Thursday, October 2, 2014

Now... what, exactly?

It's been an interesting few weeks at the Soup house....

D.Soup now has a red meat allergy.

My self proclaimed "meatatarian" husband can no longer eat beef, pork, or lamb.  His hands and feet start to swell, rashes form up his arms, and he has terrible stomach pains.

Also, pork being "the other white meat" is a lie.  Rude.

All because of a tick bite.

The Lone Star Tick has been spreading across the country, and if it bites you there is a chance that you will develop an allergy to red meat.  The tick carries a sugar called Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose(alpha-gal) in its belly.  It transfers the alpha-gal to you and your body starts to fight it like it would a disease.  Alpha-gal is also found in the fatty parts of all non-primate mammals.  So when your body processes the fat cells of any red meat that you have eaten, you have an allergic reaction.

...That's my very dumbed down explanation of this whole shenanigans.

What does this mean for us?

We will now be a fish and fowl loving family.  We are only in the first week of transferring over to our new lifestyle and we honestly don't know how much he will be affected by different scenarios.  A lot of people with this allergy have issues eating out because of cross contamination.  We will have to take it day by day.  He has been prescribed an Epi pen, and we now have Benadryl stored in every vehicle and multiple areas in our house.

The good news.

He doesn't (so far) seem to have any feelings of his throat closing up during a reaction.

We already eat a decent amount of chicken.  So transitioning isn't going to be TOO hard for a majority of our meals. 

The other good thing is that turkey is much healthier than beef, so it will help us in our weight loss endeavors.

There is a chance that the allergy will go away on its own (3 weeks to 5 years is the "average"), he has to be careful not to get another Lone Star tick bite, because that will bring the allergy back, or make it worse if he is still allergic at the time of the bite.   

The bad news.

D.Soup hunts.  Deer meat is included in the list of no-nos.  We haven't tested it, and some people say they can still eat it so we are feeling hopeful at the moment.  We shall see.

We also have bags and bags of beef - hamburgers, steaks, ground beef, cubes - in our freezers.  I'm going to have to package everything up and give it away.  At least we know people around us that will take it, so we don't have to throw everything away.

It's also possible that we could deal with cross contamination in our own kitchen.  We use cast iron pans to cook a majority of our meals.  Those could very easily have remnants of meat that might affect him.

There's so much more.  I start thinking about it and I end up in a rabbit hole of stress and panic.  We just don't know everything that he will react to so its a strange and slightly scary time for us me.  He is less panicked than I am, at least externally.  I think if I wasn't so stressed about it he would be more stressed, but for now he has to deal with all my craziness so he's taken on his job as the confident one.

I can't believe that a tick bite can do this to people.  Hardly anyone knows about it either. Almost everyone that we've talked to has been completely dumbfounded that this is even a thing.

The allergist that D.Soup saw to get tested for alpha-gal was actually excited (for herself, not for him) that he was there.  She told him "I've studied this but have never actually seen a case of it before!  I'm going to have to do some more research!"

I will continue to post any changes.

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