Food Allergy Experience

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.

The wonderful world of eggs (challenge)

As many of you know, we’ve started adding egg back into our diet. The Little Guy had the food challenge almost 4 weeks ago and is now on 3 eggs baked in 12. The first 3 weeks we did muffins but this week I made cupcakes. He was getting super tired of eating muffins and I hoped cupcakes would help him want to eat it. But we’re still struggling a bit. I think he’s just tired of eating basically the same thing (cupcakes are basically sweetened muffins with frosting on top…) every day. I’m hopeful that next week we’ll be able to move out of baked goods.

The last 3 weeks have been incredible for this food challenge. We’ve had a few before, some very successful and some not so much. In the past I’d approach these challenges super excited. That was, of course, until he stopped passing them. Once we had a couple failed attempts, I became more anxious about it. More worried.

This egg challenge is the furthest we’ve gone in a challenge like it. We’ve completed a soy challenge and shellfish. But both were much more straightforward, he passed we could eat it. This challenge, however, has had more steps. I thought I’d share the steps with you. At least the steps, we’ve completed so far.

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

I’ll call the allergist back on Friday to get further instructions. So far, he’s not had any reaction to the eggs. I’m really hoping we’ll be out of the baked muffin/cupcake/bread type items.

The road so far…

We’ve come a long way on this journey. As a baby, my little guy was an itchy mess who hardly slept through the night. He’d find a way to itch no matter what we did. We covered his little hands with socks and he’d still find a way to rub his face and little body. When we held him, he’d rub is face and chin against our clothes. He had a little wiggle dance he’d do when he was laying. That squirmy dance paired with his gloved hands made him look like an inch worm wiggling his way around.

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His itchiness impacted our lives. We didn’t sleep well because he didn’t sleep well. We worried because his skin would be missing and scabbed over. We worried because this behavior isn’t normal for a baby. All new parents or parents of a baby feel stressed and feel the lack of sleep. But with our undiagnosed food allergic baby, life was beyond words. I worried and stressed and felt helpless to help him. It broke my heart to see him so miserable and not be able to fix it.

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At six months, he was hospitalized with an abscess and the hospitalist recognized an allergic child almost immediately. She referred us to his allergist. I’ve learned since we were very lucky as many parents are not allowed to test their kiddos until after 1 and some not until after 2 years! That seems appalling to me given our experience. But I digress.

Knowing was a relief and a battle all of its own. It felt good to put a name, a label on what was happening to him. As a nurse, I understood the life-threatening possibilities. This brought on more fear and anxiety. Especially as his skin seemed to improve but then break-out randomly without knowing a cause. It was struggle emotionally, especially in the beginning. Food was a comfort but yet deadly to him. Trying to keep him safe and keep relationships became a challenge. No one understood what I was going through. No one wanted to help me. I felt completely alone. I felt that people nodded their heads one second and would just as easily shove prohibited food in his mouth the next. My husband and I were two parents against the world.

I could write about the stress and how it affected our marriage, but I feel that could be a post in and of itself. I will say, that even a rock solid marriage like my husband’s and mine felt the waves of stress. It was inevitable we’d feel it pulling and tugging at us. Luckily, we are strongly bounded and this struggle has, in my opinion, strengthened our bound.

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Then came the food challenges. Each one brought new hope and fear. A couple brought bitter disappointment tears.

Tears shed could also be a post of its own. I’m not a crier. I don’t tear up often and few have seen me sob. Too many days during this whole thing, I’ve spent time behind closed doors with tears rolling down my cheek. I’m certain many people in life will be surprised to read that last statement. But yes, I’ve cried over food allergies enough that my body shook. I am strong and his food allergies have made me stronger. I’ve accepted the fact that sometimes I have to cry and cry hard.

Now, in the present, he passed his second food challenge. We are now adding baked eggs into his diet. He is on week two of muffin therapy. Thankfully he loves muffins and doesn’t mind eating them daily for two weeks straight. I’m not sure what next week will be for his daily food but I’m hopeful for something other than muffins. Mostly for my Little Guy’s sake but also because I’d like to bake something different.

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I’m not sure what the future will hold. I’m not sure if he’ll continue to outgrow his other allergies. I’m not even 100% certain we’ll get eggs back despite the muffin therapy. I am sure many parts of the past could be in my future. I do know I feel anxiety when I think about what the future will be.I feel nervous and anxious at the thought of school. And, parts of me still wants to take my family and live in a bubble in Alaska. But running and hiding won’t work for a little boy who wants to live his life. Who deserves to live his life.

Update: allergy testing

I’m very late getting this posted. I do apologize. A few weeks ago the Little Guy went to the allergist. We had a really good visit. He did get his first ever flu shot. They changed the recommendations last year or the year before but we’d never given him one. However, his numbers have been decreasing so we felt it would be safe to do so. He also had his labs checked.

