Thursday, October 11, 2007

With One Eye Closed and One Arm Behind my Back

So I truly think I'm beginning to know what it feels like to be handicapped.

If you've seen me recently you might have said to yourself "wow - Liz really needs to tone down the whole red eyeshadow motif" or "Liz kind of reminds me of those archival pictures of tuberculosis victims we saw in history last month" or "is that a love bite on Lizzy's neck? Does she really have a love bite and not enough sense or decorum to cover it up??!"

Well my friends, I have finally figured out why I have looked like a lugger for the last few months. It took me a while but I have come to a very sad but very true conclusion.
I have an allergy. But not just any allergy.

Let me tell you how it unfolded:

One day about 3 months ago I woke up and my eye lids were itchy. Kind of random

By the end of the day they were red and itchy. Random and inconvenient

By the next day they were red, itchy and swollen. random inconvenient and slightly embarrassing

And by the end of that day they were red, itchy, swollen and dried out. Officially Lame and I was very confused.

Mind you this is the skin around the eye - not the eye itself (thank goodness - this could all be much much worse).

At first I thought that my mascara was bugging me. So I changed it out and didn't put any on for a week or two.

Still red, swollen, itchy, dry and cracked eyes

Then I changed my facial cleanser, my toner and my moisturizer to see if it was that too.

Still red swollen, itchy dry and cracked eyes

And then I noticed my neck started itching. Super ultra randomly lame. Red spots appeared here and there and I was half convinced that I had leprosy.

Then I had a thought ---
The irritated areas on my neck as well as my eyes that had the same symptoms. Red, itchy, sensitive, dry and cracked skin and that told me that it wasn't a reaction to a local. It must be an internal or food allergy. Super great.

One night when the red had faded and the swelling had gone down a bit my friend came over for a Breakfast at Tiffany's night and she brought some pints of Ben and Jerry's (like any good friend would do on a Breakfast at Tiffany's night) and we thoroughly enjoyed our caramel cores but the next morning my eyes were so swollen I couldn't open them.
And then blinded like diseased rat the only thing I could do was lay back down and when I did I started to think and it was then that I figured it out.

I had stopped buying dairy products like cheese and yogurt a while back because I could never eat all of it before it went bad so I felt like I was wasting money.

Then I started buying soy milk because it cost the same as normal milk and it tasted the same to me but it stayed good for like 3 months and I got a serving of veggies with breakfast. Awesome deal.

I started using canola margarine after my father outlined our family's medical history to me and scared me to death. And I was being more healthy and I found it delicious. Two-fer!

Then I rembembered some of my high school AP Bio lectures - humans don't naturally produce the necessary digestive enzymes to break down lactose. We were not born knowing what to do with milk. But it's delicious and makes everything else pretty delicious so we consume a lot of it and because are bodies are so awesome they adapt and figure out how to break down lactose.

So because I had cut so much of it out for a bunch of different reasons I had inadvertently weaned myself off of milk. And consequently, with a slightly older anatomy than a child - I developed an allergy.

I am allergic to milk. Not even lactose intolerant - full on allergic. The tear ducts are collecting places for toxins and the mucus glads and lymph nodes are waste disposal stations as well so that explains why it was my eye and neck regions that were flaming up. It was all making sense. A lot of tragic but totally logically sound sense. I was ingesting all these dairy products and my body had no idea what to do with them so it started rejecting them.

I lived off of lettuce and protein bars for a week or so and things went back to normal. I even got to wear eye make up for the first time in a while a few weeks back. I fogot how much I missed that.

Now initially I kind of thought "That's not so bad. No more yoohoo and Ben and Jerry's and I shouldn't be eating those anyway" but as the reality of what "no dairy" meant distilled on me, the lists of things that were detrimental to me kept growing and growing and I came to realize that I am one of those annoying "oh - I can't have that" kind of people now. *sniff* I always internally rolled my eyes at people like that and now as an ironic loving universe would have it, I have joined the ranks.

Milk = cheese. As in cream cheese, as in Parmesan cheese, as in cheese and crackers as in blue cheese dressing, as in cheesecake, as in macaroni and cheese and in Pizza

Milk = cream. As in Ice cream, as in sweet cream, as in cookies and cream, as in creamsicles, as in sour cream, as in whipped cream, as in devonshire cream, as in the best part of the Hostess and Little Debbie universe, as in the main ingredient of ALL of my favorite soups

Milk = butter. As in the main ingredient of mashed potatoes, as in half of the sauces in the world that chicken and anything else delicious finds its way to, as in buttermilk pancakes, as in buttermilk ranch dressing, as in applebutter, (I think peanut butter is ok still though. I sure hope so)

And just milk itself. Milkshakes, milk chocolate

And I can't even begin to think about forever being parted from fondue but there it is.

And everyday I think about it I come to realize how much milk and cows and all their hormonal weirdness mean to the American diet.

Now - I'm probably better off with this allergy. It's done a lot of things actually. It's helped me find sympathy for people who do have allergies and how helpless it makes them feel and that its a matter of courage to go out and do anything. Its helped me reanalyze food and be far more careful about it. Basically Heavenly Father said "Lizzie - you're going to be all about garlic, lemons, chicken, fruits, veggies, tofutti, and some vinaigrette for awhile" and I happily say ok.

Its a whole new world really - absent of the flying carpets and impossible hairstyles.

Just one in a cowless universe.


Liz said...

Well, way to look on the brightside! I, myself, am lactose intolerant, so I have to be very careful about my intake.

So, I understand a little bit...

Lex said...

I am so sorry to hear about this Liz!If you ever need any encouragment, let me know. Are there any medications to help with this particular allergy?

Kim said...

OH NO! I haven't read your blog in far too long... but rest assured, I am now using Google Reader to keep up on all of my friendsy's blogs.

How tragic about the dairy products! So Breakfast at Tiffany's with Ben & Jerry was the last hurrah? I'm somehow... honored? :(