I never really thought much about allergies. Some of my friends would report sneezing and snuffling moments suffered at the start of Spring and Autumn and on certain windy days. Words such as Hay Fever and Benadryl appeared in conversation. I sympathized for their discomfort, yet thankful that the change in seasons brought no such symptoms to me. Then a few years ago I began to experience painful cramps after certain meals, and quite a bit of distress processing certain foods. Experimenting a bit with diet and researching the experiences of others online, I was able to isolate the problems to foods containing dairy products. Milk allergies and lactose intolerance attributed symptoms very similar to my own. I removed dairy from my diet and within just a few weeks I began to feel a lot better. The symptoms were gone. I had a food allergy now. I guess that meant I’d have to check a box or two on any pre-existing condition forms when filling out paperwork at the doctor’s office.

It was a few years ago that I started to notice symptoms again, this time new. I couldn’t find a direct relationship between a particular food and the reactions I was experiencing. I had also read about the Paleo diet and decided to give it a try, if for no other reason than to alleviate some of the new symptoms. At first all was well, but adhering strictly to a diet such as Paleo is tough, and before long I was straying away on such a regular basis that the symptoms returned and I was unable to discern which foods or activities were responsible. I determined that I should probably talk to an allergist. I then procrastinated.

This last weekend I started to notice a big red spot on my forehead. It started out looking like a pimple, which I attributed to stress at work. However, as the weekend progressed it began to grow and turn increasingly red and angry. Then it brought a few friends. Meaghan identified that they were most likely hives, swollen areas highly indicative of an allergic reaction. My procrastination stopped. Tomorrow I meet with an allergist to try to determine the truth behind the odd reactions I’m experiencing.

The research I’ve done online seems to suggest a caffeine allergy. I started drinking caffeine again about two weeks ago and the symptoms are consistent with a small percentage of the population who are unable to break down caffeine properly. I’m looking forward to getting some answers from the allergist though. I’ve been speculating for far too long.

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