Thursday, October 18, 2012

Food Allergy Retesting

Posted by Heather at Thursday, October 18, 2012

A much happier girl....

Way back when Katy was first diagnosed with food allergies in May 2011, we were told that she would need to be retested every year in order to evaluate if she would potentially outgrow some and/or all of them.

SOOOOooo.... today, a year and a half later, we found ourselves back at the allergist's all set to be retested. I came armed with Angry Birds, Color Wonder and Fancy Nancy; steeled for a long wait (last time we were there, it took three and a half LONG hours at the doctor's office- RIDICULOUS!). In addition to having Katy retested for her documented food allergies to eggs, nuts and soy, I asked that she be tested for seasonal/indoor allergies, strawberries, cinnamon and apples (An awful long list, I know, but I had to know for sure).

Last year's visit obviously made a pretty big impression on Lil' Miss because as soon as we walked into the patient room, Katy started fussing, squirming and saying, "They (the nurses) no write on my back. That hurt my back." (Don't tell me that children can only start to form memories when they are four years old and older- Katy clearly remembered the back scratch tests from over a year ago when she was only 15 months old!).

When the nurse came in with all the vials of things to test her with, Katy went ballistic (and I do not use that word lightly!). It took two nurses and myself to literally pin Katy to the observation table while another nurse frantically marked Katy's back and did the appropriate "scratches." Katy was thrashing and screaming and crying so loud that I'm sure that not only did everyone in the allergist's office hear her, but so did all of Concord (and I am by no means exaggerating as to the decidable level of Katy's terror!). All the while this was going on, Katy was sobbing, "Mommy, keep me safe!" (Break my heart!!)

After all of the marks were done and the nurses left the room, Katy calmed down a bit (not much), but didn't want to do anything but cling to me. Thankfully, she didn't try to scratch her back, though. We were able to walk around the halls for a bit while we waited for the results.

As for the results.... I was very surprised to find that the only food allergy that Katy tested positive to was egg yolks and whites! Nuts, soy, apples, strawberries and cinnamon were all negative. Dust mites were very strongly reactive (no big surprise there since I'm pretty allergic to dust mites, myself), but thankfully the other seasonal allergies were all negative.

SOOOOooo.... where does that leave us now? Well, for now, we are to keep the status quo- meaning, keep avoiding any known and suspected allergens until we can get a "food challenge" scheduled at the allergist's main office in Uptown Charlotte (fun, fun!). What is a "food challenge," you ask? Well, basically, we block out a whole morning or afternoon where the doctor's feed Katy the suspected allergen every fifteen to twenty minutes until the doctors are sufficiently satisfied that a) Katy is no longer allergic to that particular food or, b) Katy reacts to the food. Fun times, fun times.... I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to that....! *sigh*

Katy's doctor said that he has had patients that don't react to the skin test, yet do react to eating the food. So, for now, we are not out of the woods, yet (until we can get the food challenges completed). Dr. Patel was surprised that nuts was negative since that is usually a lifetime allergy. We were told that we could have a blood test done to double check the results of the back test, but there was no way on God's green earth or H-E-double Hockey sticks that that was going to happen after Katy's complete and utter meltdown!

Even with the negative results of Katy's food allergies, I know that there is still SOMETHING that she is allergic to because from time to time, she breaks out in a rash on her chin and face. Avoiding strawberries really does seem to help- I'm not just imagining it- the results are written on (or not) Katy's face in the form of hives (or lack thereof). Dr. Patel did mention that some people are sensitive to a food, but no necessarily allergic to it. Foods with high acidity could be causes of a rash on the chin and face (think Ketchup, BBQ sauce, Spaghetti sauce- staples in any toddler's diet).

In conclusion, I would love for Katy to have outgrown some (if not all) of her food allergies. Life would not only taste better for her, but I could also rest a little easier knowing that food is not a potential threat. However, part of me is concerned because for the past year and a half, I have been so vigilant in keeping certain foods from touching Katy's lips for fear of an allergic reaction and now, I'm just supposed to feed it to her?!? I guess we'll just have to wait and see....

On a happier note.... Our time at the doctor's only last two hours-not three and a half- thank goodness for small miracles! After our *fun* morning, we met Ted for lunch at Katy's favorite place, Chick-Fil-A. Katy did a great job ordering not only her lunch, but Ted's as well. She marched right up to the counter and told the cashier that she wanted, "French fries, chicken nuggets, 'weet tea and Speecy Spicy for my Daddy (translated, Spicy Chicken Sandwich)." (Don't judge- the kid and I had just survived a very traumatic morning!) After eating most of her lunch and some play time in the play place, we went to Harris Teeter so Katy could walk around with a shopping cart. She loves to push the mini carts around the grocery store and it's free entertainment, so, why not?


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