10 months ago I decided I HAD to figure out what was going on with my body.

I was sick of how I felt and knew I needed to make a change. I started visiting dr.’s for various different issues. Some doctors were great, some were less than great. Some made me cry some didn’t.

My sister was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes when she was 6 years old, later she was diagnosed with epilepsy. One of the many things that I learned growing up with her is that you have to often fight for your health. Not just the every day battle, but a mini battle with dr,’s who dismiss symptoms as nothing or think that maybe it’s in your head. I am certainly NOT saying all dr.’s are bad or that they don’t diagnose properly – I just happen to think that they see enough cases of people who don’t have anything wrong with them, but think they do, and it it often leads to others who do have issues, to slip through the cracks so to say.

When I finally found a doctor who would listen to me and not dismiss what I was saying – he said to me – so what did all the other doctors say about these crazy symptoms. I flat out told him that most of them didn’t believe me and told me I was tired from raising kids and running marathons. He said – well I’m sorry – you have some issues going on here and your body is reacting very badly to what you are eating and breathing – you aren’t making this stuff up – I can see it.

I honestly started to feel a lump in my throat. I needed someone to listen to me and to understand that though I may at times be dramatic, I am NOT dramatic at all when it comes to my health.

One of the many answers I HAVE finally found was that I have very bad seasonal allergies and that I have a bad case of oral allergy syndrome. My seasonal outdoor allergies are year round and I’m highly allergic to dogs {I have two}, cats, and dust mites.

Oral allergy syndrome is usually limited to a reaction in your mouth from various fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains. For most people, it is not a big deal at all, for others it causes intestinal problems and inflammation among other things. I happen to be one of those people that the reaction isn’t just limited to my mouth – joy {insert sarcasm}.

For some people cooking these fruits and vegetables makes them ok to eat and not cause issues. This doesn’t work for me – joy {insert sarcasm}.

In order to help both the seasonal allergies and oral allergy syndrome I’ve started weekly allergy shot therapy {I waited till after Hood To Coast to start the shots because I was really unsure of how I was going to react and I really wanted that race to be my summer target race}. Once a week I get three shots – two in one arm, one in the other. I then wait 30 minutes at the doctors office to have a reaction. At the end of the 30 minutes the nurse checks my arms, notes if I have had any reactions and sends me on my way. {I have an epi pen with me just in case I have a severe reaction} They believe that as I become less allergic to outdoor and environmental things, that I won’t have reactions to certain foods. NOTE: You don’t have to be allergic to the specific food to have what they consider an oral allergy. For instance I do not have a carrot food allergy however if I eat carrots I will have issues, so carrots should be avoided if I don’t want to feel like crap.

The part that really sucks and forgive me while I vent is that you can’t make an appointment for the shots. There are three days a week where the doctor is at the office. You have to call on one of those days – ask if you can come in that day for your shots and then head over during the limited hours he is sitting in the office and not busy doing surgery or something. My treatment will last a minimum of 2 1/2 years and may take up to 5. That is 52 office visits a year…..not counting other doctors office visits.

There are days where I allow myself a 15 minute pity party – where I lament all the fresh fruits, vegetables and grains that I shouldn’t eat if I don’t want a reaction. I lament that I have to go have shots and that it’s a giant pain in the butt with kids {they hate waiting in the waiting room with me}.

Then I pick myself up and focus on the positives and am almost embarrassed for my pity party. My husband has awesome insurance so there is no copay on these weekly treatments. The nurses told me most people pay $20 a visit. I live in a country where I have an awesome grocery store 10 minutes away. YES there are a TON of foods I can’t eat right now, unless I want to feel like crap, but there are also plenty of options at the store for me to try. I’ve started trying new things I’ve never had before because I am almost being forced too. I also remind myself that in the scheme of things there are WAY worse things that I could have like cancer. I also would rather this was me, than one of my kids. So the reality is – I let my self get down about it for a little bit and then I tell myself to STOP WHINNING because it’s not the end of the world. Everyone has shit in their life – this is part of mine.

There are weeks I feel great and weeks I don’t. It feels very roller coaster to me right now, though I know it won’t always be this way. I’m thankful that my doctor took the time to listen to me and help me feel better.

As the nurse said to me the other day – sweetie – you are just really sensitive – your body reacts to the littlest thing. In my head I had to laugh – being sensitive sums me up…..

They also determined that my liver is not functioning how it should be. This comes as no surprise to me since I have Gilberts Syndrome – another supposedly harmless condition that affects my liver. I go back in a couple of weeks for more tests on this to make sure it’s not something else.

