After seeing an allergist that had cared for me when I was a kid and dealing with the same issues, at my general practioner's urging, I was left with a similar diagnosis that I was given as a teenager: STOP BEING SO EMOTIONAL, MEAGHAN. I kind of felt like Dr. V, my GP, was literally exasperated and kind of wanted him to slam his head into the wall with me as we explored the reasons why all of this was happening. The year prior, he helped me navigate the reasons why I couldn't breathe. This year he couldn't even help me feel normal in my own body. Hives are unlike any beast you could encounter in a fairy tale or in a dark and twisty alley. They're sneaky, invasive and evasive. There wasn't anything I could do to fix things.
Apparently, the connection between my dairy and almond allergy and my hives was psychosomatic. As it turns out, the nurse practitioner overstated my blood test results. I wasn't allergic to either. At all. I've been dairy and almond free for a YEAR for no good reason. Humph. I have a whole host of other things wrong with me, but again, no reason for the hives. while people around me are throwing their fists into the air rejoicing my new-found freedom, I'm stumped. Still, even after some cheese!
I haven't had hives since late summer 2008, which is awesome. But according to my internal clock and my allergist, I can expect them again. I have chronic idiopathic urticaria. There is no known cause or cure and I can expect flare ups randomly throughout the rest of my life. Why are our bodies so weird? What is the evolutionary purpose of having something happen to you for no known reason? Do I live in fear of another flare up or do I just continue on hoping I forget about them and that the forgetfulness will be some sort of psychological cure on its own? Is this psychological? Hormonal? There are so many questions that are completely unanswerable.
Also, as it turns out, I don't have any allergies. At all; not a one. But my body interacts with the world as though I do have allergies. I know there are a lot of skeptics in this world, especially as it relates to medicine. And I can't send you all to my allergist, but I can recommend something, I think:
Find a physician who trusts you to trust yourself. Don't diagnose yourself with anything without consulting a physician. Don't trust their diagnosis without asking a number of questions. Whether you're concerned about springtime allergies or a strange rash in your armpits, sometimes the solution is not only removing that which irritates your body. Often, knowing why your body does what it does can help you interact with the world in a better way. Allergy testing is covered by most insurance companies and is really a worthwhile test to have done.As it turns out, my allergist is keeping me on many of the prescriptions I've been taking for the past year. He's adding a steroid nose spray because my nasal passages are smaller than a child's (see, weird stuff I didn't know until he attempted to perform a rhinoscopy!) and a fierce anti-biotic to eliminate a sinus infection in three of my four sets of sinus cavities...including the one in my brain (yes, there's one there, too)...as revealed by the CT-scan he performed. Oh, and he also prescribed a cup of vanilla yogurt with almonds on top because "[I] deserve it".