Sunday, June 12, 2011

one down one to go

Last year, after several health scares and a terrifying trip to the oncologist, we found out that Aiden was allergic to eggs and milk!  At the time, we were so relieved by his diagnosis that we didn't really put much thought into 2 things; 1) the number of foods that contain milk and/or eggs and 2) the difficulty in feeding a baby/toddler a milk and egg free diet.  Once I came to the realization that I would never grocery shop, order food, or cook the same way again, the reality of our next year kind of scared me!  What am I going to feed my child?  No eggs or milk seemed simple enough.  However, when I began to read the labels on Gerber baby food, soy formula, and simple breakfast syrup (butter free, of course) I realized that milk, and milk bi-products are everywhere...cheese, yogurt, bread, pasta, hot dogs, chicken tenders, fish sticks, cereal, sausage and even bottled sweet tea (not that he drinks sweet tea but this example helps when Nana wants to give Aiden some of her tea haha).
As Aiden began to transition from an 8 month old exclusively breast fed baby to a 1 year old who needed table food for his motor skill development, weight gain, and nourishment and onto a curious 18 month old who wanted what Momma was eating; my plain meat, fruit and vegetable diet became much less interesting and my creativity was shot!  I believe I was actually shunned by a group of moms when I panicked after I noticed a cracker in Aiden's hand that contained milk.  (either that or they think I am crazy)  HA...if only they knew the luxury of making their child "cheese toast" for every meal or simply ripping open a Gerber Graduate and popping it in the over for a minute!  Apparently they have no sympathy for my desire to avoid Children's Hospital pediatric emergency room for the 4th time, or my fear of injecting my 20lb child with an epi-pen where the dosage is actually for a child 30lbs and up but it's either that or nothing or the agony that Leif and I went through while we waited 2 weeks to see an oncologist and the longest hour of our lives while we waited for Aiden's blood work to come back!  Anyway, I digress, after a long year of reading labels and careful cooking, Aiden returned to the allergist to have his annual test!  The first test was a prick test...he was pricked with 8 different "pricks" whole egg, egg yolk, egg white, whole milk, casein (milk protein), a positive reading prick and a negative one!

We could see some swelling right away but resisted our urges to diagnose...after about 30 minutes the doctor came in to examine...Aiden FAILED all egg pricks again, meaning he is still allergic to eggs...however his milk prick was borderline which meant he would have blood drawn to see what his exact level was.  A few days later, Aiden's wonderful allergist called me (yes the DR picked up the phone and called me herself...does that even happen anymore?) to let us know that his blood test was NEGATIVE for a milk allergy...AMEN!!!  The next step was to do an oral tolerance test...this took FOREVER...
dip stick in milk, rub on arm (wait 15 minutes)
dip stick in milk, rub on tongue (wait 15 minutes)
give 1 ml orally (wait 15 minutes)
give 1/4 teaspoon orally (wait 15 minutes)
give 1/2 teaspoon orally (wait 15 minutes)
give 1 teaspoon orally (wait 15 minutes)
Have you ever spent over 1.5 hours in a tiny exam room with a 20 month old...thank God for Elmo and Angry Birds!

The results....SWEET MILK SUCCESS!!!!  Aiden has officially outgrown his milk allergy!  What do you do to celebrate such a milestone?...give that boy his first taste of ice cream...I went against my policy of not rewarding Aiden with food or sweets and let him have a milkshake!  Did he like it?  You tell me...

I am so incredibly thankful that he has outgrown his milk allergy and to be completely honest I am also grateful for the year of learning I had!  With out this allergy I may not have been forced to feed my child in a way that was extremely healthy, fresh, and limited on processed food!  I learned a tremendous amount about hidden "bi-products" in foods and although I am not going to go crazy vegan natural organic parent on him, I am very grateful for the full year he had to learn to love healthy foods and I was even more proud that after he drank about 1/4 of his celebratory milkshake, handed it to me, and reached for his bag of blueberries and finished every last one of them!

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