So, I’ve pretty much been in HELL for the past three months.Here are a few photos of what it looks like when you put braces on someone who has a severe allergy to nickel, chromium, and gold (the photo on the left is my “normal” face):
Imagine waking up every morning with your eyes swollen shut. Imagine your skin burning from the inside out. For a control freak, never knowing when this thing is going to really flare up is crazy making. No amount of Zyrtec or Benadryl seemed to get it under control when it was at its worst. Creams and ointments burned my skin even more.
The day after I had the braces put on my teeth I called my dentist because I noticed my face swelling a bit. No, not possible, nobody is allergic to braces. A week later I had my most severe reaction and ran to my dermatologist. The photo on the bottom was taken in her office.
She put me on a short course of Prednisone and it helped quite a bit but I decided pretty quickly I wouldn’t be able to sustain that type of treatment and come out on the other side weighing less than 400lbs.
One of the worst situations was when I had a flare up during the week of 5th grade Science Camp. I had volunteered to spend the week as a cabin leader and since camp is “my thing” I was pretty excited about it. I began to feel the fatigue set in the day before we left and in the back of my mind I think I knew what was coming on. There seemed to be a pattern. The swelling and burny/itching came shortly after the fatigue set in. This picture on the left was taken in our cabin. The girls I was in charge of were rather horrified by the reaction but we got through the week and it was quite fun.
I kept a photo journal mostly because the doctors I would see never seemed to understand how severe the flare ups were or would say things like, “well, it isn’t possible that you could be allergic to something where the reaction would stop at your neckline. “.
Most days my face and neck were just itchy and burny and the swelling seemed to bekept at bay by continuous doses of Zyrtec in the morning and Benadryl at night. When things flared up I would double up on Bendadryl and just stay in bed sleeping my life away. It was terribly depressing.
After about a month’s time I was desperate and started looking at non-traditional alternatives.
Acupuncture, Chiropractic and NAET treatments. This is definitely a topic for a future post. On this crazy journey I stumbled on NAET, Nambudripad’s Allergy Eliminations Technique, an interesting and controversial method for allergy elimination or as my practitioner called it, “desensitizing”. I won’t go into detail in this post but if you are at all interested you can Google Namudripad’s Allergy Elimination Technique and you’ll find plenty of info. Our family jokes about my “Voodoo” doctor but, while I wasn’t cured, there were some very real benefits from the treatments I did receive. In all, I did a month of acupuncture, NAET and chiro treatments. I started out very skeptical but after seeing the x-rays of my spine and jaw I jumped in and even although my allergy issues were not fully resolved I can say that some of the jaw issues that sent me to braces in the first place have now been resolved. bang. A lot of good things have come out of this painful journey.
Lyme, Lupus, Autoimmune diseases. These are all words that were tossed around by different doctors. Terrifying – I’ll leave it at that.
Patch Testing – Ironically, it was my dermatologist who finally said “enough” and ordered Patch Testing. This was not a fun thing at all. I also had to wait through three weeks of holidays because you have to get the patches on a Monday, checked on a Wednesday and then a final reading on a Friday. So I sucked it up through the holidays and then went off antihistamines one week beforehand and for the week of testing. This was traumatic and terribly uncomfortable but within 48 hours of the patch testing it was pretty clear what I was reacting most severely to. Nickel, Gold and Chromium. HELLO BRACES.
My dentist was pretty surprised. I was not. Several times throughout the past three months I have pointed at the braces and I regret not having been more forceful in my original conviction. Live and learn.
Today I had all of the metal removed from my mouth. I will begin a low nickel diet and will eliminate chromium going forward. I’ll stay away from cheap costume jewelry and Gold… hello Platinum. I hope to feel better soon and with any luck, knowing what I’m allergic to will allow me to become healthier than I have been in years. That would be nice.
I wish I had blogged the entire thing because it’s been a ride. I’ve learned a lot about allergies, the food we put in our bodies, and what it’s like to have people think you are a crazy fucking hypochondriacal lunatic.