long list of comments? Allergies are a funny thing. I have not food allergies but I get sick when I eat eggs. Hmmm…. Go figure. I have done the West Coast dr. tour so I know how you feel. No gluten, eggs, dairy…. I did manage to get a celiac dx even though the scope was neg. but the blood test was positive (before going gf).

    Anyway, you may need to try a different route. I’m checking out this environmental medicine place in our area to see what I get. I’m hoping it provides me with answer. If you are interested, I will be happy to email you info. Good luck finding answers. I’ve been fighting this for 11 years so I know how frustrating it is.

  33. mindy says:

    Try to find a kinesiologist in your area. We have had such good luck with ours. When we went the conventional medical route it was just one big goose chase with absolutely NO answers. Check out this website for some information on the process.

  34. Jennifer says:

    Having dealt with food allergies in my daughter her whole life, I have a suggestion for you. The skin prick tests are frequently not right, which I am sure you have guessed by now. You need to have a RAST test done, blood work basically. Have them test you for everything that you think you might be allergic and everything that has ever come up positive for you in the past. Also, the allergy testing is not always accurate when you are tested within 30 days of a reaction. So if you have been tested right after a reaction it could very well have been wrong. Hope this helps!

  35. Laural says:

    I was mistaken for my grandfather’s daughter. I had never considered plastic surgery until that moment.

  36. halloweenlover says:

    Maybe the doctors are in cahoots to make you think you are crazy, so they pretend that you aren’t allergic to food when you actually are. Maybe?

    Haaaa! Rob must have been psyched. It means his wife is totally hot and young looking! What guy wouldn’t want that?

  37. Jolie says:

    I hate to say it but ideopathic anacphylacsis is a real thing. My father has it and is living on high levels of predisone. He has never been shown to be allergic to anything during his doctor tour to Mayo, Northwester and the top 5 allergists in the nation. He just goes into anaphylactic shock out of nowhere. It is scary as hell, but somewhat manageable. There are only 3 cases in our state. Could it be that you may have this?????? I hope to goddess not! Just throwing it out there

  38. Debby says:

    I’m trying not to be bitter, but I’ve been mistaken for my husband’s mother not once but twice in 20 years. It’s not pretty, and he never lets me forget it. In my defense, I don’t look old at all. Really. He just looks ridiculously young. I guess the high point is that I get to be married to a young hottie without that whole messy divorce/remarriage thing.

    I hope you get some medical answers soon.

  39. pickel says:

    I know I will probably sound like a broken record but most of the above posters are correct. If you have not eaten the foods it will not show up as an allergen. Additionally, the better test is a blood test, an IgE, IgA (RAST) test for proteins and allergies.

    Have you also tested for chemicals and dyes? ie: red, yellow, latex (and those cross reactives?) My son is allergic to bananas and cross reactive to some of those pit fruits.

    He is also reactive and intolerant to almost all salicylates and phenols, which don’t show up on allergy tests. It is not often recognized by doctors (unless biomedically) but it is an intolerance.

    I recommend Doris Rapp’s book Is This My Child for more information on intolerances and elimination diets. It really helped us identify all the foods he has issues with when allergists could not help us.

    Good Luck…I know it really stinks.

  40. Shaylind Standing says:

    Oh! I hope you said YES!!
    That happened to me and my husband once (we aren’t even 5 years apart). It was…awkward.

    Sorry you still have no answers.

  41. Jessica says:

    Hey Chris,
    I have two questions :) One have you been tested for Chron’s??? One of my best friends though she was having food allegies and years later they found out it was Chrons. I really hope they get things figured out. Also, the recipe you posted yesterday looks super yummy, but my son is VERY allergic to peanuts. Can I use sunflower butter instead?
    Thank you :)

  42. SC says:

    Hi Chris! You should do yourself a favor & go to your library and check out the book called “Detox for Life”. It changed mine! My sister had all kinds of symptoms and she decided to go in for monthly colonics and all the symptoms went away. Just some thoughts. Have a great day!

  43. Lisa- Domestic Accident says:

    Wow, you got a lot of good medical advice here.

    Mistaken for your husband’s daughter? You’re still trying to make me hate you. Once I went out to dinner with my then fiance. He got carded. I did not. He’s lucky I still married him.

