So who am I anyway?

me

This is my self portrait.

Although no, I don’t actually own a giraffe and live in a garden full of flowers. And I’m not really heavy but just a slight hundred pounder without pigtails that stand out above my head. And I don’t have blue eyes and I don’t wear jackets with enormous flowers and fish on them. But this is me just the same.

Having a blog like this, where you share a lot of intimate details about your body, can be a bit awkward at times. I haven’t really wanted to share much about myself personally because I’ve wanted to maintain a fair amount of privacy.

I’ve been on the Low Histamine Chef site a million times and have marveled at how open she is to sharing even those intimate details that I’ve only shared in emails with some readers. And I love seeing her and how healthy she looks. It does a lot to promote her work.

I am still not ready to post pictures of myself. But I know there are details I really should share to give you an idea of who I am and what I do to round out the picture. After all, it could be important to know if I keep in shape and if I’m active. Or how big I am and what my lifestyle is. So today I decided to share a little more about myself and still retain an amount or anonymity.

So where to start? Well, I’m 5’3″ and about a hundred pounds wet. I’m always surprised when I see myself in pictures as to how tiny I look. I think of myself as pretty big. But I guess what I lack in physical size I’ve made up for in personality. Not that I’m one of those people who sucks all the oxygen out of the room when they come in kind of personality, but you know I’m there because I’m probably pretty assertive and most definitely opinionated.

I am a high school teacher, an artist, a writer, a pacifist, a sister, a daughter, and an aunt.

Additionally, I like to think of myself as an aging athlete, not professionally mind you, but one who has had some amount of athletics in her life most of the time. I ran distance in high school and played soccer in college. After I graduated, I would say I became a skinny fat person. I didn’t really work out or run anymore but maintained my weight, so I wasn’t really in great shape, but I was still thin. I was a meat eater until 1995 when I became vegetarian. About five years after that I decided to maintain a vegan lifestyle. I still eat some cheese outside of the house but my home is vegan. No animal products are allowed in other than the two cats that roam around.

So back to the skinny fat person…At the time I decided I should get back into shape, about when I was 35, (1997) I was working as a technical writer for a software firm. It had been about 15 years of on and off exercises like step aerobics (I was pitiful at it), rowing machines and stationary bikes, Tai Chi and gosh knows what else, when I decided to join the company’s co-ed indoor soccer league so out to the practice field I went, after not having run for many years.

It’s true what they say about bodies having muscle memory. I started to get back into shape pretty quickly. The only thing that stopped me from continuing with the league was a change in jobs. Oh and the fact that my team of software geeks got into a fist fight with the Remax Reality team on the field. Luckily I was on the sidelines at the time and didn’t get involved any more than having to hold back the wife of one of the players who was getting the tar beat out of him. Her leg was in a cast from a torn ligament from the week before, but I still had to stop her from hopping onto the field to scrap with the boys. But I digress…

Anyway, from there I arbitrarily decided to buy a bike, and have been riding at least once or twice a week ever since (almost every day when I’m off in the summer). Riding overlapped with the yoga I practiced for ten years at an Iyengar studio until a two year bout of frozen shoulder made yoga more painful than fun, so I took up running in its place. I’ve tried to get back to yoga, but I really love to run right now and am thinking of training for a half marathon. So my week consists of at least two or three days running three miles, and one or or two days riding ten, and the occasional kettle bell workout when the spirit moves me. I do some yoga at home, and am trying to get back into it regularly, but just haven’t gotten back to the studio.

So with all that said, now you hopefully get the picture that I am a very fit 52 year old. I look younger than my years thanks to good genes and the fact that I’ve never been married! (just a theory) My high school kids think I look like I’m in my thirties, but they think anyone over twenty-five is old so I don’t put much stock in what they think, although most normal people, high schoolers not counting since they’re hardly normal, think I’m about ten years younger than I am.

The point of this entire explanation is to illustrate that just because I’ve been through the horrors of histamine intolerance, I am still a fit, healthy gal. I was never unhealthy. Even at my worst points last year, I was social, active, and busy. I never missed a day of work and I never miss a good time.

To fill in some of the rest, I am estrogen dominant, am a migraine sufferer, and had awful, mercurial mood swings most of my life. I don’t do drugs but like a drink every now and again, and I’ve never smoked. I eat healthfully and try to stay positive even when I feel like I’m too tired to care about anything. And with menopause…there was a lot of that.

It’s my family history that might show real links to my intolerance. My mother has always had major allergy issues and hives. I’ll never forget the day she came home with her face swollen twice its size from a vacation to Sanibel because she had a reaction to the paba in sunscreen. My sister had a bout of roseacea years ago, and my grandmother (my Mom’s mother) suffered from depression. I bring this up because of the theoretically strong link between histamine intolerance and depression. So family history would tend to make me believe that histamine intolerance lurks in my family tree.

If you’ve read the Low Histamine Chef’s history, which I’m sure many of you have as she is so well known in histamine circles, you’ll read quite a different story. She was sick for years with all kinds of issues. She’d been to all kinds of doctors and spent years trying to figure out what was wrong with her.

