Careful what you wish for

By Mir
November 5, 2006

You know how it is when someone has a new SOMETHING in their life, and suddenly they are incapable of talking about anything but that SOMETHING. Like, when people have a new baby. It’s All Baby, All The Time for a while.

Or when someone gets engaged and they cannot shut up about it and it’s all engagement, rings, campers, weddings, courtroom sketch artists. Like that. How boring, right? I mean, as a reader, your eyes probably start to roll back in your head and you think, “Geez, didn’t she used to write about anything else? Has she always been this insipid?”

The answer, of course, is yes, I have always been this insipid. But I did used to talk about other things, and this week I gazed upon my blog and thought to myself, “I have GOT to stop yammering on about Otto. Surely something else blogworthy will come along.”

Well. I should say so, and how.

So, last night, I was on the phone with Otto (Christ, there I go again… but I swear this isn’t even about him, honest) and I was eating pilfered Halloween candy. Because it is a mother’s job not to allow the children to eat all that candy. It’ll make them sick! (Much better for ME to eat it and get sick.) And I finished munching on whatever I was eating last—a Reese’s Cup, I believe—and chucked the wrapper into the trash. Yummy.

We continued chatting and at some point I realized that my lower lip felt funny. Kind of… tingly. Maybe a little swollen.

I ignored it, because who cares?

Some time passed and my lip was definitely feeling swollen, so I got up to go look at it in the bathroom mirror. I don’t want to frighten you, but let’s just say that it would’ve been an excellent time for me to do a really impressive pout. My lip was about twice its normal size.


So I mentioned this to Otto, remarking that although I often suffer from Oral Allergy Syndrome I couldn’t for the life of me think of what I might’ve eaten that would’ve triggered that. (If you don’t feel like following that link, the idea in a nutshell is this: if you are allergic to certain pollens that are similar to the proteins in some raw fruits/veggies, eating those foods—particularly when the pollen count is up—can cause a localized allergic reaction, usually some swelling and itchiness of the mouth and tongue. For example, bananas are a so-called cross-reactor for ragweed, and during allergy season if I forget and eat a banana the roof of my mouth will itch until I am driven mad and throw myself under the nearest passing car to make it stop.)

I then continued on—because clearly my allergies and swollen lip are SO FASCINATING to my beloved—to ask if I’d ever told him about the Mystery Pizza Allergy. He said I had not.

Oh, this was FUNNY, I told him. I had this thing, years ago, where I developed some weird allergy to SOMETHING in pizza (to this day I don’t know what it was). It all happened around the time that Chickadee was a baby. I think that we were probably ordering pizza more often, due to new motherhood and sleep deprivation. And we’d get plenty, so we’d have leftovers, and on the second or third day of eating leftover pizza, I would break out in hives.

And it took me several episodes of this to figure out that it was the pizza. But allergies work on a threshold principle, and after this had happened a few times, finally I broke out in hives within minutes of eating take-out pizza and the little lightbulb went off over my head.

I combed through articles online and went to the food allergy forums and asked if anyone had any ideas about what it might be (because it was triggered only by take-out pizza, and not even always from the same place). The most common suggestion was that perhaps I’d developed a sensitivity to dough conditioners that some commercial places use. I saw my doctor, who totally earned her $10 copay by telling me to just stop eating pizza. I conducted little experiments with different components of pizza and never figured out WHAT in the pizza was causing the problem.

So I stopped eating take-out pizza for a while, and then resumed, slowly, eating only a couple of pieces and not then eating leftovers for days on end, and it never happened again.

I retold this riveting tale to Otto as I stood in my bathroom, poking at my tingly lip and studying it in the mirror. To Otto’s credit, if he fell asleep during the story he hid it really well. He said something about how yeah, that’s really weird, and I added as a footnote that the weirdest part was that the hives always started on my feet and worked upwards.

And then I pulled up my pant leg because, for some reason, in the retelling of this story, I’d become quite itchy.

Possibly because my feet and legs were covered with hives.

(Deja vu, except I hadn’t been eating pizza.)

Otto was then treated to the play-by-play as I scoured the house for benadryl, finally finding and chewing 3 children’s tablets.

