What it Feels like Living with Deadly Food Allergies

I am still stuck with the trauma I had as a child from the first time I went into Anaphylactic Shock. I was at my great grandma’s house and my mom was in the shower. I opened up a glass jar and grabbed out a small handful of cashews. Then I shoved them into my mouth.

As soon as I put them in my mouth, my throat became itchy, and filled with little white bumps. I wasn’t able to breath, my body was covered in hives, and I kept vomiting. Then the last thing I remember is the ambulance taking me away to the emergency room. Then I blacked out. Anaphylactic shock took over my body. I thought I was going to die. The situation was similar to the first time I ate pistachios as well. Though my mom tells me my reaction was much worse to cashews.

This traumatic moment is something that haunts me every time I eat or go into a restaurant. I have to ask them if they have any nuts in the food and even if they don’t, to make sure that it has no cashews or pistachios in them. The trauma I suffered from, even scares me from eating sometimes because I am scared it may have traces of nuts. Pistachios are often easy to distinguish because they are a green color but cashews are hard to distinguish, especially when they are chopped up. The trauma of me getting anaphylactic shock as a child has gotten so bad that it got me to the point that I am having phantom anaphylactic shock attacks.
Anaphylactic shock is often a life-threatening allergic reaction to something (antigen), which the body rejects and treats it as a foreign object. Due to my body becoming covered in hives, my throat itching, and how I stop breathing would be why I would need to stab myself with an epi-pen.

An EpiPen is a injection that you stab into your upper thigh. It contains epinephrine, which narrows blood vessels and opens airways o help air get into the lungs. It gives me the opportunity to start breathing again. Within in 30 minutes after using this, I should be at the hospital and an ambulance should be called. Then when I arrive to the hospital, I get a cocktail of drugs, oxygen, and IV’s to fight the antigen inside of my body.


Needless to say, this is why I do not go anywhere without my epi-pen. It has the power to save my life, which also upsets me that pharmaceutical companies have made it so expensive. A lot of people who do not have allergies like me do not seem to care of it because their life does not depend on it. If I didn’t have insurance, it would cost me almost a thousand dollars to buy one. An epi-pen is not something that should be a privilege, it should be easily accessible for people with my condition and affordable.


I have several other allergies to many foods and the pollen and plants outside but nothing is as bad as cashews and pistachios. I know that there are shots you can get to help reduce your allergies because I get those shots every week but they will never get rid of the allergy that I have to cashews and pistachios. That is because my allergies to cashews and pistachios are so bad.

When I am surrounded by hay, the same thing happens to me as well. It is referred to as hay fever. I cannot breathe, I get hives, and have to change my clothes and shower to rid the hay particles touching my body but the hay will probably not kill me. As you can see, I am deathly allergic to cashews and pistachios, especially if they are not roasted nuts. I hear on the regular, “Oh, that sucks but they are so good.” I don’t care when they tell me that because eating them could causes me to die. When I eat them I don’t taste anything besides an itchiness in my throat. I can know immediately if something has pistachios or cashews in it the moment it touches my tongue.  Eating foods I am allergic tastes only like death to me.

Interesting enough, since I became Muslim, there are a lot of Muslim desserts with pistachios in them, my in-laws have been very accommodating to that, but anytime I go to a social gathering where there are cashews or pistachios, I will not hug anyone or touch anyone’s hand when I am there. The reason I do this is because when I was in high school, one of my family member ate pistachios and touched my face, then I broke out into hives. (My awkward self does not like hugging people that much anyway, so this is a plus.)

This article is something very personal that I have wanted to write about for awhile. I hope this sheds life on the people that live with many food allergies.


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