We got his results back and all the labs look promising. They all decreased except his wheat which increased slightly. All of the rest had dropped by almost half in the last year, approximately 1/4 since last spring. We have a food challenge scheduled for baked egg. This time however I’m doing it a bit different. I am baking 1 egg in 24 muffins. During the food challenge he’ll eat 1 muffin and hopefully he’ll pass it this time. I’m hopeful.

Nuts on a Plane

Before my Little Guy was diagnosed with multiple severe food allergies, I had no idea how very, very, very (can I add another very?) controversial the topic of nuts on a plane is. Now that I’ve been thrown into the world of food allergies, I’ve learned there are some people who are absolutely certain they will die without the package of nuts while on a plane. Ok, I’m being a bit sarcastic and over dramatic. But seriously, people read some of the comments on the bottom of  articles. You’ll see that people are adamant nuts continue to be served.

But don’t get me wrong the anti-nut people can be just as frustrating to me. Both sides have drawn a line in the sand and absolutely with no uncertainty will give. They will not cross over that line and offer peace. Or to say, we could work together. There’s usually a round of name calling and high emotions for both sides.

Then you factor in the airline’s opinion. They seem to care but don’t feel there’s much they can do. They’ve drawn their own line in the sand that says, “we care, but not enough to make the other side mad”. The flight attendants don’t have time to monitor what people eat. They have no way to guarantee the seats, tables, or blankets are clean (which I believe everyone should be grossed out by that….just sayin’).

I personally believe some the issue is we’ve equated flying to peanuts. So much are the two now connected, that many can’t imagine they are two separate things. You can be sitting on a plane and flying without nuts. And you can be sitting on a plane with nuts but not flying. Just because you’re eating nuts, does not mean you’re flying. You could be sitting on your couch. You see it is possible. The two don’t have to be connected. And until we disconnect peanuts from flying, we will have people on both sides of the sand line.

I also believe part of the issue is that we don’t want our rights taken away. We, in general, feel entitled to have what we want when we want it. No one else should ever ask anyone to give up any of their rights. Not even if that action cause someone (often time a child but not always) to die a very scary death.

I also think the anti-nut on planes people can be, well, snotty about it. It doesn’t help to call people uneducated or killers. Even if you think it, you should be kind about your redirection. I get it, I have a kid with severe life threatening allergies. I get it. My “mama bear” instincts come out. I want to shout out loud my child’s life is worth more than your 2.00 package of nuts. But, really it doesn’t get us anywhere. And it doesn’t help with the education of the masses who strongly feel nuts are a necessity of life.

I do believe eventually we’ll see nuts removed from flights. And all of this upheaval will be a distant memory. We’ll all vaguely remember when eating nuts on a plan was an option.

But until then, can’t we have some good conversation on how to keep everyone safe? I mean, after all, isn’t that the real concern? And if it isn’t, it should be. We should have some compassion for others. We should understand our actions (in this case eating peanuts on a plane) could negatively impact someone else. And we should care. Because if we don’t, I’m afraid of where our world is going.

First Day of Preschool

Yesterday was the first day of preschool. We all survived. Heck, I even survived without tears! I think the no-tears was mostly because my husband does the drop-off at daycare instead of me dropping him off somewhere completely new. Irregardless of the reason, I made it without tears! Kindergarten, will be whole a new ball game. My goal this week is to have him have no idea how anxious I am. Because I don’t want my anxiety to result in his school anxiety.

A food allergy kid has a few more things to get ready prior to school than the average kid. Everyone has the school shopping list, but we had a few extra’s to take care of.

The Food Allergy Kid’s Back to School Check-list

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School Supplies

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Epi-Pen Bag

Action Plans Dr. signed and approved- In our case we have both food allergies and asthma

Food Plan discussed with teacher

Since his preschool is inside his daycare, most of these extra arrangements were easily discussed and arranged at pick-up or drop-off. It took about 15 minutes to discuss the plan for the epi-pen and realization that I needed a little baggie to put it in inside his backpack. We also discussed where to put his afternoon snack to make sure it made it to the preschool classroom. Overall, figuring out the logistics wasn’t too hard.

But, figuring out how to be comfortable with someone new caring for my little guy. To know that even though there will be new kids to teach and direct, she could keep him safe. That really is the hard part for this mamma. It’s the trusting a complete stranger with my child’s life. That’s hard.

On a positive note, I think this little guy was ready for preschool! He loved his first day and I’m sure he’ll love it again today.

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A Year of Growth

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I knew this day would come. We’re preparing for preschool for my allergic child. It’s a scary thought. I’m trusting a complete stranger in the care of a child where literally, one mistake could kill him. I’m not being over dramatic. It’s scary. It’s real.

This last year I’ve seen my little one grow and develop. He’s mastered counting, heck today he counted to 29. He’s very chatty and talks using some amazing vocabulary. He now even dresses himself. Yes, this year I’ve seen many of the typical development of a now 4 year-old.

