Monday, June 13, 2011

Day 4

I had a day off of treatment to go to church and eat lunch with some friends in Cedar Rapids. I've been eating some really good food.

THAT would be a club sandwich with CHEESE, french fries fried in the same oil they fried something cheesy in, and coleslaw which might have had milk in it. My brother's girlfriend, Whitney's parents took us out to eat and her mom was wondering why I was taking pictures of my food. I also ate one of Whitney's pizza... covered in CHEESE! Oh my goodness, it was greasy, salty, and delicious. MAN I've been missing out!

For desert, my brother got me a Drumstick. I can't even remember the last time I had ice cream...or chocolate! I haven't broken out from anything yet. It's totally AMAZING! Praise the Lord!

Today, I went back for my 7th and 8th treatments. I was treated for laundry soup, fabric softener, fabric chemicals (that are in your clothes when you buy them), vinyl, car exhaust (I know right?), acrylic, sunscreen, pool chemicals, soap, and deodorant. If it works, I will save lots of money not having to order my soap, sunscreen, and other things from a pharmacy up in Minnesota.

In between treatments, I went to Panara and ordered a vanilla latte...everything in me wanted to say..."with soy milk". I was actually scared to drink one with real milk...but I did and it was GREAT. Now, I'm gonna have to start watching how much sugar I eat... :-)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Day 3

This morning, I went back for another treatment for milk, however, she told me I didn't need it. So, I got treated for chocolate!!! She tested me and said, "Oh, wow, you're actually allergic to the coca bean." I know! :-)

Deb said I should try putting some milk in my hands...see how I react...try putting some on my lips...see what happens. So after my treatment, my brother and I went out for coffee. I spred some skim milk on my lips like lip gloss and just waited. I got a little itchy but thought, "I think it's just in my head." So, my brother and I got a pretzel.

Yep, the lady covered it in butter and salted it. Then we dipped it in cheese.

Now I guess we just wait, and see what happens.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Spending Time with my Brother

The best part about this treatment is that I get to spend time with my brother in between. First we went shopping. It's a good thing I don't live here...those two stores right next to each other could be dangerous for me!

After treatment, we went out for coffee.

I made him play cards....

...princess cards.

Day 2

Here's a picture of Deb doing the treatment.

This morning, I was treated for iron, minerals, and calcium. All these things need to be treated before I can be treated for milk. They are considered "preliminary allergens" that need to be cleared first in order for the treatment to be successful. Everything is treated in a specific order.

In the afternoon, on my way to the clinic I drove past that truck:

that's right...a dairy truck. :-)

This afternoon was my first dairy treatment. I imagine I'll need a couple since I'm very allergic to milk.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Day 1

Today, I started my allergy treatment. This is the only picture I took. Tomorrow, I'll ask to take more pictures. I didn't want to freak her out on my first day. This is what the outside of the office looks like.

I was given an allergy assessment. I put on something like a blood pressure cuff that was hooked up to the computer. She would click around and I would hear a beeping noise. I then had to hold her hand down with my arm. If I couldn't apply enough pressure to keep her hand down then she would write that down and treat me for sensitivities to that item. The test showed that I had sensitivities to food phenolics, calcium, milk/dairy, iron, sugar, and chocolate.

Today, she treated me for food phenolics in the morning and for sugar in the afternoon. After the food phenolics treatment I felt woozy and started to get a headache, but nothing too bad. In the afternoon, after my sugar treatment, my stomach felt a little funny but nothing bad at all.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Day 0

Today I drove from Appleton, WI to Des Moines, IA. I had the windows down, the music cranked loud, and I was loving every minute. It's a beautiful drive especially in WI right before you cross the boarder into IA.

This sign means, "I'm home."

Iowa is so beautiful!

Monday, June 6, 2011

All Good Gifts are from Above

Many months ago my friend Lisa told me about her friends David and Ellen. Ellen had food allergies to gluten, dairy, vinegar, tomatoes, fruits, and sugar. David had allergies to dairy and gluten. They told Lisa about a treatment called Advanced Allergy Treatment. They both did it and are now allergy free. When Lisa told me this, I started saving!

Exodus 23:25
You shall worship the Lord your God, and I will bless your bread and your water; and I will take sickness away from among you.

I emailed a clinic in Des Moines and told her how much I had saved up and she set me up a package that consisted of a week of treatments with two treatments a day. I planned a short trip home with a week long stay with my brother. However, the next month became very difficult financially. My taxes in Austria were twice as much as I expected and all the money I had saved was gone.

On a Thursday night, I went to a softball game to watch two of my friends play ball. We all walked home together and one of my friends asked me about the treatment. I told her the treatment was off because all my money went towards my taxes. She asked how much it would take to be cured of my food allergies and I told her about the package. That night, I called my mom and told her the treatment was off.

