I Can’t Eat That 

Now that I’m cancer free, I’ve resumed visits to all the other specialists (Isn’t growing older wonderful?) I had been seeing before the cancer diagnosis. One of these specialists was my immunologist, who had suggested I stop taking my allergy injections while I was doing chemotherapy since the chemo would change many of the conditions in my body. She was right. I no longer need the monthly injections for seasonal allergies, but there are certain foods I can no longer eat.

Why not, you may be asking yourself. Easy answer? I’m allergic to them. Wait just a minute here. What exactly does allergic mean and how will this affect your Chronic Kidney Disease?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/allergy tells us that allergy means,

“1altered bodily reactivity (such as hypersensitivity) to an antigen in response to a first exposure….

2exaggerated or pathological immunological reaction (as by sneezing, difficult breathing, itching, or skin rashes) to substances, situations, or physical states that are without comparable effect on the average individual

3medical practice concerned with allergies

4a feeling of antipathy or aversion”

It’s definition number two for us. Maybe an explanation of those monthly allergy injections would be helpful here, too. The Mayo Clinic at https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/allergy-shots/about/pac-20392876#:~:text=If%20you%20get%20weekly%20or,reaction%2C%20particularly%20a%20local%20reaction had the explanation we needed:

“Allergy shots are regular injections over a period of time — generally around three to five years — to stop or reduce allergy attacks. Allergy shots are a form of treatment called immunotherapy. [Gail here: Hence, the specialist who treats allergies is called an immunologist.] Each allergy shot contains a tiny amount of the specific substance or substances that trigger your allergic reactions. These are called allergens. Allergy shots contain just enough allergens to stimulate your immune system — but not enough to cause a full-blown allergic reaction.

Over time, your doctor increases the dose of allergens in each of your allergy shots. This helps get your body used to the allergens (desensitization). Your immune system builds up a tolerance to the allergens, causing your allergy symptoms to diminish over time.”

Lucky me: no more seasonal allergies. Let’s get back to those food allergies and CKD now… or not. While I found quite a bit of information about drug allergies, I found very little about food allergies. It’s nice to know my allergies to shellfish and vanilla will not harm my kidneys. Come to think of it, I don’t eat these foods because I’m allergic to them, so they’re not in my system anyway.

Hmmm, is it any different with food sensitivities? How’s about a definition first. It’s so nice to have a favorite dictionary. This is what The Merriam-Webster Dictionary at https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/sensitivity?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld has to say:

“the quality or state of being sensitive: such as

athe capacity of an organism or sense organ to respond to stimulation: IRRITABILITY

bthe quality or state of being hypersensitive

cthe degree to which a radio receiving set responds to incoming waves

dthe capacity of being easily hurt

eawareness of the needs and emotions of others”

Definition a is the one we need.

Again, I did not find enough validation that food sensitivities could damage our kidneys to write about it.

Maybe I’m looking at this backwards. Maybe it’s not do food sensitivities and allergies damage our kidneys that I should be dealing with, but rather can they cause kidney damage. Back to the internet. Will you look at that? Again, there was much more information about drug allergies damaging your kidneys and very little about food allergies or sensitivities.

I’ve satisfied myself that, just as with my food allergies, my sensitivity to lactose, wheat, fructose syrup, and acidic foods will not harm my kidneys. Although, they may cause me to read more food labels than I usually do. Hopefully, you’re satisfied that your food allergies and sensitivities will not harm your kidneys. If you’re still concerned, speak with your nephrologist or renal dietitian.

Of course, none of this means we can ignore the kidney diet. That is, not if you want to slow down the progression of the decline of your kidney function. Eat according to your labs. Keep watching your potassium, phosphorous, protein, and sodium restrictions. This is highly individualized, so again: speak with your nephrologist or renal dietitian should you have questions.

While we’re on the subject of food, do you remember when I wrote about Flavis? That’s the low sodium, low phosphorus, low potassium food company. Bear made a beef stew which we decided to eat upon a layer of pasta. We chose Flavis’s fusilli. That’s a kind of short, spiral pasta. I have got to say it was delicious. I like that it tastes so light, especially since I usually find pasta so heavy.   

News! I’ve gotten so many emails asking where readers can buy my books that I’ve made each title clickable. Click on the title and you go directly to the book’s page on Amazon.com. The titles are to the right of the blog itself on the blog roll.

