Food Allergy Experience

Death by Cheese: A Desperate Mommie’s Plea

I’m so tired of cheese. I’m tired of the word cheese. I’m tired of saying cheese. I’m tired of hearing cheese. I’m tired of whining because he doesn’t want to eat the cheese. I’m tired of begging him to eat cheese. I’m TIRED of cheese! At this point, I’m certain cheese will be the death of me.

You see, my little guy does not like cheese. And worst of all, we are limited to shredded cheddar. We’ve tried a little bit of Gouda and String Cheese and poof, he reacted. It wasn’t even much of either of those types of cheese. So, the allergist said to stick to shredded cheese. I’m so tired of cheese, that I asked the allergist if we could do something different than cheese. I was told no. We have to get through cheese to move on to yogurt. I’m sure he’ll like yogurt. I hope anyways, he’ll like yogurt. We just need to get to yogurt.

To help to put this in perspective, he’s been doing cheese therapy for about 3 weeks now. Yup, 3 weeks (or so) I’ve been trying to add in a bit of cheese to his diet. That’s a really long time to have to eat cheese daily. No wonder the poor kid is sick of cheese.

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The worst part of this whole thing, besides the whining and complaining and out right refusal to eat, is he has to eat up to 1/4 of cup of cheese. That’s a lot of cheese to eat in one setting. And, its enough that its very difficult to “hide” the flavor in anything. I’m so tired of cheese.

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All I really want is a thumbs-up from him, for one cheese recipe. That’s it. I’d be ecstatic for a thumbs up for something I made with cheese. I’d be one happy mommie.

Please help me get that one thumbs-up. I’m in the search for some good shredded cheese recipes. So, if you have any for let’s say cheesy potatoes or some other crazy, amazing cheesy casserole pass it on to me.

If we can’t make progress on this soon, cheese will most definitely cause my death.

-A Very Desperate Mommie

(Not) All ’bout Those Hives

This morning was one of those mornings. You know when you don’t want to get out of bed but because you’re a mom, you take one for the team. That was this morning. I hit snooze on my alarm waking me up to go exercise and slept a few more minutes. And then started our usual morning routine.

My Little Guy is getting tired of hash browns. He’s had them now for almost a week straight. He’s been eating his cheese over hash browns as a step to introduce milk into his diet. So, instead of trying to convince him to eat the hash browns, I got a string cheese from the fridge, cut off a small check and gave it to him. He ate it, but didn’t like it.

Later school called, hives. He had them on his back, stomach, neck and face and he was itchy. They did an amazing job getting him his Benadryl and calling me. I called the allergist and then went to check on him. He was doing fine and besides being tired from the Benadryl and the we added on Zyrtec, he was his usual cheerful self.

I did hear back from the allergist with a plan going forward. We’re not giving up on cheese but we are sticking to one kind-of cheese. In this case, it will be shredded cheddar cheese for max. We’ll go back to a TBSP of cheese and work our way up to 1/4 of a cup before trying string cheese again.

A slight set back but not the end of cheese therapy. I’ll admit, part of me is a bit disappointed. I hate seeing my Little Guy uncomfortable and I really liked making progress. I also loved the idea of going out for ice cream once we’d completed therapy. I know, a bit selfish….Instead of getting discouraged, I am reminded that this is still progress. It was, after all, less than six months ago and he couldn’t finish a a whole muffin with 1/2 cup of milk in 12 muffins.

I am grateful the Little Guy is home and getting ready to bed just as normal. I am thankful that this reaction was just hives and nothing more. And, I’m glad we can continue with cheese.

 

From Muffin to Cheese

Five years ago when the Little Guy was diagnosed with food allergies, I seriously had trouble seeing life normal again. We’ve come a long way down this winding, bumpy path. He’s gotten a few allergies back and some have gone up and down like a roller coaster.

We’ve attempted adding milk back into his diet a couple of times prior to this time. Each time we were stopped before getting past the 1/2 cup in 12 muffins stage. This time we’ve slowly progressed through the muffin stage with today ending (hopefully) two months (or so) of milk muffin therapy. I can say, excitedly that this is not because he’s failed but because he’s passed! Yes! We are very excited in this house, especially the one eating the daily muffin and the one baking all the muffins.

