Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: Firsts

TTT1.  Last week, it would seem, was a week of firsts.

2.  After having received the green light by his allergist, Charles had his first taste of cheese on Saturday (which he loved, by the way).

3.  After nearly a week of red cheeks, awful sleep, bucketfuls of drool, constant nursing and chewing on everything she could get her mouth on, Amélie cut her first tooth on Sunday (closely followed by a second one the very next day).

4.  Little Dude spent his first week at daycare sans diaper.  And it went well!

5.  I went out with Charles to the rink (which is literally right across the street from our house) for his first skating experience on Saturday.  He had a blast.

All smiles despite falling once or twice.
All smiles despite falling once or twice.

6.  For the first time in years, the price of gas dropped to under a buck per liter around here.  Yay!

7.  Amélie took the train for the first time on Thursday.  She slept the whole way through, though, so she didn’t even notice :P.

8.  After almost completing my first crochet project (a scarf which I completely unwound because the perfectionist in me wasn’t happy with the result), I started my first project with a pattern.  It took a little getting used to, but I’m getting better at pattern-reading.

9.  Since Numb3rs isn’t available on Netflix Canada anymore 😦 , my partner and I started to watch the first season of House of Cards.  It’s fascinating to see all of the manipulation that can happen behind the scenes of political life.

10.  I’m looking forward to my first good night of sleep in a week and am crossing my fingers for it to happen tonight.  Wish me luck!

Have you had any “firsts” recently?

Posted in Food allergies, Parenting

Bring Out The Cheese!

Last Thursday, we went for Little Dude’s follow-up appointment with his pediatric allergist.  It was freezing cold and there was oddles of traffic so I’m super happy we took the train and subway to go to the hospital.

We first sat down with the doctor who asked how things were going allergy-wise.  She was thrilled when I told her that we had successfully introduced milk in baking and cooking.  I also talked about the insane reaction that Little Dude had after taking Amoxil a couple of months ago.  Then, after some more waiting in the toy-filled waiting room, we went back in to see the nurse who would conduct the scratch test.  This time, she skipped the synthesized dairy altogether and used a drop of fresh milk right off the bat.  I was really eager to see how it would go, because last time, the test spot started reacting before we were even out of the nurse’s office.

Well, it turns out that we would be receiving good news.

1.  Despite the fact that Charles did react again to the fresh milk, his reaction was so small that the allergist gave us the green light to try hard cheeses with Charles.  She went on to say that if the hard cheeses were ok, that we could then try softer ones and even yogurt!

2.  Because Charles’ reaction was smaller than the control spot, the allergist is pretty confident that Little Dude’s dairy allergy will be history by the time he’s 3.  We will have a follow-up appointment in 6 months to keep monitoring his progress.

3.  It turns out that the little guy isn’t allergic to penicillin.  Though he had an immune reaction, it wasn’t an allergic reaction.  It was a serum-sickness-like reaction to either a virus or the Amoxil.  Since there’s no way to know which it was, I was told to avoid the Amoxil, but told that other forms of penicillin should be fine.

Perhaps, by his 3rd birthday, Charles will be able to have some buttercream icing or whipped cream on his cake!

Posted in Ten Thought Tuesday

Ten Thought Tuesday: 2015

TTT1.  Yay, first TTT in 2015.  2015!  I can hardly believe it!

2.  Potty training is going well.  I’ve got a post in my drafts that I’ve been working on, but can’t seem to find the time to finish.  Hopefully I’ll be able to update you all by Friday.

3.  I’ve taken up crochet over Christmas holidays after receiving a set of crochet hooks and a couple of balls of yarn. (I’ve been meaning to learn for a while now).  I’m currently working on a scarf now that I’ve got a couple of stitches down.  It’s not perfect, but I’m quite happy with it considering I only learned how to crochet about a week ago.

4.  Now that she has officially mastered thumb-sucking, Amélie has moved on to trying to roll from back to front.  She is so close!  Of course, she has decided to practice perfecting this new skill each and every time she is on her back.  And no time slot is off limits; yesterday, she had an intense session from 10pm to 2am.  It was fun…

5.  I’ve been making my bread for about a month now and am still loving it.  My sister got me a really wonderful breadmaking book for Christmas (the kneading technique in the book has seriously saved my wrists) and I am slowly working through it and trying the different kinds of bread and pastries that are presented.

6.  This Thursday, Charles has a follow-up appointment with his allergist.  I’ll be mentioning his reaction to the amoxcil he took a little while back.  I’ll be commuting via train and subway with both kiddos.  It should prove to be an interesting trip.

