Tag Archives: RAST

Provocation/Neutralization

This is a hard thing to describe.  I first heard of provocation/neutralization when I went to the Environmental Health Center-Dallas in 2002.  I was told that I needed to test for allergies and sensitivities.  I was told that before I could test molds, pollens or chemicals I had to be tested on foods and have enough safe foods to eat so that I would be strong enough to test the others.

In provocation/neutralization treatment, .05 cc of an antigen is placed under the skin to form a wheal.  The intention is to see at what dilution a reaction or symptoms appear.  Then .05 cc of incrementally weaker dilutions are placed under the skin in ten minute intervals to find the dilution that shuts off the reaction.  The antigen dilution that shuts off the reaction is considered the neutralizing dose.  The neutralizing dose when given every four days helps the body when exposed to that particular antigen.

For instance if .05/1 (.05 of the strongest dilution) of corn caused me to become hoarse, itch, cough,or the wheal grew larger during the ten minute interval, I was considered allergic or sensitive to that.  I would then be given .05/2 (five times weaker) to see if I had a reaction or if the wheal grew.  For me the corn treatment was carried out to .05/6 showing a very sensitive or allergic reaction to corn.  The higher the number the less likely I would ever eat corn again.  I did, however, treat with the corn neutralizing dose to protect me from accidental exposures to corn.

I wrote in my book about testing:

My tester wanted to test me on the main food allergens first. Based on my previous RAST tests, I knew that I was allergic to some of those items and did not want to test them because I already knew I was sensitive to them. I made the mistake one afternoon of allowing them to test me for corn. I had shown a positive reaction to corn on a RAST test done two years earlier by Dr. Spitzer and had been avoiding it ever since. Reluctantly, I agreed to the test.

What a big mistake! I had an anaphylactic reaction. At first my throat felt a little tight. Then my writing got larger and more out of control. Finally, I could not speak and was losing my vision. I could not open my eyes. The head nurse was called in because I was in such bad shape. She kept trying to get me to open my eyes. I shook my head that I could not. They started me on oxygen. A gurney was wheeled into the room and they placed me on it.

My testing would sometimes take over an hour as we attempted to find a neutralizing end point.  Many of us began joking about all the marks on our arms and started referring to them as  “hierogylphics” because each tester had his or her own way of marking.  The less sensitive patients would have a line of marks straight up and down their arm (if you didn’t react to an antigen the tester would move up a bit on your arm and start another antigen).  I, on the other hand, had “hieroglyphics”  that wrapped all around my arm as we attempted to find the correct dose.  I don’t have my corn testing sheet but I do have some for the molds.  I may copy one and place it tomorrow.

Could My Office Be Making Me Sick?

While I was in the midst of my six weeks of antibiotics, my boss began to wonder if the office could be making me sick.  The office was tested and there was moderate growth of several species of mold.  Yet the tester didn’t believe it was making me sick since I had at first been presenting with sinus infections and we had yet to get fungus to grow out of my sinuses.  (I have learned since that fungus is very picky and sometimes will not grow in the culture plates every time.)  I had not been sick like this until after starting work in this building.

Meanwhile as I sunk deeper into depression I was sent to a doctor in the Bay Area because a RAST test had shown very high allergies to mold and some foods.  I couldn’t believe my ears when I was told that I had to quit eating many of my favorite foods including chocolate, soy sauce (there went my Chinese Food lunches with friends), corn and wheat (Practically everything has some form of corn or wheat in it.)  What was I going to eat?  Was I expected to learn to make foods without all these ingredients?  As the depression got worse I phoned a friend.  From my book:

I began phoning a friend who was a grief counselor.  I talked to her quite frequently.  What was wrong with me?  Why did I feel so bad?  I had never felt like this before.  I just couldn’t quite put my finger on how I felt but I knew that I was in pain.  It wasn’t like the pain I had in my face.  I hurt deep inside and felt empty.  I felt that there was no end to my being sick and that no one could really understand what I was going through.  I told my friend that I now understood what drove people to suicide.  I had never and was not now contemplating it but understood how they must feel.

I had been crying a lot and Dr. Spitzer put me on an antidepressant in hopes of stabilizing me.  He also wrote a note stating that I needed some time off from work to allow the medication to work.  I felt better for a while and had more energy.  I cleaned my house like a wild woman.  The wonderful feeling didn’t last long and surgery number three happened August 1, 2000.  Three surgeries in nine months!