UPDATE – since writing this post I have heard from so many people who have developed severe allergies 2 to 3 years out from chemo. Apparently it is not uncommon just from the letters I have received.
It’s been rather a lonely ride as to one aspect of the many side effects and residual effects of Chemotherapy. I developed severe food allergies and other allergies during and after Chemotherapy. Previous to Chemo, I had none of these.
After Infusion #2 of my first Chemo drug, Adriamycin and Cytoxan, I developed a mucus cough. At first I thought I had a cold. Then I thought it was a sinus infection. My Medical Oncologist and his staff thought it was mucousitis because of irritation to my sinuses and esophagus. It continued and then started getting worse. I had been tested for lung mestastes and other lung issues. I had none.
After 9 weeks of Adriamycin and Cytoxan Chemo, I began Taxol. While receiving the Taxol infusion, the cough would be worse. But I was not having enough of an allergic reaction for the Chemo Nurses to stop the infusion. I put 3 Hall’s cough drops in my mouth so I wouldn’t drive everyone nuts from my chronic and loud coughing in the Infusion Center. Usually, when I got home from receiving Taxol, the mucus would increase dramatically to the point I would sometimes throw up. Then I would notice that the next few days I would be better probably because of the steroids I had received.
One night on a no nausea Chemo day, I ate pizza with thick crust. Before I got home from the restaurant, I was coughing so hard nothing would control it. By the time I got home, I was throwing up and felt like I needed to call 911. It finally dawned on me that I was suffering from food allergies to probably wheat.
To make a long story short, by trial and elimination, I discovered I had developed allergies to wheat and dairy products, along with many outdoor allergens and possibly my cat. I know I have several other food allergies, like some vinegars, many seasonings including MSG, corn starch and many other unknown items. As long as my diet consists of fruits, vegetables, brown rice and unseasoned meats, I feel fine. Salad dressings can be some of the worst offenders I’ve discovered. Also deli meats contain fillers. In fact, at my grocery store, Kroger, I was told that nothing in the deli is gluten free. It is extremely difficult to eat at restaurants because the waitress or chef don’t know what’s in the food!!.
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On the Breast Cancer Discussion boards, I have met just a couple of women who have developed food allergies during Chemo. As my Medical Oncologist said, it is rare but it does happen. Also, I met a woman at a health food store whose friend developed allergies during Chemo. If you are reading this because you have or think you have developed allergies during Chemo, I would love to hear from you. Please contact me at b4Denise@hotmail.com UPDATE: I am now 6 months post last chemo, and I am happy to report that most allergies are gone!! I started reintroducing things slowly. I still have to watch eating a lot of gluten at once, but a little is okay. FURTHER UPDATE: Allergies started coming back after 6 additional months…back at ground zero.