Oh and I have IBS – super fun to talk about – NOT. Though again I’m counting my lucky stars it wasn’t Chrohn’s or Colitis. I’m on prescription probiotics for now as I/we try to figure this all out.

Fun times….but I still GET to run and CAN run so really this is not the end of the world and seems silly even talking about sometimes….

Have you had seasonal allergy shot therapy? Oral allergy syndrome? I’d love to hear about how it affected your life and/or your running!

Saucony Ruched Long Sleeve 2

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Comments

  1. I had terrible TERRIBLE allergies to all thing outdoors (grass, trees, weeds, mold, etc) as a child. Like knock me down for weeks bad. I started getting shots in 4th or 5th grade after a particularly scary allergy-induced asthma attack. It was 5 crappy years of shots but they made a WORLD of difference. One of my daughters gets them now and they are already helping her a great deal. It does get better. At least for me and my daughter, it was once a week for awhile (a year?) and then every two weeks, then 3, then once a month, etc. It was so so very worth it.

  2. Patty says:

    I’ve gotten shots for seasonal allergies for several years. At first it was every week, then less often. Going for the shots is a hassle but it beats having multiple sinus infections/bronchitis each year. That gets in the way of my running :)

    The shots have helped a lot! Changing my furnace/air cond filter every month helps too. Oh, and I gave up on sleeping with windows open bc of the all-day headaches that followed :(

    Good luck with your treatment!

  3. Lauren says:

    Immunotherapy has changed my life. For years I knew something was up – I constantly felt like I had a sinus infection. I’m such a baby when it comes to doctors, so I put it off and put it off. One day I decided I had had it – I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t talk normally (without sounding horribly nasal-y and congested), and I couldn’t taste half the food I was eating! I went in for allergy testing and found out I reacted strongly to dust, dust mites, dogs and cats. I started getting shots weekly, and honestly within a month I felt ten times better. I really haven’t had any problems since then, and it’s been about 3 years. I *think* I’ll be wrapping up treatment soon (I now go once a month) – these three years have flown by! Stepping into the allergist’s office was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made…I hope it helps you out too!

  4. wow Dorothy…this was really good to read.
    I can relate to alot of this. I am still in the thick of figuring things out. I have had to go through lots of dr’s alos and finally have found a Naturopath who works with athletes who I think can help me. again, I am like you…trying to fight with dr’s to convince them I am NOT making this shit up, something is not right with my body!!!
    after visiting with Dr. Minarik last week he has a few thoughts:
    1. hormones…that might be an issue
    2. gluten allergy…alot of these symptoms mimick hormone imbalances so figureing this out
    3. the anti-depressant I am on…might be contributing to my muscle weakness issues
    4. I also have IBS…..shhhh..I don’t talk about it either…havn’et spokent o a dr about it in years..maybe I should bring that up
    5. my SI joint in my low back looks like my ligaments may not have ever “glued back together” after babies…might have to get some shots there if we can’t fix it with massage and exercise….in the meantime this is a major contributor to my leg/ankle problems.
    6. I am Vit B deficient and Anemic….trying to figure out WHY and how to fix it….

    Like you though, I feel like i’ve finally found a dr to listen to me.
    we should chat sometime…sure would be nice to talk to someone who udnerstands!
    hang in there and sure hope the shots help you. xxxxxxx

  5. I have IBS, too, and have been battling it for about 12 years since diagnosis. It SUCKS, let me tell you. I’ve been having worse flare-ups and went back to the dr for some testing. Thankfully it’s not celiac, even though beer/most starchy carbs make me painfully bloated (and then sick). About the oral allergies, I’m intrigued. There are certain fresh fruits and veggies that I eat and always have an oral reaction to (fresh pineapple, cantaloupe, sugar snap peas and bananas that are too green). Itchy tongue, throat, cheeks, lips galore!

  6. Well, maybe the treatment sucks, but at least you figured it out, right? And, are starting to feel better?

  7. I agree with you, Dr.’s don’t listen to women when we know something is wrong, I’m hoping I find a doctor who understands me soon! I’m glad you found one and I’m sorry you have to deal with this.

  8. Jeanie says:

    Kudos to you for your tenacity and never giving up the search for a caring medical practitioner. As a Nurse Practitioner, I am saddened-and embarrassed-by colleagues who are dismissive. Even when there truly are no physical findings of illness, all patients need to be listened to and heard. This is not to imply that “it’s all in their head” , but, that there is something that requires our attention. Good practitioners will listen, research, refer and follow up. Wishing you all the best in your therapy and your road to health. Love your blog…

  9. I also have oral allergy syndrome. It’s SO super frustrating. It also took me a LONG time to figure it out. I don’t have a reaction to grains or gluten. I’m still really trying to figure it out, but even cooked carrots, eggplant, apples tomatoes and zucchini bother me too. I can get away with most others though cooked so I’m lucky in that sense. I find it’s the hardest when I’m out or at an event where I can’t control the food. I’m super interested to see how the shots go for you. I know it must be hard to get to the doctors that often, but it will pay off!