7.  On Friday it will be Amélie’s turn for a medical appointment as she has her 4 month check-up.

8.  A blogger I was following last year had written about her plan to do no-spend January last year.  My partner have decided to take the challenge for January 2015.  Besides paying the bills that need to be paid and tanking up when we need gas, we have budgeted 700$ for eating for the month (which probably means that we won’t be eating out).  Other than that, we’re planning on not spending a penny more.  I’m eager to see how it goes (ie: if 700$ is a reasonable amount and if we’ll be able to refrain from spending on other stuff).

9.  I have started working on getting Amélie to fall asleep independently.  Since she’s able to suck her thumb, I’m counting on that to be her method of falling asleep.  I’m hoping that I won’t have to get in to full-blown sleep training mode, but if I do, I’ll be using PUPD like I did with Charles a year and a half ago.

10.  Charles is still very much in love with his little sister and she loves him just as much.  One of the pictures that was taken of them at a photo studio captures the sentiment very nicely, don’t you think?

L2TSG-53N2CL7_DesrosiersS_01

Posted in Parenting

Updates!

So today was Amélie’s 1 month check-up.  Since her brother had had a mysterious illness over the weekend, we decided to bring him along as well to get him checked out.  It turns out that the pediatrician took more time with Charles than she did with Amélie.

ImageI commented a couple of days ago about how baby girl suddenly didn’t fit into her newborn clothing anymore.  It’s little wonder though as she is now measuring 54.5cm.  That means that in 14 days she grew 4.5cm (or almost 2 inches).  Holy crap!  Now that’s what I call a growth spurt.  She also gained 780g (or 1 pound and 11 oz).  It would seem that mama has got some pretty darned good milk.

As for Charles, well, the pediatrician was absolutely flabbergasted when she saw him and heard what had happened since last Friday.  She immediately told us that it was a pretty impressive allergic reaction (hives) and urged us to talk about it with Charles’ allergist the next time we go to see her.  She is pretty certain that the reaction is in response to the amox that he took to treat an ear infection as the hives started to appear the morning after he finished his prescription.  She’s asking us to continue to give him Benadryl every 4 h until the hives are all gone and had us meet with a pharmacist to see what was the maximal dose we could give him.

Dada and I are both conked out from the stressful weekend and the little guy (who has always been super good about taking medication) now has to be forced to take his Benadryl (we suspect it’s because he associates it with the intense itch his hives cause).  No fun!

To give you an idea of the progression of the hives, here’s what our weekend looked like:

On Friday, they were just small red spots here and there.  As the day progressed, the spots got redder and larger and had raised edges.

P1000858On Saturday, the spread the continued the spots changed again and became the crater-like spots that turned blue that you see in the picture below and his eyelids became swollen after his nap.

By  Sunday, most of his body was covered by either new or old spots.  BUT at least he started to be in a good mood in the afternoon and started to play so we were seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Finally, this morning, we’re noticing that there don’t seem to be many new spots and the ugly red-bue ones that were there yesterday are gone.  He also actually had breakfast: his first complete meal since Friday at lunchtime (we’ve been keeping him hydrated and have managed to get him to snack a bit over the course of the weekend).  However, because of the insane amounts of Benadryl he’s been taking all weekend, he now looks like a zombie.

Image 1Oh well, we’ll get through this!  I’m just happy nothing worse happened.

So milk and now, it would seem, amoxcillin.  Here’s to hoping we don’t discover any new allergies.

Posted in Food allergies

Little Dude’s Food Allergies: Progress!

So today we went back to see Charles’ pediatric allergist to retest his reaction to dairy and flaxseeds.  I decided to take him into the city with the commuter train.

He was really excited when the train arrived on the platform and we lost no time in boarding.  Charles happily sat down while we waited for the train to leave, but when it did he had the surprise of his life!  Oh my, he became so startled when he realized that the scenery outside the window was moving, he quickly gestured that he wanted to sit on me.  Of course, his surprise isn’t really surprising, when we’re in a vehicle, he’s always strapped in.  This time, though he had more freedom.  As soon as he realized this, he became super happy and split his time between looking out the window and chattering with the random people who would pass by us inside the train.

