Last year for lent and for a conference I was hosting, I gave up chocolate which ended up being for 90 days. The first two weeks were hard but it got easier after that and I knew at the end that I would be pigging out on some chocolate but never really did. Ended the chocolate fast with a chocolate sundae.
Thought about doing it again this year but wanted to do more than just give up something materialistic so I am giving more time but the details are between me and the good Lord.
As a young child, about the age of six, I developed an allergy to chocolate of all things. Doctors said I would outgrow it and thank goodness I did. Chocolate is one of those things I crave when stressed or when I just need something sweet. That does not happen every day but is usually about once a week. When doctors discovered I was allergic to gluten, I had to give up milk chocolate and only eat dark chocolate. That was okay by me as I had rather eat dark chocolate anyway.
No one told me that allergies can return with a vengeance. For the past couple years I have worked on my diet and eliminated most sugars, only having something sweet once in a while. This year for Valentine’s Day I received a ton of chocolate, not just from hubby but from my daughter as well. For a couple of days I would have a couple pieces, which was more than what was normal for me.
On the night of the Crawford County Chamber annual meeting, on the way to the event, I began itching. I thought it would pass. But as the night wore on, I began getting red blotches and the itching spread to most of my body. Jennifer Ray, who was sitting at our table, kept telling me I needed to leave and get to the ER. I kept saying I can make it through the meeting. We finally left just a few minutes before it concluded. My wonderful hubby stopped on the way home to get me some Benadryl and I had some anti-itch powder at home and put it on. It did help a little but not much.
With Tuesday being deadline day, I had to get through the day and Kristi went and got other allergy pills and cream to try and calm the itch.
A trip to Atlanta was in order the next day for a treatment for my heavy metal toxicity. After praying all the way there that I could also see a doctor on the spur of the moment, I was not surprised when I asked and sure enough one doctor could see me. I only had to wait about 15 minutes to see her.
She looked at my blotchy skin and said it was because of something I had eaten and we went over everything from the last two days. The only thing out of the ordinary was the chocolate for several days straight. They took about 12 vials of blood and did other tests and we are now waiting on the results but after conducting my own trial and error tests, I, too, am leaning toward having an allergic reaction to chocolate.
Never mind that I was already having sinus crud and in the middle of too many things to be sick at the time.
I don’t know whether it was the allergic reaction or the resulting medications but it zapped my brain. I could not focus on anything no matter how hard I tried. Thank goodness I had gotten through with editing the upcoming book just prior to this episode, otherwise I don’t think I could have done it.
For the next couple of days all I wanted to do was sleep and I suppose that was a good thing because when I was awake, I was itching or coughing my head off.
I cannot imagine having to live my life without chocolate forever and as I said I don’t know if that is the reason yet but I am trying to prepare myself for this scenario.
I have managed to avoid gluten for the last four years so I suppose I can manage to get by without chocolate. I also have had to give up dairy and the doctor said no sugar at all either until we figure out for sure what is going on in my system.
I have learned a lot about allergies in the past few years and one of those things is that just because you are allergic to something today doesn’t mean you will be seven or eight months down the road or that you can never, ever eat any again.
I have been trying to go totally sugar-free so now being forced to, makes it a little more palatable.
When you have reactions to food, it takes about three days for it to totally get out of your system enough to quit affecting you so I should be on the downhill slide now, but as I write I still have some itching, though not as severe. The blotches are not as noticeable either.
This past year has been so many challenges in the health area that though it seems strange, I think I would like to sit down and just laugh about it. I have already done some crying so I think it’s time to laugh since laughter is good for the soul. Breaking both wrists at the same time was bad enough but now being allergic to chocolate. Well, I take heart in the fact that this too shall pass.
Tomorrow is another day and though we are not promised it, there is still hope, so I will enjoy today.
Wishing you a very blessed week. Remember to not take your health for granted.
VICTORIA SIMMONS is a columnist, motivational speaker/ minister and publisher/gm of The Post/Byron Buzz. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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