Why do I have eczema?
I’m not shaking my fist at the heavens screaming “Whyyyyy?” I know there’s something up with my skin’s inability to get drunk on moisture because it doesn’t want to wake up mysteriously next to random strangers… or something like that. While I can’t control my body’s components I’m sure I can control the reactions. Much like a Kardashian acting out for attention, my skin is causing problems because it wants to be treated in a way I haven’t provided. So instead of just slapping on more steroid cream as a temporary solution, I wanted to get to the source of these issues.
Ever taken an allergy test? It’s not scary at all. I totally recommend getting one because it’ll give some insight into what crazy items your body decided to hate instead of guessing. Why don’t they have something like this for relationships? For one week I was poked, scratched, and marked by an allergist. Using three different methods I was tested for food, environmental, and contact allergies.
GLUTEN TEST – BLOOD WORK
Nobody was clear on whether I needed to fast for ten hours prior. As a precaution I scheduled my testing as early as possible so I could just skip breakfast and go straight to the labs. All I had to do was give the staff two small vials of blood for them to test. Since the blood couldn’t be tested right there it took more than a week for me to receive results… and my last blog post mourns the results.
FOOD ALLERGIES – SCRATCH TEST
My mind ran wild imagining my arm looking like some nightmare pin cushion. This was made worse when the nurse entered my room with a cart stuffed with tiny bottles—it seemed like 100 bottles– each representing a food to test.
My fear was absolutely silly. After marking my arm to create reference points, one drop from each bottle was placed on my arm. Once my arm looked like human Candy Dots, the nurse took a short needle and very shallowly pricked my skin through each liquid dot. Ten minutes later I could see the skin under some dots begin to swell. Using a guide the nurse could pinpoint which food caused the reaction as well as measure the severity of my allergy.
ENVIRONMENTAL ALLERGIES – SCRATCH TEST
This test was performed in the same way as the food allergies test. Thank goodness this was done on the 2nd day of testing and not at the same time as the food test because my arms needed a rest from getting pricked. This scratch test was to see my sensitivity to things I breathe in such as dust mites, various pollen, critters and building materials.
COMPONENTS ALLERGY – PATCH TEST
Components of… like… the stuff my skin touches. The Patch Test took three days to complete and became a real test of self-control. A large thin, paper-like material was taped to my back where I was ordered not to wet or disturb it for a couple days… and no scratching it!
After a couple nights of the most frugal showers in shower history, the allergist removed the paper which somehow magically told him what materials my skin didn’t like. I couldn’t see—it was on my back. The Patch Test took the longest to complete out of all the tests because a third day is needed to read the results in case there’s any delayed reactions.
PRICKLED ABOUT THE RESULTS
So that’s how I became a human testing project. Tests can vary between doctors; my sister’s food allergy tests relied completely on blood work alone.
I’m glad I had these tests done instead of blindly attempting cures without knowing whether they were helping or hurting. Several results surprised me. For months I had substituted all dairy products with Soy or Coconut… and my tests revealed I wasn’t allergic to dairy BUT I had mild allergies to Soy and Coconut. (Side note: you can still be INTOLERANT to dairy but not allergic)
Soy… gluten… Adieu for now. I’m going as cold turkey as possible on foods I’m allergic to and making changes to my studio home to ease my environmental allergies. These changes aren’t easy and definitely cost a bit of money, but to take care of my skin (and therefore my sanity) I’ll work on it. Keep me in your prayers as I try to throw some deuces up to eczema.