Oh Dear… Some Lifestyle Changes Ahead

I think I’ve mentioned it on here a few times, but I’ve been dealing with some health issues pretty regularly since Spring of this year.  I count myself fortunate because they’re not something major- like nothing I will need surgery for or anything that is life threatening- but we’ve pinned most of them down to allergies.

I’ve never been aware I have had allergies, and now I’m wondering how long I’ve had them- and how many of my frequent “colds” in years past, that never fully morphed into full blown sicknesses were really just my body fighting allergies.

Well… yesterday I had official testing at an allergist.  Once we figured out what I actually am allergic to we can start figuring out the plan of attack to get me back to functioning 100% all the time.  Some days these little buggers wipe me out completely, and as a result, I’ve been much less likely to be as dependable as I was in years past.  Until I had to report for work regularly, as a matter of fact, I wasn’t aware of how much this really did affect me and limit me- so I’m glad I’ve got the consensus so I can start working on a resolution.  Unfortunately, however, that job is about to end for me, just as we figured it out.

But the allergies I do have are tough to deal with.  Think of two things that, from reading my blog, you know I really and truly love.  These are among the things I’ve found I’m allergic to.


My darling kitties.  They’re not going anywhere, but they both happen to be uber lovey.  The one on the right follows me around constantly, cuddles, and licks me all of the time.  The one on the left is my work buddy and nearly always is propped right on my lap in front of my laptop.


Yup. I have a mold allergy.  Two of them, in fact.  But the one that affects me and my business the most is the one that’s present in old paper products.  This means I have to be extra careful when I deal with the old patterns and look at the old magazines.  The problem is that old paper is my one true weakness.  I’ve hunted them down and collected them since I was a teenager.  But this new allergy means that I really and truly have to start counting through and listing the literally hundreds of vintage patterns I’ve set aside to sell.  And this also means I need to start tracing off copies onto new paper of the ones I love.

Unfortunately, this also most likely means that, out of necessity, I will eventually have to start listing again on the much dreaded eBay.  We will need to get new flooring, air filters, fancy vacuum cleaner, and pay for my weekly immunity boosting shots that look like they’re going to be a regular part of my life for the next year.  And, unfortunately, some of the super awesome patterns don’t fetch as much on Etsy as on eBay.  I hate going back on my word, as I truly hated my recent dealings with this company, but over time necessity will have to make me do some things I don’t want to do.  Luckily it will be a good amount of time before I work through to that, so I don’t need to make any definite decision on that for a while.

This does NOT mean that Wearing History Patterns are going to stop.  I got myself a new HEPA filter air mask and will wear gloves when dealing with old patterns, and this does mean that over time I’ll be coming out with more Resto-Vival patterns, as I want to transfer these over to new paper that I can handle without an air mask when I want to sew up something.  When I do this, I can share the pattern wealth by releasing select patterns to Wearing History.

But Seriously?  Old paper???  And I just got three amazing bound year issues of the Lady’s Home Journal that smell strongly of mold.  BOO HISS!  I had my suspicions  but it was sad to have them confirmed.

Oh, and another allergy that costumers can sympathize with….

FEATHERS!  Noooooo!  The photo above is of me at the Jane Austen Evening dance and was taken by Beth of V is for Vintage.  I love feathers.  Especially on hats.

So that’s my news.  Now I’m just waiting for my regular sinus meds to kick in so I can get back to (somewhat) normal since I had to stop them for 5 days before testing.

*le sigh*

45 Comments on Oh Dear… Some Lifestyle Changes Ahead

  1. Melanie
    November 2, 2012 at 8:24 pm (11 years ago)

    Having suffered from allergies my whole life, including a current bout, I’m so sorry! I hope you do find a good resolution to it. I highly recommend a Dyson. I could not believe how much that lessened mine. Good luck!

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2012 at 9:49 pm (11 years ago)

      I’m so sorry to hear that, but I AM glad to hear that they Dyson really helped you out. We’ll be getting one (or one similar) very soon, so I look forward to seeing a change in the way I feel.

  2. Sally Bennett
    November 2, 2012 at 8:32 pm (11 years ago)

    I can sympathize. I had to let go of my precious cat – Peaches – because I ended up in the emergency room with hives from my shoulders to my knees. And shopping for vintage and antiques has been difficult — if I get a whiff of that musty smell, I keep moving. But I still buy old stuff, just more careful and I exist on Zyrtec.

