But how do you know?

DR has been officially diagnosed with a food allergy for about 18 months.  I still remember the appointment that day in October.  He skin was lashing out for an unknown reason, and we were excited that we might discover the reason why, hoping it was something easy and simple like changing laundry detergents.  Never did I think that day would change our lives as much as it had.

Since my teen years I have had my own experience with allergy tests.  The pricks followed by the burning and itching.  At DR’s appointment it was not clear what he was allergic to, so they began by testing for the most common allergens.  Since he was a toddler they decided it was best to prick his back.  I helped him undress and sat him in my lap, his big eyes smiling up at me, and then it began.  He tried to jump, squirm, just get away.  With each pricks he screamed.  Once the nurse was done, I let him hop down.  He backed away to the corner and did not want to be touched.  My heart was broken for him.

Sadly, the worst part was yet to come.  Since we had to wait and see what reaction (if any) he would have, he could not put his shirt on, and he most definitely could not scratch his back.  As dot after dot turned red and he tried to reach them to scratch, my heart sank even more.  Finally the nurse and doctor returned.  DR’s spots were examined.  He was diagnosed with an allergy to cats, dogs, some trees, some grasses, and then eggs.

I was speechless.  I had never heard of anyone being allergic to eggs.  Looking at the dots, I noticed that the reaction didn’t seem that bad, so with a hopeful note I asked “how bad is the allergy?”  The doctor informed me that we could not necessarily determine that by just the rash reaction.  So in order to know more, he had ordered some blood work.  Wonderful…even more sticks and holes.

We drove to the children’s lab and prepared and waited.  Finally, when we were called back, I sat him in my lap and was instructed on how to hold him best, so that his arm couldn’t move.  The nurse laid out some vials and we tightened our grip on DR.  He immediately started screaming when he was stuck.  It felt like this moment would never end.

When we were finished the nurse gave him some stickers.  I took him for lunch, emotionally drained.  Instead of taking him to daycare, I took him to a park to run around. After all he had been through that day I could not imagine hurting him even more, but as our journey continues I am learning that this is nothing compared to the pain he could later experience because of an awful reaction.

~Lacey

 

Just when you think you’re winning

index.jpg10

DR’s egg allergy was diagnosed in October of 2014.  While we were devastated, we were also motivated to cut out all egg products immediately.  It was very much a learning process as so many products we do not think about contain eggs.

About 3 weeks into our egg-free diet, we had a scary reaction.  I was baffled, as I was sure he did not have any egg products.  I called my husband, Justin on the way to the pediatrician’s office to ask if he knew of anything they could have added to chicken salad that would cause this reaction.  There was a pause on the other end, and then Justin calmly said “Well, mayonnaise is made out of eggs.  Everyone knows that.”  No, not everyone knows that, and even those who do, don’t always think of it as an egg product.  I had never made mayonnaise in my life, and I hardly ever used it except in potato, tuna, and chicken salads.  The day before I had fed him tuna salad.  Couple that with the school lunch of chicken salad, and his poor immune system was under attack.

For weeks I beat myself up over this incident, but I learned to be even more vigilant.  We scoured every ingredient list we could find.  We researched every food item that could possibly contain eggs.  We were prepared for any food question.  We were prepared!

Or so we thought.  When you think of food allergies, most people only think of food products.  We were in that mindset, until one day when I went to pick up DR from school and he was covered in hives.  We looked over the food list that day, and as we were doing so, a new teacher from one of the older kid classes approached me.  During recess, one of her students had passed pieces of chalk to DR.  As a one year old, his initial thought was to put it in his mouth.  The teachers caught him half-way through the piece of chalk, and washed it out of his mouth.  No one thought to check the ingredients, though, until he started breaking out.  Believe it or not, the non-toxic chalk being used in the school was made out of eggs.  This prompted us to look at other non-food objects like crayons.

Another random incident with packing peanuts, brought us to the realization that these bio-degradable items could also be made from eggs.  As the list continues to grow, I become less comfortable with the world around us.   I have become a hover-mom, never letting him out of my site, constantly checking to see if he’s chewing on something.  I feel that even with all our hard work, we will never win.

~Lacey