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Lisa's Story

I am a 24-year-old female who has been struggling with her weight all her life. For most of my childhood and adolescence I would gain weight and loose weight sporadically, there wouldn’t seem to be any reason for the changes, but my family and I attributed it to growth spurts and hormones. I gradually gained a few pounds at the beginning of college, but towards to end of college I started gaining a lot. I’ve been dieting for about 4 years and during that time have gained over a hundred pounds (I now weigh 260 lbs.) I’ve developed the moon face, buffalo hump, and severe stretch marks (they feel like canyons in my stomach, armpits, etc.) I’m hungry and thirsty all the time, and I look like someone blew me up like a balloon, I’m so swollen. My stomach has been behaving strangely too. I bruise so easily, my anxiety levels have been through the roof, especially at night, it is so hard to get to sleep. My energy levels also hit rock bottom, I feel like I’ve been drugged, all I want to do is sleep.

I live fairly far away from my family and every time they see me they become more and more concerned. This past Thanksgiving I woke up from a nap with a weird rash under my chest. My doctor originally told me it was a fungal infection and to use a cream on it for 2 weeks and it would go away. Well it didn’t, I went back and was told to keep using the cream. Shortly after Christmas I became so unbearably itchy while at home visiting my family, I went to the urgent care center near them and was told I was having an allergic reaction to the cream, they gave me a cortisone shot, changed my creams, and gave me prednisone to start taking the next day. I felt really weird the whole time I was on the medicine and it didn’t help so I went to a dermatologist when I got home. She said it was eczema to keep using the topical steroid and it would go away. Well it didn’t, went on another stronger round of predinsone, and it still didn’t help. By this point I’m completely covered in this red bumpy rash from head to toe. I would wake up 3-4 times a night so itchy I would want to scream. All I wanted to do is scratch off all my skin and start over. Finally she said I had hives, and I needed to see an allergist. Long story, short I had developed 7 food allergies all at once to onion, garlic, wheat, soy, shrimp, salmon, and peppers. They are all severe, onion being the worse; in fact if I even touch something that someone else, if they have had onion, has touched I develop severe hives and have a lot of trouble breathing. My allergist ran some blood test everything came back fine. I noticed though that I also can’t eat canned foods anymore (because I’m allergic to the nickel) and I’m starting to develop symptoms when I eat strawberries, apples, and tomatoes.

With all of these food allergies, I’m having trouble finding things to eat. I’m only eating about 1200 calories a day, yet I haven’t lost a single pound. I’m on the healthiest diet of anyone I’ve ever known or read about or seen on TV. I decided I needed to see my primary care physician to see if maybe my other symptoms could be related to the allergies. She ran some tests, and all of them came back normal except for my 24-hour urine test, my level was 83 with normal being 0-50. I am going to see an endocrinologist next; hopefully they will be able to help me.

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