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Tomorrow is a big day for him. Tomorrow he branches out to new territory. He moves beyond muffins to cheese. Yes, real cheese. Er, cheese made from milk. No more vegan cheese on his tacos. Ok, I may be getting ahead of ourselves. He’ll still need to have vegan cheese for tacos and extra’s until we clear the cheese stage. But this is HUGE!

It’s also extremely scary for me. You, see I had it set in my mind we were going to do pancakes. I had a plan for pancakes. I have the ingredients for pancakes. I was emotionally ready for pancakes.

But not for cheese. We have cheese in our house because we had tacos. My husband and I still use regular cheese on our tacos. So we have the supplies needed. My Little Guy and his sister have their breakfast orders in (eggs with cheese on top), so I now have a plan. Buuuut, I don’t feel emotionally ready. Cheese is scary to me. It makes this all real.

My Little Guy is ready to go in the morning. When you ask him, he grins widely and announces he will be eating cheese in the morning. He loves the thought of cheese. His face lights up as we planned out his breakfast tomorrow. He’s emotionally ready.

So, tonight, I’m going to go exercise, take a few deep breaths, and wake-up extra early tomorrow. I’ll put that smile on my face and hide any apprehension I may be feeling, because I have a five-year-old boy excited to try cheese for the first time.

 

Muffin Therapy, Step 3

We’ve done a lot of muffin therapy in this house. It’s basically been the first step in all of the food challenges. And, milk has been attempted two times prior to this one and egg was attempted two or three times. Luckly, My Little Guy has gotten much better about eating muffins. I do believe its because each time we added another allergen back into the mix, the mufffins become less dense and taste better.

We are on step 3 of milk muffin therapy. Last week was his first whole muffin with 3/4 cup of milk in 12 muffins. I was pretty nervous, because he’s never had that much milk and he’s been anaphylactic to milk. This equals a very nervous and anxious mom. Last week went great and we are on day 5. I’m optimistic that we’ll continue to do well.

After two weeks of 3/4 cups of milk we will call back into the allergist and find out the next step. I anticipate it will be 1 cup in 12 muffins. I’m hoping it won’t be for a full two weeks as that would be 8 weeks or so of daily muffins. Although he does do pretty well with it but does complain some with the last few bites.

We are progressing, even slow progress is progress.

 

 

Muffins and School

It’s been kind-of a crazy year for me. Along with several personal things, I also started back to school. This has drastically limited my free-time. It’s amazing how much time obtaining a Master’s degree can take. With limited free time, several of my hobbies went to the wayside.

However, our allergy situation has changed a bit and I wanted to talk a bit about it. My little guy started Kindergarten in August. Not only was I faced with the usual mommie fears (will he have friends, is he really ready, but he’s just my baby, etc) but also had major fears associated with his food allergies. Its crazy scary knowing he will be surrounded by completely new people who will be responsible for keeping him safe.

Despite my fear and sudden desire to move to Alaska and live in a bubble (I get the urge a lot), I knew he was ready for the big step of kindergarten. I worked with the school staff and was able to assist with writing the food allergy policy. I will say, this has been an amazing experience. I’ve felt supported knowing the staff truly care. I’m very lucky with the school we chose to send our kiddos to. But truly the whole school experience is a blog entry of its own.

Now on to milk muffin therapy. I’ve been very hesitant to post much about this on, well anywhere, but especially on Facebook. Why? Because part of me, the unreasonable part of me, is superstitious. You see, in the past, we’ve started the milk muffin therapy twice and haven’t gotten very far. My hopes and excitement was raised and then drastically fell. I also found once I posted how amazing it was going, we’d then crash and burn with a rash and/or hives.

So you see my hesitancy is valid. I don’t want to inadvertently cause him to fail by tempting fate. Ok. I know, my rational side is telling me I’m full of crap. But the crazy woman inside wins sometimes.

I am however, I think, maybe…possibly….ready to give the big announcement. Max has been on 1/2 cup of milk in 12 muffins for three weeks now. He started with 1/2 a muffin x2 weeks due to sadly reacting the first day we gave it him (although now, I suspect it was more contact but it’s always better to be safe than sorry). He’s had 1 whole muffin x7 days now. The Little Guy needs to eat 1 whole muffin x7 more days. We will then check-in with the allergist and get further direction. Honestly, I suspect he’ll have an additional 2 weeks of muffin therapy before we can move on to something more exciting.