We arrived at our appointment with about 20 minutes to spare and were called in rather quickly.  We first went to see the allergist who asked how everything was going and if we had discovered new reactions.  When I mentioned basil, she told me that she thought (given the very small reaction he gets) that it is more of an irritation than an actual allergy.  She was also very happy to hear that the little guy eats a variety of foods and wasn’t bothered when I told her that, besides water and juice, Charles has a variety of non-dairy milks instead of toddler formula (even though she had suggested we keep him on soy-based toddler formula until 2 years of age).  I guess she found him to be pudgy enough to go without the formula 😉

We then went back to the waiting room and Little Dude had fun drawing with the markers while I listened for his name to be called.  It didn’t take very long until it was his turn and back we went for the skin scratch test.  The nurse tested his reaction to dairy and flaxseeds and we were sent back to the waiting room for 10 minutes.  I expected the patch of skin exposed to dairy to react very quickly as it had six months ago, but was hopefully optimistic when, after 5 minutes, there was still no reaction to be found.  By the time we were called back in, Charles had had a very small reaction to dairy (a LOT) smaller than the first time ’round and absolutely no reaction to flaxseeds!

Score 1 for Charles!

Because of the big difference in reactions to dairy after a six month dairy-free period, a second scratch test was then done with a drop of real milk on his skin (as opposed to the synthesized dairy solution that had been used earlier).  This time, we weren’t even back in the waiting room and his skin had already started to puff up around the scratch.  Oh well, we can’t win them all now, can we?

Nonetheless, our allergist was super positive about the results.  She encouraged me to try flaxseeds again, starting with very small quantities mixed in with other stuff and working our way up to bigger quantities if Little Dude doesn’t react.  She also explained that since Charles had hardly reacted to the first dairy test of the day, we should go ahead and try to use cows milk when we bake (and work our way up from there).  She explained that the solution they first used didn’t contain all of the proteins that fresh milk does and that this usually indicates that though I very clearly still can’t give the little guy a glass of milk to drink, I can use it in recipes because once it is heated up and mixed with other stuff, its composition changes enough that Charles’ body doesn’t recognize it as being a danger.

Perhaps, in January, when we have another follow-up appointment, I’ll have more good news!

So….score 2 for Charles, right?

A part of me is excited by the news, but another part of me is still fearful.  I mean, I know I should try flaxseeds and dairy in baking recipes, but this is my little boy we’re talking about.  We always have benadryl on hand and an epinephrin injector, but still…

I will try though.

Does anyone have experience to share in the realm of disappearing allergies and progressive re-exposure to the past allergen?

Posted in Food allergies, Parenting

Seriously? Basil!

Just a quick post this morning.

I’ve talked about my son’s food allergies before.  His dairy and flaxseed allergies are diagnosed and he is followed by a pediatric allergist to track their evolution.

However, the little guy has been having reactions to something else and we just couldn’t put our finger on it.  As it happens, most of his reactions would happen when he would eat chicken at daycare.  Except we tested for chicken and his allergy test came up negative (not to mention that he eats the stuff at home with no problem).

Eventually, we figured that he was allergic to a herb or spice.  Yeah, that’s helpful.  Companies aren’t required to list all the spices used in their ingredients so we had to go through some trial and error.

And yesterday, when he had another reaction at daycare (this time, he wasn’t eating chicken) we finally figured it out.  The culprit is basil!

His body’s reaction isn’t as strong as it is to dairy: just a few small hive spots here and there and the contour of his mouth becomes red (kind of like a clown face), but neither bother him.

But seriously, who in the world is allergic to basil?  LOL!  I didn’t even know that such an allergy existed (though, I figure I shouldn’t be surprised.  I mean, everyone’s immune system has the potential to react to anything I suspect).

Posted in Parenting

Waaaay Past Annoyed

First off, I apologize in advance because I am about to launch into a rant.

Those of you who have been following this blog for the past month, will probably have an idea of the issue I am about to address.

I just got back from the pediatrician’s office.  We went back in two weeks after his previous visit because Charles has had more allergic reactions to food.  My goal was to at least get a script for an epipen in case his next reaction turned into something worse than hives.  I also wanted a RAST test (which requires blood to be drawn) to be prescribed so that I could know exactly what he is allergic to right now.  That way, I can be more certain of which foods (besides dairy) to avoid.

Here are the salient points from our appointment…

1.  The pediatrician won’t prescribe an epipen because he’s too young.  To further argue her cause, she cites that he has “only” had hives so far.   “Just don’t give him the foods he’s reacted to (duh!), keep some benadryl with you at all times (double duh!) and bring him to the ER if his reaction is more severe (triple duh!)”.  So if my 7 month old stops breathing on me after eating something then I have to drive 20 min. to the nearest hospital.  Excellent.

2.  We’re also not getting a blood test done.  I can’t really cite the reasons; by that time, I had decided to learn from her and ignore what she was saying.

