Friday, August 12, 2011

Allergy Update #3

At their worst, Will’s allergies included peanuts, dairy, egg, and wheat. Meat, fruit, and vegetables remained safe, together making up a pretty challenging and downright depressing (at least to this Wisconsin-bred cheese and milk lover) menu.

Thankfully Will either outgrew or had a false positive test to his wheat allergy, and thanks to the fabulous doctor and nurses at our allergy clinic in College Station, who actually paid attention to Will’s medical history and test results, Will was able to challenge out of his egg allergy earlier this year.

I’ve mentioned before that I like our allergy clinic (the doctor, nurses, support staff, and environment) here, which is in stark contrast to how I felt about our allergy clinic in Ann Arbor. One of the best characteristics of the team at our College Station allergy clinic is that they care more about simply diagnosing allergies and then sending patients out the door with a prescription for an Epi-pen; they care about our quality of life, and how to improve it.

Allergies can be life-changing, and not in a good way. Between research, doctor appointments, breathing treatments, prescription refills, special grocery shopping, and Will-friendly meal preparation, I spend between five and 20 hours every month managing Will’s food allergies. And that’s not the worst part. The worst part is the constant worry that Will will ingest an allergen and go into anaphylactic shock. My fear of breathing emergencies was less when he was younger, because Tom and I controlled everything that went into his mouth. Will is getting older though, and as his independence increases, my level of control decreases and my fear increases. We take every precaution – Will attends a peanut-free school, his teachers are very aware of his allergies and know how to use an Epi-pen, I talk to his friends’ parents before I leave him in their homes, and I talk to Will on a regular basis about what he can and can’t eat – but sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough.

It’s unlikely Will will ever be rid of his peanut allergy – they’re not commonly outgrown, and there is currently no “cure”. Today, however, we took the first step toward (hopefully) curing Will of his dairy allergy.

Studies have found that children with diagnosed dairy allergies who consume specially made (specific ingredients mixed in a particular way) and baked (significantly overcooked) muffins are more likely than their counterparts who simply avoid dairy products to outgrow their dairy allergies. Today, because he was able to successfully eat one of these muffins at the allergist’s office, Will joined our allergist's trial. Beginning tomorrow Will will consume one of these muffins (that I will learn to make) every day for the next six months. We don’t know for certain that this treatment will work, but as long as we keep the muffins coming and avoid all other dairy, Will has a good chance of being dairy allergy free in six months to a year. The only thing we do know for certain is that after this trial is complete, Will will never want to eat another muffin for as long as he lives.

Wish us luck!

1 comment:

Farm-Raised said...

I had no idea how much this can impact a person's life until recently. Truly, I just couldn't quite comprehend it. I think I'm just beginning to get a glimpse into the challenge this must be for you guys. Sintayehu is lactose intolerant and it has required a lot of thought and attention -- and yet nothing near what you have been dealing with throughout Will's life. Amazing. I hope the muffin trial works! xoxo