But that’s not me. And maybe not you either. I can see the search terms people use to find me, and the majority type in: menopause itching and hives menopause. You’re not ill but you’re certainly confused. You can be as healthy as a horse, as you can see by what I’ve shared, but there is something that’s gone haywire.

So now you know. Menopause set off your histamine intolerance and you landed here. And if you are lucky like me, this too shall pass.

But in the meantime, you know a bit more about me and maybe that will help. You’re not sick, your hormones are just imbalanced. So don’t let it stop you from living life. Learn to control it and don’t let it control you.

See you at the track!

Dale

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Posted in histamine intolerance, menopause, peri-menopause, Women's health
8 comments on “So who am I anyway?
  1. K.K. says:

    Brava, DLB. 😀

    It is brave of you to share so much about yourself on here, and much appreciated.

    It is a pleasure to get to know more about you. Thanks for sharing. 😀

    As a private person, and primarily an introvert, I can relate to how it can be difficult to share certain personal details, and especially on the Internet.

    At the same time, it is how we all learn from each other, realize that even with our unique identities we all have much in common, and how we learn to understand that we are all connected.

    By we, I mean not just on this blog, or on the Internet, but in the world as a whole.

    Having said that, there are many details that I’d like to share, but I’m not quite ready to “bare all.” 😉

    What can I share today? Well, I was surprised to find that you and I are a bit closer in age. I am a few years older than you.

    I thought that perhaps you were in your forties, and had entered menopause on the early side of things.

    I’m not sure why I thought this. Perhaps it is your overall youthful, energetic take on life that comes through in your writing? 🙂

    I just noted that I am a private, mostly introverted person. By mostly an introvert I mean that I long ago trained myself to adapt to being an extrovert as needed. I do enjoy being around people, but also cherish a lot of alone time.

    My weight is not where I want it, but I’m working on it. It’s not from overeating, so I’m addressing other factors, etc.

    For exercise, I recently began qi gong, and so far I love it. I had studied t’ai chi a long time ago, and also was very active in other ways until some other health issues (before low histamine) slowed me down.

    I’m working on those, too, with good progress.

    Meditation, and visualization techniques, work wonders for me.

    There’s more I might share, but this comment is already too long.

    Your artwork is quite good, and is a very unique style. I’d love to see more of it on here, if you are ever inclined to share it.

    Perhaps you might start a second blog to showcase it. 😀

    In the meantime, it’s great to learn more about you.

    Here’s wishing that 2014 is a grand, healthy, happy new year for us all.

    Cheers,

    K.K.

    • Thank you so much for sharing a bit about yourself. I hope more people might take your lead and give us a little insight into who they are.

      Funny enough, over break, I set up a blog for my art but then haven’t gone further with it. I can’t decide exactly what to do with it. I do have links to a novella I wrote a few years ago, so if you’re at all interested you can download the epub or pdf of it.
      http://theartistpeaceproject.wordpress.com

      Let me know if you take a look at it. I shopped it around a few years ago and got great reviews from agents but they didn’t know what to do with it because of it’s length. I guess I could enter it into literary contests but just haven’t pursued it.

      Anyway, as always. I’m very happy to hear from you!

      Dale

      • K.K. says:

        Hi,

        Thanks for the link. I just downloaded your book, and look forward to reading it.

        Your new blog looks good. Is this where at some point we might also find your other art, or is there a third blog for that?

        FYI, when I was here the last time, I could not see the link, which I’m certain is to do with my computer, and not your site.

        Wanting more info, I then went in search of your book online, but did not find it.

        Before writing an e-mail, I first came back here today to ask you for some additional information, and there was the link waiting right where you had left it all along. 😀

        Even though I didn’t share a lot of myself here, it was fun, and I hope others will do the same.

        K.

        If I want to post further about your book, should I send an e-mail, post on the new blog?

      • I actually accidentally left the link to the book off in my reply and went back and fixed it a couple of hours later. You must have looked before I fixed it. Not trying to gaslight you on purpose!

        I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the art blog idea yet. I just haven’t had a moment to think about it. You can drop me an email if you’d like to let me know what you thought of the book. Or even post it here.

        I’m just glad someone wants to read it!

  2. Anne B says:

    Hello Dale,

    Last summer I found your blog and thought I’d hit the lottery. But first, let me tell you what came before. For two years, I’d had accelerating symptoms that revolved primarily around food intolerances. However, things got very bad when anything would set off my skin and then ultimately, my eyes. I’d get lesions under my top eyelids, and my eyes would swell as if I’d been hit in the face. My face would have red patches all over as well. This was when I tried to get help from MDs. Up to that point, I’d just been trying to work through on my own with supplements and avoiding foods that obviously triggered symptoms.

    So..early last summer 2013, I had just discovered this condition called HIT and had found all the journal articles and the seeming best scientific sources available. I had full allergy testing and nothing showed up. However, the only reaction I had of all the 140 items tested was to the histamine control. I had 3x the normal wheal size develop, and when I asked the MD about it, she said it was nothing. The allergist wasn’t interested in hearing about HIT and referred me to a an immunology medical specialist in a teaching hospital, who was supposed to be the answer to my prayers.

