Immunologist visit – case study part 1

Last week I went to a follow up appointment with my immunologist. An immunologist is a bit like an allergy/asthma doctor except they know more about the immune system. My immune system is a special snowflake. This was my first follow up since my doctor said he would do a case study on me – as compared to throwing his hands up in the air and running in fear. I showed him information on histamine intolerance and the low histamine diet.

I waited 30 minutes and the visit with the doctor himself was about an hour and a half long. He took notes on his laptop through most of it. (MacBook Air) We went over a lot of things, including my migraines, asthma, allergies, food sensitivities and how easy (not) it is to be on the low histamine diet.

My biggest complaint for him was probably that I have to adapt the diet to me, there is conflicting sources of information about the diet, and despite my best efforts I can still have pretty bad breakthrough symptoms. Ok, those might happen on days I have chocolate – but there are other days I have chocolate where there are no breakthrough symptoms!

I also seem to be having problems with environmental triggers being worse. I explained some fun that took two days to recover from after sitting for about 20 minutes on my SIL’s couch. Shortness of breath, thrashed sinuses, foggy brain, the works! I’ve also been having problems waking up coughing in the middle of the night, like clockwork. I’ve since figured out that was a combination of two things, which I also told my doctor about. First one: environmental. Because of the fibromyalgia and increased commute times – we’ve gotten lax with vacuuming. You cannot get lax with vacuuming when you have four cats. I vacuumed the bedroom the afternoon of the doctor appointment and no coughing that night. Second thing: likely culprit was PABA in the vitamin b complex I was taking. It’s possible to be allergic to PABA and my breathing difficulties and gastrointestinal issues (I’ll spare the Internet those.) were likely caused by PABA. Especially since the issues got better over the course of 1-5 days after I stopped the supplement.

After discussing with my doctor, I’m going to research which b vitamins are useful for fibromyalgia and just take those specific vitamins instead of taking the lazy complex approach. (I’m already on just riboflavin for my migraines.) My doctor also didn’t have recommendations for me – he suggested I go with what I know my body will accept. Research required.

I kind of wanted steroids to help me get over the (likely) PABA reaction but I also didn’t necessarily want to deal with the side effects. My doctor told me to call if my asthma problems continue – even after I’ve recovered from the PABA reaction. My breathing issues have gotten better since vacuuming the bedroom and just with more time passing but I’m still having weird issues! I’m giving it a little more time and probably still calling the doctor so we can look at my asthma medicine.

Thankfully my allergy medicine seems to be keeping up. My hives seem to be better. It’s been months (?) since I’ve had a breakout. I still need benadryl but it’s as needed – not regularly. Now I need to figure out the eye allergy problems I’ve been having – but I know know if that’s a question for the immunologist or the ophthalmologist.

Doctor told me to come back in six months because I have a lot going on with my migraines. (New patient neurologist visit isn’t for over two months.) I can still call with an update if necessary and I figure I’ll go back sooner if it seems necessary. I did also find out something important – asthma and fibromyalgia should not really effect each other. (Note to self: remember to ask rheumatologist too.)

We’re definitely now going down the path where I have a ton of food allergies/intolerances caused by, at least in part (?) the histamine intolerance. I have no idea if the gluten (and now corn) intolerances are related to the histamine intolerance. My immune system is a special snowflake who is also paranoid. It seems like most of the food allergies I showed positive before are probably false positives. Problem is I might have some false negatives too. I’m still avoiding a lot of foods and paying special attention to the ones that give me acute reactions where I cannot breathe.

I’m just glad I’ve had less problems with face flushing and hives. The face flushing makes me look and feel badly sunburned.

Next steps:

1. Get migraines under control.

2. Clean problem areas of the house more often.

3. Exercise more for the fibromyalgia / asthma.

Author: Histamine Queen

Nerd, wife, knitter, writer, cat mom, and comic book reader w/masters of science in Applied Sociology. I have histamine intolerance, lots of food allergies and sensitivities - including gluten. And I have multiple sclerosis fibromyalgia, asthma, drug allergies, and migraines. Basically, I have a collection of invisible chronic health problems. I don't just survive these things, but sometimes I do hate them because I see doctors so often that keeping healthy and staying full time employed is currently impossible.