Our Food Allergy Journey….Part 2

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Our Food Allergy Journey….Part 1 ended with Nathan’s first BIG reaction to yogurt in April of 2010 at the sweet age of 9 months.  Fast forward to December of 2011…where his dairy numbers spiked and we found out about his peanut allergy.  I guess a peanut allergy was to be expected, as was the spike in his blood work numbers.  It’s just so disheartening.  It’s scary, and unchartered territory.  I remember our allergist had said that blood test results will often spike before they start to back off.  Well, here’s the spike.  Nathan’s dairy numbers had jumped from 30-something to 98!  His peanut tests came back at 60-something.  Even the egg results had gone up a bit.  I was discouraged to say the least, but still holding on to a thread of hope that the numbers would start to fall.  The only good news we received at our appointment that day was that his soy numbers went down a bit, and our allergist was comfortable with doing a food challenge!  However, we declined.  Yep.  Can’t do it.  Would you take a 2 1/2 year old to the doctor without breakfast, expect them to only take only sips of something new for nearly 2 hours?  Yeah, didn’t think so.  We just didn’t think it was worth the trouble at his age, and I’m so glad we waited.

Last year brought us a couple more challenges and changes…….four to be exact!  First, in March 2012 our daughter, Julia, was born.  She’s such a blessing, but we always wondered if she’d have food allergies.  So far she’s not developed any food allergies!  Our second big change was in May, which was the last time Nathan ate out at any of his “safe” restaurants.  We kept having mysterious food reactions, and we just were tired of gambling with his health.  Next, in July 2012, we found out he has a carrot allergy.  What?!  Oh yes, that was my reaction, too.  Poor kid has been eating carrots since he was 7 months old with absolutely no visible, telltale rash.  Good news?  No more constipation issues with Nathan.  Hallelujah!  From a parents perspective, this is HUGE.  Such a relief, in more ways than one.  Moms and Dads, you know what I’m talking about.  The crankiness subsides, potty training is actually successful, and everyone sleeps better at night.  We don’t miss carrots much, and I don’t think Nathan does, either!  Does your child have chronic constipation?  You might look into a food allergy or sensitivity.

The fourth challenge of 2012 was yet another food allergy identified for Nathan.  Pumpkin.  My first thoughts were, “You’ve got to be kidding me, right?!”  Over the course of Fall 2012 I made two batches of Allergy Free Pumpkin Donut Holes, and they were delicious.  The rash that Nathan developed on his torso was not so nice.  Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, it’s back to the allergist we go!  No more pumpkin for Nathan, but, you know, that’s EASY to avoid!  We just make apple pies at Thanksgiving instead of pumpkin-no biggie.

Alright, I need some good news, don’t you?  At this point, I have to be truthful in saying I was getting a little discouraged.  And no more Pumpkin Donut Holes, either?  I’ve got some good news, and it was long overdue, but the smile in the picture below was worth the wait for his soy challenge.

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I love this picture because it reminds me how excited he was that morning to be trying something he had to avoid for so long.  What 3 1/2 year old doesn’t like watching movies for 2.5 hours while drinking something new (on an empty stomach!), and getting lots of attention from the nurses?  What mom likes to sit there wondering if her child is going to have an anaphylactic reaction because he’s never had soy?  No mom does, and I had to hide my fear, and my husband did, too.  We.  Were.  Terrified.  My palms were sweating, my stomach ached, and I was on edge.  Two hours later, we were cleared to go home, although a food challenge isn’t over until 6 hours after it starts.  That was a loooong day of watching him intently for any breathing changes, hives, sneezing, coughing or stomach aches.  I know he got tired of me asking, “Are you OK!?”  I’m happy to say, he passed his soy challenge in January of 2013 and here’s a picture to prove it!

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Gotta love the Bob the Builder shirt covered in his stickers from the allergist’s office!  Those were his Gold Medals for the day, and he was one happy kid!  Brent and I were relieved, too.  We were (and still are) thankful that we can cross one allergy off of Nathan’s long list, and know that he won’t have a bad reaction to soy.

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