Twice Bitten 

I moved to LA in early December, 2014.  Soon after moving here,
I experienced a decline in my health.  I have always managed 
my own health and use natural remedies to overcome any problems.
I could not seem to overcome this issue.  
Every week or so, almost 24 hours after eating, I would experience
massive swelling on my body, almost never in the same place twice.
Sometimes it would be my entire face, sometimes my arms,
sometimes just my hand.  I experienced pain and itching in those areas.
These symptoms are not considered typical of a food allergy
which show up within minutes of eating.
I really didn't know what was wrong with me and 
what was causing me to swell.  It seemed indiscriminate.
I had been experiencing these symptoms since at least 2012-
I remember getting an epi pen in case of emergency during that time.

When I first moved to LA, I was still in school 
at The Savannah College of Art and Design.  
I was enrolled in the Design Management Masters eLearning program.
The program was all consuming-
All of my waking moments were spent on my work. 
I didn't know anyone here to begin with
and very rarely went out, so I never met anyone new.

In February of 2015, my symptoms escalated.  
It was then that I decided to quit sugar.
 I had always had too much of a sweet tooth and thought maybe that was the culprit.
(At this point, I had already quit caffeine and carbs and was not 
really into anything salty).  
From that point, I stuck to eating what was considered a healthy diet.
(avocados, nuts, vegetables, meats, cheeses)
For a while, quitting sugar seemed to make a difference, 
but then my symptoms escalated again.  
It seemed like there was no rhyme or reason for when they would appear.
I lost a ton of weight and no matter how much I ate, 
I could not keep it on

One day, I was coming downstairs from my loft 
and I collapsed in a heap on the floor. 
I was terrified, because I couldn't get up.
I thought I was going to die,
and I knew that no one would know, 
because I knew no one.

There was no one I could call to come help me.

All I could do was lie there.
After a couple of hours, I was able to get up.

 I finally realized that sugar was not the culprit.
 I Googled my symptoms and came across an article by 
a woman whose story was an extreme version of mine.
The difference was the she had gone to 68 doctors in 20 years
and had been misdiagnosed with everything under the sun
(click HERE for her story)

Finally I understood.  I had developed a histamine intolerance.
Everything I was eating, though healthy foods for the majority of the population,
was high histamine.  So when I reached the point of oversaturation
of histamine, the symptoms occurred.  This is why I could never pinpoint
what the triggers were and could never predict when I would have an episode.  

I did a detox diet and was able to start my recovery.  
I used to be able to eat anything in any quantity.
Now my diet consisted of solely of meat and vegetables.
My list of foods is short:
"What I Can Eat"
(rather than 
"What I Can't Eat")

I stuck with this regimen to the best of my ability and tolerance level,
falling off the wagon many times and paying the price.
Then, one day last Spring 2016,
my friend sent me an article about the Lone Star Tick on Cape Cod.
(click HERE for an article about the tick)
I finally discovered the source of my illness.
I found a forum online where people could share their experiences
and saw that there were many different 
reactions and levels of response to the bite.
There were only a few people who,
like me, developed a histamine intolerance.
Because of this article, I reduced my meat intake,
and switched to a daily diet of chicken.
Once in a while, I splurge and have meat, but always at a risk.
One day, I ate a Wintergreen Life Saver
and my whole face blew up.
I can only surmise that the Life Saver had
a beef by product in it containing alpha-gal.
I have always loved food and being able to savor flavors
The great thing about LA is the dining experience 
always includes the understanding of the 
foodie's view of eating,
even if that means, 
"please, no potatoes" in my Chicken Vindaloo.

Sometimes, I can't help but be frustrated
But I have learned that I am no longer willing to pay the price just for 
the fleeting experience of taste.  Instead I have begun to appreciate more 
my sense of smell that allows me to "taste" what I cannot eat.
I have begun to appreciate the social part of going out to eat,
rather than despairing of no longer being a gourmand.  

It has been an exhausting physical and emotional process.  
I have to make sure I get a lot of sleep and absolutely stick to 
my restricted diet.  I have learned that if I go off my regimen once a week, 
my body can tolerate it.  But if I push my limits, I pay for it,
and it is my own fault. 
My recovery time from an episode can be from 1-5 days.
Losing that much time is no longer acceptable to me

I have been twice bitten
and live with two tick borne illnesses:
Lone Start Tick and Lyme Disease (see previous post).

I have reached a level of acceptance of
 the many limitations that I live with because of these tick borne illnesses.
I have to be very careful about not putting myself in stressful situations.
I find the relief for me is in expressing my emotions,
feeling my feelings, being creative
and staying true to my heart.

For in loving, I find the greatest relief
In loving, I discover a purity of heart and soul
that releases my body of all restriction,
and I am at peace and full of joy