Thursday, February 7, 2013

All Hell Breaks Loose

After a month on the GAPS Diet, all hell broke loose (as you may have guessed from the title).

What exactly happened?

I'm not 100% sure (I'm, maybe, 99.999% sure), but I believe I have something called Histamine Intolerance (HIT).

You see, your body naturally creates histamine as part of its immune defense mechanisms - histamine is what makes your eyes and ears itch and your nose run when you have seasonal allergies. And lots of foods have histamine in them - tomatoes, avocados, raspberries, strawberries, meat and poultry and fish. Pretty much anything yummy has histamine in it.

Humans naturally create an enzyme called DAO to break down the histamine in the system - both histamine created by the body when exposed to low levels of allergens, and histamine we ingest every time we have a glass of champagne with a strawberry stuck in it (which I do daily, of course. No, not really).

So, two weeks ago - 4 weeks into my GAPS Adventure - I broke out in hives, my eyes were itching, and I was having trouble breathing. Not ohmyGodIhavetogototheERnow trouble breathing, but like I had a really bad chest cold.

In the past two weeks, I've had 3 days where that wasn't the case.

I should buy stock in whoever makes Benadryl, the way I've been going through it.

My amazing big sister sent me a link on Day 2 of my "histamine crisis" (that's the technical term for it. Yes, really), and said, "This sounds like what happened to you over Christmas," little knowing that it was happening to me at that moment, as well. It was a link to an article on histamine intolerance, and I immediately cried, "Hallelujah!" because I'd found the answer to my prayers!

Sort of.

I emailed my internist and asked her if she thought I might have histamine intolerance (since I was pretty much the poster child for the main symptoms), and she said, "What's histamine intolerance? Maybe you're just having a food allergy?"

Blargh. Yes, I am suddenly allergic to everything in the world.

The more research I did into HIT, the more I realized that the newfangled diet I was following might have been the source of the problem. You see, as part of my GAPS Diet, I'd been consuming large quantities of meat, and meat broth, and yog(h)urt. All of which have very high levels of histamine.


Essentially, my GAPS Diet may have caused my histamine intolerance (which predated starting the diet, but I'd only had one previous "histamine crisis") to flare up.

For the past week, I've been subsisting on plain white rice, apples with almond butter, and occasional vegetables. The only thing that doesn't cause flare-ups is the plain white rice, though, so I'm still popping Benadryl every 6 hours and feeling like crud.

The good news is that I have an appointment, tomorrow (Friday), with an intake specialist at a center in The Woodlands that treats people with digestive and immune disorders that most doctors have never even heard about (and most of the doctors to whom I've spoken think I'm crazy when I tell them I reduced my number of migraines by giving up gluten and dairy, and that my Reynaud's Syndrome got better after I cut out gluten and dairy).

I sent in an email query to the center, and ten minutes later received a phone call.

How many times does a doctor's office get back to you within the same day, let alone within the same hour?

AND THEN they said they wanted me to come in tomorrow. So I'm going in.
I'm hopeful, but not too hopeful. I've been down so many different paths, each without really resolving my health issues, that I just don't want to get too excited only to be let down in 6 months when everything goes to hell again.