Epi-Pens

Epi-Pens have become essential to my everyday life since I was 5. I grew up being scared that one day I might have to stab myself with one and then have to go to an ER. When I was little I went from a Jr Epi-Pen (dose of .15) to an adult one (dose of .30). To me, that told me that my allergies were bad enough to have to get the adult doses down that was a bad thing.

I never knew how much Epi-Pens were until my parents switched insurance. My parents’ insurance paid for most of the cost except we had to pay $20. I had to go a year without an Epi-Pen because my parents couldn’t afford to pay $600 for one. For my particular case, I have to carry 2 just in case I need a second dose. This was before people started producing generic Epi-pens. Luckily that year I had some saved that I hadn’t used.

I would like to know why they cost so much when people like me who need them. I’ve seen some videos of people making DIY Epi-pens that are as long as a femur and that’s not practical to carry around.

There are only 2 differences between the generic epinephrine and Epi-Pen is that to have to take 3 pieces off instead of 1. The other is the amount of time you hold the shot against the thigh, which is 7 seconds. 7 seconds doesn’t seem that big of a deal, but it is. Within those 7 seconds, the might have been a delay in the serum and it might not have all entered. 7 seconds can save someone’s life.

Labels

There’s been days when I’m too lazy to double check what’s in something before I eat/drink it. In most cases I don’t have anything to worry about, but sometimes I do. I used to be very careful reading everything that I put in my body, but it gets tiring at times. It always counts to check each labels and know that not every company put common allergies in bold print.

In the past two days I’ve had an allergic reaction due to me not asking the right questions. Never trust anything that’s not labeled.

I had chocolate that had some sort of tree nut in it. I took two bits to see if I was just overthinking it. I checked the package and it didn’t give any specifics. Within minutes I broke out in hives all over my body. I decided that I couldn’t take Benadryl, because I had work to do and the medicine would put me to sleep.

I also went to buy my favorite tea in Walmart and ended up buying tea that I’m allergic to. Deciding that I wanted to end my night with a cup of tea, ended up badly. The tea that I accidentally bought had grounded hazelnuts in it. I took a sip thinking that I wouldn’t let to tea go to waste, but instead caused my tongue and throat to swell. I looked at the back of the box and it said organic hazelnuts in small letters. Nothing that said Allergies or Contains, like most things do.

The amount of frustration that said this could have been prevented if they were both properly labeled and that I would’ve spent my time researching factories they’re made in.

Another Great Recipe

I always like to make recipes that reminds me of my heritage. Avocados are mostly imported from Latin America and they’re very delicious. Two of my favorite foods are chicken salad and avocados. What better way to eat my favorite foods than combining them.

Chicken Avocado Salad

2 cups poached chicken finely diced (10 oz)

1 medium Hass Avocado, mashed

1/3 cup red onion or scallion, minced

2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped

2 tbsp avocado oil (or your favorite)

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (or lime juice)

Salt and pepper to taste

Enjoy!!!!

This to me has the perfect combination of Hispanic and chicken salad.

Hardest Meal

I think that breakfast is the hardest meal to have. I personally suffer from not knowing what to eat that’s easy and quick. The typical options are; cereal, breakfast burritos, fruit or something else. For me, I can’t have them because of allergy to dairy and or meat. Some people just go for some type of leftover that’s in the refrigerator, which is probably not the best option.

My best go to breakfast option is either dry cereal for when I’m running late or plain vanilla yogurt, mandarin oranges and homemade granola. I usually make my own, because it’s easier than looking on the back of the prepackaged granola for the ingredients.

I usually buy the Great Value single cups of vanilla. It makes the perfect serving size for breakfast. Everyone has different preferences and I get the cheapest. I can handle this amount of dairy, but there’s probably dairy free yogurt there.

For the fruit, I like the single cups of mandarin oranges that’s Great Value. I either put the oranges in the yogurt or eat them separately.

The hardest part is the granola. I make the granola over the weekend so I’ll have it for the next week. I was given this recipe in a cooking class and it’s made my allergy-filled life a little easier.

INGREDIENTS

2 cups oatmeal

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/2 cup coconut

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons sugar

2 Tablespoons oil

3/8 cup (3oz.) boiling water

DIRECTIONS

1. Mix oatmeal, wheat germ, coconut and salt in a large bowl.

2. Add sugar, oil and boiling water to dry mixture and mix thoroughly.

3. Spread on cookie sheet or sheet cake pan as evenly as possible.

4. Bake 45 minutes at 350* F, stirring to break up lumps every 15 minutes.

5. Let cool and store in an airtight container.

6. Enjoy with yogurt and fruit.

Decisions

When people are tested for allergies, the allergist makes a plan of action to attempt to get rid of the allergies. Not all the times the parents go with the right one, but since you’re the minor you don’t have any say in the matter. You’ll try to say that they don’t know you’re body like you, but the choice has already been made and it’s too late.

My parents and the allergist made the choice that the “right” plan for me was immunotherapy (allergy shots). They could have never been more wrong. The allergies that I had, I grew into them. I was 13 years old and the last thing I wanted to hear was that I was going to have to get allergy shots for the rest of my life. I had already tried allergy shots before 7 years prior, but they didn’t work. They allergist said that since I didn’t receive immunotherapy for a consistent 5 years that I would have to start over. There was a law passed, during my first 5 year round, that I had to be 18 to continue. I was only 6 and I was half way done.

During my second round, I started noticing that each week there was resistance when I would get shots. It was my body telling me that it has had enough immunotherapy. I have so much scare tissue from getting shots for the past 4.5 years. I told my parents that when I turned 18 that I was going to stop the shots indefinitely. Immunotherapy has become more of a money maker the more time has progressed.

Living a life with allergies isn’t all bad, it’s just different.

When you think you’re safe

The toughest part of having allergies is living life being afraid. Many times I have had to be rushed to the emergency room for an allergic reaction just so the doctors can say that it was a close one. When they say that it makes me mad because I don’t need to know how close I was to death and someone at my age shouldn’t need to.

When people come up to me and say that they’re sorry for me, I just want to go find a corner and cry because I don’t need them to be petty. I don’t want people to look at me as a person with allergies, I want the them to see me as myself. Making it a day without having an allergic reaction is a well accomplished day. A day when you don’t have to take Benadryl gives you the boost to wake up in the morning. Even the days when you forget to tell the waiter you have a shellfish and Alpha Gal allergy, but you food doesn’t get contaminated makes you feel like you did something right.

Then you have those days when you get blinded sided by the realism of walking outside might be a bad idea. You want to go hangout at your friend’s house, but you forgot to pack food that you can have. Then having to explain that you can’t have what they made, so you wait hours to go home and eat a late meal. It’s happened multiple times where I ate the food that I couldn’t have then to regret my decisions later when I’m sitting in the hospital. There are also days when the potent smells of shellfish or nuts starts suffocating you within seconds of being the same room. Always asking questions about what’s in something or has it been cooked in the same area as something else, just to be rewarded with attitude.

There are days when I sit in my room and wonder why I was diagnosed with allergies. Then I remember what someone told me years ago, “If anyone else had these allergies they wouldn’t survive.” When you get diagnosed you switch to survival mode to attempt in living a long and happy life.