I woke up this morning covered from toes to hip and fingers to elbow with hives. And there was no more benadryl to be found in the house. And we were running late for church. So I spent most of church trying not to scratch and then afterwards we stopped for milk, orange juice, and benadryl, and I was able to get a bit of relief, again. I’m still trying to figure out what I’ve been eating a lot of that could’ve triggered this, and I can think of only one thing.

Halloween candy.

That’s just… too horrible to contemplate, really.

So I’m going to keep taking my antihistamines and drinking lots of water and trying not to scratch and consider this my little reminder not to worry about having things to talk about other than, um, that other thing I’m going to be doing (hopefully hive-free). Because, really, listening to me babble on about recent life changes has GOT to be better than listening to me bawl over potentially being allergic to Reese’s cups. (Don’t judge me. They’re two great tastes that taste great together!)


  1. Karen Rani

    I *need* that to happen to me. Can you hook me up? Because dude, the size of mah ass…

  2. Velma

    I actually had a dream the other night where it turned out that the reason I was sniffling almost every night was because I’d developed an allergy to alcohol. And yes, I have been sniffing and drippy for a few weeks, and yes, I have been drinking more regularly lately…but thank god I’m still clear for chocolate!

  3. Lulu

    I’m sure it’s not the Reese’s. Maybe the peanuts in the peanut butter in the Reese’s, but not the Reese’s themselves exactly.

    Maybe you need more pure chocolate to dilute the peanut element.

    Then again, what do you suppose the hive threshold is for something like Halloween candy? I mean, exactly how much Halloween candy have you been eating everyday?? If it hasn’t been enough to make you puke, it can’t be that much.

    And when’s the last time you had take-out pizza?

  4. lastewie

    Maybe PEANUTS!?!? Oh poor Mir. Hives sounds awful. That’s why I don’t think I can have kids. I’d be too wimpy to do anything but cry and make the hives spread to my eyes and swell them shut. No, I’m not an overreactor at all. :-)

  5. Sandee

    I need that to happen with Tootsie Rolls. I bought that stupid 400 midgie tootsie roll bag (among other things) to give out for Halloween, and I had 393 of them left after all the kids had come to the door. So, now I’m trying to get rid of the midgies by stuffing them in my face all day long. I think there’s still 367 in the bowl on my kitchen counter. Do they multiply overnight?

  6. Dana

    I learned way more than I thought I would fromt this post, Mir. But this is good, because I don’t have food allergies, but I think my son might, so I’m going to look into this more! Thanks for the link, and I hope the hives are gone soon!

  7. Shari

    OMG! There’s a NAME for that itchiness after I eat a banana or raw tomato?! Oh, Mir I owe you. My family used to make SUCH fun of me because I would be so intensely uncomfortable after raw veggies and fruits, saying I was just being weird and wanting attention… and now! There’s a NAME for it and it actually exists in other people! My God! This was totally worth staying up past midnight to read. I don’t care if you talk about your feeeawwwwncay for the next 20 days straight. Thank you!!

  8. Stjernesol

    This sounds just like me… I can react to jus about anything! Soap, fabric softner, food, pollen, animals and so on… Thank God I’m not allergic to dust, then I would be dead by now ;)

    Ps. Nuts and chocolate seems to be something that many people react to…

  9. hollygee

    Uh, yeah. For public service purposes, could you show the links to the food allergy forums? This post was highly informative as well as entertaining. I get the swollen inside of my mouth from cinnamon or mint toothpastes. Do you know what flavor that leaves — fennel! No thank you. I’ve finally found Burt’s Bees orange cream, thank god.

  10. lori

    For everyone with or without food allergies to nuts, eggs, milk: Try — they make DELICIOUS gourmet treats in a totally dedicated peanut-free, tree nut-free, milk-free, and egg-free facility. Even GOURMET Magazine thinks so!

  11. Sara

    I get the same reaction when I eat blueberries–just raw, not in muffins, thank my lucky stars–but I thought I was just weird. (Okay, well I *am* weird, but good to know it’s in a completely normal way…) As for posting about the engagement, Otto, campers and such, I say ramble on, my friend. Your happiness has made for some good reading.

