A Bittersweet Day at the Allergist’s Office
Last week brought a whirl wind of emotions to this food allergy mom. I tried to start writing about that day right away but it took me a while to finish this post. It’s not because I’m uncomfortable sharing that experience with you. I think I was completely overwhelmed.
So, here it goes…
Let me start with the good news. After over a year of convincing, (both from the allergist and me) Child#2 finally decided that she’s ready to do a food challenge for dairy. For the past few years, her numbers continued to go down and our allergist thought that it’s about time to do some challenges so that we can slowly add to her diet.
At first she was hesitant. It has been over 6 years since she had regular milk. She’s so used to her non dairy alternatives that she doesn’t want to switch anymore. However, when she heard “ice cream”, she got excited. I guess she’s not really a big fan of coconut and avocado flavored ice cream after all.
Anyway, for the challenge, I was asked to bring some lactose free milk and plain vanilla lactose free ice cream. Why lactose free? Well, this is to make sure that in case my daughter reacts, it’s primarily due to dairy and not because of lactose intolerance. That actually made sense right?
While Child#2 isn’t happy with the taste of the milk, she really enjoyed eating the ice cream.
Yup! She passed her dairy food challenge and we’re slowly adding some dairy products to her diet. Happy dance! Plus… her lung test results are way better than last year. A hope that she might slowly be outgrowing her asthma.
Now for the bad news…
Over 2 years ago, Child#4 outgrew all his food allergies — wheat, dairy, egg, peanuts and all tree nuts. Since then, he had eaten wheat, dairy and egg products without issues. As for the tree nuts and peanuts, the allergist advised us to avoid them until he had a food challenge. Even if both his blood work and skin test came out negative, he wanted him to do his first tasting (he never had nuts and peanuts) at the doctor’s office.
At that time, we didn’t pursue a challenge because one, Child#4 didn’t want to eat anything with a nut or peanut. He just turned 5 and was really picky (stubborn) eater. Since he’ll be tested for at least 5 different types of tree nuts and peanuts, I wanted to make sure that the first experience will not be forced or traumatic for him. Otherwise, he might be hesitant to do the other tests. Two, our house is still peanut and tree nut free because of Child#2 and #3. That means he still can’t eat those allergens at home.
This summer, since his sister is scheduled for a challenge, I tried to get him to do at least one as well.
Because it has been 2 years after his skin and blood work, our allergist decided to run a quick skin test. He said if it’s negative, we’ll schedule a series of food challenges in the following weeks.
A few minutes after the specimens were placed on his skin, I was surprised to hear my youngest complaining. Unlike the last time when he kept asking “Are we done yet?”, this time I was caught off guard. He was really upset. Why? Because his arms are getting really itchy.
As I try to entertain him to be able to finish the test, I saw red big bumps almost the size of a dime. I’m sure you all know what that meant. At the back of my mind, I’m still hoping I’ll get a different result.
When the allergist came in after few minutes, he said I think we don’t need to prolong his agony. He is definitely allergic to walnuts, hazelnuts, cashews, almonds, Brazil nuts, peanuts and sesame. With this reaction, a challenge is totally out.
Are you kidding me?
It was a bittersweet day. I’ve experienced the joy of seeing a child outgrow an allergy. I also faced the ugly truth that allergies can come back anytime. While I try to deny, this is the reality I have to accept.