  10. Yikes! And thank you for being honest! I know you like to be upbeat and positive on here but it is life and we all struggle sometimes! I had a horrible reaction after my son was born (and we went through major medical issues, miraculously surviving a brain bleed for him and a massive blood clot for me) and I made the trip to the doctors and allergist. Mine seemed to be a severe case of excema that came back from the hormone changes. So in saying that, no allergies for me but I am currently on blood thinner for my pregnancy.

    This has been tough, I get to do the shots on my own so less trips to the doctor, but it is hard. I think of people that do this every day for their entire life and am amazed. I struggle with the bruising, pain and now as my belly grows and gets tighter, finding a spot to do the shot does too!

    yet through all these things, like you said, we can be thankful! I usually do them in the morning to get it over with and promptly go for a run after reminding myself I am blessed!

  11. I live in the DC area and have terrible seasonal allergies as well. I have relied on over the counter meds for the most part (though I’m not taking them during pregnancy so this spring was really miserable for me!), but have been debating whether or not to start allergy shots. The time commitment is a major hindrance, but the thought of feeling better and not having to take OTC meds is making me think it is worth the effort of trekking to the doctor each week for shots. Hopefully you’ll find relief soon!

  12. I think part of the issue with the other doctors is that it wasn’t their area of expertise. If I had been at an allergist I think any of them would have seen the issue right away! Hope you find answers soon too :)

  13. Better some days worse others but I’m trying to think long term – so it’s all good – right? :) Hope you are having a good week!

  14. You should def see an allergist!! Cantaloupe, snap peas and bananas are all on my list of do not eat!!

  15. oh honey:/ keep you head up. run strong. you’ll get through this a stronger, person. xoxo

  16. Please keep me updated how the shots works for your oral pollen allergies. Keep on fighting !

    /20 year old grass pollen suffer with multiple oral pollen allergies and a runner :)

  17. Have you tried the Whole30 elimination? It’s 30 days where you eschew grains, legumes, dairy, sugar, soy, alcohol. I wrote several posts about it on my blog. It was a lot of cooking, but I never felt so fantastic. And no more allergies.
    Hope you can find relief.

  18. Thanks so much for sharing! I also suffered from seasonal allergies and oral allergy syndrome — thank goodness for the internet for (diagnosing &) inspiring me to see an immunologist to finally treat the latter. OAS can be quite severe, yet every time I mention it, I meet people who have never heard of it before. I had cross-reactions to dozens of fruit (and a few vegetables), to the point that only citrus and watermelon were safe to eat. I went through exactly three years of allergy shots before I moved and had to say goodbye to my doctor (in Burke, VA…she was excellent and really listened to all of my concerns!). After the first six months, my shots were stretched out to a monthly rather than weekly frequency. In hindsight, I regret cutting my therapy a bit short, as my nut allergy has worsened and has triggered exercise-induced anaphylaxis several times. EAS finally affected my running, and I’m trying to return to running and watch what I eat prior to each run! I sincerely hope that you have a more positive experience as you continue your treatment, and that you find a way to manage/resolve the other health issues. P.S. Love your inspiring instagram feed! Cheers,

  19. I’m about one step behind you on the allergy thing. Ever since moving to California three years ago, my allergies have been awful–enough to give me exercise-induced asthma. My allergist and I have recently decided to start immunotherapy (I’m most allergic to mold, dust mites, and pollen), but I’m waiting until after my Dec. 8 goal race to start. I don’t want a weird reaction right before my race.

    My health insurance sounds similar to yours, I won’t pay anything out of pocket for the nurse visits. Other than a little extra time, it’s basically free, right? :) I’m sure that for both of us it will be worth the extra hassle.

  20. I went through allergy shot therapy for 3 years. In the long run it has definitely helped me but going through it is definitely a drag. I always felt like I spent a lot of wasted time sitting in the doctors office so I can totally sympathize. Hopefully everything that you are doing will start to result in you feeling better.

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  1. […] that’s that. I had no clue that so many people have oral allergy syndrome (like Dorothy). It’s pretty comforting. The thing I wonder about is if I can eat these foods over the […]

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