Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blog #139: This is terrible news.

I often use the internet to diagnose myself with a myriad of serious illnesses. Usually in jest. However, once or twice (or every time I feel something "not right" - I'm very aware of my body and its processes) I do actually use Web MD, Google, and the like to investigate my actual symptoms in the hopes of finding the root of my discomfort so that I can save the copay and treat it on my own. And here's the thing: at least 3 times in the past 2 years, I have gone to the doctor and been given the exact diagnosis I hypothesized. And it's not things like "common cold." My most recent foray into the medical field on the internet was a skin thing and while I am lucky to have insurance so I could use my good sense to make an appointment about it, I still spent hours tracking down a diagnosis. And out of dozens of possibilities, I was right. I am GREAT at internet diagnostics. It saves me a lot of money in copay, because if it's not too serious, I don't go in.

We're all on board with my online investigative prowess when it comes to my minor illnesses? Good. So, now to the bad news.

On twitter I've been whining about my sinuses lately. The BFF suggested starting an antihistamine regimen which I will probably try. This post nasal drip is maddening.  However, I've noticed one other concerning element of the sinus drainage/headaches. The past week or so I've had 100 calorie dark chocolate bars (Trader Joe's FTW) as a dessert after lunch. Within 10 minutes of eating the bars, I would start to notice my headache getting exceptionally worse. It wasn't like crawl under my desk and die worse, but it was a noticeable increase in sinus pain/pressure. I ran out of the bars but had some dark chocolate chips (what can I say, a girl needs dessert!) that I brought today. I took like 10 of them out of the bag for a late morning snack. We're talking 10 tiny dark chocolate chips. I ate them and they were delicious. Then, a few minutes later, I noticed my sinus headache worse than it'd been all morning.

I googled "headache after eating chocolate" figuring it would just say something about sugar or something (even though it was a tiny amount, and I don't get the headaches after other sweet indulgences) and I found this article:

If you're allergic to chocolate or the dairy in the chocolate product, you can experience sinus headaches within minutes after consuming chocolate. Increased levels of histamine from an allergic reaction causes soft tissue such as the sinuses to become inflamed. During an allergic reaction, your immune system mistakes the chocolate or dairy as a harmful substance and attempts to fight it off with antibodies and histamine.

I may have a chocolate allergy. Let's all take a moment to let this sink in. I have joked about wishing I were allergic to the foods I love so I wouldn't eat them all the time, but never have I truly wanted for dark chocolate to be taken from me. Are there support groups for this? I need to figure out my new normal.

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