16 August 2007

aw, nuts!

Today, we had a routine allergy appointment for Miss C. We recently had an oral challenge with eggs that showed she had “outgrown” this particular allergy, and it’s made a lovely step toward “normalness” in our meals. I can now feed her French Toast and scrambled eggs, add egg to our pancakes and cake mix, and it’s one less ingredient to watch for when purchasing food for our home.

Dairy, we still avoid; she still gets a red hive or two if we touch or kiss her after we’ve touched or consumed dairy (even cream in our coffee…thus our switch to soy in our coffee, which has definitely grown on us and we now find ourselves preferring the soy!). Today’s appointment was to do another skin test for dairy, thereby confirming that it’s worse, the same, or improved. It’s essentially the same for her, which looks like a massive welt of very noticeable proportions after the allotted 15 minutes go by. Poor baby.

But we couldn’t keep it simple, could we? I had developed some suspicions about peanuts and Miss C not going so good together. As in, she’d accidentally had a granola bar with nut flour, and did fine, so was told to go ahead and let her try peanut butter (because she had other allergies, we were originally told to wait on nuts and shellfish; we’re still waiting on the shellfish, which they’ll include in a test next summer). The peanut butter attempt so did NOT go fine. She began scraping at her tongue within 2 bites, and crying. I tried this on two or three separate occasions in case it was a texture or taste issue (she is accustomed to Sun Butter and Soy Butter {blech} which seem similar in texture, though). Anyhow, I requested a testing of peanut today since I didn’t want to take any chances. And don’t you know the welt was quite similar in size to the dairy one.

I find this far more alarming than a dairy allergy. Indeed, they give me the standard printouts about the allergies in question, as well as what to know about anaphylactic shock; the dairy information was familiar, but not scary. The peanut one began with the all-caps sentence: THIS ALLERGY CAN BE EXTEREMLY DANGEROUS—SOMETIMES FATAL. Yeah, let’s scare mom more than she already was.

Extra precautions I get to take note of? Oh, when a product says it has been manufactured in a plant with peanut products, 10% of the time it is contaminated; I need to avoid these. I need to make doubly sure I have my daughter’s Epi-Pen available at all times. Should I get rid of the peanut-butter my son is so very accustomed to (and I won't even go into the potential trauma this could cause since PBJ is THE standard in his lunch box and new foods are only sometimes an okay thing with him)? Well, it wouldn’t hurt. I’m just hoping the transition to Sun Butter isn’t too painful, because I really feel compelled to make that switch. I already try not to dip the PB knife in the jam, but nobody’s perfect.

I feel an underlying sadness and stress in this. It’s one more hurdle to jump, another food issue to learn around (more specifically than simply not introducing it), and one more concern when dining out.


Carbon said...

I always feel sadness for children who suffer from food allergies. Thats great you experiment with different products. I remember a little girl who used to come to the ice cream store I worked at with her family. All her siblings got ice cream except her. She would always say she couldn't have any so one day I asked her speciifically why and she said she's diabetic. Lo and behold, we actually had ice cream for diabetics and when I told her mom about it, that little girl was the happiest kid I have ever seen. She could finally have ice cream like other kids.
Though it's hard on all of you, nowadays there are so many subsitutions so that kids don't have to feel so left out. Your are doing a great job.

Karen said...

Aw, poor thing! I hope she continues to grow out of her various allergies.