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I continue to deal with a rash around my neck, officially diagnosed as atopic dermatitis. Never one to give up where my health is concerned, I decided to try a holistic clinic so that I could find a permanent solution but still have my condition monitored by a physician. That combination is not easy to find (holism + M.D.) in Central Minnesota, but there is at least one clinic I know of that makes this a specialty: Williams Integracare in Sartell.

Since Daughter is also having a few vague symptoms that make her feel less than healthy, we both decided to make appointments. We’ve both been put on elimination diets, which basically require one to remove every possible allergenic food from the diet and eat lots of vegetables and fruits. It’s not an easy diet to maintain, at least not at first, because so much of the available food in grocery stores contains common allergens (soy, dairy, peanuts, oranges, corn, wheat & other glutens, eggs, refined sugar, and most meats). It’s getting somewhat easier now that we are a week-and-a-half in, but we’ve done our share of kvetching and fresh fruits and veggies are expensive.

We’re supposed to be on the diet for a month, then we add back allergenic foods one at a time and note any symptoms they cause. The diet is meant to detox the body while also helping to determine foods that cause ill health. The only other way to figure out food allergies is to take an expensive test that involves lots of needles over a few days.

I have definitely suffered from diet adjustment and detox symptoms, gas, rumbling intestines, notably muscle weakness, fatigue, trouble focusing (brain fog), and headache. Nine days in and those symptoms are mostly gone. I still have the rash, though. I’ve read it can take longer for the body to get around to healing the skin because it works on more vital organs first (liver, kidneys, etc.)

While we’re working through the elimination diet to figure out food allergies, we also went through traditional environmental allergy testing using a scratch test. Quite the interesting experience. It felt like we were using our bodies for a science experiment. The nurse used these plastic devices that had eight round thin cylinders with teeth at the bottom. The teeth were coated with different allergen proteins and were ground into the skin of our backs. If that sounds unpleasant, it was, although the first “bite” was the worst.

We were tested for 37 substances and our nurse did an excellent job of explaining her process of comparing the reaction from these substances to the positive and negative control portions of the test. My skin is so sensitive to touch (and biting plastic) that the positive control had a larger reaction than any other substance tested. There were only two things I had a reaction to: Pigweed and Hormodendrum. I had to look up both as I had no idea what pigweed looked like and didn’t know that Hormodendrum is a type of fungus.

The really good news is that I’m not allergic to …

Kitties with glowing eyes, 2008

Kitties with glowing eyes, 2008

Or …

The Cute Puppy, December 2011

The Cute Puppy, December 2011