A Series of Unfortunate Genes

Often times random events in our bodies appear totally unconnected, and then one stumbles upon something and realizes that all those little dots are connected.

About eight or nine years ago I developed a very bad cough following a run of the mill cold which thought it fun to follow up with bronchitis. This is not an unusual turn of events for an asthmatic, but I’ve learned since then how to nip that trend in the bud. In any case, the doctor prescribed Tylenol 3, aka tylenol w/codeine to help me sleep through the night without hacking up a lung. It had been perhaps ten years or so since I’d had it. The second night that I took it I went to bed and about two in the morning I woke up to excruciating pain. Of all the pains I’ve experienced, to date that one takes the cake. It had me in a cold sweat, my heart was racing, I had trouble catching my breath and I really, really wanted to hurl. In a bent over, old woman sort of shuffle I made it to the bathroom where I shook and trembled and waited for my innards to either hurl or stop their protesting. After about thirty minutes it mostly passed. Both my mother and my paternal grandfather developed a similar codeine sensitivity at some point in their adulthood.

I had a less severe, but also quite painful reaction the one time I took aspirin. Months back I posted about some of the foods which upset my innards. I stumbled upon a blog today which connected yet more dots in my unfortunate genetic sketch.

The blog explains the link between salicylates, opioids, gluten, and casein. The underlying cause appears to be a polymorphism in the opioid receptor. This effects how the body responds to both endogenous, meaning what your body naturally makes, and exogenous, referring to  external chemicals. Histamine, my evil nemesis, also plays a factor. One set of physical traits which seem to link to this polymorphism: fair skin, freckles, and red hair. Granted, my hair naturally appears blond, but look at the individual shades and they are all various shades of red ranging from pale strawberry blond, to medium honey blond, to dark auburn. *Ding* *Ding* *Ding*. I think we have a winner! Add in that I get very little buzz from things like alcohol, which trigger the dopamine/endorphin system, and the picture become depressingly clear. I have a series of unfortunate genes.

So even with casting out evil invaders, and on a side note that HAS helped things run more efficiently and my B12 deficiency seems to be disappearing totally, I will probably have to remain gluten and dairy free my whole life. The problem I have with testing foods now is that I get so freaked out over the mere possibility of becoming ill, that I think that triggers intestinal upset.

I ate a potato chip on Saturday. As a friend is wont to say, I did not swell up and fall over. Although, to be safe, I chased it w/ginger and quercetin. I felt perfectly fine later and the next day. Potatoes may possibly sneak back into my diet. I took a swig of goat’s milk. I think it maybe resulted in some gas, and dunno if it was my panic or the stench of goat’s milk that made me slightly queasy. I reserve judgement on that. I felt fine this morning, which has usually been the test. Severe reactions carry over to the next day.

It seems that what I require are those people that go around “secretly switching” people’s food. That way the “ZOMG, WHAT HAVE I DONE?” panic mode does not kick in.

Why do I imagine some of my more sadistic friends rubbing their hands and grinning?



One response to “A Series of Unfortunate Genes

  1. Pingback: Uninvited Partiers | Author: H.C. Playa

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