So we took Georgia in for some basic allergy testing a bit ago. She was a total star and didn't get upset at all when they did the little skin scratch testing and recovered well even after she had blood drawn for RAST testing. It turned out her skin tests and RAST tests all came back negative, but the allergist, Dr. Hatch, wants us to avoid all dairy, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts (the peanuts and tree nuts because they can cross-react with soy allergies). The reason Dr. Hatch wants us to avoid all of these allergens is for two reasons. The first is that false positives are not super unusual in kids Georgia's age (9 mo), so it's a possibility that she's still allergic, despite what the test results say. The second is because she has had soy and milk reactions before. The last time she was exposed to dairy through my breastmilk, it caused her to have eczema, gas, and fussiness (like Ezra did) and the last two times she's had even a sip of soy formula she's vomited profusely. So, for the next six months at least, until we go back to the doctor, she'll be completely and totally off all four of those foods, along with anything that may be cross contaminated by them...and because I'm nursing, so will I. As for the positive side of all this: The transition hasn't been nearly as difficult as it was with Ezra because our house has already been completely cleaned of any dairy, tree nut, and peanut foods and also because I was already off dairy with her anyway. As for the soy restrictions, it's been difficult, but not as much as one might assume. You see, even with soy allergies, one is still allowed to eat foods with soybean oil and soy lecithin because all the soy protein has been removed. A lot of the foods that have soy in it, actually just have one or both of these products, so we can still eat those things (although I've had to give up my everything bagels because they were made in the same factory as some soy products *sigh*). Another positive thing is that if she doesn't have any more reactions and her testing goes well in six months, we might be able to do a food trial when they give her a little bit of the allergens under strict supervision and see what happens. If things go well then, we might be able to introduce some of the previously verboten foods into her diet.
The hardest thing with dealing with allergies comes when you leave the house. While I'm in my home, I can completely control what my children eat. It's when we try to go out to dinner and...oh wait, that's right...we almost never go out to dinner because it's just too difficult to try to figure out what exactly my child (and myself) can eat off the menu:P. It's the ward parties that I have to bring our own food to, or my nice visiting teacher offering a cookie to my toddler that I have to refuse, or when some friends bring us a plate of cinnamon rolls and Spencer just has to them eat all by himself. It's frustrating because I know some of the food offered might be safe, it's that we don't know. Being the parent of an allergic child means that it's your job to control every piece of food that goes into your child's mouth. You have to know what's in that cookie or it simply has to be thrown out. I've become somewhat of a food Nazi. It's really hard sometimes, but it's my job. I do it because what else is there to do? I love my child and so I will do, as any other mother I know would, everything possible to keep them safe.
Now that we've gotten all that depressing stuff out of the way, here are a few things that make me happy:
I've become very fond of Burger King because they make it very clear on their website which of their foods are safe to eat and which aren't. They also fry their fries separate from their chicken (which is unsafe), so there isn't any chance of cross-contamination. As both Ezra and I are HUGE fries fans, having some sort of fries that are safe is essential to our survival. As a bonus, they have a play place in our local BK, so I can chill and eat my fries while Ezra runs around in the play place (although lately he's been getting stuck up at the very top and I've been having to go and rescue him...which is not so cool:P).
Ezra's nursery leaders have been so sweet about the whole allergy thing. They've made sure that not only are most of their regular snacks allergy-free, but whenever they bring special treats, it's safe for him to eat one too.
Italian ice is possibly the best stuff ever. It's like ice cream and popsicles mixed, which are possibly my two favorite foods ever. I'm particularly fond of Luigi's and Ezra's a big fan of PhillySwirls.
The fact that they have super-cute things like this for my child to wear.
My mom has special chicken nuggets, BBQ sauce, and crackers (among many other things) for her house so that Ezra always has something to eat there.
Ezra's improved disposition since we've taken him off allergens. He's still my temperamental little raincloud (with a scowl that could make a burly logger cry), but the rays of sunshine break through a lot more often.
I'm impressed if you've made it this far. Have a fabulous day!