Saturday, December 15, 2007

Matt took Amelia to Primary Children's Medical Center yesterday to get a blood test. She has multiple severe food allergies, and has to be tested at least once a year to see where her allergen levels are. It's called a RAST test.
Amelia came home with her battle wound. Usually she does very well, and sometimes doesn't cry at all.
"Mommy, I cried!" she said, pointing to her poke.
Matt said it was somewhat traumatic, they had a hard time drawing her blood.
It's always traumatic to see your child in pain.
I thought back two years ago, when Amelia was 1o months old. We had gone to Market Street Broiler for my mom's birthday. The doctor had mentioned we could start giving her dairy. So, we gave her a small bite of ice cream. Instantly her face swelled, bright red and she couldn't breath. She choked and coughed up mucous. I didn't know what was going on. We rushed her to the doctor, where they gave her benedryl and ordered blood tests. We were told she had had anaphylactic shock, and the suspects were milk or eggs. "Impossible," I thought. I didn't know people could be allergic to milk. And, certainly not my little girl.

I was in the waiting room of Amelia's doctor's office some weeks later. Dr. Suzanne Holbrook, (the best pediatrician who ever lived) crouched down next to me with the test results. She started naming off Amelia's allergens, "eggs, dairy, peanuts..."
"STOP!" I agonized mentally. I couldn't believe what she was saying, and certainly didn't comprehend it.
"...crab, wheat." She explained what this meant, but I didn't understand a word. My mind was reeling.
Then, she looked at me and said, "Kathryn, she's yours for a reason."
I thanked her, took the paperwork home, and studied everything I could get my hands on about allergies.
I learned that true food allergies are an auto-immune disease. The body overreacts to the allergen, releasing histamines and something called IgE (immunoglobulin E). Food allergies are different than intolerances. Lactose intolerance will cause discomfort if milk is ingested, but a dairy allergy can be fatal even if exposed to the tiniest bit.
We avoided all dairy, egg, nut, fish, shellfish and wheat products while we waited 6 months to see Jan Broadbent (she's the best allergist in the state, and I dare say one of the best around anywhere). She told us Amelia wasn't allergic to wheat, but to completely avoid everything else.
Thankfully, our little gal has outgrown her peanut allergy and her shellfish/fish allergy. Considering that there is only a 20% chance of that happening per allergy, we feel incredibly blessed! We still haven't given her peanuts, we're too scared, but we had salmon for dinner just the other day, and she loves shrimp.

I looked at my little girl, her sparkly star bandage and tear-stained cheeks, and hugged her tight. Maybe someday she'll be able to have milk, omelets, and pizza... but for now we carry epinephrine shots and benedryl everywhere we go.

Learn a little more about milk allergies:
http://www.cnn.com/2007/HEALTH/conditions/11/12/milk.allergy/index.html?section=cnn_latest

To learn even more about allergies, go to the bottom of the page and click on the links.

1 comment:

Ron & Jessica said...

She's a brave little girl. Hooray for fish!!!