What? Propylene Glycol? I'm allergic to almost everything?

My story is a long one, so I will try to keep my long story short. I went through patch testing recently and learned I was allergic to several things, but the biggie was propylene glycol. So big in fact that my allergist/immunologist didn’t want to tell me anything about the other allergies yet. She said trying to deal with PG would be enough right now. Why? Because it means, come to find out, that I’m allergic to almost everything! Well, tons of stuff, not really everything, but way too much because it’s so pervasive and used so much in our society. My doctor joked I should be in a bubble. Great! Just wonderful! I started out in a bubble, so why not?

Interestingly, I also found out recently while talking to family about all my immune system problems, that I indeed started out in a bubble - an incubator, that is - because my mother was very sick when she had me. Seems I was sickly from day one. Fast forward many decades and I’m still dealing with a whole list of problems (from A to Z is the joke in my family). I have been diagnosed with several autoimmune diseases, inflammatory arthritis, and digestive disorders. Allergy testing and experience has shown I’m also allergic to pollen, ragweed, latex, and several tree nuts, for which I now must carry an epi-pen.

Being diagnosed with a systemic allergy to propylene glycol was a huge blow, but also a huge relief. I don’t just get contact dermatitis but also have related digestive and internal issues, so it explains a lot. It made so much sense once all the pieces came together. Like how I’ve figured out over the years what I can and cannot tolerate and end up having rashes when I use something new or different. Like how certain foods bother me and how I have already cut a lot of things out of my diet because I was overly sensitive to so much.

So, after all this time, I finally know why I am the way I am and now it’s a matter of learning to live with the hand I was dealt so I can have a better life. My doctor explained that because I was immune-compromised as a newborn, my body not only over-reacts to attacks on my immune system from allergens, but also attacks itself, hence, all the autoimmune conditions I have.

It sucks, but you know what? I still lead a very fulfilling life with my family and, although I deal with constant challenges on a daily basis, it’s a good life overall. I am very lucky to be able to stay home and care for my wonderful child and I have a loving husband who is very supportive and empathic. I feel very fortunate in so many ways.

When I was told I’m allergic to almost everything, I felt like the world was collapsing underneath me - at least for a little bit - then I pulled myself up as I usually do and was determined to not let this take me down, just like none of the other diagnoses have. I went to gatherings as usual this weekend and smiled and talked small talk and then came home and researched the hell out of this new challenge as I have all the rest, because, for me, knowledge is power. Thank you for helping with that. I know I am not alone and can get through this too...
— anonymous Allergista reader

So inspiring!! A positive mindset is incredibly important in life and especially in our situations. It can make or break your day and when your body is already fighting a tough battle... it doesn't need added stress.

Your journey is pretty incredible... you had the odds stacked against you since day one and you just keep knocking those challenges down one by one. Bravo! I thank my lucky stars for the more extensive allergy tests out there because they truly are life changing. So many people get stomach aches / rashes and have no idea why... these tests can take all of that away! 

Propylene glycol allergy is a tough battle to fight - especially through the first year. After a routine gets put in place, life is sooo much easier. That doesn't mean all challenges are gone, of course... propylene glycol can be in theater smoke, e-cigs, perfumes that people spray in the work place and more... education is the best armor :-)

Cheers to positive thinking!