On December 14, 2016, my husband and I went out to eat at a friend's restaurant in celebration of my husband's birthday. On the way home, after enjoying a wonderful meal, I noticed some intense itching just above my right knee. There were three or four little red dots and the intense itch was driving me cRaZy! After a while, they stopped itching and I thought no more about it.
That is...until a couple of weeks later when my husband and I were eating lunch at Subway and the same thing happened, but this time there were more red dots and the itching was even more intense! My lips felt swollen and I was having trouble swallowing. What in the world??? 😨
To make a very long story short, this event kept repeating itself and each time it got worse and worse until, finally, after a full year of growing intensity of symptoms, and, usually happening when eating out, but not always, I ended up in an emergency room with anaphylactic shock. I was covered in red dots and couldn't breathe. My blood pressure was sky-high and my heart rate was beating at over 200 beats per minute. The doctor didn't know how I made it there alive. He said that I "should have dropped" right where I was.
Praise God for His mercy, grace and protection! Praise God that I was in less than two minutes of a hospital! And praise God that when I arrived the folks there had sense enough to know what was happening and take immediate action! They didn't even check me in or ask any questions. (I couldn't have answered them if they did.) They just rushed me in and started stabbing needles into me. It was a very, VERY scary experience, to say the least. I left the hospital with medicine, instructions, and a prescription for an epipen. My heart hurt, and it was messed up and out of rhythm for several months, but, praise God! It's returning to normal.
My regular doctor didn't know what to think, so she sent me to an allergist in Springfield. The common denominator in every single attack had been vinegar...salsa, salad dressing, any meat soaked in an "acidic solution" (code word for vinegar) and the list goes on and on. The thing that landed me in the hospital in anaphylactic shock was half a package of Taco Bell taco sauce! Frightening! Vinegar is what I believed to be the problem, but the allergist didn't think so. She said that "nobody is allergic to vinegar." She ran a battery of tests...for everything BUT vinegar...and came up with nothing. Imagine that! 😏
I was done. I took the situation to the Lord in prayer and said, "Lord, Your Word says that the Holy Spirit will guide us unto all truth..." and I asked Him to show me the way. Thoughts came to mind and I acted on them by researching. Within a few days I had what I believed to be the answer to what was going on and, when I contacted my doctor, she agreed that I might very well be on to something and we made a plan of action.
This all sounds complicated, I know, and it's just in bits and pieces, so I hope it makes sense, but what I still believe was going on was a chain reaction and the result of several factors.
So, here goes...
I believe the problem started with taking too much Vitamin A.
"WHAT???" 😲 (I know. I can hear you now and I know that this is a long post, but, please, just bear with me.)
I used to have really bad night vision, so years ago I started taking Vitamin A daily. For years and years and years...I took Vitamin A AND fish oil AND a women's once-a-day multi-vitamin (which had 100% of the daily requirement of Vitamin A in it) AND I started eating healthier, which included adding a lot of deep-yellow vegetables...pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, etc. to my diet. Have you ever heard that saying about even having too much of a good thing can be bad for you? Well...I'm sure that's what was happening! 😔
As I prayed and researched, I realized that some other things that I had going on (bright red, itchy palms, a ridiculous red line around the middle of my neck, abnormally dry skin), in addition to the sudden onset of food allergies, were all symptoms of liver toxicity. One of the biggest culprits in causing liver toxicity is a build up of Vitamin A in the liver (what your body doesn't use, it stores in the liver and, once the liver can't handle anymore, other things start happening). All of a sudden this was all making sense. 😲
I contacted my doctor, told her my findings, and what I thought. Then, I asked her what she thought and she said that I very well could be on to something, so we planned further.
I was to immediately stop taking the Vitamin A AND the fish oil AND the multi-vitamin and just get my Vitamin A naturally through food and I wasn't to eat any foods with vinegar in them...and, sadly, there's vinegar in EVERYTHING! She also wanted to do some lab work to check my liver enzymes.
After extensive blood work, my doctor discovered that my liver enzymes were okay, but my TSH levels were off the charts! WHAT!??? 😟 She wanted to put me on a thyroid pill immediately. I said, "No, let's just hang on." I wanted to do more than treat the symptoms. I wanted to get to the root of the problem and fix it. I returned to the Lord in prayer, again asking Him to guide me unto all truth.
My oldest daughter, who happens to be a master herbalist, had joined me in prayer over these things and, one day as we were discussing the possibilities, she asked me what other changes had I made? Had I done something different with my progesterone cream? What about the fact that I'd done away with iodized salt years ago? After doing more research we found that all these things effect the thyroid and, yes, there had been BIG changes made in the area of progesterone usage (due to my lack of attention in product changes I was only getting a fraction of the progesterone that I had previously been getting) and lack of iodine was a biggie!
Back to the doctor I went with my new findings and we further strategized our plan. Continue on the no Vitamin A, other than what I could get naturally from food, eat nothing with vinegar in it, get back on regular schedule of good progesterone cream, and, either go back to iodized salt, or add kelp tablets to my diet. I chose the kelp. I also started taking dandelion root as a liver cleanser. I would return to the doctor every three months to have TSH levels checked.
Within a couple of weeks the red, itchy palms were gone! Within a month the red line around my neck was getting lighter and I was really starting to feel better...more normal than I had in a long time! I was so thankful!
For the past year I haven't eaten out nearly as much as I used to and, when I have, up until recently, I have only eaten plain cheeseburgers and fries or baked potato. Not the healthiest choice, I know, but many of the deli meats, and even chicken, is loaded with vinegar and there's no way of knowing which ones are safe and which ones aren't. The allergist in Springfield actually told me, "Usually Subway is the healthiest place to eat, but, for you, it could be deadly. Stay away from it!" and I have. 😭
As I have returned to the doctor each time, the TSH levels are coming down and will soon be back within a normal range AND, as of lately, I have been able to add a little mustard or Miracle Whip to sandwiches and things without incident. I've even went so far recently as to have a BLT at Mary's up town and a McChicken sandwich at McDonald's with no. problems. whatsoever! Praise the Lord! I cannot tell you how happy this makes me! 😁
Oh! And I wanted to add...the reason I think that the food allergy happened with vinegar is because, I had really been overdoing it in the making of Good Girl Moon Shine. It wasn't the vinegar that was the problem, but the allergy to it developed because of the liver toxicity caused from taking too much Vitamin A. Like I said, it's all connected and it, like, everything else goes back to scripture...moderation is key in all things and me? I always seem to be all or nothing...doing everything to an extreme...but I'm working on it! 😉
As of next month (December 14, 2018), it will have been two years since this ordeal started. It was a year ago September 11th that I ended up in ER with anaphylactic shock, and in December (don't remember the exact date) it will have been a full year since my last reaction of any kind AT ALL! Praise the Lord!
There's so much more to this story that I could share, but these are the highlights. Praise the Lord for health, healing, for His loving had of protection, for Holy Spirit guidance, and for His ability and willingness to lead us unto all truth! Praise the wonderful name of the Lord! 💗
Until next time,