Friday morning, we had a great staff devotion in the morning with Thomas and afterward a friend came to my classroom to ask for some prayer and we somehow started talking about the treatment. My friend had NO idea that I had just told several people the day before that the treatment was off. She said, "I've been meaning to tell you, that I'd like to help pay for your treatment and I know of at least one other person that would like to help, too." My eyes welled up with tears. We were both crying when my students started to come into the classroom. We both laughed through our tears and said, "These are happy tears kids, don't worry!"

Later that day, I saw the friend I walked home with the night before and told her, "Remember last night when I told you my treatment was off? Well, this morning a friend told me she'd like to help pay for it!" She turned to me and said, "I've been meaning to tell you that God's be telling me since January to be putting away money for your treatment." WHAT? Since January??? See, I had it all covered in January, but God knew then that I would need to rely on Him for the money. I then went and talked to the 3rd friend that said she wanted to help and just broke down in tears at the gratitude of all these people. All the money was coming from fellow missionaries....I was flabbergasted and my friend said, "Well, we serve a flabbergasting God, don't we?" Indeed we do, indeed we do!!!

Psalm 103:2-5
Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits--who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the Pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good as long as you live so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.

I called my mom that night and told her the news. I was just a little worried about how I would pay the expenses on my car (getting new license plates, new drivers license, insurance, and GAS) to get from Appleton, WI to Des Moines, IA. Not sure why I worried about it when it was CLEAR that God had it all under control.

The money from my 3 friends paid the entire treatment package plus much more money that will cover ALL my car expenses, plus gas and food on my week trip to Des Moines. I'm completely blown away.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Life with Food Allergies

About 6 years ago, when I was a lifeguard at camp, I started having a lot of trouble with my skin. I was always itchy and at this point it was just an annoyance. But in the next year, as I started my first year of teaching, it got so bad, I couldn't sleep. It felt like my skin was on fire and started to develop many sores. I finally went to the Dr and asked to see a dermatologist. He told me it wasn't a dermatologist I needed...but an allergist. This started my journey with food allergies.

I was given prick tests and patch tests to find a list of things I was allergic to. Milk and chocolate topped the list in regards to food and I also learned I was allergic to soap and many other things that my skin was exposed to (sunscreen, bug spray, etc.). I then learned to read labels of everything I put in my mouth and put on my skin. Milk is hidden in many things and is even called many things on labels (ghee, lactose (or most things that start with lacta...), casen, whey, carmel color, and "natural flavors" (who know what that is but 90% of natural flavors comes form milk). I read labels but sometimes, I had to learn the hard way that milk was in things like green olives (which were one of my favorite things) and ham...can you believe they put milk in HAM?

As time went by, my allergy became worse and worse. I am now so allergic that if you touch milk and then touch my food or if my food touches the same counter that had milk on it, I'll have an allergic reaction.

Many everyday things became more difficult. Eating out with my family became hard. I started having to call ahead or check the internet to see if they served food for people with food allergies. I always alerted the server of my food allergy and ordered off special menues. We started narrowing down the places I could eat by the breakouts I would get after I ate there. Eating out is one of my least favorite things to do.

Going to friends houses for dinner also became difficult. Many tried their best to accomodate me. My friends, Dawna and Reesa accepted the challenge and were always trying new things we could eat together. Good thing too, cause, little did we know Reesa would come to be my roommate one day and be forced to eat along the same lines as I do! :-)

Church potlucks...out of the question.

Communion? Only when I had a chance to read the label. Wait, you say. Communion? That's only one bite! That's all it takes!

Decorating cakes has been a hobby for Reesa and I ever since we took a class with Bonnie Smith in Omaha. Here's a picture of our last creation for the daughter of one of the families that works at the school:

Although, lately, even being around the cake will give me a reaction that could last days.

Living overseas was hard at first, I had to learn all the German words for all the things I'm allergic to but through trial and error, I'm pretty good at knowing what brands I can and can not eat.

Traveling is the worst. I order the "vegan meal" when I fly, but eating food on the plane is a very large risk. For some reason, airlines are not required to post the ingredients of their meals. So, I have to just trust, that what they bring me is truly milk free.

Going on trips is also hard. For example, this year the staff went on a retreat up in the mountains. The place we stayed fed us. I brought oatmeal and some granola in case there was nothing I could eat. Well, it turned out there was really nothing that I could eat that they were serving but the cook did bring me clear broth for each meal. There were no grocery stores around. I was so hungry by the end of the trip!

When I go on trips with friends, I always plan the meals for the trips. We usually bring our own food. We eat a simple breakfast, pack our lunches, and I cook for dinner. That part I love!

Lately, even with all I do to avoid the things I'm allergic to, I've been quite miserable with allergic reactions. I've been very itchy and my eye lids are swollen when I wake up.

So, why am I writing this post? Because I'm asking you to join me in prayer for healing. June 9-15 I'll be undergoing some allergy treatments in Des Moines, IA. Please pray that, if it's God's will, that He would heal me!