We finally got to go to our appointment with a pediatric allergist last Wednesday at the Montreal Children’s Hospital after an approximately five month wait. As the date approached, I became more and more anxious about what the consultation/results would yield (I’ve been having really weird dreams over the past 5 days), but now that it’s over, I must say that I am relieved.
I first met with an intern (the hospital is affiliated with McGill University) who took a brief family history with regards to allergies. Then, we moved on to Charles’ allergies and she asked about what type of reaction he’d had and to what. She was very thorough and specific with her questions asking about when the reactions were noticed (for Little Dude, it was after his third time eating a particular food item that he’d react), how quickly they manifested, what type of reaction (was it just on the skin as in hives, did it have an effect on the stools, did it affect the respiratory system…), how quickly the symptoms disappeared and how (for us, it was with the help of Benadryl). I would strongly suggest anyone going in to meet an allergist for food allergies to keep notes and pictures documenting these informations. (For the record, I actually did document all of this…except I forgot to bring my notes.)
After being sent back into the waiting room briefly, we were called in by the nurse who would perform the prick test). She tested cantaloupe, chicken, dairy, flaxseeds, eggs and two other things that I don’t remember for some reason. After about a 5 minute wait, we rolled up the little guy’s sleeves. Beside two of the 7 black dots, there was a very clear reaction.(aka:
It would seem that as of right now, my son is definitely allergic to dairy and flaxseeds.
We then met the allergist who explained that the other reactions (which nearly all happened when solids were first being introduced) were probably caused by his system going into overdrive from the allergy to dairy. She also prescribed an epinephrin injector (something our pediatrician didn’t want to do) because of the progression in symptoms in his allergy to dairy. I had the choice between the epipen jr. and the allerject jr. and chose the latter because it “talks” the user through the procedure.
Here’s what it looks/sounds like.
I picked the allerject instead of the epipen because I liked the it had voice instructions. I figured that if my son does have a serious reaction to something he eats, I might be to panicked to remember what to do. I also think that it’s great for when he’ll be staying with a sitter (whether it be my parents, in-laws or someone else). This morning, I also went ahead and ordered an allergect tester and carrying case (free of charge). The tester will allow me to hear and follow through the instructions as often as I want so that I can become more familiar with it.
What I really enjoyed about seeing the allergist is that, unlike our pediatrician, she didn’t make me feel like a bad mother for trying dairy and eggs so early in the first place. She didn’t scold me and tell me I should have waited until 9 months for the eggs or 12 months for dairy. In fact, she even told me that I had to become less shy with trying new foods. She explained that just because my son had confirmed food allergies, to not shy away from peanuts and tree nuts or any other type of food. Funny how the point of views differed vastly!
I was, of course, encouraged to continue to keep dairy out of my own (and his, of course!) diet until Charles is weaned and to be more attentive if I give my son other seeds like sesame seeds because the allergy to flaxseeds can mean an allergy to those too.
Call me crazy, but though a part of me is sad that he has food allergies for the moment, another part of me feels relieved that we know (at least part of) what’s going on with regards to food right now and that I wasn’t just imagining things and seeing a problem where there wasn’t one. At the hospital, they’ll be doing follow-up appointments every 6 months to retest the allergy to dairy and flaxseeds and check out any new ones that might have become apparent. Thought I’m kind of stressed out by the fact that I might actually have to use the epinephrin injector for my son in the future, I’m also feeling more confident in having him try new foods that I didn’t want to give to him because of the fear of a big reaction.
Here’s to hoping that the allergies will be temporary and there won’t be anymore in the future.