  12. chris

    Allergic to halloween candy?
    Maybe the baby jesus is trying to tell you not to partake in Satan’s day.

    [/ joke]

  13. tori

    The good news is that I would be happy to take those peanut butter cups off your hands if you discover that indeed they are the cause. Anyway, I hope you continue to feel better and I really hope it isn’t the candy! That would be terrible!

  14. rachel

    mebbe peanuts? I’ve heard that some pizza places use peanut oil in/on their crusts.

    not to be all scare-monger or anything, but you may want to go to an allergist – that is a scary reaction!

    hope you can safely eat lots of candy tonight with no reaction!

  15. Elleana

    Reading this made me itchy. My lips are starting to itch, and also my throat and OH MY GOD I think I’m breaking out in HIVES! ;) Seriously, it did make me itch a little. I never knew until a few years ago that certain foods could do this to me, but all throughout my childhood I would get itchy lips and always wonder why. So stay away from the Reeses, and I like the idea mentioned earlier – more pure chocolate to dilute the peanut butter.

  16. Katherine

    Oh! Sorry, that’s so wrong that CANDY – food of the gods – could cause hives. My poor mother has suffered from hives for many years, to the point where she’s on steroids. After numerous doctors they seem to have pinpointed the cause as “sulfites.” You know, that stuff they use a preservative in freakin’ everything! There’s pretty much nothing my mom can eat that won’t cause her to break out in hives.

  17. Sophie

    My mom has this reaction to cetain foods, especially chocolate and tomatoes. In my family, it is known as The Fat Lip. “Oh, poor Mama has The Fat Lip again.” It would get so bad she would look like a duck (the sound of me trying to stifle a snicker.)

    I suspect the tomatoes in the pizza and the chocolate in the candy set you off. You truly have my sympathies.

  18. MMM

    Oh puh-lease! We LOVE hearing about new life changes! Keep em coming!

  19. Sheryl

    Maybe you have a threshold allergy to talking about being engaged.

  20. Bob

    I think that now that you are engaged, you are suffering from a lack of Otto, and your body is reacting by giving you the perfect pout. go forth and be angelina jolie.

  21. Amy

    Ok, I never knew about bananas and ragweed, but I’ve heard that cantaloupe can cause similar reactions. And I’ve witnessed it with sneezing, watery eyes, and itchy throats after eating it in ragweed season.

    For your sake, I hope it’s not the Halloween candy, that would be too horrible to contemplate.

  22. Sarcomical

    hey. some people pay good money for that look!

    …granted, they usually want both lips to be proportional, but that’s beside the point.

    i blame the candy corn. candy corn is evil.

  23. Aimee

    Now *I’m* itchy, because nobody’s allowed to itch alone in my presence. Sorry, Mir! You can talk about Otto all you want.

  24. Elizabeth

    It’s not just me!! I mean, I’m so sorry about the hives, but I always thought I was some kind of freak. I love sweet pickles, but if I eat too many, my eyes feel like they’re bulging out of my head and my nose starts to itch. It’s an allergic reaction to something in the pickles, isn’t it? But I love them so.

  25. Juliness

    Food allergies suck. Hives suck. Otto, rings, campers, courtroom sketch artists…they’re all good.

    Seriously – hives from candy? Damn.

  26. Avalon

    My daughter had this happen a few months ago up at her college campus. Called me in a panic because she was covered in hives. I told her what to do and she was fine by the next day. She had a suspicion of what had caused the reaction, a Luna bar…..Peanut Butter flavored. Instead of avoiding Luna bars, she decided to test her theory and ate another one. You guessed it….covered with hives for 2 more days. i wanted to spank her 23 year old butt for being so stupid!

  27. Summer

    Oh Mir, I feel for you. I’ve had to cut off my own access to the candy bowl, too. A couple of months ago, I realized that my lifelong unpleasant digestive problems were related to a dairy intolerance, and since I’ve cut out dairy I’ve been much, much better. Several days after Halloween, I found myself thinking, “hmm, I’ve been getting sick again. I wonder what’s causing it? Oh. MILK chocolate. Crapcrapcrapdamncrap.” I have a bag of Mounds bars I haven’t even OPENED yet. It’s very, very sad.

