May 17-23 is National Eosinophil Awareness Week, so I thought I would tell you a bit about what I have.
My journey started with food getting stuck in my throat. It would cause this painful discomfort as I try to swallow food, it happened from time to time, but I blew it off because it was more discomfort than life threatening. I figured it was just heartburn or something. Well, one day my husband and myself were at this fancy fundraiser having a nice dinner, and I had this sensation that I was choking, but oddly I could still breath. I went to the bathroom and tried to throw up or swallow the piece of steak that was stuck, and it just wouldn't budge. About after 15 mins (well ok it may have only been 5-10) I was able to toss it up but wow what a way to kill my makeup for the night, my eyes were watering and I was sweating so bad trying to figure out what was going on. So not fun when you are wearing a nice ball gown! So the following Monday I made a doctor appointment, it was with a GP doc, so he quickly turned me over to a GI doc. After an appointment and endoscopy/biopsy they determined I had EoE and GERD... kindly the doc wrote down what I had because even after he said it 2 times I still wasn't sure what the heck he was saying.
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is an allergic inflammatory disease characterized by elevated eosinophils in the esophagus. Basically, your body attacks itself. In my case, my esophagus is forming rings and closing itself.Now I should also mention there were a few more symptoms developing up to this point too. I always just chalked them up to being a working mom of 2 kids (one with special needs) and knew I wasn't eating the best I could along with some life stress mixed in. I was fatigued, I woke up many mornings feeling nauseous, I had more than average bouts of diarrhea and I was having a hard time getting along with life in general. I remember one work trip where I had to excuse myself from our morning team meeting to go throw up, I can't even image what my client thought of me. I'm pretty sure she thought I was out drinking and parting all night, yea that was an embarrassing time of my life. At the time, I didn't know EoE so I couldn't even explain why I was this way. On a different occasion we went out for my sister's birthday, and I offered to be the designed driver. Well thankfully sis didn't drink much because I was so sick I couldn't drive home and she even had to pull over on the expressway so I could up-chuck the popcorn I had eaten. How ironic right, the designed driver is the one that has to throw up on the side of the road... we still joke around that story from time to time.
After I had received news of the EoE diagnosis, I was referred to an allergist. EoE is usually caused by food allergies, so now it was time to try and figure out what those were. So the results came back... allergic to wheat, soy, beef, dairy, and sesame. WAIT what??? I have been eating these items all my life, and NOW I was allergic to them (I was 36 when I found this out). It wasn't making sense to me. But as I have learned this disease doesn't make much sense. I was sent home with a few pamphlets, an epi-pen, inhaler and a prescription to Lansoprazole.
So here I was, having to learn to eat all over again. I challenge you to find many foods in a grocery store without wheat, soy or dairy. The only way you can is by choosing whole foods, and that is what I had to do. There are no more meal short cuts, no going through the drive thru anymore. Nope, everything had to be made from scratch. I will admit it I HATED it at first, everything was so foreign and frustrating to me. I was learning all these new 'alternative' flours that I have never heard of in my life. But the learning has paid off. My health has improved and I feel so much better than I did a few years ago. I used to get colds almost every week during the winter season and this past winter I think I only had 1 bout of the sniffles.
Read more here....