Christian’s First Visit with the Pediatric Allergist (October 2010):
I must admit, I was incredibly anxious about our first appointment with the allergist. Growing up I watched my parents deal with lots of medical issues, some incredibly severe and scary, between me and my 3 brothers (AMOL Leukemia, partial deafness, sleep apnea, ear tubes, broken bones, etc.). But I’ve never dealt with food allergies nor had I known anyone who had. Luckily, my husband had seasonal allergies and had visited an allergist before. He was able to explain how the skin test worked.
Once we arrived the allergist came in and wanted to hear our story. With young children they don’t like to do lots of tests, therefore, they only test for the foods in suspect. It had only been 3 weeks since his reaction so the allergist explained that his skin test may not show positive and asked if we wanted to go through with the testing. This entirely depends on how much histamine has built back up in his system. It isn’t fully restored for 4-6 weeks following a reaction. We decided to go ahead with the test. The nurse came in and administered the skin test for egg on his back (4 scratches: egg white, egg yolk, histamine and control) and left the room for 10-15 minutes. We had to keep him from scratching his back. When the timer rang the allergist returned with the nurse and measured the size of the reaction against the histamine and control (non-histamine).
He did test positive for egg. The nurse rubbed some cream on his back where the test had been done to stop the itching. The allergist explained that we needed to 100% avoid all egg. Studies were indicating that by removing the allergen from the diet, the body is able to heal. We would do retesting in 1 year and change things, if we could, at that time. One year? Seriously, do you know how long that is? That is 365 days. You know the song from the musical, Rent — That’s 525,600 minutes! Holy Schnikes! I quickly talk myself out of the inner pity party that I’ve begun to throw. It’s only egg, I remind myself. How hard can that be?
We left with a prescription for EpiPens, just in case. He didn’t show sings of anaphylaxis at the kitchen table that fateful day in September but since everywhere the egg touched, swelled — We wanted to be safe, rather than sorry. We were told that we also needed to avoid peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish. He explained that many children who have allergies to one of the major 7 allergens (especially dairy and egg) also have allergies to these items. We were already eating peanut butter prior to finding out that he had the egg allergy. This changed things a bit. The allergist told us to continue with the peanut butter and keep it in his diet on a regular basis. If you start and stop the product and a long period of time passes by before you try the product again it can trigger a reaction. Ugh. So now I have a list of foods to avoid and I need to be sure to give my oldest peanut butter every couple of days. I’m beginning to think that I need a notepad and pen. I should be taking notes. Thank goodness that my husband was there with me because keep in mind, I had just had a baby 9 weeks earlier and with that comes a serious loss of brain cells. I mean, I’ve always been a list maker, but now I actually HAVE TO.
Christian’s first appointment with the allergist was a success. The allergist answered lots of questions for me and gave me lots of helpful websites to visit. But the visit was just the beginning of this process for me. I had lots to learn in order to keep my son safe. This began my research into the world of food allergies. Not only was I learning to read labels for all things egg but I was constantly looking for treatment and answers (none of which I found). There are lots of studies and theories as to why there has been a spike of food allergies in our children but none of the answers are conclusive. Of course I have my own theories, but we’ll get into that on another day.