Protopic and Alcohol: an Experiment

30 Jan

At the beginning of the year, I spent $300 to refill my prescription of Proptopic. In the process, I discovered that using Protopic and drinking alcohol can cause facial flushing and burning.  Since there were still technically other things that could be causing my facial flushing from alcohol (new allergy? some weird genetic disease? who knows!), I stopped using Protopic immediately after filling it.  (There goes $300!)

A couple weeks later, I decided to try having a glass of wine.  I actually went to Bonefish Grill, where is where I had my first obvious flushing/burning reaction.

drinking wine protopic

a dark camera phone picture, but yay, wine!

The good news is that I was able to have two glasses of wine without ANY facial flushing or burning.  My face didn’t even feel warm at all! I was paranoid the entire time and kept touching my face to see if I’d react, but I didn’t. So, it definitely seems to be related to Protopic.  Hopefully my future “experiments” will continue to support my current theory.   The weird thing is that I know other people who use Protopic regularly and don’t seem to have any issues with alcohol but I guess everyone reacts differently to things.

I love when I’m able to solve one of my medical mysteries :)

I Solved the Mystery of the Alcohol Allergy

7 Jan

Remember how I mentioned a few times that I had developed some sort of alcohol allergy or sensitivity?
asian flush

Here’s the history and symptoms:

  • It started in early spring and gradually.  The first time I paid attention to it was at my going away party in May.
  • It did not happen consistently.
  • It DID NOT seem like an allergic reaction, as I had no other symptoms, and the flushing disappeared in less than 30 minutes.
  • The flushing was accompanied by intense burning.

It was driving me crazy and I had thought of everything from Asian Flush (even though my DNA test indicated I did not have this.) to Topical Steroid Addiction/Withdrawal to a new found allergy to who knows what!

But I solved the mystery! Earlier this year, my allergist prescribed me Protopic to use in between steroid use for my eczema.  I barely used it at all in the beginning, but started to use it more in the late spring, and then alternated with my steroids.  I recently filled a bunch of my prescriptions and the Kaiser website lists information about each prescription. For Protopic, it says not to drink alcohol while using it, as it may cause facial flushing and burning.

It’s very disturbing to me that something put on my FEET can cause flushing in my face, but … since the skin is one organ, I guess it makes sense.  I’m just so glad to know what’s causing it.

Have any of you had this symptom while using Protopic?

Happy New Year! Here’s a Recap of 2013.

1 Jan


Happy New Year!

2013 was one of the best and most interesting years of my life and I hope 2014 is even better.  I changed my ENTIRE life in 2013.  So many things happened, it’s hard to remember them all but as a quick summary:

  • I took a vacation to Colorado
  • I quit my job of 7 years.
  • I was in one of my best friend’s wedding
  • I moved from Massachusetts to Colorado.
  • I started a new job.
  • I bought a house for the first time.
  • I paid for “adult” things like toilets and hardwood floors.
  • My allergies and eczema got better.

My most read posts in 2013, in case you missed them, were:

  1. My “I Got Glutened” Emergency Kit.
  2. Living with Chronic Allergic Shiners
  3. 4 Reasons You Should Use Gluten-Free Body Products
  4. Guest Post: The Allergista Discusses Being Allergic to Propylene Glycol
  5. Getting Glutened: The Reality

My personal FAVORITE posts of the year, which don’t necessarily overlap with the most read posts, are:

  1. Guest Post: What It’s Like to Date Someone with Food Allergies and Celiac Disease
  2. Cognitive Distortions with Celiac Disease, Food Allergies and Eczema
  3. Gluten and Allergen Free Date Ideas
  4. 5 Goods Things About Celiac Disease
  5. How to Let Celiac Disease Ruin Your Life
  6. What To Do if a Restaurant Doesn’t Have a Gluten Free Menu
  7. Invisible Illness vs. Visible Illnesses

My favorite search terms directing to my blog:

  1. Food babies
  2. Kevin McAllister (Home Alone IS a favorite movie of mine….)
  3. Non-stop eating
  4. Gronk Flakes are they gluten free
  5. Do Girls date guys with food allergies
  6. Would you date someone with food allergies?
  7. Allergies make me ugly
  8. Why does dying feel so terrifying asthma
  9. Do people with Celiac Disease have mental problems

And finally, the top outbound links — you should check these blogs/websites out :)

  1. Gluten Free Makeup Gal
  2. The Allergista
  3. An article on Yoga for Healthy Digestion at Gluten Free Magazine
  4. L’Oreal’s Gluten Free product list
  5. Gluten Dude

Thank you everyone for reading and contributing!

