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Food Allergy (Pepsi) Was the Culprit
from Christy S.

Just a note to share my experience (and maybe help). I am 37. I was diagnosed with P when I was 6 (just after a family move). It was never terribly problematic until I was 20 or so (coincidentally after another move) and a job change. I was working night hours while attending school. The night job was difficult because it left little time for normal sleep and eating habits. I began drinking large amounts of Pepsi. I first became ill with a series of bacterial diseases (colds, bronchitis and the like), then my P became rampant then my joints began to ache terribly.

I won't bore you with the many doctor tales except to say I, like you, resisted the systemics even when professionals began to say I would likely be bedridden soon.

Upon leaving a different job, I decided to take a well-deserved break during which I began to eat more sensibly (and quit the Pepsi). I achieved a full remission from the PA. while the P lessened somewhat. This lasted approx 1 years until my next bad flu when the PA flared again in a big way. I returned to drinking the Pepsi (because I hadn't yet defined a connection) and felt progressively worse.

The long and short of it is, I had been harboring a lingering low-grade bacterial infection which only presented as a positive ANA test. When I finally had a horrible kidney infection (I suspect was from long-term Pepsi bad reaction), I was given massive doses of antibiotic. This cleared most of my PA and all of my P for a short while. Then I decided to repeat allergy testing based upon my 1 year old son's bad allergy test results, and found I was allergic in a small way to many things and began to avoid the things I could (foods mostly). Now my PA was about 90% better. Finally I began to see the Pepsi as the major culprit and stopped drinking it altogether. I have been pain-free for 1 year, my kidneys and spleen which were infected and inflamed have not been affected at all since. The chronic yeast infections which I experienced for over a decade are gone. The inflamed lymph nodes which I had on and off for over a decade are gone. Alas ... The P continues (but I am working on ideas there too!).

I was ill for over 15 years ... seriously ill ... and in a great deal of pain. Prednisone, vicodin, indocin, many variations of NSAID's were my means of survival but none made it even bearable. It can be solved. My half-sister is a Type I diabetic also. We all know the pain of the autoimmune circuit. She contracted legionnaires' disease after a move and diabetes after another move. I have recently had her allergy tested and found she is very allergic to many things. Apparently our family is allergic in strange and debilitating ways.

Have you considered allergy testing? I see you have cats??? And the recent move affected you adversely. I just read your tale and saw a possibility.... Good luck my friend ... I wish you peace. -Christy S.


Ed's Response: Wow! Thanks for this recounting, Christy ... for the time it took you to write it out and for the great number of considerations it provides me. I have argued long and to anyone who would listen that I believed there must be a connection between P and allergies (I have much to say about this in my book, Flake: Confessions of a Psoriatic) and the volumes of silence I get back from the medical community is probably it's own message; i.e., they just don't know.

So happens I have had severe allergies since birth. They plagued me until I turned 18; then they began to calm down. In my case, extensive tests revealed ENVIRONMENTAL agents more than FOOD agents were my bad guys. Pollens and molds were the worst, but smoke, animal dander, dust ... the patch tests on my back were inevitably very "artful."

I have hypothesized that my P is a mid-life manifestation of my allergies. For the first forty years of my life, those allergies beat up my respiratory system; as that failed to kill me, now the focus has become the skin. That's a simplification of a more complex metamorphosis that I've put a lot of creative thought into. (The longer version takes into account a decade of profligacy during which all allergy-like symptoms appeared to be palliated by mind-altering substances of which alcohol was the primary.)

Recently—before your email, but your email has ratcheted this up—I've been considering potential allergy triggers again. Mainly I was considering following this line as a last ditch alternative to Methotrexate (which I began taking this week). There is one thing I consume way too much of, and which should raise the eyebrows of allergists, dietitians (and good ol' Dr. Pagano) ... coffee. True, it's decaf (a "free food"—hah!), but I drink so much of it (twice-monthly truck delivery to my one-man office!) something would change, something would HAVE TO change, if I stopped it suddenly and entirely. However, I regard the coffee as the last of my vices and ... well ... now I've started the metho regimen and I want to see what happens. If it doesn't do the trick, I'll have to think some more about the coffee.

Thanks again, Christy. I am very appreciative of your email and hope to see more of it! Best regards! -Ed