Posted in Parenting

Enough Is Enough!

It seems like Little Dude just can’t catch a break.  Three weeks ago, we brought him to the medical clinic for a bad cough to find out he had an ear infection on both sides.  Then, the morning after finishing the antibiotics he’d been taking for ten days, he broke into hives and suffered through the bad reaction all weekend.  He’d been doing pretty good for the last two days or so and then, yesterday morning, something was off.

He woke up in a good enough mood, but things quickly went downhill.  After throwing a tantrum when we had to force him to take his Benadryl, his screams and tears became more insistent.  He refused to walk, repeating the word “hurt” over and over again (a word he’d also used over the weekend, at the peak of his hives, when it was time to walk).  When, I asked him where it hurt, he told me it was to his knees.

Feeling that the tears and tantrum were more than those of a terrible two toddler who’s just plain sick of being sick, I decided to bring him in to the walk-in clinic.  It turns out that the little one has lots of fluid in his ears (which isn’t infected…yet…).  As for the pains, the doctor told me that hive sometimes came with joint pains.  He suggested we give some Motrin for the next five days to see if things got better.  After giving Charles two doses of Motrin, I see a big improvement!  Though the little guy walks as though he was an old man, at least he’s walking again.

So now, Little Dude is on a nice cocktail of Motrin and Benadryl for the next five days.  Here’s to hoping that he’ll be spared from any pain or discomfort for a while by Monday.

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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

Back From The Allergist: And The Culprits Are…

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 scratch test (aka:  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.

It would seem that as of right now, my son is definitely allergic to dairy and flaxseeds.

*Sigh*

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.

This is the one we have.  We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.
This is the one we have. We have the choice between having our voice instructions in French (great for daycare!) or English.

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.

Did any of you have a child who grew out of a food allergy?
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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

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…