  44. Jules says:

    Your husband’s daughter? Nice :)

  45. Molly says:

    Ha ha ha, I love that compliment! That is awesome!

  46. nancy alv. says:

    I know this sounds totally crazy but could you be allergic to your dish detergent????

  47. Vanessa says:

    My two sons both have multiple food allergies and I’ve been down the same path.
    I agree with Jennifer’s comment about the RAST test being more accurate but another thing I found out was the skin prick tests are less than accurate if you have recently had an antihistamine. I was told allow 5-7 days to be clear. Hope this helps.

  48. Nicole says:

    I hope you get some answers soon. I can’t even imagine how scary and frustrating this is for you.

  49. Keri says:

    Chris - Did you have any of the kids w/you? If yes, did they think they were Rob’s grandkids :)



  50. chris says:

    I just found your blog, so I’m not sure of the backstory here. But I hope they find out soon. I can tell you - after having to go through three years of stomach issues and having it be my almost non-functioning gallbladder - I thought the next stop was to see the therapist. But, I wasn’t crazy. A good technician and one HIDA scan later, and the culprit was found. I hope you get some answers soon.

  51. Flannery says:

    I wish there were more doctors who remembered the woman in the Gospel who had endured much at the hands of many physicians. I’ve had years of Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and an immune system which is generally too busy eating my own body and freaking out over my daily bread to deal with low-threat things like viruses and bacteria. The only thing that works is to research, discover a possible problem, convince the doctor to test you for it, then go back to research. As far as the doctors go, they think well of themselves, and it’s good that someone does.

    Have you heard about intestinal or systemic Candida yeast infections? It is common after hormonal imbalances (such as thyroid problems), courses of strong antibiotics, and steroids. One of the first effects is leaky-gut syndrome, which causes sudden, adult-onset food allergies. A useful site is: http://www.candida-society.org/ncs/symptoms.htm
    Mainstream doctors are unlikely to diagnose a patient with systemic yeast unless they have diabetes or AIDS, though, so be prepared to be called hypochondriac to your face when you first bring it up.

  52. Jaime says:

    I was mistaken for my husband’s daughter too, about three years ago.
    Then about a month ago someone asked me if my baby was my grandson. I like the first situation much better than the second!

  53. jen says:

    I’d go for the celiac idea too, get yourself a good gastro man/lady. And perhaps consult a reflexologist and a homeopath whilst you’re at it - no joke, they are more holistic than ’standard’ doctors that tend to specialise with their large horseblinkers on to the point they don’t look at the whole picture. My osteopath was the one who diagnosed my daughter’s reflux after 5 months of her not eating, falling off the growth charts and several unpleasant visits to a rather rude paediatrician (who also had her blinkers on, and blamed her weight on breastfeeding. She’s been on super-calorie prescription formula for 3 months and hasn’t put on any more than when breastfeeding. And breastfeeding is *far* better for reflux babies. Grrrrrr.)

  54. cristen says:

    wow. I am so glad we all have working/healthy digestive systems here and no allergies or problems. Is that a pc thing to say? I feel like I might offend someone or sound like I’m bragging…seems we’re in the minority these days. I sure hope you can get some answers soon.

  55. Lottifish says:

    Wow, that must have felt great! (being asked if you are his daugher, not being poked with tons of needles) Congratulations on looking like a youngun’. :)

  56. Kris says:

    You might want to do a little research about the “H-Pyloris” bacteria that can cause serious issues with eating. MY father couldn’t eat anything for over 5 years without feeling like he was dying afterwards and could barely keep anything down. Allergy tests came back the same as you until he read an obscure article on the net about H-Pyloris. A simple test, and a round of antibiotics have all but cleared him up! Something to look into anyways!


  57. michele says:

    I will keep this brief, but my life has been changed by a Food Science company with patented products. I couldn’t eat anything processed, non organic, also had allergies to perfumes, cleaning supplies, etc… I can now eat anything I want and go any where I want. I truly have gotten my life back! If you want more info, email me at mgrabbe1008@msn.com
    Either way, I hope you find relief soon, life is too short to be sick!!