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2012 at 9:48 pm (11 years ago)

      I’m so very sorry to hear you had to give up your cat!
      And I totally get that. I pretty much have lived on allergy medicine 24/7 since Spring. It stinks, but not as much as feeling ill ALL the time!
      Hard to be a die hard antique/vintage lover and have allergies. Why can’t I be in love with new stuff instead? LOL!

  3. Elaine
    November 2, 2012 at 9:04 pm (11 years ago)

    I sympathize with the mold issue – my husband & I are very sensitive to mold and it’s a constant effort to get rid of old books and paperwork and such, since even fairly new books can get moldy pretty quick.

    About the cats: I know a veterinarian who says that she is only allergic to cats who are fed grains and high starch diets, but not cats who are fed less inflammatory diets. Sounds kind of out there, I know, but I’ve had the same experience. Cats are carnivores, and their optimal diet is raw meat. So changing your cats’ diets might be something to try.

    Even fabric gets moldy. When I recently started sewing again, I grabbed up a lot of fabric from thrift stores and estate sales. I like the vintage stuff, and it was generally about 80% less than new fabric. I had to eventually get rid of all of it, though, because washing did no good to get the musty smell out. Now I just by new fabric, including reproduction fabric.

    At least with paper patterns, as you say, you can photocopy it.

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2012 at 9:47 pm (11 years ago)

      How interesting about the cat’s diet! I will have to look into that.

      I totally know what you mean. I’m glad I’ve gotten much more into making my “vintage” clothing rather than buying authentic vintage. I recently got a lot of authentic 1930s clothing, and while it’s fun stuff, it smelled very strongly. I was folding (new) paper patterns on my cutting table and very shortly after starting felt so ill and headachey and had to lie down for a good while. It came upon me that it was because I was in proximity to the clothing, which was hanging on a rack nearby! Oops? So there will be less authentic vintage and even more making it- unless it’s SUPER clean and I know I can inspect it in person.
      And no more vintage fur! It makes my nose go nuts and now I understand why!

  4. Rachel
    November 2, 2012 at 9:30 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m so sorry to hear all of that. I suffered from allergies during most of my girlhood, and if it wasn’t for two years of allergy shots, wrapping up all of my bedding and pillows, new vacuum, etc. I wouldn’t be in the good health I am today. While it sucks now, it’s completely worth it. Depending on how bad your allergies are, you may in the next couple of years be able to eventually handle the items that cause you so much grief now. I don’t know if the kind of shots your getting include little bits of the allergen so that your body builds a proper immunity to it, but if you do get those kinds of shots it should help tremendously where you don’t have to go to such extremes to handle your big big loves. :-) However, that does take time. I was told by my allergist that the things we develop allergies to are the things we’re exposed to the most…so while it really sucks what you’re allergic to, it does make sense. I hope you get some relief with all of this.

    And on a complete side note, I LOVE LOVE LOVE that regency dress. The bodice is stunning, and that color is amazing on you.

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2012 at 9:44 pm (11 years ago)

      Thanks so much! Regency is fun :)

      Yes, that is the same sort of shots I am going to get. I’m SO glad to hear they have worked for you! While I *do* need to cut back on the stuff in the house (and I’ve been meaning to and talking about it for years), I don’t think I can part with my favorite pieces, so it’s good to hear there may be a time in the future where I can handle them without the face mask and gloves.

      Thanks for the comment! It truly encouraged me :)

  5. Bunny Moreno
    November 2, 2012 at 9:43 pm (11 years ago)

    First I have to say that thank goodness its nothing life threatening. I am super glad you found out what it all was about. The old paper does suck-I wont lie bc I like old paper too BUT you have found ways to wk around it so there is hope! Also I was thinking why not post your patterns on your blog instead before going back to ebay. It is dreadful over there but at least you can sell things faster and for more. Good luck with everything! I wish you only the best! xox

    • Lauren
      November 2, 2012 at 9:51 pm (11 years ago)

      That’s a great idea! Thanks!! And if I set up custom listings for folks on my Wearing History Patterns website after they tell me what they want they could pay with credit card OR paypal. That would be much easier :)

  6. Katrina @ Edelweiss Patterns
    November 2, 2012 at 10:41 pm (11 years ago)

    So sorry to hear that, Lauren! But there is hope! Right before I turned nineteen I suddenly developed an allergy to 16 different foods – chicken, turkey, dairy, wheat, barley, rice, oats, beans, bananas, soy, honey, peanuts, almonds, chocolate, and the list goes on!

    Almost overnight I was launched into this very difficult phase of trying to concoct meals out of the few foods I could still eat, while wondering in the back of my mind if I would develop allergies to those as well. It was a very difficult few months, especially since this period started right before my birthday and Christmas! It was so hard during the holidays, and I was afraid that the rest of my life would not be normal. All I could eat was corn, potatoes, eggs, and fruit.

    Well, slowly but surely, I was able to incorporate a few items back into my diet while taking lots of herbal supplements to help my body absorb them, and over time I could actually eat something on a restaurant menu. I don’t know exactly when the change happened, but one day I woke up and realized, “I can eat food again!”. I am happy to report that God has completely healed me, and I can eat absolutely anything I want to without having any negative side effects! I am so thankful!

    Sometimes we don’t always understand why we go through things like this, but God is always working in our situations even when we can’t see it. You just never know what good will come out of this, and someday you will look back and see how far you’ve come in your health! Hope this is encouraging in some way, and I hope you have a wonderful weekend.

    Love and blessings,

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:49 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you so much for this, Katrina! I really feel you’re right.
      Although I don’t understand in entirety, I do feel like God has been calling me to get rid of a lot of old patterns and books for a long time because there is just too much. I guess this finally is going to force me to do it! I don’t like it, of course, and I don’t feel like I need to give up these things in entirety at all, but I hope that over time I can be healed like you were and get back to a healthy balance :)

  7. Elisha
    November 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm (11 years ago)

    Im dealing with allergies for the first time, and they’re not mine. My son is allergic to cats, dogs, soy, eggs, milk… and the very scary one, peanut. That’s the one he has an epi pen for. He’s 18 months old and we started finding out about six months ago what was causing his eczema. This is new territory for me, and I hate to get political here, but my 83 year old grandfather is insisting my son, his great grand son, is allergic because of all the genetically modified foods we have here in America.

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:52 am (11 years ago)

      Oh my. My heart and prayers go out to you. My friend had a baby that had very similar allergies. They’re still a challenge, but they found a way to work around it. After hearing her struggles, I truly feel so bad for this.
      I think you’re right. We’ve come to put a lot of strange foods in our bodies, which can have effects. I don’t think that’s political at all, it’s just the way things are.

  8. Kim Stewart
    November 3, 2012 at 2:28 am (11 years ago)

    Hang in there Gal! Things will get better. Great news that you can still work with them, thankfully, with a few safety precautions.

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:53 am (11 years ago)

      Yes, thank goodness! And once we get things in order with replacing old carpeting with other flooring, etc, I’m sure they will be even easier to handle. It will just take time for us to be able to convert anything, but for now there’s always open windows and filter masks, thank goodness!

  9. Cherise
    November 3, 2012 at 2:29 am (11 years ago)

    I’m sorry to hear about your allergies, I know it’s tough to find out you’re allergic to things you love. At least now you can take proper precautons when dealing with those things.

    I’m allergic to cats too, been since, forever. It was so bad when I was a kid I couldn’t sleep in the same house with cats. Now I have 2 of my own and I could never ever think about letting them go. I’m also super senstive to mold, which derives from my old school that had mold right under the floor my class was most of the time. My eyes and raspiratory system tells me immediately when there’s mold nearby. Being exposed has made my nose super sensitive to everything: dust, cigarette smoke, parfumes, cold, drought. It’s a real pain in the behind! I seriosly can’t remember the last time my nose felt normal.

    I hope your medication will work and you will be able to continue with the things you love. Maybe I should look into that sinus medication as well, maybe it could help my poor nose.

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:56 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you so much!
      I have found that I’m super sensitive to certain smells now, too. It’s really bizarre- I never was like that before- but I think I was SO clogged up for who knows how long that I didn’t smell a lot of things as I should have! Once I started getting on the meds it was WRETCHED at first, but slowly got a bit better.
      I have a suspicion the mold happened when I worked for several years in a building that had very bad ventilation (no windows, and under a high rise building with the entrance through an underground parking garage), and was notorious for mold. I never noticed a problem with it before that :(

  10. Elise Lin
    November 3, 2012 at 2:37 am (11 years ago)

    Ouch, that is a tough thing to deal with. I hope the tip about cat food will help you with that allergy, and that you will have good results with your other plans how to deal with this as well. All the best on dealing with these allergies! Btw I love your beautiful dress!

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:56 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you for the good wishes and compliment on the dress :)

  11. VitalVogue
    November 3, 2012 at 4:51 am (11 years ago)

    When I worked at the universtiy library, and noticed a book gave me a “tingly nose,” I’d take it down to preservation. (Mold in a library is a very, very bad thing.) Thier remedy to kill the mold and keep it from spreading to other books was to seal the books in a zip-lock-type bag and pop it in the freezer for a few days. If it’s the mold you are allergic to, and not the paper itself, this might mitigate your reaction. I’d recommend it in combination with your filter and gloves.

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:57 am (11 years ago)

      Oh, that’s SUCH a wonderful tip!!! Thank you!!!

  12. Brittany_Va-Voom Vintage
    November 3, 2012 at 5:43 am (11 years ago)

    Oh, how awful!! Allergies are one thing but when the things you love the most are making you miserable- :( I had a kitty and very allergic boyfriend years ago. I bought these kitty allergy wipes that really helped. They’re like baby wipes and you rub your kitty down with one. Although they’re damp, the cats seem to like the extra attention. You can buy them at pet stores :)

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 8:58 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you so much for letting me know about that! I will get some for sure :) I can’t give up my cats!

  13. Stephanie
    November 3, 2012 at 7:12 am (11 years ago)

    You poor dear. So sad that you have to part with so many of your patterns. :( I hope you start feeling better soon and I’m super happy to hear that Wearing History Patterns is still going to live on!

    If it makes you feel any better, I too have to wear gloves and a gnarly looking face mask (and a lab coat and lab googles) at work. It’s surprising how easily you can get used to wearing such things, especially if they keep you from feeling all congested and sick!

    • Lauren
      November 3, 2012 at 9:01 am (11 years ago)

      Yay! I can’t let the little pattern company die- I’ve worked my butt off for several years for it! LOL! And I can’t let the love of old patterns and dressmaking die, either. I think it’s ingrained in me. God gives us passions- who knows WHY I like old stuff, but I have faith that he’ll find a right place for it. It’s just another journey.

      I’m glad to hear that! I’ve been wearing a paper face mask for several months now, since I had a suspicion, but I hate the thing and it wasn’t really approved for these allergens, so I just got a better one on Amazon. Here’s hoping it’s more comfortable and doesn’t feel so yucky after I’ve been wearing it for several hours :)

  14. Paula
    November 3, 2012 at 2:33 pm (11 years ago)

    I’m writing to encourage you that it IS possible to move beyond the immune-crashing frustration of allergies into vibrant health and energy. Last year I was nearly bedridden due to allergies and the medications for treating those allergies. I haven’t taken any allergy treatments for 6 months now (not even during hayfever season) and I feel amazing. For me this change happened in part after educating myself on the differences between allergies and sensitivities, going on a 21-day cleanse and quickly discovering that I could reduce or eliminate my sensitivity to environmental allergens by tweaking my diet, and really paying attention to what makes me feel great and what doesn’t. I also developed an understanding of the compounding effect of allergies/sensitivities and finding that by eliminating one or more culprits others disappeared or became much less troublesome. Everyone’s physiology is different and there is no one-size-fits-all solution to allergies, unfortunately, but my experience in creating health isn’t unique and I trust that you can find what works best for you. Good luck!

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:23 am (11 years ago)

      Wow! Thanks so much for letting me know this. I have been feeling better than before just due to some environmental changes (like keeping the kitties out of certain rooms and quarantining the old paper to a space outside our regular living space). I have faith it will be conquered :)

  15. angie.a
    November 3, 2012 at 3:59 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh no. :( That is awful! But I guess the upside is that you should start feeling better soon. I found out this year that I’m intolerant of “gluten”. I’m a pasta eating fool. Sobs.

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:22 am (11 years ago)

      Oh gosh! That must be a hard one to deal with. I love pasta (and breads).

