Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Say it Ain't So 19/1/12 So I've been having this weird reaction on my lips, particularly my upper lip. Some of you who know me well, may know that once when I was in college my upper lip seriously swelled to gigantic proportions which led to a late-night emergency room visit, a shot of adrenaline, and some steroids to bring my lip back to normal human-sized proportions. I never did figure out what caused it. Well, two weeks ago in the evening, my lip started to feel really dry and slightly strange – kind of like the feeling of having flour on your lips from some freshly baked bread. I didn't think much of it, because we have been eating a lot of said bread with flour dusted on it, and I thought perhaps my lips were just irritated from too much contact. The next morning however, I woke up with a tingling, slightly swollen upper lip. I immediately flashed back to my college-days reaction and took some Benadryl to help curb the inflammation. Well, to my relief, the lip didn't swell to epic proportions, but later on in the day I could feel a rash forming on my top lip. It was nearly invisible to see, but just made my lips look sort of puffy and the best way I describe the feel is that of the flour dusted on your lip that you can't get off. For the next 4 or 5 days my lip felt extremely dry – imagine the worst chapped lips you have ever experienced – dry and burning, and after a while, even itchy, and nothing seemed to make it better, though I bought some Vaseline and this seemed to make me a little more comfortable. Then, after about a week, it got better and went away. Mysterious. So maybe 4 or 5 days went without problems, when all of the sudden I awoke one morning with the same tingling swollen lip. Back again, Round two. So here I am on day 3 of the process and trying to decide whether or not to go to the medical center with Sam some morning to go have a consultation to figure out what's going on. It's just...I feel weird about going to see a doctor when even Sam can barely see anything wrong with my lip, other than slight swelling. Even if they FEEL like they look awful. So I did the next best thing and decided to do a little research on my own first. Googling “itchy rash on lips” yielded surprising numerous results and after a little reading I found a number of people describing similar symptoms to mine. Several people who described the most similar symptoms mentioned mangoes as the culprit. “Mangoes?” I thought. Now, if you know me, you know that I love mangoes! I have eaten plenty of mangoes before and never had such a reaction. But upon a little further sleuthing, I discovered that the mango tree is in the sumac family and the peel of the mango can cause poison ivy-like symptoms in some people. Personally, I have never had poison ivy before, and certainly not on my lips, but if I had to guess what it would feel like I'd say that's a good way to describe what it might be like. So I have been thinking about the number of mangoes I have eaten here; when, and how I ate them. See, in the past, as I have said, I have eaten plenty of mangoes. Typically I wash, peel them, then cut up the fruit and eat it. The majority of these mangoes have been previously washed, and shipped from somewhere else before getting to me. I've touched the skins with my hands and never had a reaction before. Now, the mangoes I have eaten here are straight off the tree to my hands. We wash them, but often in order to eat them, instead of peeling them, because the skins are rather tender and thin, people usually bite into the end and tear the peel with their teeth; eating the inside like an apple, but discarding the peel. With some of the mangoes, though not all I have had here, I have taken this approach – meaning my lips have come into direct contact with the mango peel. And looking back, it's very possible that I had eaten a mango in this manner prior to my lip episodes. I'm not sure yet how or if I'm going to test my theory. I may just go back to eating mangoes only by peeling them completely first. It would be a terrible, terrible day to have to ward off mangoes completely, especially now - being surrounded by them ripening right before my eyes. Pure torture. Parting Shot: “Say it Ain't So, Mr. Mango!”

No comments: