Thursday, August 28, 2008

No title can...

accurately tell you how I feel right now. Today is a joyous wonderful happiest of days. My kid just had his first Hershey bar ever. He is nine and has never tasted anything with dairy- not on purpose anyway. He was 6 months old when I gave him yogurt for the first time. Minutes after he ate it, it came back up and out with a vengance and he exploded in hives. Here I am a new mom and I had never seen a hive before. I called the Dr. right away and they told me to avoid the dairy- and get the kid some benadryl. Thus began our food allergy adventure. Not so much an adventure as a mystery to be solved. It took months for the Dr.s to take the allergy seriously and through the process we discovered he was allergic to Eggs, Dairy and Soy. Any tiny bit of any of those things and the hives would pop up in mere minutes. A few years later we added tree nuts to the list and had to carry epi pens wherever we went. He gradually grew out of the soy allergy and then the egg allergy, but all the while the dairy allergy was just getting worse. Until one fateful day in Starbucks when he accidentally grabbed his sister's hot cocoa instead of his soy and his throat started to swell shut. Thank God I had that epi pen I had been carrying around for nearly five years. When I finally realized what was happening, I shot him with it and we went to the hospital so he could have more drugs. This happened again a few months later (at a birthday party) and we had to learn to get hyper vigilant about this allergy. To a parent without an allergic child, I really can't express how deeply the allergy infiltrates your whole life. How he has to always take his own special cupcakes to birthday parties, no hot lunch at school, having to buy special food and make two dinners because you have one picky kid and one who can't eat a lot of food etc. etc. etc.. We hardly ate dinner out because it was tricky to navigate the menu and it was easier to eat at home. So many little ways that he felt different because he was always the kid who couldn't eat what everyone else is eating. And as a parent, that nervous feeling anytime he is at a friend's house because the staple of the american child's diet, dairy products, was virtually poison to my kid. And anyone who has had their child go into anaphylaxis can tell you how fast it comes on and how scary it is to hear your sweet little boy's voice turn to a squeak within minutes because his throat is swelling shut. There were many times I felt like I would be labeled the hysterical parent because of all the checks and balances we had to have in place at school and with friends. And as much as I would like to say otherwise, there are plenty of times that parents got annoyed at the inconvenience of his allergy. And if I had a dollar for everytime after I told someone he had a severe food allergy to dairy and have them say, oh , I am lactose intolerant too and then have to explain that he doesn't get gas, his throat swells shut, we could go to Disneyland! I will say though, that he learned to be compassionate to other kids and their challenges and he is a more sensitive boy because of it. It was also so heartwarming to see how his classmates rallied around him and the other boy in his class with food allergies and would look out for each other. He is nine now and yearly testing has shown us that things are improving so we had an appointment today with the allergist for a food challenge. It took him a full week of debating back and forth about which sort of food he wanted to try at his challenge to settle on a chocolate milkshake. After trying gradually larger amounts every twenty minutes over the course of an hour, he was allowed to go to the snack store in the Dr's office building and came back with cheetos, a slice of cheese and a Jumbo Oreo ice cream bar. He sort of liked the cheetos , was not too keen on the processed american cheese (who is?) and then took that ice cream bar down like a wounded animal. He just could not get enough of it and it was so weird to watch him stuff all of that ice cream down him when I have spent nine years keeping him away from it! Another hour and he was officially cleared!! No hives, no swelling NO NOTHING! He can eat dairy! He is still allergic to tree nuts but it is so much easier to avoid tree nuts that I am pretty fine with it. So if you made it all the way to the end of this, thanks for reading! It really is a great day! Now we are heading out to have pizza for dinner! His first pizza! He is so excited and so am I!!

10 comments:

vfg said...

HUGE.

laurie said...

Mo
Wow! So happy for you and your family. We have NO allergies on this end, so I can't imagine. Your life is going to seem so easy now. I agree with you IT IS A HAPPY DAY and I bet that pizza tasted fantastic!

French Knots said...

That must be such a weight off your mind, and a whole new world of food for him to explore.

My name is Michelle. said...

Being a parent is so damn hard as it is. I shed a little tear for you guys. Probably PMS, but still. ;)

Speaking of chocolate...

What a crazy nice gift. Now I have to go round it all up to take a photo. My five-year-old confiscated the owl dish, and my two-year-old liked the hankie thingy. I get the glasses. We shared the chocolate, but I saved enough to take a photo. Love the colors.

one gal's trash said...

What a great day for your son..and you too. Here's to lots of pizza and milkshakes in his future! Also, you have been tagged...see my blog for details.
Pam

sillypants said...

Yeah for the L-man !!!!!

Geek+Nerd said...

That's tremendous! I'm so happy for you and your little guy!

Lori said...

Oh, MO!!!! That is so wonderful!!!! I know what you have been through. My sister is still struggling with other parents in my nephew's class that just don't get it. This is such fabulous news!!!!
Lori

Maija said...

That's great news Mo! I can't imagine what it must feel like to have that underlying concern for your child all the time!

Jennifer Paganelli said...

Congrats....this is huge..