Weird New Allergies

17 Dec

I can’t believe it’s been a month since I last wrote here! Life has been so hectic — mostly in a good way though :)  We had a bit of a FRIGID spell in Colorado with subzero temperatures, but the past few days have been in the 60s, which is wonderful especially around Christmas!

I have gone through a million-and-one changes over the past year, from selling my house, changing jobs, moving across the country and more.  I’m now OFFICIALLY a homeowner (before I was just living in my boyfriend’s house), and everything is just completely different than what it was a year ago.  In the past year, I’ve noticed some strange new allergies develop!

  • One of them, mentioned here is alcohol!  It doesn’t appear to be gluten related and I don’t think it’s an actual allergy.  Basically, I drink alcohol, and my face turns BRIGHT red, feels like it’s on fire and is incredibly splotchy or rashy.  Within 15-30 minutes, it completely disappears.  So far, I’ve only experienced this with wine (red and white), hard cider, and rum.  It happens the worst with wine, then cider, and the least with rum.
  • Another reaction seems to be nickel! It’s not nearly as bad as The Allergista’s nickel allergy.  She has poison-ivy type reactions when she comes in contact with nickel.  For me, if I wear earrings, my entire ear turns red and feels like it’s burning.  If I wear a necklace, my neck gets itchy.  I’ve started getting sterling silver earrings, at the recommendation of The Allergista and I seem to be okay with that.  I seem to be okay with limited contact, as well.
  • While I do seem to be able to tolerate most fabrics, I have an issue with wool (which is extremely common).  When I was a kid with severe eczema, I had problems with almost all fabrics except cotton, especially wool. But in the past 10 years or so, I haven’t really had any problems. The other day, I wore a sweater that was 10% wool, andI had a rash on my arms. As soon as I took off the sweater, my rash went away.
  • Ink is another weird one! I wouldn’t call this an allergy — maybe some sort of sensitivity. It’s not ALL ink, either. But recently, I had a big carton of recently printed catalogs in my office. I had an AWFUL headache for an entire week, until I removed them from my office. Also, when I was stuffing them into envelopes, I noticed that where the catalog touched my fingers, I ended up with eczema. Once I was done stuffing them, the eczema went away a day or two later.

I did have most of these issues as a kid, but outgrew many of them… but looks like I’ll have to deal with them again! On a positive note, my stomach has been MUCH better than it had been, and I’m now tolerating many of the foods I’d been able to tolerate before.

Have you developed any allergies or sensitivities as an adult?  What’s the hardest one to deal with?

REVIEW: Brazi Bites Brazilian Cheese Bread

13 Nov

You know what I miss a TON?  Pizza crust.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that gluten-free pizza just isn’t the same, but I really really miss the texture of a good, gluten-filled pizza crust.  I always used to steal my boyfriend’s pizza crust (he didn’t like it!!!).  And have you ever tried those cheese-filled crusts? So delicious.

Brazi Bites Product Line - Original, Jalapeno & bacon

I am super-excited to tell you about a product from Brazi Bites because now us gluten-free people can enjoy the taste of pizza crust again! Brazi Bites launched this product, commonly known as Brazilian cheese bread (or Pão de Queijo which I assume literally means “Bread of Cheese”, based on my knowledge of French and Spanish (but not Portuguese)) a couple years ago. It was developed from a secret family recipe and is amazingly delicious. After quite a bit of growth in the Pacific Northwest area, they are now being sold at Sprouts. (If you’ve never heard of Sprouts, they’re an awesome grocery store, which I wrote about here).

