Recently, in an attempt to figure out what's been causing my allergic contact dermatitis for the passed 12 years, I got a Patch Test done at my dermatologist. Here's what it looks like:
Cute right?! What they do is adhere 26 of the most common allergens to your back for 2 days, then check to see what you react to. You then go back 2 days after that to do a final reading. I asked for the Patch Test, trying to take control of my allergies once and for all, but I had some concerns. For starters, I couldn't take a real shower for 2 days. Not cool, not cool at all. But, the main concern was that they were gonna be putting things on my skin, absorbing into my body, that I don't use. Things like epoxy resin, rubber components, formaldehyde residue.. all things I want nothing to do with. However, I knew that you couldn't pick and choose what they use, but I knew that if I was gonna get some answers, I had to go big or go home. So, on Monday the 29th, I went and got them put in.
Honestly, the worst part was that my entire back was covered. It felt like I had a giant bandaid on my back and every time I move, my skin pulled. Even worse was that it was hotter than Hades outside, 90+ hot and humid August days, and they told me try not to sweat. What?! Some women like to be prim and proper and be all like "oh I don't sweat, I sparkle!" Not this girl. I sweat. And, my back is where I sweat the worst. So, I felt extremely uncomfortable and dirty for days. But, I pushed on!
When I went back on Wednesday the 31st, I could've danced when she took the stuff off. Granted, now my back was covered in sticky tape residue I couldn't wash off until I got home from work 4 hours later, but, I could move my back freely again! Upon my initial reading, they thought I had a possible allergy to: gold, epoxy resin, and carba mix (a rubber component). My initial response, which I kept to myself, was: isn't everyone allergic to stuff like that? I mean, if you leave epoxy resin on your skin for 2 days, I'm inclined to think your skin is gonna react and not be too happy. It's full of chemicals and it's not meant for your skin. But, nothing was set in stone, and I wouldn't have any official answers until Friday the 2nd.
Overall, this entire time, my back wasn't really itchy, and it felt fine. I was so confused thinking that I would be itchy, I'm allergic to everything. It felt fine all Wednesday, Thursday, and even Friday on my way to the doctors.
When I arrived and my dermatologist was checking my back, she gave me the results. I was officially allergic to: nothing! 26 of the most common allergic substances, and I'm not allergic to one of them! I knew it was gonna be too easy. Had this Patch Test used 26 of the most uncommon allergies, I would've tested positive to all of them. My body is too complex for something so simple.
Something strange happened that morning that I brought up to her as well. On this particular day, the weather was perfect. The night before, a cool front came in. Me and my dad were at the EAGLES game, and it was awesome! Perfect weather, watching football.. it was a great night! It finally felt like fall! Fall is my most favorite time of year! I just wish that fall loved me as much as I love it. I have seasonal allergies that are brutal in the spring and fall. And I got to thinking, my allergic contact dermatitis tends to get worse in the spring and fall. When I woke up Friday morning, my eyelids were red, almost swollen shut, and I had a patch of dermatitis on the outer corner of my right eye. It was bright red and itchy. And when I brought this up to my doctor and showed her my eyelids, she asked me if I'm allergic to ragweed. And that's when it struck me, I have no idea what my seasonal allergies really are, just that I have them. In addition to my eyes, I sneeze a lot, and my throat hurts and it sounds like I was out all night partying hard. So, my dermatologist suggested to me that I go see an allergist to get myself tested and discover what I'm allergic to.
So, this is where I stand now. I've got these really lovely looking eyelids I'm currently dealing with, again. And, I'm gonna call an allergist on Monday or Tuesday, and hopefully set up an appointment to get myself tested. It's frustrating, to say the least, that after everything I've done I'm not anywhere closer to answers. Even more so, that I have to go see a new specialist now, with no real promise of answers there either.
But something has got to give. I take allergy medicine and it doesn't do a thing. I think I'm gonna end up needing allergy shots to get this under control. Do I want them? No. Do I want relief? Yes. It's been a long 12 years suffering. And I truly think I scratched the surface with my iron oxide allergy, which I still believe I have, and will stick with my iron oxide free makeup regardless. While my dermatologist never checked for that, I feel confident that through my own research I've concluded that it's definitely an ingredient I need to keep away from my eyes. I think it's too easy for my allergies to be one and done, they're definitely multi dimensional.
I hope that sharing my story, the long and frustrating journey it's been, that I've been able to help others. It's so important to me that anyone who is suffering isn't alone. I feel alone. So alone. No one I know deals with this kind of stuff, other than myself. Because my body is constantly against me, and a lot of times it's hard to stay positive. But I try. So, we're onto the next phase of this journey. Wish me luck!