3.  When she asked me to repeat which foods he’d had a reaction to, I recited them again.  Mentioning that I was certain about an allergy to dairy, tomato and cantaloupe and was still unsure about wheat, eggs, fish and blueberries.  She nods her head and asks me how old he is (what, you mean you didn’t take a few minutes to read his file before calling us in?!?).  7 months.  And then she goes on to scold me because supposedly he’s too young to be having fish, eggs and dairy.  WTF?  Since when?  It’s not like I gave him nuts.  And it’s not like I had any idea that he’d have a reaction in the first place because neither my partner or I have any food allergies.  Besides, I didn’t know when I started solids that his eczema was most likely a sign that he was reacting to something that was in my milk (more on that in the next point).  In her opinion, my son should be on cereal, fruits and veggies.  Good thing she doesn’t know we’re not doing purées!  Also, the introduction of solids, much like every other aspect of parenting, has many many many schools of thought.

4.  I told her that I’d read that his eczema might be a result of an allergic reaction to the lactose he gets through my breastmilk because I eat dairy.  I went on to add that I was meeting with a dietician tomorrow so that she can help me with an allergy elimination diet starting with the removal of all milk products from my meals.  The pediatrician tells me that I should definitely be removing not only dairy but anything else that my son has reacted to so far as though it was the most obvious thing in the world (let me remind you here that the last time I went – two weeks ago – she had asked me if I’d had to remove anything from my diet since giving birth and when I said ‘no’ she didn’t suggest that dairy was one of the things that was probably causing my son’s bad eczema).

5. As seems to be the case with our recent appointments, she kept focusing on his eczema.  So, I ended up getting a prescription for a moisturizing cream, another prescription for a cortisone cream for his body, another one to control his itchiness and a reminder that the cortisone cream we already have at home is for his face…

Basically, we’re going to be treating the symptoms instead of the cause until our appointment with the pediatric allergist comes up in October and hoping that his hives stay “just” hives to avoid a trip to the ER.

I’m really hating our health care system right now.  I know that the grass only looks greener on the other side of the fence and that no matter where I’d go, I’d have to face different challenges, but the grass is looking pretty yellowish to my eye on my side of the fence right now…

OK, rant over.

Posted in Parenting

Oh No, Not Again!

Guess what?

Yeah, my son had another reaction to something he ate.  *Pulls out hair*.  I swear, I’m going to have to invest in benadryl stocks…

Of course, now I’m getting paranoid, so, naturally, I’ve been doing some reading on food allergies.  Here’s what I’ve learned so far:

–  It generally takes a few exposures before the body has an immune response to a food that was consumed (which explains why my son seemed fine the first time but then broke in to hives the second or third time).

– 90% of food allergies are caused by an item from the “top 8”: cow’s milk, soy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, crustacean shellfish and wheat

– Don’t assume that a reaction to a certain food will always present itself in the same way (which means that “just” because my son has been breaking into hives, doesn’t mean his body can’t eventually have a more severe reaction like anaphylaxis).

– Symptoms might appear a few minutes (hives) after eating an offending food, or many hours after (eczema).  This sent off a light bulb moment in my head.  You see, my son has had eczema pretty much from day 1.  Therefore, it is entirely possible that he’s been reacting to what I’ve been eating through my milk!

– If a parent has a personal history of allergies (seasonal allergies, eczema, food allergies, asthma) their child has a greater risk of developing an allergic condition.  In our case, dad has no allergies but I have seasonal allergies and have developed an asthmatic reaction to cats when I was in my preteen years.  It has mostly disappeared now, but I still keep my inhalers just in case.  This surprised me, because I thought that he would only be at risk if either his father or I had food allergies, which we don’t.

– Many children outgrow their allergies to foods other than peanuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.

Now, I’ve been communicating with a couple of mommas on a food allergy board, both of which suggested that I get my hands on an epipen for my son after seeing how widespread his reaction was when we initially went out to buy some benadryl.

So, where does that leave me?

1.  I need to call his pediatrician’s office again to see if she can write Little Dude a script for an epipen.

2.  Keep up the food log and take note of the other more subtle signs of an allergy.

3.  Keep a food log for myself and see how what I eat affects his eczema.

4. Call the allergy department of the hospital again to see if I can convince them that my son is more important than all of the other children that have an appointment before him to move up my son’s appointment before I run out of things to feed him.

5.  Become “that annoying mom that’s always calling” until I get answers.

Sound like a good plan?