What isn’t typical in his development? He asks if his food is safe for him to eat. And even more than that, he specifically asks about his specific allergies (milk, wheat, eggs, nuts). He knows if any of that is in his food, he doesn’t eat it. If he ever wonders if he can eat it, he asks. It’s pretty amazing that he knows his limits and has accepted them just as one would accept they shouldn’t eat grass.

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All of this helps me feel more comfortable sending him to preschool. He not only is ready academically but, he’s as ready as he can be with regards to his unique situation. And really, that’s a relief. The adults have to protect him, but it’s nice to see he’s taking an active role in being safe.

Trix is for Kids

I get really excited when I find a cereal or something that’s “normal” that is safe for my kiddo. So often I feel like I’ve read every single label in the grocery. Every. Single. One. And then, something amazing will happen. I will find something that either wasn’t safe for him before or I just didn’t realize was safe for him. It’s not uncommon for companies to change their recipes. It’s great when it works in our favor and something new becomes safe. It really sucks when it goes the opposite way, something that once was safe and then becomes unsafe.

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This weekend, I found this jackpot! Trix is not just for other kids, it’s now for mine. I can’t say if it’s always been safe, but I can say that Monday morning my little guy ate his first bowel of Trix cereal.

I know cereal isn’t the healthiest of foods. But, honestly, we eat so healthy in this house that I don’t stress too much over my kids eating some cold cereal.

Have you found a food recently that was a pleasant surprise?

An allergic Child’s Week of Suppers (25)

DSCF2304Hey there! Gosh I’ve been so busy. This summer has been an amazing one with lots of activities and less worrying over food allergies. I think my food allergy stress has decreased because of his decreasing numbers, lack of recent reactions, and he’s beginning to understand what he can’t  and can eat. It’s so nice to be here. I use to dream of this day but didn’t really think it would come. Don’t get me wrong, I still worry and stress. It’s just a bit less.

We are preparing for preschool so I’m sure there’ll be challenges with it. And I know I’ll write a bit about it later.

Here is my menu for this week. I’m trying out a few more recipes this week so hopefully I’ll get a chance to post those.

Monday: BBQ Chicken & French Fries

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Turkey Cutlets, Potatoes, Broccoli

Thursday: Pasta with meat sauce

Friday: Cola Pork Roast, Baked Potato, Mixed Veggies

Saturday:  Lunch: Chicken Salad, Chips, Grapes    Supper: Pineapple Chicken

Sunday:   Lunch: Leftovers   Supper: Grill-out Brats & hotdogs, 3 Bean Salad, Chips

What’s on your menu this week? Are you trying anything new? I’d love to hear from you.

 

Pizza, Pizza (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

Do you remember the Little Cesar Pizza commercials….Pizza, pizza. I attached a link to YouTube in case you’re not familiar with the “pizza, pizza”. It really doesn’t have much of anything to do with this post, except that it explains my title. Although, I’m quite certain that there’s something wrong with me spending so long to explain such a simple thing such as my title. I’m certain there is some sort of rule on writing or list of things not to do when blogging which addresses this. IF there’s not there should be. And I’ve now completely digressed from my topic.

Pizza (pizza, pizza) is a household favorite in many homes. It is a favorite of many kids. As an adult, it is one of my favorite foods. I honestly could eat pizza several nights a week without complaining. One of the best things about pizza is it’s diversity. You can put almost  anything on a pizza. Pizza toppings can vary from the traditional pepperoni to the less common of hotdogs or potato and onions.

I will admit, pizza (pizza, pizza) was something I was certain my little guy would not be able to enjoy. Afterall, the main ingredients to any pizza is wheat, cheese and egg. He was allergic to all three of those. Since then I’ve experimented with different options. I used Energ-G English Muffins, tomato past with Italian seasoning, pepperoni, and Daiya cheese. And this works well and it’s easy to send to daycare because they can microwave it to melt the cheese. But it’s not perfect and if you’ve had a regular pizza, there’s something lacking.

I’ve tried a couple of times to make homemade pizza crusts. But have failed. Well, that was until most recently. I finally found a gluten-free pizza crust that tastes good and works without eggs. I can’t really take credit for it as I took it off the Bisquick gluten-free flour box.

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Vegan, Gluten-free Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 1/3 cups Bisquick Gluten free mix

1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or dried basil

1/2 cup Water

1/3 cup Oil

Egg Replacer for 2 Eggs

Directions:

Heat oven to 425. Stir together ingredients until well combined. Spread onto the pan. I made individual pizzas so I divided the crust into four  parts. Bake 15 mins. Then apply pizza toppings.

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Our pizzas were like thin crust pizzas. Typically I’m not a huge fan of thin crust, but it really was pretty good. My kids both loved the pizza. This is a crust I will make again.

As for the flour itself, I’ve also tried the pancake recipe and we liked that. I plan to try the Strawberry shortcake and the biscuits. When I do I’ll let you know how they turn out.