    At least we still have balsamic mayo (which is indeed divine as a dip for fries. I tested it for you.) and I have plans to eat nothing but homemade guacamole and chips for lunch. Life could be worse. I guess.

  28. foodmomiac

    I have a weird allergy too. I can’t eat lobster when grass pollens are high. My lip blows up! (usually my top lip, though – you and I would be quite a pair)

  29. AmyLou

    So thaaaat’s why I can’t eat bananas in the summer. Too funny. Seriously, I learn A LOT when reading your blog. As far as mentioning Otto and the Engagement, it’s not something you should apologize about–it’s a wonderful thing! However….if you begin talking like that lady from the Seinfeld episode: “Where is my fiance?? Has anyone seen my fiance??? I seem to have misplaced my fiance!” We may have to revolt. :-)

  30. Karin

    This happens to me with walnuts, cantaloupe and fresh guacamole. If I eat a reasonable amount of them, I have no problems at all, but if I eat too much my tongue swells up. Glad to know there is a name for it! lol!

    But my poor hubby can’t eat fruit at all. Not even a little bit. And he loves fruit. It’s very sad. :(

    To have it happen with Halloween candy though? That is just so not fair. Poor you!

  31. Cele

    My husband gets the same thing from cantalope and avocados. It really bummed him out because he loves both and had to give them up. I…and don’t laugh…get this when I’ve eaten too much fat or something too rich. My doctors just look at me like I’m weird.

    An allergy to Reese’s cups, dayum, that’s just sick and wrong.

  32. Jo

    I don’t have any food allergies. Imagine this though. Almost 30 years old and finding my first (hopefully only) allergy. I took Pepto Bismol for the first time in my life and then broke out in hives for about a week.

    Mir, I sympathize. Hives are just so annoying. :(

  33. shannon

    could they be anxiety hives? were you anxious when you first had chickadee? are you anxious about all the crap a certain someone is trying to stir up in your life…not Otto…a certain someone else?

    my guess is you are having some kind of reaction to stress and you might have a mild food allergy that triggers these reactions. but then again, what to i know? i sell shoes… lol

  34. InterstellarLass

    My husband is allergic to nuts. But the can-result-in-death-if-not-treated-allergy kind of allergic. If he even smells nuts, he starts to get that tickle in his throat. We’ve found that the melt-on-the-tongue kid-Benadryl allergy strips work really well in quickly averting that little tickle.

  35. Sheila

    Someone would have to make a very good case for life being worth living if I could never eat another Peanut Butter Cup. Especially if I were forced to have then laying around my house, calling out to me with their sweet, sweet promises every Halloween. So I’m going to look at the bright side here. MAYBE the particular Peanut Butter Cup you ate had been dropped on the ground before it made it’s way into your trick-or-treater’s bag, and MAYBE there were dried leaves or flowers covered in pollen on the ground, so the treat was coated with a fine pollen dust (yeah, that’s it)– and the dust coated your fingers as you unwrapped it (purely in the name of keeping too much candy out of your kids, mind you), and then (if you were like me)you just MAY have licked your fingers clean after eating (again, in the name of Parental Responsibility) the Peanut Butter Cup! So perhaps it’s not the candy at all!! And you could go on living!!!

    Stop looking at me like that.

  36. Candy

    Oh my gosh!!! I got sick on Halloween and I am still not feeling that great!! Here I thought it was just a sinus infection maybe it’s the candy hmmmmm!!! Well, I will keep eating candy to see if I stay sick hehehe maybe I should stop eating candy I just don’t know if I could do that though!!!!!!

  37. lizneust

    Argh – I hate that. I get the same reaction from mangos and Cinnabuns – just the kind you get in the mall, not homemade ones. So sad. Did you know that uncooked mango has a protein in it that mimics the allergen in poison ivy? Now you do. Hope you feel better soon! And you know we love hearing about whatshisname. ;)

  38. Mary P

    Hey, I have that oral allergy thing, too! Only for me it’s birch tree pollen and hazelnuts. Who knew about all these weird cross-connections?

