Sharing stories, knowledge, and rants about living with metal allergies.

I Hate Nickel


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Thinking About Nickel Every Moment of Every Day

Spontaneity used to be one of my charms.  Spontaneity is now regarded with suspicion and fear.  I cannot just go with the flow.  I must know ahead of time where the flow is going, what the flow is made out of, and what it will be serving for dinner. 

I don’t like feeling like I have to think about nickel every moment of every day.  I love sharing the stories about my nickel allergy and everything I’ve learned along the way, but it can still be very personal and painful at times.  Constantly thinking, researching, and writing about it can make me feel like I’m wallowing in self-pity.  I’d rather be watching a sunset, watching TV, or doing anything else other than sitting at my computer researching diets and rashes.  I don’t like feeling like my life is ruled by my nickel allergy.

But let’s face it, in some ways it is.  Every decision I make is processed in some way through a nickel filter.

Do we meet friends for dinner this Friday? --> Does the restaurant have an allergen or ingredient list?  If not, do they have anything that looks safe for me to eat?  If not, do I eat dinner before we go, so we can still be social, or do we decline the invitation altogether?

Do I go on that trip? --> What will I eat while I’m travelling?  Should I book a more expensive hotel with a restaurant so that I can order room-service, which is a safer bet than eating fast-food?  What happens if I’m not able to follow the diet, especially if it’s a long trip?  If I get nickel-sick, do I have enough time off from work so that when I come back from the trip, I can call off sick?  Is the trip worth the risk?

I’m tired and not feeling well today --> Did I eat something I shouldn’t have?  Was I exposed to nickel somehow and didn’t realize it?  Or am I just coming down with a regular cold?

Should I buy this cute bathing suit? --> It’s got metal buckles on the straps, wonder if those are nickel?  It’s an expensive brand, so maybe it’s safe?  Do I buy it, test it at home with my nickel-testing kit, and return it if it is nickel?  Even if it tests ok, when it gets wet, could nickel still leach out of the buckles anyway and cause a rash?

So many questions go through my head at every decision point!  Every plan or action must be run though my nickel filter before decisions can be made.  I get angry at my husband when he "forgets" and doesn’t take into account my nickel allergy when he makes plans or does the shopping.  Really, that’s not fair of me.  I can barely keep up with all the rules myself; asking someone else to stay on top of it all is selfish and unrealistic.

I calm myself by doing the “one day at a time” chant.  You know the one – just take things one day at a time.  Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Tackle one thing at a time before moving on to the next and eventually it will all get done.  It has gotten easier; the nickel filter comes more naturally now.  (Does this have nuts in it?  Don’t buy the bra with the metal clasps.  Run the tap a few minutes before using the water).  Many of these day-to-day things I do without thinking now, but there are always new battles.

I want normalcy.  I tell myself that my life is not ruled by my nickel allergy, but I know that is not entirely true.  My life revolves around a series of questions to be asked to determine the nickel content of all that is around me.  My actions are being continuously strained through a nickel filter.  I write, I tell stories, and I research because my life is ruled by my nickel allergy.  Some days I’m ok with that.  Some days I'm not.