 

Posted in Parenting

The Waiting Game

This morning, I dialed the number that my son’s pediatrician had jotted down on the post-it she stuck to the allergist referral she gave me yesterday.  I did not hold for a very long time on the line before hearing the receptionist’s greeting.  After a brief exchange of formalities, I explained why I was calling.  She then proceeded to ask me quite a few questions to open up a file on my son for the hospital.  Among the questions, she asked what my son had had a reaction to.  I told her, specifying that Little Dude had only been on solids for three weeks.  The lady, then gave me some instructions to follow.

For our appointment, I need to bring all of the fruits and vegetables my son has had an allergic reaction to in separate ziploc bags, taking care that there is no cross-contamination.  This means that I am really going to have to give my son just one food item at a time for a given meal.  The rest of the food, they have at the hospital.  I was also instructed to make sure that my son is not given any anti-histamines for a whole week prior to the appointment.  This includes benadryl and means that I will only be feeding my son food that I know he won’t react to for that whole week (no introduction of new foods in that period of time).

Then, she gave me the date of the appointment.  It’s going to be on the 30th…

…of October!

Yeah…that means I get to play detective for the next five months or so.

Good thing I have my blog to keep track of everything he ate and everything that happened.  I also decided to start a spreadsheet so that I could log my son’s reactions to different foods.  I have a tab per month and have a column for each date.  I programmed it so that if I write an “o” (as in OK) the cell will turn green and if I write a “n” (as in No) the cell will turn red.  This will help me greatly in discovering the offending foods and will allow me to see a pattern emerge (if any).

I’m actually hoping that by the time the appointment comes around, there will be no allergies to be seen and the allergist will chalk it up to me being over-worried.  But I’m not holding my breath…

Posted in Infant, Parenting

How To Stump A Pediatrician

For those of you not following my blog on BLW, here’s a small recap of what has gone on so far.

We started BLW when my son turned 6 months old – nearly 3 weeks ago.  Seeing as neither my partner or I have any food allergies, we dove right in and avoided only foods that had a high risk of triggering an allergic reaction like nuts.  Things were going really well until I noticed one day that my son had a pretty gnarly rash on his lower face and forearms.  At first, I brushed it off as being an eczema flare-up, a decent assumption given that I only noticed the redness the following day after an overnight change of temperature from cold to hot.

The thing is, though, the next time I gave my son some yogurt, I wiped him down, sat him on his playmat and, when I turned around to start cleaning the table, he started screaming.  I looked at him and immediately noticed this his lower face, cheeks and the inside of his arms were bright red with little white bumps all over.  Enter Benadryl…  Eventually, I put two and two together and realized that my son was reacting to dairy, or, at the very least, yogurt.  Reading up on it, I found that it wasn’t uncommon for babies to have trouble processing lactose and that this reaction could just be the result of his system not being mature enough to handle it.  ‘No matter’, I thought, we’ll just wait a few months before reintroducing dairy.

Then, he had a reaction to tomato – the second time he ate it only.  I thought that it might be because the second time around it had been in contact with an acidic dressing, but I still decided to err on the side of caution.  Henceforth, I would only introduce one new food at a time.  I made some fishcakes.  New ingredient: panko bread crumbs.  I did not want to use the other breadcrumbs because I read in the ingredients that it had been produced in a plant where they also use milk ingredients (yeah, you can say that I was overcautious…).  The first time he ate some, he was fine.  The second time he ate some, he was fine.  The third time…the third time he had an allergic reaction.  His lower face was bright red again and some bright red patches with little white bumps had crept on his back as well.

Damn.

So…where did that leave me?  I had (read: have) no idea what my son can eat.  I mean, seriously, why is he fine one day and not the next?  So, I rang up my pediatrician’s office this morning to see if I could get an appointment and perhaps a referral to an allergist.  Her office was very accommodating and found a spot for me today!

Well, after spending about a quarter hour in her office, she was stumped.  At first, she thought I might be mistaking an allergic reaction with eczema.  I suppose, however, that after asking me the same question about five different ways and getting the same answer from me, she realized that I actually was able to distinguish the two (don’t fault her for asking in so many ways though, she was being thorough!).  What also confused her was that I hadn’t changed my diet since giving birth.  She told me that, according to what she knew, my son shouldn’t be reacting to food because he hadn’t had any reactions to the proteins that were in my milk.

Eventually, she took out her prescription booklet and a post it and told me that she would be referring us to an allergist at a children’s hospital.  I’m calling tomorrow to get an appointment.

In the mean time, we are going to continue solids and I will be jotting everything down.  That way, I will have a mine of information by the time we are able to see the specialist.