They come in 3 flavors: Original, Fire-Roasted Jalapeno and All-Natural Bacon and are Certified Gluten Free (and manufactured in a completely gluten-free facility).
Baked Cheese Bread

The original and fire-roasted jalapeno are, by far, my favorite.  While the Bacon Cheese Bread Snacks had only a subtle bacon flavor to them, I am not a fan of bacon.  I know, it’s un-American of me, but what can I say?  The other two are amazing, cheesy, crusty goodness though.  It tastes just like I stole them off my boyfriend’s plate.  While I’m too lazy to make a dip for these, I think they’d be great with some sort of sauce or dip.

These come frozen, about 20 to a bag.  A serving size is only 3 pieces (sadface) and they have about 120-140 calories each.  Now, I’m going to tell you the one down side of this product:  They have to bake in the oven for 20 minutes! 20 entire minutes before you can eat them!  (Luckily, ovens vary, and they cook in my oven in about 16 minutes… phew).

If you don’t have a Sprouts near you, you can buy them online and have them shipped to you. I will warn you that shipping is quite expensive. To ship one bag to Colorado was three times the cost of the product … so hopefully you live near a Sprouts!

*I received these products at no cost, in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

REVIEW: Enjoy Life Chewy Bars

12 Nov


Enjoy Life is one of my favorite brands. I love that they cater to people with food allergies and Celiac Disease by avoiding the top 8 allergens AND gluten!  So many people have multiple food allergies so it’s great to have a company who is sensitive to that fact.

This time, I received samples of Enjoy Life’s Chewy Bars. A couple months ago, I also reviewed their Decadent Soft Baked Bars, which were AMAZING.

The Chewy bars come in the following flavors: Cocoa Loco, SunButter Crunch, Mixed Berry and Caramel Apple. They also have a “new and improved taste!” I hadn’t tried them previously, so I can’t speak for how they compare to the older version. ;)

Like the name says, these were very chewy, especially the fruit ones. I did not like the texture of these as much as the Decadent Bars, but the flavors were still quite good. Cocoa Loco was both my and my boyfriend’s favorite.

Mixed Berry and Caramel Apple were both very sweet and tied for second place. I made my boyfriend try the SunButter Crunch, because anything with “butter crunch” in its name makes me think of peanut butter, even if it doesn’t actually have peanut butter in it. He said he really liked it.

For snack bars, they aren’t terribly unhealthy. You can review the nutritional information of each bar, by clicking on the flavor. They all came in around 110-120 calories and around 5-8 grams of sugar which is much better than many of them on the market. They all do have sunflower seed butter in them, so if sunflower seeds are an allergen for you, definitely pay attention to that.

Have any of you tried these? What were your thoughts?

*I received these products in exchange for my honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way.

Horror Stories of Asthma, Eczema and Allergies

24 Oct

Halloween Tree

In honor of Halloween coming up, I thought I’d post some of my own real-life horror stories.

As a kid, I looked kind of like a monster at times and was bullied for it. Even now, when food allergies, Celiac Disease, eczema, etc. are more common than they were 25 years ago, there is STILL bullying taking place. In fact, just last week, a girl with a peanut allergy was hospitalized after other students put a peanut in her drink.

My second horror story is from when I was just a freshman in college.  At 19 years-old, my asthma sent me into respiratory arrest. I was intubated and in ICU for four days. The scariest part is that no one really knows why this happened.

Here are some scary facts from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation

Every day in America:

  • 44,000 people have an asthma attack.
  • 36,000 kids miss school due to asthma.
  • 27,000 adults miss work due to asthma.
  • 4,700 people visit the emergency room due to asthma.
  • 1,200 people are admitted to the hospital due to asthma.
  • 9 people die from asthma

Another scary time for me was when I was kissing my boyfriend and suddenly, I had hives everywhere and was wheezing. Turns out, he had eaten some type of nut earlier that day. I had to rush to the store and get Benadryl (I nearly always have it but of course that was one time I did not.)

Health issues are a very scary reality for many people!   And Halloween is a particularly scary time for many parents of children with food allergies!

If you’re willing, please share with me your scariest health issue and hopefully it will raise some awareness of how deadly these issues can be.


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