Now to the significance of this. In every single one of his milk muffin challenges, we couldn’t get past day 3 of whole muffin therapy. We are officially well past that. And I’m stoked! This is proof the Little Guy is improving. All of our hard work is paying off.

This has also taught us he is still contact to dairy. Earlier this week he had what I call the “red beard”. No hives, no itching, just red. I believe it was due to him not wanting to eat and he got it all over his chin. I believe this because I washed his face and it cleared within 15 mins.

The other good news, several of his allergies went down. Specifically some of the nuts and, amazingly, his wheat. Wheat had been going up for the last couple of years but basically dropped in 1/2. That’s great news. I am hopeful that if we can get through the dairy, we may be looking at doing a wheat challenge. But, honestly, that’s months in the future.

I know this was crazy long. I get it if you didn’t finish reading it. But, I also know I’ve not updated anyone on our success so far with the muffins. I will try very hard to update more as we go. I do ask, for ongoing prayers as we continue with the milk process. It is a long process and I’m always a bit nervous because we are giving him daily something that he anaphylactic to and can kill him.

Deep in the Trenches

This morning was a rough one in our house. My Little Guy had a field trip so I needed to pack him a sack lunch. He was cranky and had a few meltdowns. I ended up making him two breakfasts of which he ate one. He cried through getting his teeth brushed and getting dressed. It was one of those mornings I wished I was a stay at home, homeschooling mom. That way he could sleep until he woke-up. I know he was tired, he’d had soccer practice the night before which demanded a bath due to being dirty and sweaty. Bed time was pushed back.

With all of that going on, I forgot to put together an AM and PM snack for him. I forgot to fill out the daycare slip.

It was one of those mornings. Everyone whose been a parent longer than a few days have had those days. The days that people tell you about but you can wrap you’re mind around until you’ve experienced. Those days where nothing, and I mean nothing, goes right. Those days help validate the statement: Parenting is hard.

Those days are the days as an allergic child’s parent that you don’t have the luxury of having. One bad day with one bad move can result in your child getting sick and spending time in the ER. One day of forgetting to pack his snack now has me re-arranging my work schedule to find a time to drive him his snack. You must be at the top of your game 100% of the time.  (This of course is completely impossible to achieve. You will make mistakes and have bad days.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we’re Supermoms. Sadly, I don’t have any super powers unless you count amazing organizational skills or the power to stay calm. I’m not saying we deserve a special trophy for dealing with day-to-day life. (Although I wouldn’t turn down a coffee and doughnut). I’m certainly not saying I’m a better mom than anyone else or my trenches are deeper than yours. (Just for the record, I hate the let’s compare wounds/trenches game because no one comes out the winner.)

I am saying, that we don’t have the luxury of having a bad day or a bad morning. We don’t have the luxury of saying, I forgot his snack but it’s OK he’ll eat what everyone else is. I am saying life is hard and stressful in this trench.

But the joy of seeing my happy, healthy little guy. My little guy whose not itching or red and blotchy but happily playing without a care in the world. That makes me extremely happy. That tells me that all those cruddy, stressful, bad mornings and days are 100% worth it.

So go, hug your babies. Remind them that you love them. And remember, some days you’re deep in the trenches and life is tough, but you’re baby’s happiness is the payment that will always pay back 110% of effort you put in.

And the Winner is….

Its been a crazy week! I did receive a copy of all my Little Guy’s labs but I’ve not had a chance to type it. Even though I’m don’t have time to type all the results up, I did want to give a quick little update.

Max had his allergist appointment last week. It was a chaotic week and I completely went to the appointment on the wrong day. Yeah, I was a week early. Super embarrassed and ready to slowly with my head down, walk out of the office, the nurse stopped me. I was in luck, there had been a cancellation. On top of that, I realized I forgot our insurance card. The lab, despite having been there multiple times, won’t draw any blood without the card. I asked the nurse for one more favor, a copy of the insurance card. I must say, I said a prayer of thankfulness that everything worked out OK.

Despite all of the stress, his appointment went wonderfully. The Dr was very impressed with his progress. She commented about how very different he looked from when she first saw him. We talked briefly about possibly stopping his daily Zyrtec and will probably do this in June after the pollen counts drop some. She ordered his lab draws and off we went.