    I was so thankful that I’d finally discovered what all these symptoms were about, after 2 years of misery and complete confusion about what was going on in my body and couldn’t wait to talk with the specialist about this. I was sure he would know about HIT. I took all my literature to the MD, and he was open to reading about it and admitted he hadn’t heard of it. He tested my trypsin levels and upon my return, the MD said, “Nope, you don’t have issues with your mast cells, but you do have histamine build-up, that’s for sure. Here’s a script for fexofenidine and eat low histamine. Since there’s not enough data to back up this so-called “histamine intolerance” condition, that’s all I can do for you. See ya.”

    Talk about devastation…I spent the summer trying to live on ultra-fresh meat, apples, vegetables, and almonds. Then in the fall, I had an ‘aha’ moment. Histamine Intolerance was not the problem. It was just ONE MORE symptom. I decided I needed help, that I couldn’t do this alone any more. I have always been very much into caring for myself with supplements, organic eating, exercise, and avoiding OTC medications as well as prescription medicine. So I decided to go to an N.D. and I lucked out when I found her.

    She spent 45 minutes, without interruption, listening to me tell her of my symptoms, and the first thing she asked was, “Have you been tested for the MTHFR gene mutation?” Huh? No…what’s that, I asked her.

    Well, Dale, if you haven’t heard of it, you might want to look into it. Anyone with HIT might want to consider testing for it. Indeed, I did have the mutation, and lucky me, I got one mutated gene from each of my parents. Without going into detail, the mutation prevents the body from breaking down and absorbing some of the B vitamins and over time wreaks havoc with many areas of the body. I can understand now, why at age 46, I had breast cancer. I was thin, had been raised by an RN who believed nutrition was the key to good health. I continued eating very well all my life. I never smoked, drank little, exercised regularly, led a relatively low-stress life. I was so not the poster child for BC that the medical team treating me decided to test me for the BRCA mutation, despite my not falling into any of the categories for having that particular mutation. Everyone was confounded.

    In any case, since taking methylated Bs and other specific supplements, I’ve improved dramatically. I am utterly amazed at my improvement; however, I still have a long way to go. I’ve recently had a set back because the balance of Bs with some people is extremely sensitive and it appears I’m one of those people. Still, until two weeks ago, I was in awe of how much my histamine reactions had subsided. I had started to eat many foods again, histamine foods, and I was elated. But then we decided that if this was good, perhaps a little more B12 might be worth a try, and now I’ve reverted back about 2 months worth of improvement.

    The symptoms of MTHFR mutation are similar to HIT and also explain why up until I was about 50 (I’m 53 now), I’d just thought I was a tad sensitive at times. I see now that many things I considered normal were not, but they didn’t affect my quality of life, so I lived with them. And since I ate so well and was so healthy, I believe my body was able to deal with things without extreme reactions that someone living a less healthy lifestyle might have experienced. But at 50, when things start going in strange directions, my body could no longer cope. That’s my theory.

    Here are a few links if interested. This is cutting edge medicine. It’s straight out of research labs, genetic medicine, so many MDs don’t know about this, either. But it’s quickly coming into the mainstream. It’s not uncommon, although some have it worse than others depending on which gene (there are two) and if you get a mutated gene from both parents or only one. I wish you the best of health! I’m really glad you shared your bio. When I first read this blog, I knew I was hearing words of wisdom from someone I’d probably connect with in real life. I’m delighted to “get to know you” now! I, too, am/was a teacher, teaching college English. I’m moving back into publishing, where I was before I attended grad school. Now I want to just read, read, read… Again, the best of health to you!

    The links are very accessible. If you want something more technical, it won’t be hard to find. Most anything by Ben Lynch is quite good. Amy Yasko is good but a bit strident in approach.

    http://mthfrliving.com/about-mthfr-living/

    http://holisticprimarycare.net/topics/topics-a-g/functional-medicine/1353-mthfr-mutation-a-missing-piece-in-the-chronic-disease-puzzle

    • Thank you so much for taking the time to tell your story. I have heard about the MTHFR mutation. I’ve never been tested because once I managed to get my intolerance under control I didn’t pursue that kind of testing.

      But you do bring up an important point and I am grateful for that. I’m sure there are other women who have shown up on this site who can really benefit from knowing that this could be the reason for their problems.

      I always warn readers about getting too much of the B vitamins. I even stopped supplementing with nutritional yeast because it has 400 percent of the daily need of B’s.

      So you’re in publishing huh? I can always tell when a writer visits! Maybe we should publish a book on histamine intolerance.

      Thanks again for visiting and providing a great deal of important information. I look forward to hearing from you.

      Dale

  3. K.K. says:

    Hi Dale,

    A quick note to say how much I am enjoying your book, and that I will write more later.

    Thanks so much for sharing it here. 🙂

    Hi Anne B.,

    Thanks for sharing your story here. 🙂

    Wishes of perfect wellness to all,

    K.K.

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