  16. Debi
    November 3, 2012 at 7:37 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh, I am so sorry to hear about your allergies! But it’s such a relief to know what allergies do exist. I am very allergic to heavy metals (chromium, etc.) and it took years to find that out. It felt awful trying to just treat symptoms instead of getting to the root of the cause. Now I know, I can’t wear leather, etc. (because it’s tanned with heavy metals) and it makes me feel so much better. Sending you a big hug and lots of good thoughts as you go through this! xoxoxoxo Debi

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:21 am (11 years ago)

      Oh, gosh, that must be hard! At least they are making many more cute shoes out of non-leather materials.

  17. Diane
    November 3, 2012 at 10:14 pm (11 years ago)

    I have mostly seasonal allergies, plus cats and dogs. Allergy shots have been a miracle for me. I don’t want to rip my eyes out of my face every Spring. I still take generic Claritin, sudafed, and Flonaise, but I feel so much better! We got a puppy earlier this year, she doesn’t bother me too much, but I keep her out of my bedroom. I will never have a cat. I like cats, but they really bug me more than dogs.

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:21 am (11 years ago)

      I’m so glad to hear that the allergy shots have worked for you~ I also take Claritin D, and it does help a lot. I’m hoping that the allergy shots work as well for me as they do for you :)

  18. Eileen
    November 4, 2012 at 3:13 am (11 years ago)

    Oh no! That IS hard news to take. I too have allergies that I deal with and one of them happens to be kitties. That being said, I’ve kept Russian Blue cats almost all my life and have been told that their dander is different from that of other cats so they are good to keep if you have allergies. Please don’t think I’m suggesting you replace your beloved cats though! It’s just something I’ve learned.

    Another thing I do since I have allergies is to buy good local raw honey. I don’t know if this will help you out with your specific allergies but it helps if, like me, you have any sort of pollen allergies.

    Allergies are a bummer to live with but thankfully aren’t life threatening and are manageable. It sounds like you are on the right track!

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:20 am (11 years ago)

      Thanks for the advice! We’ve been starting to make things a bit more manageable just by keeping kitties out of certain areas, and quarantining the old paper to a separate room. It’s amazing what a difference it makes!

  19. Alli
    November 5, 2012 at 3:25 am (11 years ago)

    Oh Lauren, you poor darling. How horrible being allergic to so many things that you love so much. I hope that you you start to feel better really soon. Sending you BIG hugs.
    Alli :)

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:19 am (11 years ago)

      Thank you! Hugs!

  20. Heide
    November 5, 2012 at 10:22 am (11 years ago)

    Awww! I feel for you. I too suffer from allerigies. But it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy old things!
    I know when you first figure everything out it is very overwhemling. Usually if you give your body a break and get rid of all allergens for awhile, small doses occasionally are okay. It always amazes me how much allergies can make you feel horrid, not just sneezing or itchy eyes, but emotionaly.
    Hang in there! Things will get better!

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:19 am (11 years ago)

      Great advice! Thank you! I got a special mask which should help make dealing with the old paper better :)

  21. Tasha
    November 5, 2012 at 11:51 am (11 years ago)

    Oh my goodness, my sympathies!! I suffered from asthma as a very small child, then seasonal allergies pretty badly my whole life, which have mostly disappeared in the last 10 years or so. In college I started developing very weird oral allergy issues which were never diagnosed correctly but eventually subsided for the most part (not completely) with time and avoidance of problematic fruits/vegetables. It was only years later did I discover it was something called oral allergy syndrome which is often present in people with asthma or hay fever, both of which I had a history of having in the past. I also had a re-occuring issue with hives for many years, thankfully now gone. So point being: bodies are weird. Hopefully this won’t be a forever issue for you, and best of luck in managing it with the least invasions to your lifestyle!

    • Lauren
      November 15, 2012 at 11:18 am (11 years ago)

      Oh gosh, that sounds horrible :( I’m so sorry!

      Yes, I hope so, too. My dad says that he had bad allergies around my age, and later developed asthma. But, luckily, most of his allergies went away. I’m hoping for the same thing! Well, minus the asthma ;)

  22. Isis
    November 5, 2012 at 1:54 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh no! But it’s good to know it, so you can take proper precautions!

  23. The Dreamstress
    November 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm (11 years ago)

    Oh, I’m so sorry to hear that! What a major bummer :-( Best of luck in getting it under control, and feeling healthier.

  24. Lizzie
    November 13, 2012 at 9:27 am (11 years ago)

    I’m so sorry to hear about your allergies. The good thing is that at least you *know* what was making you so sick and thus it can be dealt with. Hang in there!

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