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Disaster Averted

Monday, October 21, 2013

Last night, the night that was to be my big hoorah before returning to my strict, safe, low-inflammatory diet. I wanted a veggie burger from a local place, one with guacamole and cheese. Then I wanted some ice cream for desert on the way home.

Things didn’t quite work out as I had planned.

I had a conversation with my waiter about egg allergies, and he checked to make sure that the veggie burger had no egg or egg-derived ingredients. Great. My food came. I scarfed down the sweet potato fries, which I love and are on the stricter diet. Then I started in on the burger. I was about half-way through when I noticed a white sauce. I was paralyzed with fear. My husband tasted the white sauce and said it was mayonnaise. I was simultaneously furious at the waiter (hello, mayonnaise is egg and oil!) and terrified that something really bad was going to happen in my body.

I spoke to the waiter about it. He apologized and told his manager. They gave me the meal for free. Great. That didn’t solve my problem.

Eggs are the one food I am extremely careful to avoid. The last two times I accidentally ate eggs, I lost my peripheral vision for several hours. The most recent time, I had severe pain up and down my peripheral nerves. It was ugly. All three times I’ve eaten eggs since I became disabled by Lyme, I lost my balance for a day or two and had a lot of other strange problems. When I spoke to an immunologist about it, she told me “NEVER EVER” eat eggs again. Each exposure to eggs triggers my immune system into attacking my peripheral nervous system. It is apparently a rare but well documented phenomenon. Each subsequent exposure to eggs tends to generate a progressively stronger immune response. She told me to be very careful because the next time I might end up with permanent nerve damage such as permanent vision loss.

Let’s just say I’m super careful.

So how did this happen? Well, I haven’t had a burger of any kind, including a veggie burger, in at least seven years. The thought did not occur to me that a burger would be served with mayo. Meanwhile, this particular burger had guacamole on it. Guacamole and mayonnaise are not an obvious combination, so it didn’t occur to me to ask about mayo or specify not to put it on the burger. Meanwhile, I’d had an involved conversation with the waiter about egg allergies. He said he had spoken to the cook, then looked at the ingredients on the veggie burger mix. I was a fool to think that between the waiter and the cook that one of them would have realized that mayonnaise has egg in it and that even though I didn’t specify mayo, that they might want to either not put it on or ask me about it.

The upshot? I ate mayonnaise.

I remained stunned and ate the other half of the burger, minus the bread and lettuce that had mayo on them. I wasn’t thinking straight. I was trying to mentally prepare myself for the onslaught my body was about to commit against itself.

My husband asked if we should head to the emergency room. But there wasn’t much they would be able to do. However, the conversation in the car on the way home led me to realize that I might be able to do something to mitigate my body’s response.

We came up with a two-pronged approach. First, and least pleasantly, I regurgitated as much of dinner as I could get out. In the grand scheme of things, it was not so bad. The food hadn’t been in my stomach long enough to get too acidic. So it basically tasted the same in both directions. Still, puking is not my favorite after-meal pastime, or really something I ever want to engage in.

Second, I drank a double dose (2 tsps) of diatomaceous earth. I wasn’t sure if it would really do anything, but it tends to absorb whatever you just ate, be it vitamins or protein or fat. So I figured my best shot would be to get the DE to bind to whatever food was left in my stomach, hoping none of the egg components would pass out of my intestines.

As far as I’m concerned, this two-pronged approach worked. I didn’t lose vision. I didn’t get wracked with nerve pain. I didn’t lose my balance. I don’t want to do this again.

The side effects were mostly from vomiting. I had reflux last night and this morning. I feel like there is something hanging out at the back of my throat (which Bartonella does to me anyway, so maybe, despite the flavor, it isn’t just from vomiting). My mouth felt a little burned from the small amounts of acid in my vomit. And I felt shaky, which always happens after I reverse my digestive tract.

Today I’m grateful that my husband helped me to think through how to handle the food contamination, and that he stayed with me in the bathroom, offering a warm face cloth. I’m also grateful that I managed to avoid a physical melt down with potentially permanent repercussions.

One final note: I’m not sure I got all the egg out. There is a small, lingering question in my mind. Does egg still trigger the autoimmune response? Or did that go away as I reduced the tick-borne infections and rebuilt my gut microbes? I won’t test the answer anytime soon, but the question remains until the day that all the rest of the food sensitivities have been overcome.

Bartonella Increase

I tried the newer Bartonella protocol that I delineated yesterday. I had no particular reaction. I didn’t have kidney pain this morning. I didn’t have any extra or unusual Bartonella symptoms. I still had tingling in my limbs and constipation, but no more than usual. So I’m thinking that I might be coming to the end.

I remind myself that the symptoms aren’t gone yet. There is still active infection. I’ve reduced the active load enough that the toxins aren’t concentrated enough to hurt my body. But the infection is still there. So I keep fighting it.

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