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13 May 2011

Toxic, but i still found it interesting

I was poisoned again this week. I'm getting to the point where i have about ZERO tolerance for sulfites, it seems.

We took Duane's parents to Souplantation for dinner (Mothers' Day celebration) Tuesday night. I was very careful in my choices of foods: no pre-mixed salads, no salad dressing, strictly raw veggies from the salad bar. The only exception to this was i did take some raisins, some pickled beets, and a couple of sweet pickles.

About 20 to 30 minutes into the meal, i developed a raging headache.

Now, i know that all non-organic dried fruits are high in sulfites. Just two weeks ago i picked out all the dried cranberries in a salad someone made. But i've had raisins before! I've had raisins at Souplantation before! So they were not on my “radar” as something to be careful of. Turns out that pickled anything also tends to be high on sulfites. I respond fine to either Bragg's Organic Apple Cider Vinegar or to organic pickle relish, so this also was not on my radar. Since doing more research, i've also found that i've probably given myself small doses of sulfites (thus a mild headache afterward) in thinking that hash browns at restaurants are safe.

Regardless, i was one sick puppy for a while. This time i had new symptoms. I first noticed a very, very raw sore throat. Then my sinuses began to fill. I had asked about sulfur reactions recently at Hawkes' Health so i knew that Vitamin B12 and something called molybdenum were both useful in helping the body process sulfites. I had B12 on hand, and know it is water soluble so that it is safe to take a large dose of it (as long as it is not cyanocobalamin, which is actually related to cyanide and can be toxic, what i have is the safer methylcobalamin). I think that is why the headache didn't get any worse than it did. But i'd never heard of molybdenum before. In researching it, i found that it is an element, a metal.

This is what Wikipedia says about it in the body: The human body contains about 0.07 mg of molybdenum per kilogram of weight. It occurs in higher concentrations in the liver and kidneys and in lower concentrations in the vertebrae. Molybdenum is also present within human tooth enamel and may help prevent its decay. Pork, lamb and beef liver each have approximately 1.5 parts per million of molybdenum. Other significant dietary sources include green beans, eggs, sunflower seeds, wheat flour, lentils, cucumbers and cereal grain.

But, of course, if some of these things are grown in insufficient soil, they may not have the amounts a body needs of this element.

Wednesday i was still fairly sick. I stayed home for the morning, but went in for the afternoon. I had the doctor give me an adjustment, and he recommended something called Lactase (by Standard Process) which he said would help my body to clear nasty stuff. I did half an hour of work. I didn't feel safe driving, tho, and dear friend Cindy gave me a ride to my Ils.

I had several cups of “throat coat” tea by Traditional Medicinals, with Manuka honey and lemon. That helped the sore throat, but my sinuses were still clogged, i began a cough (my lungs being my weak point) and i ached all over as if i had the flu. Every joint ached, and i literally felt poisoned. I still don't know if this was all caused by a reaction to the sulfites or if an opportunistic infection set in as well. I had Duane get me some Benadryl.

Thursday i was better, tho my sinuses were still raging. I slept nearly to 8 AM which is unusual for me, and Duane drove me to work to get my car. I went to the health food store to stock up on more B12 and to get molybdenum. (And to eat, i'd not eaten since this happened. I trust what the restaurant at the health food store serves.)

The girls at the health food store didn't recognize molybdenum either, but they found a chelated form on the shelves. Because it is only needed by the body in trace amounts, it would be easy to overdose with this. The dosage on the package was 1 tablet. I chose to take two, and will probably take one a day for 3 or 4 days, and after that take it twice a week.

I spoke to dear friend Dawn while trying to figure all of this out. She recommended (and i think i need to do so) to carry Benadryl and some hydrocortosone cream all the time. I think i will also add some B12 and molybdenum and lactase to this emergency pack.

In doing more research on the sulfite issue i learned that a number of medicines are sulfur-based as well. If this moves to the next step and i have a serious allergic reaction (anaphalictic shock), it will be a problem not just for the seriousness, but also because the Epipen contains sulfites as a preservative. And, from what i've seen thru online research, this might not be taken seriously by ER staff. I already have a problem with them when i present a list of meds i can't take. Most sulfite info i've found indicates that it is not wide-spread (and possibly not well accepted) as an allergy. Also i've read in several places that a sulfite allergy does not indicate a problem with other sulfur compounds. I saw this stated over and over that sulfite sensitivity does not translate to sulfur sensitivity and vice versa.  So it could be over looked, and i've definitely shown that i'm sensitive, possibly allergic, to all kinds of sulfur compounds.  

