Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Allergy Update #6

It's been quite a while since Will's last allergy appointment, but the information gained at and decisions made as a result of that appointment were pretty much what we expected and I therefore forgot to document what we'd learned until today.

Two appointments back, Will's skin test for peanuts appeared less severe than it had three appointments back. So when we went in for this appointment, the doc tested him again and found that the less severe reaction had been a fluke - Will's prick site swelled to something like 20mm by 30mm (that's HUGE for an allergic reaction on the skin). Long story short...Will is still severely allergic to peanuts, and because he's still so severely allergic at his current age, there is a less than 5% chance he'll outgrow this allergy. Boo, but it's what we expected.

For the next five to 10 years, Will will only visit the allergist for check-ups every two years, if he experiences a severe allergic reaction, or if new treatments for which Will is eligible become available. I know Will will never outgrow or be cured of this allergy, but I hope and pray that at some point research will produce a treatment that has the power to lessen the severity of peanut allergies. We'll be first in line when trials are offered.

On the plus side, Will is now smart and capable enough to self-administer both his Epi-pen and his inhaler, which means that next year, when he's in first grade, our allergist will sign off on Will self-carrying both medicines in his own backpack. It's a small victory, but one that gives me a bit more peace of mind.

In other allergy-related news and also on the plus side, Hallie Claire is NOT allergic to peanuts! We discovered Will was allergic to peanuts when Hallie was just three-months-old, so until a couple of weeks ago, Hallie had literally never eaten a nut of any kind.

A few months back, Will's allergist endorsed going ahead and giving Hallie peanuts, but I just hadn't gotten around to doing it because she eats so many of her meals right next to Will. Then at her four-year-old check-up, her pediatrician also endorsed giving her peanuts, and actually pushed me to do so sooner rather than later; apparently we'd reached the point at which prolonging exposure could make the situation worse (as in her body would reject the peanuts simply because they were new, and not because she was allergic to them).

So on a Friday morning, while Will was at school, Hallie and I whipped up a batch of peanut butter cookies. (I hated every minute of the baking process - I was so paranoid about contaminating my kitchen.) She loved the batter, which was a good sign - kids tend to dislike the flavor of foods to which they're allergic - and loved the cookies even more.
Getting ready to take her first bite.  I was hyperventilating.
Chowing down.  I nearly threw up.
Clutching the Epi-pen.
That evening, another little sister at Will's baseball game shared her cheese and peanut butter cracker sandwiches with Hallie and Hallie gobbled them up like she hadn't eaten in weeks. And then last week she ate a few bites of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

So I think we're in the clear with Hallie and peanuts. Now the challenge is fitting them into her diet when she's not at school (her preschool is peanut-free) and not around Will...

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