Saturday, August 23, 2008

How it all happened.

Not sure when, or where, I remember the very first sign of problem. One thing I will say, anything I write in this blog, is simply my interpretation of our situation. I am by no means an expert, or authority, on any allergies. I just know what has happened to us, what we have been told, and how we handle our daily living.

Hindsight is twenty twenty, they say. Looking back, I can tell you all the signs I missed, and of course, all the things I should have, or shouldn't have done.

Truth be told, I am really bad about second guessing myself. All that aside, I refuse to play the blame game on myself.

Zach was born a little early, after a horrible pregnancy. I read, not to long ago, about a study done on stressful pregnancies and allergies. Who knows???

Everything that could go wrong, went wrong, every test that could come back bad, came back bad. Tons of outside emotional stress, and a long stay in the hospital on bed rest, when I had sixteen month old at home. Even when I got home, I remained on bed rest, until a week before he was born.

He came into the world looking perfect, doesn't every mother think that? He was though, everything was fine. He looked good, took to nursing right away, and slept better than my first baby right off the bat.

A couple weeks later, he got, what the doctor called, eczema. He also had the cradle cap real bad. Nothing took the rash away. We finally got a prescription cream that kept it at bay. This rash lasted a very long time, it also came up in different places. Not once did anyone suggest it was something I could be eating.

When Zach started solids, he often would get rashy around his mouth. He also always had a rash on his bottom. Not where typical diaper rash was, this was high up on the back of his bottom, the cheeks.... When his diaper was off, he would just scratch and scratch.

I did not know this until recently, not sure it would have changed things for me, however.....
I was told, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends you wait until your child is three before introducing peanut products. Do you know how many kids under three I know that eat peanut butter...

I also was told, after the fact, that a child that develops eczema early, is more prone to allergies. Again, I say, why did I find out these things from my doctor after the fact. Would I have waited to introduce peanuts given that information.

We will never know. At thirteen months Zach had a tiny bite of a peanut butter cup, it was Halloweeen, he was fine. A couple months after that, I gave him a quarter of a peanut butter sandwich with his lunch. He LOVED it.

After lunch I went to nurse him for nap. I looked down and he had a welt on his cheek, I watched him, within minutes his face was covered. By the time we got to the doctor he had welts from the top of his head to his stomach.

He was given a shot and an at home course of steroids for a week. We were also instructed not to give him peanut products and see our regular physician.

Now, even though we did not have the official diagnosis, I was devastated. I knew enough about a peanut allergy to know this was horrible news. This was something that could kill my son.

This is where it got sticky for me. Our physician said," looks like he might be allergic, don't let him have any." I thought, that is not good enough, shouldn't we know for sure? He said, "well, if you want we can do a blood test." Of course I want to know.

A few days later he calls and said we need to discuss Zach's allergies. That was plural. He went on to say that Zach did in fact have an allergy to peanuts and it was life threatening. He was also allergic to Almonds, cashews, filberts, walnuts etc... etc... There was not a nut he was not allergic to at a high level. He had fours and fives on most nuts on his RAST. Even nutmeg. He also had some level one's on a few things, wheat, clams and lemons. All I kept thinking was, and you did not even want to test him. What if I had given him almond butter instead.

We went into the office to get our referral to the allergist and our epi-pens. The rest is history. It is daily living with this scary allergy. Not sure if I am even incredibly happy with our allergist at this point.

One thing I do know, that Zach's rashes cleared up after we eliminated from his diet, anything and everything that said may contain nuts, processed in a facility with nuts and anything that had any nut in it. Amazing. There were so many things we ate that had trace amounts of nuts in them.

We have a totally nut free home for the safety of my child. There are so many situations, that come up on a daily basis, you deal with when you have a child with life threatening allergies. Reading other blogs, connecting to other families in similar situation, and now blogging myself, have all been a tremendous help.

This is how we found out the single thing that has changed our life forever. I look forward to sharing more of our journey as we march along.

1 comment:

  1. I realize this post is over a year old, so you may not find this comment. I just wanted to thank you for sharing your story. How terrifying your ordeal must have been - and how scary every day must be knowing that he has such a serious allergy to so common a product(s). Our little guy also had eczema as a baby, plus reflux, dairy allergies, and colic. Our new baby girl is happy and healthy, but had a TERRIBLE case of cradle cap. I wonder after reading your story if these things are indicators (when added with dad's allergies and childhood asthma) that our kids might have allergies of their own?