On November 8th, I remember vividly that I was looking for earrings for Avery. David was in the car hanging out while Avery slept, so I did not have to wake her up and bring her in the store. After looking at every option, twice, I leaned down to look at the lowest option on the shelf, found one I liked, and that was when I heard my phone go off. Typically, I wouldn’t have looked. Typically, I would have waited until I got back to the car. Typically, I wouldn’t have.. looked. But for some reason- I pulled my phone out. As I opened it… I saw those numbers 16.30. This is a small number, but it was a number that changed my life. I looked at that number, bought my single item, and went to the car. I felt stunned. Something so small, so minute, so silly to some people- was about to consume me. It was okay, I didn’t cry. I pulled out of Claire’s and drove toward home. We got about 10 minutes into the drive and I wept. I bawled. I ugly cried. David sat there and let me cry, let me complain. We were a couple weeks out from Thanksgiving and I couldn’t have any ham. I don’t even like Turkey. #TEAMHAMFORTHANKSGIVING. No more juicy, delicious steaks. No more double cheeseburgers.

It’s just food.

Maybe to some, it was just food, but to me it was the end of the world in my eyes. These test results I received were for GalactoseAlpha 1,3 Galactose IGE. This was the result of being bitten by the Lone Star tick at some point in my life. This tick makes you magically allergic to red meat and mammalian derivatives.

I have no idea when I was bitten. About two years ago in September of 2017, I was pregnant with my sweet girl, Avery. I noticed that every time I ate red meat, I was feeling sick. I would get nauseous, body aches, extreme fatigue. All things that pregnant woman typically have issues with, so I just stopped eating hamburger meat. I switched to turkey meat and life was good. I still felt sick and nauseous, but not near as often or near as bad. I had Avery in March of 2018 and assumed things would go back to normal. My first day home from the hospital, mama got a Big Mac. I noticed it was still happening, but attributed it to other things- breastfeeding, stress, not eating healthy, really the list could go on. Now, though, something was different. I would get migraines too. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve gotten migraines since I was 13, I’m a veteran. I know to take my medication, to rest, to wait it out, but this was different. The pounding in my head was so excruciating that it is hard to put into word. I would lay down, my head would spin, I would take medication, and immediately vomit and it was painful. My family and friends would think something bad had happened to me because I would go 15 hours without waking up, answering my phone, moving from my bed. Something was wrong. It wasn’t all the time though. It was hit or miss, so I tried to figure it out. Everyone had joked that I had gotten “bit by the tick” that had been circulating around the internet. If it was on Facebook, it has to be true. So I started noticing things that made me sick and actively avoiding them and kind of felt better, but not actually better better.

I consulted with Dr. Google and went down the rabbit hole of all the things that could be wrong with me and finally I noticed that the joke may be real. I joined Facebook groups regarding Alpha Gal and saw that their symptoms were like mine and it was so crazy that this may have been what is going on with me. So, I began to eat like someone with Alpha Gal, I cut out all the meats because at this time I didn’t realize all the extras that go with it. It is more than just meat.

Wine. Gelatin. Marshmallows. Pop-Tarts.

All things that have animal products you don’t think about, but I now could not have.

I am no doctor and honestly google has helped me tremendously, but Alpha Gal occurs when a tick bites you and the sugar molecule is then transmitted into your body. For me, I get nausea, body pains (like the flu), migraines, and shortness of breath. At first I didn’t get hives and itching, but now I do. Lucky me. It is also a delayed reaction, for some 4-10 hours later.

Everyone is different.

That may be the most difficult part of all this. Some people can’t have Carrageenan, this is an additive that is in things like lunch meat, some Thanksgiving turkeys, milks, creams. It’s all trial and error. I started my new chicken and turkey diet and was still having issues, I would immediately feel nauseous, achy, and my face would feel flushed and something was still not right. I had previously been prescribed an Epi Pen because that is important when you can’t breathe, I guess. I prefer not to use it. So I made an appointment with my {new} allergist and after discussing everything, I chose to get tested and see if I am allergic to MILK. I don’t even like plain milk.. but I like chocolate. I like Reeses. I like sour cream. I like literally everything on the shelves that contain milk and I am now officially, sadly A L L E R G I C. I miss Reeses so much. Someone eat one for me. I now go back every 6 months to be retested. 50% of people will have their numbers drop if not bitten by another tick, 50% may not. So I am just going to be continuously praying that I am the 50% that God wants me to be.

My skin test for milk

I could go on for hours on all things Alpha Gal that would make me sound like a crazy person. Magnesium Stearate is in the pill form of most mediations as a filler (and some liquid kinds) which CAN contain beef and pork, so I had to stop taking my medications. Some people can be affected by their body soap, lotion, toilet paper, etc.

I plan to post more things on what I am going through and what I am learning. I do some chicken and turkey still, but the majority of the time, I eat vegan. I make many meals from scratch, so my super handsome fiancé bought me a kitchenmaid mixer for Christmas. Anytime I eat anything, I have to check ingredients in literally everything. I can’t eat whatever I want at family get-togethers. I can’t go out to eat wherever. It is getting so much easier though. I cried, a lot. I felt like it was the end of my world and happiness, but now (although I am still discouraged a lot) I am better at realizing it is just food. I like fruits, vegetables, vegan cookies.

DID YOU KNOW..

Buffalo Wild Wings fries in beef tallow? That means all the wings, I cannot have. I miss wings. I miss cheese. I miss lots of food. Sure, there are a lot of alternatives.. but it’s not the same. I miss stopping at fast food restaurants. I miss going out to eat with people without having to be “that person” asking for special accommodations. It is okay though. I will be okay. I am learning, I am happy, I am maintaining weight. It seemed like the end, but I am quickly learning that it is not actually the end of the world and sometimes you just have to be “that person” and just ask!

If you get bored, come back and check out future posts to learn odd facts about living with these allergies! Thank ya’ll for taking the time out of your busy life to read about me.

“For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime! Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”  Psalm 30:5 NLT