In fact, i would hazard a bet that the stuff that was given me in an ER visit last fall was sulfur based. It seems to have been since that time that all these things have cropped up. I can't take sulfa drugs (antibiotics), and i'm reacting to even mild sulfates in shampoos. (The most common sulfate, sodium laurel sulfate, used in shampoo as a detergent and to create foaming, is very harsh. I've not used it for many years, but i'm finding that even milder sulfates like Olefin sulfonate and sodium coco sulfate – a less harsh version of sodium laurel sulfate, still cause problems.)

So, i now fall into definite “multiple chemical sensitivity” status – something i did NOT want! As most doctors seem to be entirely clueless about fluoride-based meds, possibly about sulfur-based meds, too, and unaware of alternative treatments (even the new alternative med doc only told me Benadryl when i called the office, but i've found so much more info), and clueless about safe foods, i want to be sure i don't get sick enough to require hospitalization.

Anyway, i'm improving. I still have sinus issues. That has moved into a cough, so i'm taking the Manuka honey regularly. I still feel very weak as though i had just finished fighting the flu. But i'd already planned to be home next week, so for once my timing is good. (Duane and i often laugh at how our “timing sucks.”) And there may be some good come out of this. At times i've thought that Duane's family thinks i'm a bit crazy. Now that Duane's mama and dad have seen first hand how sick i get if i eat food that contains chemicals, maybe it will be easier for us all. I'm hoping that they can accept a bit better when i say, “No, thank you. I can't have that.”



Linda said...

I am allergic to sulfa drugs. I have chemical allergies and sensitivities...and don't do well with food additives, like MSG....and colorings.

I have migraines, but don't take pain pills. So I take chelated magnesium when I feel one coming on and sometimes it helps a bit, but not if I wake up with a bad one. I also take a B-complex.

I am allergic to mold and trees and grasses, and ragweed etc. I can't eat melons in ragweed season.

I am allergice to eggs and(anything baked with them) poultry, and avocados, and nuts and peanuts.

The wind brings on a headache and so do rainy days...and very hot days too. They trigger the allergies and it goes into a mograine. I have a bad headache today and it has been rainy and windy yesterday and today.

My husband's family must think I am weird cuz I have gotten deathly ill the last two times we stayed with them. I throw up with my bad headaches, and I am worse in that area of Nebraska where they live for some reason. I take my own food or buy it and make it there...because people just don't understand and things get cross contaminated.

There are even more things that trigger my attacks. I have had anaphlactic shock and been taken to the hospital with it. I carry an epi pen...but have never used it, because I am so careful to not eat things I am unsure about. I had no idea the epi-pen was preserved with sulfites! Yikes.

Life is hard for people like us Kathryn.

Anonymous said...

Glad you are a bit better. How weird is this, but yesterday, about 5:45 pm I was in Rancho getting ready to drive to see my godson in a musical at his school, when my head started aching, I started sneezing, and my nose starting running -- major allergy attack. Didn't make it to the show, had to go home and sleep it off!
FYI - found your lemon in my car -- it was there for two days in the heat so it was history. Sorry!

Kathryn said...

Wow, Linda. I didn't know you struggle with all that. It sucks, i know. But i also feel almost guilty, complaining, when i know folks who struggle with so much more. Besides you, i have a couple of friends who are greatly limited by Chronic Fatigue and Immune Deficiency Syndrome, plus multiple chemical sensitivities, plus food limitations. I sometimes feel like i'm complaining of a splinter to someone who lost a hand (they don't make me feel that way, but i think it sometimes, knowing i have a lot more freedom).

Until the Benadryl, i've been fortunate not to need meds for some time now. Having regular CranioSacral work has made such a difference to the way i experience migraines! I know that part of that is the migraines i experience stem from a childhood accident, so i don't know if it would work for everyone.

I'm sorry you have so much to avoid. It certainly makes life in our culture harder.

Hi CD. :) I wondered what happened to that lemon. :p I had gotten a lot of use from it, hope it didn't make a mess.

If you'd come down with flu, i'd wonder if i caused it, but allergies are not suppose to be contagious! Hope you are feeling better. :)