There was an itch. It was just a little itch on my back under my left shoulder blade. I’d strain to get at it but never thought much of it. But it was a strange little itch. No matter how much I rubbed or scratched, it never seemed to go away. There was nothing visibly there on my skin. But no matter, it was annoying. I’m not sure when it even started. Maybe September or October of 2012? It was just an innocuous little bothersome itch…right?
Well that little itch that I hadn’t ever really thought about until now turned out to be the precursor to a blazing, torturous case of histamine intolerance. It would be at least another two months before I self-diagnosed what my problem was, (which seems to be miraculously quick compared to others who have written to me) and another few months before I got the raging fire under control.
But I am here to tell you, a year later, that I am living a normal life (whatever that is…) without the suicide thought-inducing itching or the horrifying realization that I might never eat a normal meal again.
I don’t think the intolerance is gone, however. I think it’s under control. When I eat very badly, which if you’ve read this blog regularly you know I do, it rears its ugly head. And I have toyed with stopping all of my supplements, but have gotten only about five days before I started to see hives on my legs and feel the twinge of that arm itch that scares me more than spiders…and nothing scares me more than spiders…and I go back on my regimen.
I still do not take hot showers but instead take a quick bath, and I do not use a razor but use an electric shaver. I rarely eat chocolate, still won’t touch a beer with a ten foot poll, and look sideways at cauliflower avocado, and spinach, but will eat them if I am over someone’s house. I eat an apple almost every day but eat much less butternut squash, mainly because I was living off of it for so long I think I finally got sick of it. I also eat broccoli by the head!
I must confess to eating a tortilla chip here and there and my mother’s chocolate chip cookies, but I don’t actually really want to. I’m weak around those things and will eat them in my folks’ house but never buy that kind of stuff and won’t bring it into my home. The minute something comes into the house, my willpower goes out the door!
I am such a food label reader that it takes me ten minutes to decide if I can buy a product in a jar or a box. I love relishes and condiments, but they all must be vetted first. Crackers, bread, pasta…anything processed that I might want once in a while must be investigated fully. The bulk of my diet is fruit and vegetables, but I do like a pasta dish every now and again.
The holidays were an interesting time to have to navigate through, but I just use my fall back line when someone insists I try something: “I’m sorry but I am allergic.” I have met some pretty persistent people who want to know all about why I am allergic to chocolate, but I really try to avoid the complex explanation. And I have eaten many things over the course of the the year to avoid conversation and to not hurt someone’s feelings. (Recently I ate a cauliflower dish just so I wouldn’t hurt my friend’s feelings. Cauliflower used to be horrible for me even though it’s safe for most people. The good news is nothing happened.)
I honestly think I’m through the worst of it now, and hopefully as I continue to heal histamine intolerance will be just a painful memory. It’s as if I’m driving away from an accident but I can still see it in my rear view mirror. There’s really not a day that goes by, even now without any symptoms, that I don’t think about it.
So at this time last year, I itched uncontrollably, suffered from insomnia and night sweats, and had no idea why my body was seemingly attacking itself. And now I am itch free, sleep well, and have a handle on the hot flashes. I am not quite through to that magic year that would indicate I’ve made it to, or through, (never quite sure because the terminology seems to shift depending on what you read) menopause, but I know I’m close. And for all I know that’s what’s really made the intolerance leave out the back door.
There’s still so much to understand. Someone suggested in a comment that when menopause starts your estrogen spikes, which makes sense to me now because now that I’m nearing the end of my cycle permanently estrogen would be at its lowest and so went the intolerance with it. So even with all my theories about adrenal fatigue and cortisol levels, about omega 6’s and every other thing I’ve researched, was it just that the estrogen spike triggered such a hormonal imbalance that the result was histamine intolerance? Than the supplements only managed it all until the estrogen fell low enough that my body regained its balance? As I’ve often said, it’s probably not just one thing.
Whatever the cause, I am sure that it was entering this transition in life that triggered the histamine intolerance and that the name of the blog, though wordy, is still is accurate.
Every week I get at least one email from a woman either thanking me for this blog or sharing her story and asking for advice. I’m almost to twenty thousand hits, and am grateful every day for my readers and those of you who participate in the discussion. There’s so much good writing and information on here, and it certainly isn’t all mine. So thank you to you all!
Even though I’m itch free, there’s still so much more I want to write about. I’m working on a couple of posts: one about raisens, boron, and hot flashes, and one answering my most asked question, “now that I think I’m histamine intolerant, what do I do and where do I start?”
In the meantime, here’s wishing all of you a very happy, healthy new year. And as I always say, hang in the ladies. If I could whip it you can too!