The Pros and Cons of Avoiding Your Allergens

Developing about two dozen allergies which included skin, digestive and even headache problems has been quite the experience. Instead of being on Prednisone for the rest of my life, I've chosen to avoid all of my allergens. Oral steroids can be REALLY intense and they can really take a toll on your body and mental state. I'd rather adjust my lifestyle instead of taking something like that.

This means that I'm living with a lot less chemicals floating around in my body and I don't have to worry about the weird psychotic episodes that people can have. I know somebody who worked with somebody that experienced such episodes and I just don't want to take the risk.

It's been a biiiiiig change to avoid all of these things, but completely worth it. Here's a little insight on the experience from my perspective. Maybe you can relate?

Cons

  • Not being able to wear whatever I want. Being restricted to 100% cotton can be a bit of a disappointment when you go to the store. Ordering online and not being able to try it on prior to purchasing can result in a lot of returns and therefore a constant time-suck.
  • Being allergic to nickel to the point where I react as if it were poison ivy means I can't touch any mental without testing it first. This can make going out in public difficult. Think about all of the metal stuff we touch every day: door handles, keys, sinks, pens, sunglasses - it goes on and on.
  • Generally avoiding all of this stuff is a giant inconvenience in the beginning.... to put it nicely.
  • Conditioning oneself to think before touching, planning, or consuming aaanything is a process that is full of failures and frustration.
  • Being afraid of medical procedures due to my allergens being in medicine is... really scary when I think about it. I just hope that myself and every doctor who comes into contact with me takes every precaution.
  • When it comes to relationships, avoiding allergens can be something that puts strain on the bond between two people. It's not fun for the person with allergies to have to change their day to day routine and it's also not easy for the other person either.
  • Having to completely change my hairstyle. I used to rock tighter banana curls but I can't find any product that will work like my good ol fav... wow, it's been so long I can't even remember which brand it was! It was the perfect combo of gel and cream all in one... I was never able to replicate it on my own.
  • Becoming the center of attention all the time because it's easy for people to tell when I'm avoiding about two dozen things. People notice that I use plastic silverware when I eat out because... it's really noticeable. Or how about having to have 3 giant pieces of glass trucked into your job with two men doing the installation... Yeah, nobody noticed that (insert sarcasm here). Then instantly, the conversation starts about why I'm having this done and then it turns into my whole story of developing my allergies and blah blah blah. And it's fine - I get it. I understand why people are curious. I would be too. It just makes for a rather intimate conversation with people I hardly know. The "typical" person isn't having in depth discussions about their sometimes really gross skin, you know? 

Pros

  • I live a life free of many of the chemicals many people consume and put on their body (therefore being absorbed into your bloodstream through your skin). 
  • I don't have to worry about the scary side effects of oral steroids.
  • I don't have to pay for expensive prescriptions.
  • I've learned that reading the labels on everything is beneficial for everybody (and kind of scary). We owe it to ourselves to know what we're putting in our bodies!
  • It also happens to be a good test for the strength of a relationship. If the other person can't deal with the modifications you've had to make in your life to accommodate avoiding your allergens... they don't deserve your time. 
  • Going through all of this meant really getting to know myself. I've had a lot of challenges set up in front of me and a wide variety of them at that. I've worked a lot on self control and dealing with all of the emotions that come with what I've been through. It runs the full gamut, that's for sure. I've seen some of my major weaknesses as well as a lot of strength... and I hope to keep improving on everything.
  • I don't have to worry about being at the doctor all the time since I'm not constantly pumping a bunch of chemicals through my system aka steroids. When you're continually prescribed something, you have to go back for check-ins every number of months to check in on things. As long as I'm not having breakouts, I don't have much of a need for the doctor other than for the routine annual exams.

 

What are some of your pros and cons? What sort of medical issues have you had to work on overcoming?