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Strawberries

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Food allergies are a real bummer. I moved to the part of California known for its amazing strawberries. They smell really good…and their flavor lives up to their reputation.

Joe and I decided to make strawberry jam as a party favor for our wedding, this being Watsonville and all. We did it in three batches. The first batch was the one I couldn’t resist. We bought unrefrigerated strawberries picked that day from an organic farm about a mile from where we live. That night, we mashed up the strawberries, cooked them with sugar and pectin, and voilà, beautiful jam. There were a few strawberries left over which we decided to eat with oatmeal pancakes.

They were delicious. I haven’t had strawberries since 2007 or maybe even before that. Among the red foods containing malvin (the allergen, or depending on who you ask, the naturally occurring food chemical to which I have a sensitivity), strawberries have a high concentration.

Within about 20 minutes, my abdomen started to swell. Within an hour, I looked 6 months pregnant. I had a headache which I slept off that night. My intestines needed about 4 days to recover.

Was it worth the pain? You bet!

Would I do it again? Not for a very long time.

For the other two batches of strawberry jam, I merely inhaled the incredible fragrance.

On a side note, one of the caterers we interviewed thought that an allergy to red food was “made up.” I calmly explained to him what malvin is. In my head I was shouting, “Who would make up an allergy to strawberries when you live in Watsonville!” As you can imagine, we chose someone else to provide food at the wedding.

Tinea versicolor and Lavender Oil

As the weather has warmed up in Watsonville, my Tinea versicolor rash has reappeared. For some reason, it wasn’t aggravated by the heat from the dry sauna back when the weather was cooler. But it came back with a vengeance about a week ago.

I had Tinea last summer which started when I had been on Florinef for over a year to treat my low blood pressure. Florinef can cause increased susceptibility to fungal infections, of which Tinea is one. I used some kind of anti-fungal cream and had a reaction to it. I also tried an oral anti-fungal drug and discovered that I was allergic to that, too. I used selson blue in the shower (on my chest, not my hair) as suggested by my doctor and it wasn’t particularly effective. Or maybe I should say, it worked very slowly. The rash went away once the weather cooled off. I wasn’t sure if the Selson Blue was finally working or if it was the temperature. But once the rash was really gone, I stopped treating it.

Now it’s back. Instead of going down the prescription drug route, I decided to go with my stand-by treatment of choice for skin problems: lavender oil. I use it for blemishes and itchy bug bites. I never put it on open wounds. It is one of only 2 essential oils that I know of that can be used without dilution. I knew that topical lavender oil has antibacterial properties and read up on its anti-fungal properties. Two days ago, I thought I would give it a try.

The first time I put it on, soaking a Q-tip then spreading it across the rash, it burned like nobody’s business. About an hour later, I noticed the itch was completely gone. The relief lasted about 6 hours, after which I had some mild discomfort, less than an itch, but a noticeable sensation.

The next night, I put it on before sleeping. The smell was strong, but the relief was immediate, without the burning sensation. Today, there was no rash, even after a hot shower or after 20 minutes in the dry sauna (both of which tend to make it redder and itchier). I still have a slight below-the-level-of-an-itch sensation.

What amazes me is how much better it works than the anti-fungal drugs I tried or the Selson Blue, both of which are the standard treatments. The relief has been quicker and more complete than other treatments with no side effects, yet I never heard anyone mention it. Now that I looked it up online, it seems to be one of the “natural alternatives” for treating Tinea.

I put the lavender oil on again this afternoon, hoping that by the time I go to bed, the smell will be gone. With any luck, I’ll get rid of this rash once and for all.

Hot-Headed Sauna Relief

As I mentioned in my last post about my dry sauna routine, my hair gets much hotter than the rest of my body, and the heat on my head sometimes makes the sauna unbearable. I planned out a short experiment to see if I could make sure my head didn’t get hotter than the rest of my body.

For the past week and a half, I’ve used a 100% cotton bandana as a wrap around my hair. I chose cotton because some of the synthetic fabrics can get pretty hot. The bandana covers about 95% of my hair (with a little peaking out around my hairline), and I secure it loosely, allowing my scalp to breathe. This modification to my routine has made a tremendous difference. I don’t get overheated in the sauna. The 20 minutes fly by with me sweating but not suffering. Twice, out of the 5 or 6 times I’ve gone, the tips of my ears got really hot. Still that’s better than my whole head overheating.

Bartonella Progress

I’ve been coiling for Bartonella about once a week. I’ve been focusing on my head, neck and upper body as the areas I believe have the highest concentration of bacteria. Up until this past weekend, I had kidney pain shortly after I coiled. I’ve been doing my best to keep my kidneys in working order, drinking lots of water and taking Renavive. Yet I still got the pain. The only way to make it feel better was to spend time in the dry sauna, allowing my body to release toxins through my skin rather than through my kidneys.

This weekend, after I coiled for Bartonella, there was no kidney pain. I’m hoping this means that I’ve finally made a dent in the infection load.

July Coiling Record

This past month, I’ve been less focused on my health than I’ve been for the previous few years. The other times I’ve done this are when I threw a big party for my dad’s birthday and when I traveled to Italy with my mother. On those occasions, I did what I could to have a routine down, then focused on the big project at hand. That’s what I’m doing now with my wedding.

With some luck, I’m at a spot where I don’t need to be coiling 2 hours a day. Still, I want to keep a record of what I’ve been coiling for and when.

(Dates not listed means no coiling that day.)

  • July 2 – Lyme, lower body
  • July 3 – Lyme, upper body
  • July 4 – Bartonella, upper body
  • July 8 – Lyme, lower body; Bartonella, upper body
  • July 9 – Lyme upper body
  • July 10 – Bartonella, upper body
  • July 13 – Lyme, lower body
  • July 14 – Lyme, upper body
  • July 16 – Bartonella, upper body
  • July 19 – Lyme, lower body
  • July 22 – Lyme, upper body
  • July 23 – Bartonella, upper body
  • July 26 – Lyme, lower body
  • July 27 – Lyme, upper body
  • July 28 – Bartonella, upper body
  • July 31 – Bartonella, upper body

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