My Little Guy handles lab draws amazingly. He’s always sat still and watched his blood drain from his body. This draw was another example how amazing he is and how grown-up he’s getting. He climbed up in the chair and asked to sit alone. The lab tech was cautious before she started and impressed when she finished.

On to what I imagine most of you are really reading this for, he’s results. I quick brief over view. His wheat went up again. I’m growing to accept the fact that may not go away. His nuts were all over the board, some going up and some going down. The Egg went up but really doesn’t matter much as he’s now eating that safely. The best news is, his milk. That dropped almost two points. This is awesome because this means he can do a food challenge. In about 6 weeks, we’ll be doing the baked milk challenge.

And so the winner this time around is milk. And of course My Little Guy. Here’s to hoping the next few weeks go by quickly and he passes his baked milk challenge so we can eventually move on to Ice Cream therapy. :)

The Wonderful Egg

One of these days, I’ll stop talking about how absolutely wonderful eggs are to have back in our diet! It’s really been a wonderful thing. It’s nice to have eggs in the house for my salads at lunch and pancakes are a bit more fluffy with eggs.

We’ve had a few struggles tho. Luckily Max loves scrambled eggs so that’s pretty easy to get him to eat. Not a big fan of what I call “dunkable” eggs (fried egg where the yoke is a bit runny). And not a big fan of Deviled eggs. But scrambled, he’ll take scrambled eggs anyday or anytime. He’ll take them in a box or with a fox. He’ll take them on a train or in the rain. He likes scrambled eggs. (And yes, I am amusing myself….).

The challenging part, the part I’m still working on, is making sure he gets some egg everyday. This includes baked. That’s been harder than I expected. It really forces me to make a menu and stick to it. If he eats a muffin in the morning than I am good for the day. Otherwise our suppers have to have some egg in it (meatloaf, fried rice, etc). It’s not the hardest thing to do, it just requires organization, good planning and less spontaneous meals. Not that we were ever really spontaneous before but he gets fewer choices for breakfast.

I’m happy to have some great new choices for him. I’ll make another entry soon with some of the great new items he’s tried. This morning he had a cinnamon roll for the first time ever! And he’s enjoyed a bagel recently for the first time.

Life is good here with the eggs! I’ll post some new products soon!

And the Egg Verdict is…..

It became official today. My Little Guy has outgrown his egg allergy. I’m so very happy! We have a few new rules to live by now. But even with the new rules, life will be amazing! And this mama will feel so much more secure in his safety!

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Our new rules regarding the Little Guy’s egg:

1) everyday he must eat something with egg

2) once a week he must eat an actual egg

Yup that’s it. Two rules to add to our list of dietary management. But life is getting easier. My only problem is I now need recipes with eggs in them.

So, if you got an amazing recipe that uses eggs, please share!

Egg Challenge: Update

It’s hard to believe we’ve been working on the egg challenge since December 1st! As previous posts have stated, we started off pretty slowly introducing egg back into his diet.

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Here’s an overview of our progress: Week 1: Baked egg challenge in the office: 1 egg to 24 muffins. Then one of those muffins daily x7 days

Week 2: 1 egg to 12 muffins daily x7 days

Week 3: 2 eggs to 12 muffins daily x7 days

Week 4: 3 eggs to 12 muffins (for us cupcakes) x7 days

Week 5-6: pancakes daily

Week 6-7: French Toast

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We started French Toast last Saturday and the Little Guy has been doing an amazing job. He is now up to 3 pieces of French Toast daily. It is with his gluten free bread which is smaller than regular bread. I would guess it equals about 2 slices of regular bread to his 3 slices.

I do have a dilemma. He is to eat French Toast 1-2 weeks before moving to scrambled eggs (yes that’s our next step!). I want to start scrambled egg on a weekend instead of during the week just in case. This way I’ll be here to watch him instead of relying on daycare to watch him. I could technically start scrambled egg on this Saturday. He would have had French Toast for 7 days. Or if I wait, it will be a full two-weeks of French Toast. The problem is, he’s been very cooperative with our reintroduction and I know having the same food for two weeks can get old. I don’t want him to decide he doesn’t want to eat his breakfast.

It has been good buying eggs again and I’m amazed on how many eggs we’re going through weekly. I’ve also looked through the grocery aisles excited for the new things the Little Guy will be able to eat soon. I’m beginning to get very excited for him.

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