Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Our Food Allergy Story: Part 2

Over the next few years we did our best to have Logan avoid peanuts and eggs.  The older he got, I began wanting to have the experience of making cookies with him.  I wanted him to be able to enjoy pancakes with us on a Saturday morning.  So my search for egg free recipes began.  My first few attempts were....bad.  So bad that nobody, even Logan, cared to eat them.  Some of my early successes included soft sugar cookies and an apple cake.  It was such an amazing feeling to be able to see my son enjoy a treat that was safe for him!  I felt so victorious!

We had other hurdles than just on the home front.  Another one of Logan's major reactions occurred when he was about 2-1/2 years old.  We had informed his nursery leaders at church of his allergies and they were always so careful.  One time, though, they were feeding the kids something that had peanut butter and gave some to Logan to, only to remember a split second to late as he took a little nibble.  Immediately he started swelling, followed by vomiting.  We rushed home to get him some Bendryl.  That reaction, honestly, scared me quite a bit.  It was so quick and and was a lot worse than some of the reactions we had had in the past.  I then learned to ALWAYS carry my Benadryl and Epi Pen with us.  EVERYWHERE.

We also found out about this time that he had cold-induced asthma.  Can you blame a momma for wanting to wrap her little guy up in bubble wrap?

Fast forward to when Logan was 4 years old.  We found out about the rest of his food allergies.  I had made dinner one night: chicken strips with a coating of mustard and bread crumbs and a side of edamame.  He was tired that night and was fighting dinner.  Suddenly he began coughing very strangely, sort of high-pitched.  I was not quite sure what to think of it.  Then I noticed that his lips seemed to be swelling.  Then he started throwing up.  I quickly gave him some Benadryl and I watched him.  And I watched the clock waiting for any sign of improvement.  He was not improving!  He also seemed to be "out of it" and I had this feeling, I knew, that I needed to give him his Epi-Pen.  The words of our allergiest kept running through my mind "It's just medicine that will stop an allergic reaction dead in it's tracks."  So I told my hubs to call 911 and with assurance beyond my own I gave him his Epi-Pen.  Within seconds he began to perk up.  He was excited to hear the sirens of the ambulance coming (he loved fire trucks!)  Then he looked at me with tears in his eyes and said "Mommy, you smashed my leg!"  Talk about break my heart!  I tried to explain it was to make him feel better.  The paramedics recommended he be taken to the hospital to be monitored because the symptoms of an allergic reaction can return after the Benadryl wears off.  How many 4 year olds can say they've ridden in an ambulance??  Though he was asleep for most of it.  Fortunately there were no further complications that night.

We followed up with our allergist and through a more thorough and detailed blood work up we discovered his allergies to tree nuts, soy protein, mustard and ALL legumes (peas, green beans, black & kidney beans etc).

After that I really went into lock down mode as I tried to figure out what to feed my family!  Mustard was the hardest one for me.  Because it is not one of the top 8 allergens in the United States, food companies don't have to label for it and is often hidden under "spices" or "flavorings".  I did some research and found mustard is commonly used in some processed meats and cheese, sauces and condiments and salad dressings.

Read Part 3: Conclusion next week

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