Atticus’ First Visit with the Pediatric Allergist (April 2011):
If you read about Atticus’ food allergy story and first severe reaction (read here), then you’ll know that I was counting down the days until we could see the allergist. I had been on an elimination diet for almost 6 months before we could get him into our allergist. When he had his first sever reaction just 2 weeks before the appointment I was devastated. I knew that his histamine levels wouldn’t be back to normal which means his testing would be inconclusive. My husband and I went back and forth about whether or not we even keep the appointment. We decided to go ahead and see the allergist because we had so many questions. You should have seen the question filled note cards that I took with me to the appointment.
When we arrived for our appointment it began very similar to oldest son’s first appointment. We explained our many stories linking the history of the reactions to the allergens. We then decided to go ahead and attempt a skin test since we were already there. We knew that we’d have to return in 6 weeks, once his histamine levels returned, for a more conclusive set of tests. Despite his histamine levels being low, he still tested positive for dairy, soy and peanut. Peanut? Where did the peanut come from? I felt like this totally came out of left field. We didn’t have a story for peanut. Well, we did but at the time of the reaction we didn’t know that was what he was having the reaction to. The allergist went ahead and tested for peanut because children who have a dairy and/or egg allergy many times also have a peanut allergy. I was shocked. This allergy scared me because I knew from my research that I had done following my oldest’s diagnosis that reactions to peanuts can be WAY more severe and life long.
The appointment was successful but I still wouldn’t know the extent of the allergies until we returned for the next set of testing. Our allergist was very kind and didn’t pass judgment when I pulled out my question filled note cards. He pulled up a chair and went through them one by one. I asked about breast feeding. I had read that breastfeeding was the best thing that I could do for my little man. It would give him a greater chance at outgrowing his allergies by 1-year. At this point I had already eliminated everything (except peanuts) from my diet in order to breastfeed. So, it was my goal to continue nursing as long as I could. However, he still wasn’t sleeping long stretches at night. He wasn’t getting enough from me. But how could he…I didn’t have much that I could eat. I’m not going to lie, thanks to the diet, I weighed what I did when I was a sophomore in high school. It might have been healthy for me then but not at my age now. You would think this would be every mom’s dream, right? The weight loss in general was…but not that much! My dad would say things to me like, “How long are you going to continue this diet? Your boys need a mom, you know.” He was just concerned that my weight loss was too drastic. I kept reminding him and myself that I wasn’t doing this to lose weight. I was doing this for my son. To give him the best chance at outgrowing these nasty allergies. Honestly, losing weight wasn’t even on my radar at this point because I had far too many other things to worry about.
I asked about having more children with food allergies. He had told me at my oldest’s appointment that the chances of having multiple children with food allergies was incredibly slim. Well we don’t seem to fit the mold. We ARE the exception. Of course, I wasn’t thinking about having another child soon, but I’d always wanted at least 3 kids. He didn’t really have an answer for me. I think this was because he knew we weren’t following the food allergy norm.
The peanut allergy was so new to me that this raised the most questions. I didn’t know if he should even be in the same room as peanuts. Question to the allergist: So if my oldest needs to continue to eat peanuts on a regular basis so that he doesn’t develop a food allergy to peanuts and now my youngest shouldn’t be in the same room as peanuts — How do I do that?? He suggested that we give them food in different rooms or at different times. I, of course, then asked if he could write a script for a new house with two kitchens. He chuckled and told me that wouldn’t work. Bummer! I was hoping I’d get insurance to build me a new house. Oh well…it was worth a shot.
So to sum up the appointment…
We were given another prescription for EpiPens. Told to avoid all dairy, soy, peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. If we needed to supplement with formula we needed to use Similac’s Alimentum. It’s a hypo-allergenic formula. It only comes in the small size can and costs $30 (one can would only get us through an average of 5 days). And we had an appointment to return in 5 weeks for more testing.
I managed to stay calm knowing that we’d be back in a few weeks for more testing that would give us more answers. Now we just need to remain reaction free until the appointment.