1. It was a very good idea to pre-medicate myself starting two weeks before we left. I generally only use antihistamines when above my baseline symptoms. I knew, however, that I would have minimal control and diet options while not in my own home and that nearly everyone else uses fabric softener. So, I started on a 24 hour antihistamine that has worked well for me in the past (Claritin). I already knew it worked well for me, especially a doubled dose supplemented with Benadryl that I could move to if necessary.
2. I prepared ahead of time for the need to increase my medication. I packed lots of medication and supplemented immediately upon escalation of my symptoms. I always had extra medication in my purse which was with me at all times. I started with the quick acting medications (my inhaler with any lung involvement and Benadryl for everything else) and actually did not need to move to a double Claritin dose.
3. I went on this trip with the understanding that I would be unable to control my diet and hence made wise decisions when I could do so (say a salad instead of a sandwich) but did not stress or go without eating. If you have significant food reactions, this might not be good advice for you. I seem to be much more sensitive to the environment and things that I inhale instead of food that I ingest.
4. Since my weight is often the first indication that my body is stressed I did pay attention to that. After just three days away I had lost several pounds, completely lost my appetite and people commented that I didn't look well (too thin). I then intentionally ate more food and ate until the physical sensation of FULL instead of the normal loss of appetite when satiated. I really dislike eating this way but needed to do so to give my body the nutrients to keep functioning. I did enjoy eating the higher calorie foods but also went for nutrient dense items.
Some of the weight gain I experienced was inflammation weight. That started to diminish when I was in a more suitable environment and has continued while I have been home. So, I've lost at least four of those pounds the last four days. I will continue to monitor the weight loss to make sure that once the inflammation weight is gone I am still at a healthy weight.
5. Prepare for a rebound effect upon reaching home. The first full day home had me almost in the ER. The rash on my hands dramatically worsened overnight and itched like never before. It was miserable. If extra antihistamines and topical steroid treatments had not worked I'd have gone to the ER for itching. I have never contemplated immediate care for itching before in my life. This was at least a seven on the itchy scale. Baseline itchiness for me stays around a three.
I took a picture after the rash and itching had calmed down that day. I could barely function let alone think to take a picture when it was awful.
This really took my by surprise but the more I think about it the more a flare in a safe place makes sense. I wonder if the constant go and craziness of two weeks of travel from place to place had more adrenaline present in my body? Could the sudden loss of that cause something like this? Or could it just be that my mindset of keeping things cool while travelling prevented a significant flare until that mindset was no longer needed? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this.
Now that we are home again, we hope to move to a high nutrient diet that is also wheat free for the time being. I hope to be able to spend more time researching MCAD as well so that I can continue to share about that with you all.