I was debating whether or not I wanted to do a blog post about my latest fray into health care but I figured if anything it would be a good experience to chronicle for later. So here it goes…

About 3 weeks ago or so I started having some real problems with sleeping and breathing as well as pain in my abdomen. I finally went and saw one of the doctor’s at my PCP’s office (not my PCP but on-call doctor) and he said it seemed like I was hyperventilating due to tight upper muscles possibly from the crutches. I told my physical therapist about this and he showed me some stretches but overall the muscles just didn’t seem that tight. The PCP office doctor also prescribed me ambien to help with my sleep issues but I took it one night and it freaked me out so much that I never took it again. Also, it didn’t actually work.

A week later I’m still not feeling well so I called back and got an appointment with my PCP. We talked and he did the standard examination things and agreed with me that something wasn’t right. His first option was to send me for an ultrasound exam to make sure there wasn’t a problem with my liver/whatever. That ultrasound came back clear so when I called back again later I mentioned the idea of a food allergy. The reason I’m wondering about food allergy is that I had started eating a lot of soy again – soy milk and the likes. With that in mind he had me start a “elimination diet” to try and figure out what was going on as well as referring me to a specialist.

For the elimination diet I had to start out eating a very bland diet of mostly rice, bananas and apple sauce. After I few days I was able to add in another food and was instructed to add foods back in one at a time and see how it went. I was to avoid fresh fruit, most vegetables, greasy, fatty, spicy foods and all soy and milk products. Pretty much avoid all the big 8 food allergens to start. So far it’s been pretty boring and eye opening about how much processed food contains things you wouldn’t think about.

The Big 8 Food Allergies

  • Cow’s Milk
  • Soy
  • Wheat
  • Egg
  • Peanuts
  • Tree Nuts
  • Shellfish
  • Seafood

I actually have two referral appointments coming up – one with an allergist and one with a gastroenterologist. The GI specialist couldn’t get me in until Oct 20th and the allergy appointment is for Oct. 6th. I’d really like to just get the testing over with so I can move on with life.

Once you have been on the elimination diet for a few days or more, basically once the symptoms have subsided, you can start doing “challenges” which basically means eating something and seeing what happens. On Sunday I decided to try some scrambled eggs and though I can’t directly connect them I did have the return of my weird inability to sleep that night.

This hasn’t been easy and the hardest has really been on my social life. It’s not a lot of fun to go out to eat when you aren’t suppose to eat anything out of your control. I was able to irk together an OK meal at Village Inn by ordering the fresh fruit, apple sauce and a plain baked potato. I also learned that Village Inn uses soybean oil to cook all their foods.

The scariest thing that seems to be happening is that feeling of being unable to breathe will sometimes happen when I’m at the grocery store, especially near the bulk food bins. It’s also scary to know something isn’t right but not be able to figure out what it is or why. Hopefully one of those doctors will have an answer for me.