When I titled this post, I meant "I'm alive!" in the literal sense, rather than the happy, skippy, frolicking sense, although this morning I did wake up feeling like, "Today's going to be a great day!" and waking up like that always sets the mood for good day.
But tonight I had a moment where I thought I was going to die. So, it put a different spin toward being thankful I'm alive.
I'm going to try to abbreviate this story because the details are complex, like unraveling a mystery novel from the end to the beginning. That's basically what is was for me: the mystery of the allergic reaction.
The first time it happened was three weeks ago. I'd just stocked up on fruits and veggies, and while I always buy fruits and vegetables, this time I branched out and bought things I don't normally purchase: apples, oranges, celery, carrots, and a new jar of almond butter (my typical brand is actually chocolate almond butter, made locally, and it's DIVINE--but because I was giving up chocolate for a couple of weeks, I bought a "regular" organic brand).
The first time I sat down with my jar of almond butter and a spoon, and maybe something to put the almond butter on, I noticed afterwards that my mouth felt weird. Like, my tongue was tingling and my teeth felt strange, it felt like my lips were swelling and maybe my tongue, too (not enough to be a crisis, but enough to think, This is not normal.) I felt itchy and sick to my stomach. All the signs of an allergic reaction.
The only thing that made sense was the almond butter, so I reasoned that the next time I tried it, I would eat a small amount and see how I felt.
The experiment seemed to pan out okay, so I took the almond butter to work, with my celery sticks, and had that for lunch a couple of times. I always noticed my teeth felt weird, and my mouth got a little tingly, but it wasn't ever to the extent as that first time.
In fact, I grew to like that almond butter very much, putting it on bananas and eating it straight out of the jar, enough so that it was 3/4 of the way gone when I opened it again today.
Ten day ago was the last time I ate almond butter, or celery, or carrots, or apples for that matter. But today, I ate one stick of celery with some almond butter--a teaspoon--as a snack before the gym.
Incoming symptoms erupted within five minutes. Tingly mouth, tongue, and lips; teeth feeling like they might detach; burning eyes. I knew: it must be the almond butter! How crazy! And awful! And does that mean I can't drink almond milk anymore? But I have some every day. How did this happen?
I popped a Benadryl, went to the gym, bought groceries, and two hours later I was feeling fine.
I threw the almond butter away, and took out my already-made salad from the fridge. Sitting on top of it was more celery sticks. I thought, Wouldn't that be funny if I were actually allergic to celery? and took a bite.
One bite and my mouth went numb.
I threw the celery away. Crazy, I know. But then I continued to eat the salad. And somewhere in the midst of it, I realized, My mouth does not feel better. Something is not right, and just then something weird happened--a cough or inhale or something--but all of a sudden I couldn't swallow and couldn't breathe.
I flew downstairs, phone in hand, to see if my landlords were home. They were not, but in the time it took to deduce that, I'd become okay. I was breathing again. My tongue wasn't swollen, my throat hadn't closed. I don't know what happened exactly, but I took another Benadryl and threw everything I had been eating away.
I'm feeling better now, and I'm so thankful nothing terrible happened. But I still don't understand the mystery: almond butter or celery? I will see my doctor at the end of the week and hope to find answers soon.
In the meantime, I'll hold off on that almond milk celery protein shake.