Thursday, April 9, 2009

Of allergies & anxiety

Thank you for all your kind comments & good wishes on my earlier post. I may have some food allergies -- but I definitely believe anxiety is rearing its ugly head again, after an absence of some years.

After Friday's hasty exit from the classroom, I had people coming by my cubicle all Monday morning asking me how I was doing. One person even asked me, "How's the drama queen?" She was just joking (my immediate boss told me she didn't even realize I was gone!) but of course it made me feel hugely self-conscious.

I went to my Weight Watchers meeting at noon that day & I found I had lost 3.4 lbs over the past week. Not exactly the way you want to lose it, though. :( I told my leader & a few of the members chimed in with their own experiences with food allergies.

It was all sympathetic, but nevertheless, being in a group setting (& the centre of attention, albeit briefly) had an impact. I could feel my throat starting to tighten up & was feeling very, very uncomfortable by the end of the meeting -- all before I had a single bite to eat. I went into the washroom, & I could see a small red spot forming on my neck. Went to the cafeteria to pick up some soup & a bun for lunch, and brought it back to my desk. Looked in the mirror, & the small red spot had gotten a bit larger. Started eating & boom! it started spreading like wildfire. What does that tell you?

I took a Benadryl as a precaution. The redness ran its course within about an hour or so, but the tightness remained, letting up a tad once I got home & did some yoga. It was probably the worst my throat has felt to date, although I could still breathe, swallow & eat dinner (pasta) without any problems. It felt better (less tight, albeit still sore) after a good night's sleep.

I went downstairs at coffee time the next day with my cellphone & datebook, called our employee assistance program & booked an appointment next week with a counsellor I have seen before, who was a sympathetic listener and had a great handle on midlife crisis issues. I went to my family dr Tuesday morning for a regular blood pressure checkup (120/80, thankfully). I'll also be seeing Dr. Ob-gyn for my annual Pap, etc., next week, as well as the long-awaited followup with the allergist -- so I think I have all my bases covered. ; )

The rest of the week has gradually gotten better (knocking wood here!). I took Benadryl one more time after supper on Tuesday night, after I thought I saw a red spot on my neck & started feeling anxious again. But I've been trying very hard not to run for the mirror as soon as I've eaten, because I think it just feeds the anxiety, & right now, I think the anxiety is more of a problem than the allergies are. Dh promised to tell me if he saw any redness on my neck. I've had a few anxious moments here & there where I've felt on the brink of panic, & wished I had some at.i.van again, but so far, I think I'm coping OK. My throat has been sore (no wonder, it's had quite the workout, poor thing...) but I've been gargling with salt water (tried & true home remedy). I've also did some yoga workout tapes a few nights this week, & I think that's helped too.

I brought my lunch Tuesday-Wednesday-Thursday -- leftovers from home that I had eaten without incident & could feel confident eating at work -- although I had to clean our department's microwave before I could bring myself to put my food in there to heat up (ugh) (reason #32 why I don't like packing a lunch...!). We've been eating very simply this week, & will probably continue to do so next week, until I get through my appointments & figure out just what is ailing me & what I can do about it. Wish me luck!


  1. As a fellow banker, can I just say that I've noticed that this is a lousy time to be in banking, and I know it's really damn stressful where I work. . . .

    Glad you are getting help.

  2. i hate having my health issues front and center too!

    Glad you've got so many appts. next week.

    Sounds like you need a break.

  3. You hang in there, LB. You're doing all the right things for yourself. I tell you, when you get to be our age, you don't want your mind or body falling apart, you just want to have a good and happy life. And the older I get, anxiety has a great effect on my overall health.