I know, especially now in the time of Covid-19, that money can be an issue and even the $2.99 for the digital version of each of the books can be $2.99 too much. In that case, I suggest you request your library order the book and then you can borrow it for free. Even libraries that have shut down have virtual sites now. I do humbly request reviews from those of you who read the books. You can leave them on the Amazon.com page for each book. Thank you in advance.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!

As I Sneeze My Way Through Life

Let me first open this up to you: if you were newly diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease and were stunned by your diagnose, where would you  look for information first ?  I ask because whatever you answer  is where I’ll be donating copies of the books.  While I’d love to make back my initial investment, the book was never meant to be a money maker for me. What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease was written so no one else would have to endure the fear I did when I was first diagnosed.  It took me too long to gather the information I needed in a way I could understand it so that my fear could abate.  Why should anyone else have to endure that? Answer: There is NO reason.

Anyone ever hear of Landmark Education?  My daughter, Abby, gave me this seminar as a gift for my 65th birthday back in February.  I’d seen how it transformed her life and was definitely curious.  Guess what.  It is not a “cult.”  This seminar is REQUIRED by the Pentagon (I know that’s not a great endorsement to some people) and The Air Force Academy.  Before you decide it’s military, Buddhist monks, Trappist monks, schools, companies, families, and just plain people like you and me take their courses.  I think of it as learning how to get out of your own way so you can create whatever you want in your life.  I’m still me after the weekend seminar, but I’m a me who has found the joy in her life again.  I’m a pretty happy person, but that joy was slowly ebbing  away without my realizing it.  Not anymore.  I’ll like the whole world to learn this way of thinking about yourself so each and every person can get out of their own way and have a happy, productive life.  Thank you, Abby.

The sneezing.  Ah, yes, I was going to write about the sneezing.  Ever since I was a teenager and got a kitten for my Sweet Sixteen (hey, that is all I wanted), I knew I’m allergic to cats.  That didn’t stop me from always having cats, though.  I just bought more tissues and had chronically red eyes.  Once I had kids, they always had multiple cats in the house.  And, again, I just bought more tissues and put up with red eyes.

Then I moved out to Arizona.  That was almost ten years ago. I noticed the cat allergy got worse, but that was okay because my last child had moved out and taken her cats with her. But, wait, what was this?  Certain kinds of dogs made me sneeze, too.  Luckily, not my sweet Bella who is part Australian Cattle Dog and part German Short-Haired Pointer.  I was becoming uncomfortable and going back to the sneezing and need for lots of tissues without a cat in the house and with a dog who didn’t cause these symptoms.  What made it never worse is that I love fresh air and would keep the doors and windows opened until it hit 90 degrees each day.

It was easy enough to figure out these were allergies, but I thought because I had Chronic Kidney Disease that I couldn’t do anything about it.  When my primary care doctor suggested they were keeping me up at night (which meant I wasn’t getting the eight hours of sleep a night CKDers need), she suggested I see an allergist to see what, if anything, could be done to alleviate the situation.  Thank you, Dr. Zhao of Deer Valley Family Medicine, for suggesting I see Dr.Ching at Arizona Asthma & Allergy Institute.

It turned out that I am not only allergic to cats and certain breeds of dogs, but I now have allergies to weeds and plants that don’t live back East.  I had been exposing myself to vast amounts of pollen from Firebush, Kochia, Mesquite (ack!  I planted one outside my office window when I bought this house), juniper, white mulberry and the list goes on and on.  I could have simply sealed myself into my house with its no-air-gets-though windows and arcadia doors, but that wouldn’t have worked.  I need open windows. I need open doors. To me, they are  as essential as food.

Dr. Ching carefully explained to me that we could start a regimen of injections but it would take a long time to build up the antibodies.  I didn’t really care about that since I was getting sort of tired of red eyes and always having a tissue clutched in my hand.  I was concerned about what was in those injections. Once she explained, I had one of those why-didn’t-I-conside-this years ago moments.  They contained minute portions of each of the substances I was allergic to.  There were no chemicals in them to exit via the kidneys.  In other words, they were safe for a CKDer like me.

This is how allergy shots work: “Allergy shots work like a vaccine. Your body responds to the injected amounts of a particular allergen (given in gradually increasing doses) little by little, developing a resistance and tolerance to it. Allergy shots can lead to decreased, minimal or no allergy symptoms when you are again exposed to the allergen(s) in the shot.” You can read the rest of this explantation about immunotherapy at: http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/library/at-a-glance/allergy-shots.aspx

Until next week,

a less sneezy, red-eyed Gail suggests you

Keep living your life!