  39. Gillian

    I have a scientific bent, so I would do some testing. I would buy a mound of chocolate bars and a larger mound (the foil takes up space!) of Reese’s cups and a big bowl full of Reese’s pieces. Then I would test for allergic reactions to
    A. chocolate
    b. peanutiness in the Reese’s pieces
    c. combination of chocolate and peanutiness in Reese’s Cups.
    I would give each test about a week and then I would do it for the rest of my life so I could have a big enough sample size to insure that statistical analysis would be valid. I am so dedicated to scientific exploitation — I mean exploration.

  40. Kim

    Oh, I feel for you. I have had hives and they are terrible. Mine happen more with stress than allergies, but still not fun. I hope you are feeling better now.

  41. Mocha

    It’s never more fun for me than when I’m self-diagnosing, too. Or self-medicating. Normally, it’s with bourbon, but Benadryl works just as well I suppose.

    That is quite horrible to be allergic to Reece’s. I mean, what will happen next year when they get them for Halloween? Will you need a proxy to stand in for you?

    *Throws hat in the ring.

  42. daring one

    Did you just say “engaged” again. I am so deleting you from my bloglines. Engaged people are so self-absorbed. They’re almost as bad as moms.

  43. schmutzie

    You know, someone mentioned that I might be allergic to ragweed when I was all sniffley, and that would make sense, because when I ate a banana earlier this fall, the roof of my mouth peeled, and I couldn’t figure out why that would happen.

  44. peepnroosmom

    That’s why I read other people’s blogs. Because my life is all carpool and football practice. I love reading what’s going to happen next in Mir’s life.

  45. JGS

    I’m concerned about you, I just want you to know. But I’m more concerned you might not be able to eat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups anymore. Hives are one thing, but not eating Peanut Butter Cups is a travesty.

    I know a lot of people have suggested some scientific steps to determine the problem and I have one more…Try the INSIDE-OUT PEANUT BUTTER CUPS to see if you really have a problem.

    And if you get hives from that, try the CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER KISSES.

    And if you get hives from that, too, my dear friend, well…our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  46. clumsyraine

    I. Am. Vindicated!!!!

    I have the OAS also, but my husband has always just thought I was NUTS. I looked it up before, and figured out which pollen/fruit groups affect me, but I don’t remember them anymore. Bananas are the worst offender I know of. Cantaloupe and avocados are up there. Grapes and tomatoes are ones that affect me mildly but I eat them anyway because I refuse to live a life without grapes and tomatoes after giving up the others. (Of course, cooking kills/breaks up/whatever the offending proteins, so I eat the heck out of banana bread. Also, if I start to get the itchiness and drink a big glass of milk it helps a good deal.)

    However, I didn’t know about the seasonal aspect of this? I need to do some more research. Can I eat bananas in the winter?? Oh I get giddy just thinking of it.

    (I have to agree with the threshold thing also. Everything I’m OAS’d to, with the exception of avocados, seems to be fruits I ate in great quanitites when I was little.)

  47. MaxieX

    My daughter has been breaking out in hives every time after eating pizza since November 2006. She is 12 and has never had a reaction to pizza prior to this. I found this site by doing a search in google for pizza and hives. If anyone else is experiencing this or has pin pointed their hives to a certain thing in the pizza, please post here.
    P.S. My daughter still eats spaghetti, whole wheat products, peanut butter, organic milk and Land o lakes white american cheese and does not have a reaction to those. We are wondering if it is an ingredient in the mozzerella cheese?

  48. MaxieX

    lol – I need answers….quick! I think we discovered what the culprit is. We will be making these diet changes and get back here to post – if I remember.
    “Avoid cured meats, alcoholic beverages, processed cheese, chocolate, citrus fruits and shellfish. These foods contain vasoactive amines which increase intestine permeability, allowing irritants into the body” I believe it is the amines in the mozzerella, especially since it can be “left out” for long periods of time at the pizzeria.

  49. Chris

    I am having the same problem. It is has happened in the past year or two. I never had this problem before. I eat some pizza and I break out in hives. Sometimes worse than others. I can seem to find out the cause. I eat it sometimes and I am fine

Things I Might Once Have Said


Quick Retail Therapy

Pin It on Pinterest