Confusion and Delay

Being a 2-year-old boy, my Certain Little Someone is a huge fan of the TV show Thomas and Friends. A common phrase heard on the show whenever one of the trains is bad or in trouble, is “You have caused confusion and delay”. That phrase describes perfectly what I felt after leaving our allergist’s office last week for his annual check-up. Not that anyone in particular caused confusion and delay… it’s just the product of living with allergies. Or maybe just living in general.

The confusion came from a lengthy conversation I had with the allergist about the nature of food allergies and the likelihood of our second child also having allergies. The data regarding food allergies is confusing and conflicting. For example, the allergist said that studies show that children in Israel eat peanut products from a very early age and have a low incidence of peanut allergy. Yet they avoid sesame until the children are older, and sesame is one of the top allergens in Israel. And yet, in the United States, as exposure to sesame increases, the incidence of sesame allergies is rising to the point where it is now ranked #9 in top allergens. Confusing. One thing he was very sure about, though, was that avoiding top allergens during pregnancy and nursing is not going to reduce the risk of our second child having food allergies, not one iota.

Another element of confusion is that, based on my Certain Little Someone’s tendency to have allergies, I should continue to avoid peanut and nut products until he is tested again to them and passes an office food challenge, even though he is not technically allergic to tree nuts and probably not peanut either.

I’m confused. Are you?

The delay is because, based on the fact that my Certain Little Someone has reactions when accidentally exposed to various allergens (specifically milk and egg), the allergist decided not to do any allergy testing this year. We’re going to wait until he’s 3, when most children begin to lose their sensitivity to their various allergens. *Sigh* I was hoping against hope – and against reason – that we could at least get blood work done and find that maybe – just maybe – some of his numbers have lowered. My heart wants to hear those magic words even as my mind acknowledges the common sense in the allergist’s decision. It is extremely unlikely that any of his allergens have abated by anything more than the smallest amount.

So… confusion and delay. I’ve resigned myself to both. Hopefully, as scientists and other experts continue to research allergies, we’ll learn better how to prevent and manage them. And hopefully, over the next year, my Certain Little Someone will begin to lose some of his sensitivity to his various allergens.

~Why am I discouraged? Why so sad? I will put my hope in God!~

Psalm 42:5

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10 Comments on “Confusion and Delay”

  1. Whitney says:

    My now-9 year old is anaphylactic to milk protein, peanuts & highly allergic to beef (outgrew the egg a couple of years ago- yay!) and I remember being where you are now. In light of the fact that our pediatrician said that my son’s RAST numbers were about the highest he had ever seen, I was very concerned about my 2nd child that was on the way & what kind of allegies he would surely have. Well, guess what? My 2nd son has NONE! Not even in the slightest. Just wanted to offer you some encouragement. 🙂

    • That is encouraging, thank you! And also encouraging that he outgrew the egg allergy 🙂 I rarely meet others who are allergic to beef also; it’s nice to know you’re out there! My son’s RAST numbers are medium to high (depending on the allergy), so there is hope for the second one, thanks!

  2. I just read your post over at $ Saving Mom and had to stop over. My 6-year-old has had various allergies on and off for his 6 1/2 years so far. He’s outgrown some and redeveloped some. I’ve been where you are, just wishing for answers and a piece of encouragement. It’s hard to wait.

    Just be encouraged that each day is another one where your child is protected to the best of your abilities with safe foods. It isn’t easy. I still have many days when I struggle with “why can’t he eat like other kids?” My friend encouraged me by saying that we have been given a difficult blessing, to understand the need for healthy foods and caring for the body at a young age.

    A resource I recently found with the best and most inexpensive flour blend (called GLAD flour) so far at http://www.frugalabundance.com/gfcfrecipes/recipeindex.htm

    Hang in there. It sounds like you are doing a great job with a difficult task…

  3. Monica says:

    I just read your post on moneysavingmom and really appreciated it! My two year old son also has many food allergies and the increase in food budget is always troublesome. I was just wondering if you have heard of the GAPS diet? We recently started this with my son and are starting to see some improvements in gut health, and hopefully later his allergies. Anyways, I’m excited to check out your site, it looks like you have lots of good ideas that will be useful to us.
    Monica

    • I have heard of the GAPS diet, but I admit I am a little leery of any diets that restrict entire food groups (as I understand, it restricts grains entirely), especially for my son, whose diet is limited anyway. In my brief reading on the subject, I see that we already do a lot of the things mentioned in the diet, but we don’t avoid grains or other foods on the “do not eat” list. However, I have “met” people (online, not IRL), who have experienced great digestive improvement through the diet, so there’s definitely something to it.

  4. Glutenfreemommye says:

    I was told by my OB to avoid my allergic foods during pregnancy and breastfeeding – It is also stated to avoid the top allergic foods until 2 years of age – “the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook”
    The main thing though that I was told was to wait until 1 year to introduce food into your baby’s diet – breast feed exclusively until 1 year – this allows your child’s digestive system to build the immunity it needs to digest the food properly.
    I was told by our “allergist” (a one time visit) that I was not allergic to any foods and that my reactions (which are immediate and delayed) were not related to the food. A IgG and IgA blood test is more conclusive that skin rasts also. Good luck!

    • My son’s allergies are definitely IgE-mediated, so all his testing is based on that. I don’t know very much, if anything, about IgG or IgA allergies, but I am pretty sure that testing those would not lead to accurate conclusions regarding his IgE allergies. Also, my allergist (in accordance with his decision not to test him this year) and most allergists, only accepts a confirmed diagnosis of an allergy based on an actual reaction. Hence, my son has tested slightly positive for peanut, but (although we avoid it) my allergist doesn’t technically consider him allergic b/c he has never reacted to it. (although that’s hard to pin down sometimes, b/c to my knowledge he has never been exposed to it, at least internally). The testing is only a guideline to see if we can even attempt to expose him to the allergen, and then the results of that exposure are the true diagnosis.

      There is no data to prove that avoiding exposure to allergens during pregnancy or breastfeeding will prevent food allergies in the child. However, naturally, if you have allergies, you should avoid them during pregnancy and all other times as well. My allergist also does not recommend purposely avoiding allergens in the first 2 years of life, but there are other reasons to avoid some of the more highly allergenic foods (like nuts, for example, they cannot be eaten whole for fear of choking, and are difficult to digest even when pureed into butters). EBF for EBF’s sake is one thing, but to purposely avoid allergens in the first year of life is not necessarily going to guarantee that the child will not develop those allergies anyway.

  5. Teri says:

    I so feel your pain. I have very serious allergies as do my oldest 2 children. But, to encourage you my youngest has no allergies. A fact that she is quite proud of.She has also decided that at 8 yrs old she wants to try peanuts for the first time. Because I can not even smell them she has never had them.

    The life of serious allergies is very nerve wracking. But you are doing a wonderful!


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