Last week was Thanksgiving and my husband and I were very excited to celebrate with a few friends in our new home. We had prepared all the traditional Thanksgiving regulars and we even decided to make them all gluten and dairy free, with the exception of Derek’s famous green bean casserole, which I would stay far away from!
You see, in the past eating gluten would lead to severe rashes and a belly ache, and dairy would lead to rashes and an anaphylactic reaction. Needless to say, I stayed far away from both, carrying my Epipen with me just in case. Even the smallest amount of dairy dropped on my skin would create rashes.
I remember one year when our daughter had a ‘friend’ over for dinner. I had made tacos for everyone and evidently did not wash my hands thoroughly enough after adding cheese to their tacos. As we sat down to eat, the young man said, “excuse me Cindy, are you ok?”. I had not felt it yet, but my face was breaking out in welts all over, as I must have touched my face with some residual cheese on my fingers. This is just one of many examples of situations that occurred over the past 36 years.
Several times throughout my life I would accidentally consume a small amount of dairy. In a way I was lucky because the reaction would start so quickly, I would catch it within a bite or two, and before my airways would close completely. I learned to quickly take a Benedryl and drink 4-5 glasses of water to flush it out of my system. It would usually take me down for the day or night, but only twice did I end up actually needing to go to the hospital because of my quick response and the small amount that I would usually consume before a reaction would occur.
Back to Thanksgiving. One of our guests had brought a yam dish. I had heard someone say it was dairy free, so I was very excited to enjoy some of his dish. In fact, it was so good, I enjoyed a lot of it! We figured at least a cup or more. Well, about half way through dinner, and after I had finished all the yams on my plate, I started to feel my mouth itch, which is the first sign of a food-related allergic reaction for me. I was pretty puzzled because I had eaten quite a bit of everything on my plate. I began to ask around and found out that the yams I had eaten were made with butter! The dairy free yams were in another pot that I did not know about. Yikes!
My initial reaction was to panic and grab my Epipen. Since I had eaten so much of the yams, I was actually quite nervous! All my old thought patterns popped back into my head.
“I should have double checked with the guests.”
“There goes my Thanksgiving night.”
“So much for feeling good today.”
Yada, yada, yada… Until…
I stopped and listened to my body. That was when I realized that my airways were not being effected. I could still breath normally! My voice was slightly scratchy, but not bad, and losing my voice was usually the first step to the anaphylactic reaction. I quickly changed my self talk and focused on knowing that my body knew exactly how to handle this. I had taken the Benedryl immediately due to habit, yet I also realized that the reaction was already subsiding after drinking just one glass of water. Drinking one more – just in case – I felt very full, but was able to go about my Thanksgiving night joyfully!
I was so excited to see how my body reacted so quickly and took care of the allergic reaction with such ease. I couldn help but think of how this was such a beautiful sign that everything I was doing was working! I was even wonderfully surprised about how safe I felt, once I got over my initial panic. I can thank the Phych-K treatment for that, as it really did help me in my belief that I am safe in this world. Even just writing this about this incident makes me want to get up and do the happy dance!!!!!
Rob had given me the best Thanksgiving gift ever, as I learned that I am no longer as allergic to dairy. I received the gift of knowing that all the treatments, all the hard work, all the crazy amazing steps I am taking to heal, are helping in more ways than I had even imagined. That night I knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that I will one day very soon be completely free of all my allergies.
That Thanksgiving night I realized that my perseverance, my strong will, my commitment to being whole, and my positive attitude were really paying off! In the past, when I would struggle, I would often allow myself to feel my feelings, then I would take a deep breath and say “ok Cindy, it’s time to keep on, keepin’ on”, and that night I realized that I truly was moving forward (AKA keepin’ on) in this journey; that my warrior attitude is helping me rock a whole new life that is about to be birthed! That Thanksgiving night I thanked myself for being awesome!
I will always be grateful for Thanksgiving 2019 – the year of the accidental allergic reaction – because it is also the Thanksgiving that I truly began to appreciate the warrior spirit within me!
When was the last time you thanked yourself for being awesome? When was the last time you spent a few minutes acknowledging the warrior spirit within you?