Things not getting done

I’ve finished three garments lately (the forth was a fail) but it seems I can’t find the time to take pictures of them. I used to take pictures of my finished garments during my lunch hour but work is crazy lately and my lunch hour is quite shorter than it used to be. Also, I’m so tired after I finish work that I don’t spend too much time at the computer. I just sew when I have the time, and I keep working on how to improve my very limited diet.

The list of foods I can eat has been reduced considerably in the last weeks. I was tested again by one of the three alergists that are seeing me and I’m allergic to potatoes, corn, rice, wheat, and lots of vegetables (cauliflower and the family, asparagus, almost all fruits and a long etc). Due to my problems eating I’ve lost 6 kilos in the last 2 months, and not being able to eat any of the most well known sources of carbs has made things even more difficult. I’ve tried sweet potato and I also got swollen lips and throat. I could eat normal potatoes until one month ago, when I dreamed of gaining weight by eating fries, but soon that became impossible. After trial and error, some money and lots of time, I have found that I can eat yuca (tapioca). The problem is that due to other issues, I can’t make the typical recipes everybody makes. I can’t neither use milk, rice milk, almond milk nor egg. I’ve learned to make some variant of a Brazilian recipe of yuca bread, but without all the regular ingredients, the final product is a bit, how to say, different. I’m still tweaking the recipe, and even the result is not wonderful, it’s quite ok, and honestly, I just want to be able to take a normal quantity of vegetables, carbs and proteins. Since broccoli started to give me symptoms too I started to freeze it and overcook it, so I guess I’m killing all the vitamins and good things in it. When I started the elimination diet, I used to eat plain (and boring) broccoli. I add now a bit of lemon and to hell with it. I haven’t noticed  that the allergy has become worse because of it. I’m still eating a bit of brown rice in the evenings. I can’t tolerate the regular one or my loved basmati but the brown one still works with corn from a can. I can’t eat corn in any other form (fresh, flour, pasta) but the one from the can is fine so I keep eating it.

About proteins, pork meat is fine. Not ham in any shape. Cured ham gives me nausea, and the sweet ham that you find in the shop has either potato starch, corn dextrose, or soy. I ended up in the ER after two slices almost two months ago. No ham for me. With chicken things go not so well. I’ve been eating it from time to time in small amounts because I react a bit to it. Pork fills me more, and I can eat also more quantities. I am not sure why. I’ve read that soy fed chickens can be allergenic to soy allergic people. I don’t know if this is the reason behind, but I don’t really have access to organic meat so I guess I won’t eat it again. Yesterday I ate it again and apart from swollen lips I felt a bit of nausea. Those are typical symptoms of chicken allergy. It’s not a very common allergy and the first tests came negative about that one. It’s also true that the first tests to wheat or corn were also negative. We’ll have to see.

My allergist from the Public Health System has abandoned me. They don’t know about OAS (Oral Allergy Syndrome) here in Spain and he refused to keep seeing me. I guess my case is a difficult one and he doesn’t want to have too much work. He told me I should receive a complete report from him and look for another doctor. This has been 18 days ago. No sign of a letter yet.

Just the weekend after that I woke up on a Saturday almost without voice. I blamed my allergies and let it pass. Some days ago I went to see my GP and he guessed it was just a cold. The week after I went to see a otolaryngologist with my private insurance, and after an examination she informed me that my right vocal cord was paralyzed. This Thursday I’m getting a CT scan for this and then I have to see her again. This has gotten me a bit worried lately, since there could be many causes for a paralyzed vocal cord. Mostly this happens to the left one, since the nerve is much longer that the right one and there are more chances or a problem. The CT scan worries me because they will probably use contrast (and I’m afraid of an allergic reaction) and the results also worry me. I’m trying not to think too much about it, but sometimes it’s quite difficult. Especially when I go to the shop and people don’t hear me when I ask for bread, broccoli or whatever it is I’m buying. And I’m also a bit tired of excusing myself because of being hoarse.


  1. I hate to hear this, Elena. I was just watching capoeira training videos and thinking about you. I was wondering how things were going for you with your food elimination diet. Looks like you’re headed in the right direction but still in the identifying culprits phase. I’m sorry it’s hitting you this hard. It seems that if one food problem goes undiagnosed, and so untreated, for too long it leads to others.

    Have you found any online forums that discuss your condition? I know a lot of the paleo sites have forums that address specific conditions and recommend recipes you might could try. I think the hardest thing is finding the energy to research these things, cook from scratch, and make changes when you’re so wiped out from the condition itself. Let us know when things improve.

    1. Thank you so much, Michelle. These days are being hard on my, to be honest. i thought about the possibility of my vocal cords issue being due to my poor diet. I’m taking now magnesium supplements and waiting for my CT scan.

      I searched online since this syndrome is unknown in Spain, and Koen has helped a lot, since it’s more typical from Belgium and Holland. That’s how we found that in Holland they take sodium cromoglicate to alleviate the symptoms. I’m seeing the other two allergists this week so I’m going to propose it to them. I also found three facebook groups of OAS sufferers and everybody is dealing with the same and unfortunately there is no cure for it. Hopefully it gets better once the pollen season is over.

      It’s true that sometimes I lack energies to go on, but Koen has been a wonderful support these last months, and all advances and thinking out of the box I owe to him.

  2. Espero que pronto puedas encontrar recetas y productos que te vayan bien, y puedas recuperar un poquito de peso..
    Lo de tu médico de la SS me ha dejado a cuadros, simplemente así??? No entiendo estas actitudes, si no es capaz de atenderte, debería al menos redirigirte a otro colega que si lo fuera, y además poner todo su empeño que en sea lo antes posible..
    Supongo lo difícil que es apartar de la mente todo esto para no preocuparte en exceso..
    Ánimo, y te mando un abrazo muy fuerte!!

    1. Gracias, Violeta. A veces siento que la situación me supera, y es difícil coger fuerzas teniendo tantos problemas para comer.

      Y sí, al alergólogo de la SS era para decirle cuatro cosas. Encima es un centro con cierto prestigio entre alergólogos, pero claro, para casos estándar. Diagnostican alergias normales, dan vacunas, hacen seguimiento. Pero si les vas con algo que se sale de lo normal, no quieren saber nada de ti. Yo también pensé que me derivaría a otro, pero no. Lo último que me dijo fue que mi alergia es desconocida en España y que no me podía ayudar. Que me mandaría un informe que aún estoy esperando y me fuera a pedir una segunda opinión. Y mientras tanto estoy dejándome los dineros en dos alergólogos privados.

      En fin, muchas gracias por acordarte de mí. Poco a poco saldremos de esta.

  3. Elena, sorry to hear that things are getting worse. I have my own health issues, but nothing compard to this. I can still run some errands for you if you need it. Maybe if you send me a list of ingredients to make things I can help you track them down too. I have become very good at finding odd food in Madrid. Send me a Whatsapp if you need me.

    1. Hi Kay. It’s ok. Now that I know more what I have it seems I can get things more under control. I use tapioca starch to bake kind of cookies but I already know where to buy it (Foody, close to El Retiro). I bought 4 kg of it last time I was there. What I would like is to find safe soft drinks so that I can order something else than water or green tea at bars. Well, I’ll figure something out 😉

      Thank you for you help offering. I hope everything goes fine with you.

  4. Hi Elena, I’m very sorry to hear about your health issues. I had to eliminate some types of food from my diet too lately, (nothing compared to your diet), but I can imagine how difficult it can be.
    Take care

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