I’ve been feeling ill a lot this past winter and spring. I went through some antibiotics back in December and have been, in a way, waiting to get better ever since. I thought that I was on the road to recovery when I went on my business trip mid-March, but as soon as I got back I relapsed. There seemed to be no end in sight, and, even worse, I was starting to wheeze when I exercised.

Now, when I was twelve or thirteen, I wanted to get a dog. I thought that would be just great, completely forgetting the horrible experience I’d had when I got a pet rat and discovered that I had allergies. Surely, I thought, it was the rat cage that caused my issues. A dog would be just fine.

My Dad, however, did not want a dog in our house. Dogs, I was informed, smell.

I was given the option to get a cat, and I took it.

At this point in my life, I’ve lived with dogs and I’ve lived with cats, and I would take a dog over a litter box any day of the week, but at the time, the discovery of just how much a litter box can stink was, if you will, fresh. But that’s not the point.

The point is, shortly after we got the cat, I began to wheeze when exercising. I clearly remember playing floor hockey after school and feeling tightness in my chest. It wasn’t long before I was diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, and for a long time I thought that was my fate. In recent years, I’ve discovered that I don’t get asthmatic as long as I avoid allergens, and what I thought was asthma was sometimes just being out of shape.

So while part of me thought that the wheezing was some sort of lung infection, I also considered an allergy hypothesis. And when I started getting a stomach ache after drinking a glass of soy milk, the light bulb went off – could I possibly have a soy allergy? Perhaps one that is getting progressively worse as I continue to eat soy sausages every morning and drink soy milk on the regular?

My husband and I decided to give cutting soy from my diet a try. A mere two days after cutting it, I ran without wheezing. The early results look good, but the true test will be reintroducing soy after a week. I almost don’t want to, but it’s the only way to gain certainty in the soy allergy hypothesis.

Although, there are circumstances in which such testing will not be happening… I ate clams once, and I will never eat them again, because I don’t want to take the chance that the four days I spent in the bathroom were a fluke not related to clams.

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