Friday, April 4, 2014

Mast Cell Activation

Well, I am long overdue on this AGAIN.  Life just always gets in the way.  I will bring you up to speed though.

We saw the new allergist and he almost immediately said he knew exactly what was going on.  He grabbed a cotton swab and "drew" on her back. He made an imaginary tic-tac-toe box.  He rubbed his hand on it a couple times and she had instant linear hives in the shape of a tic-tac-toe box.  Strange.  Go figure, we got another diagnosis--Mast Cell Activation Disorder (MCAD).  Mast cells release histamine.  So just like the other allergy cells in her body--the T-cells, eosinophils etc, the mast cells over-react and try to fight off the food, or other allergen.  This can also affect her GI tract.  Now, of course, I'm questioning all the other diagnosis.  What is causing what? It's kind of like the chicken and the egg, what came first? We are doing a daily dose of Zyrtec, and Benedryl as needed. 

Brynn is doing well.  She doesn't want to try any new foods and we are ok with that.  She knows that whatever she tries might make her sick, so she chooses not to.  The new allergist is very pleased with her weight, height, and diet.  Yes, it is a limited diet (about 20 foods now), but we chose these foods carefully, making sure she has the nutrition she needs.  She had her preschool screening in March and did fabulous, she had all the teachers cracking up.  They asked what we thought about her starting a 3 day a week preschool class because they thought she would be a great addition to the class because of her leadership skills.  We loved the idea and she started up right away!  So far, she seems to be enjoying it.  Cody is there with her most of the day and when the do split up, they are in classrooms right next to each other.  She is wearing her allergy bracelet every day (she won't let me forget about it) and we pack breakfast, lunch and snacks for her to take each day.  Cody has been a great big brother and reminds me often that he will keep her safe. So sweet.

Brynn had her 4th birthday in March. I can't believe my BABY is FOUR.  I have no idea where all the time has gone! She enjoyed her Sophia party and her purple princess cake and, of course, all the gifts!  She also started Dance this past week and she loves it.  We are now patiently awaiting Spring..........


  

Monday, September 9, 2013

New allergist

Today, we will be checking out a new, LOCAL allergist. I have heard that others have had positive experiences with him and we are in need of an allergist....or any doctor at all to help guide us in the right direction. So, cross your fingers (and toes)!! We have had some uncertainties in the last year. Brynn has experienced some symptoms that don't seem to fall under the FPIES category, but we have just been managing them on our own. Don't get me wrong, she has progressed and is doing very well, looking very healthy etc, but I feel like we need more guidance--or ANY guidance would be nice... (after all, I am NOT a real doctor...I just play one). =) As you probably know, she has also been diagnosed with eosinophilic gastritis and eosinophilic colitis. The GI doctor who diagnosed Brynn literally said, "wow, it seems like you got struck by lightning 3 times! All 3 of the diagnoses are so rare."......and then a few minutes later, basically said "well, good luck!!" So, our goal today with the new allergist, is to get someone who will guide us and work WITH us in figuring this all out. We haven't done a whole lot of trialing foods recently. Brynn is content with her safe foods and is completely done with her formula. She will occasionally ask for some, which we let her have of course. I can't say no to a little boost in nutrition. She really wanted to try some regular peanut butter a couple months ago and that turned into a success. She is enjoying her Natural Skippy peanut butter (only 3 ingredients!!). We attempted to re-trial apples and bananas, but she still had reactions to both of them. We did, however, retrial green beans (basically because we were at Grandma and Grandpa's house and everyone else was picking them from the garden and eating a few here and there and she wanted to as well!) and it was a pass! She isn't a huge fan of them, but we do get a few in her at least. =) A couple weeks ago, we re-trialed eggs. She had a scrambled egg Saturday morning and one Sunday morning. We didn't see any symptoms at all. Monday and Tuesday were crazy days for us, so she didn't have eggs those days. Wednesday morning, she woke up covered in hives and feeling itchy. We gave her allergy meds, which seemed to clear them up later in the day. Thursday, she woke up with hives all over. Again, we gave her the allergy meds and hoped they would go away again. They did not, and then she started complaining of a "yucky" throat. What does "yucky" mean to a 3 year old? Does it mean she has a sore throat? I know you can get a rash with strep. Does it mean she was refluxing from the egg? Reflux is one of those symptoms we see occasionally that we aren't really sure why. It would fit under the EoE (eosinophilic esophagitis) category, but as far as we know, she doesn't have that diagnosis. Or does "yucky" mean her throat was itchy or worse, felt like it was tightening? We, fortunately, haven't had to deal with any IgE (regular) food allergies as of yet, but it could be that too. I had my fingers crossed that it was strep (Yes, I'm that crazy mom who HOPES for a simple illness like Strep, so we don't have to add more to Brynn's list of food issues). Friday morning, when she was covered again, I brought her to the doctor, who was convinced it HAD to be strep because it wouldn't make sense to have a reaction to a food she had eaten days prior. Haha. Both the rapid and 24 hour strep tests were negative. The doctor we saw also thought it was just crazy that we don't have a doctor taking the lead for us. I (kind of jokingly?) asked if she wanted to be that doctor, and she just chuckled, so I took that as a no. =/ We clearly haven't given her eggs again and we won't until we know for sure it wasn't caused by eggs or until we have an epi pen on hand as a precaution. Over the course of the summer, we have also realized she reacts to gnat and mosquito bites. She swells like CRAZY. She had a bite on the side of her head, like by her temple, and she woke up in the morning with her eye swollen shut. She had another one on her forehead and it looked like she fell and cracked her head on a cement floor. The bites on her legs are just as bad. Poor girl. I'm hoping the allergist will test today for at least the eggs and bug bites. I will post an update after her appointment, probably tomorrow. Fingers crossed for a brave allergist, who wants to help us figure this all out and guide us in the right direction!! Thanks!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Loooong overdue

Life has been so busy; it is hard to keep up with this thing! Brynn is doing fabulous right now.  She is up to 16 foods now, plus some baking ingredients as well!  She had her 3 year well-check about a month ago and she is growing like a weed--70th percentile for height and 35th percentile for weight.  =)  We are currently working on just expanding on her already safe foods.  For example:  she can have corn and oats, so we found Marshmallow Matey's!! (Aka Lucky Charms) She LOVES them.  A few of her other favorite snacks are no longer sold in stores around here, so we are venturing out and finding some new ones.  I don't like buying cases of crackers online...she will never eat all of them before the expiration date!  Oh, and did I mention online it would be close to $7 per box of crackers? Ugh.  Anyway, she is now loving her Marshmallow Matey's, Honey Wheels and Alphabits. 

We recently re-trialed apples and it was still a fail. Bummer.  It actually took a few weeks to convince her to try it again. She has her mind made up that she is not going to try any new foods (or re-trial any previous fails) because she doesn't want her tummy to hurt.  She says, "That makes me sick, I only eat MY food!!"  She has quite the attitude about it too.  So we aren't pushing her too hard.  Life is so much more enjoyable when she is feeling well (for her AND the rest of us)!  We did get her to try kale after awhile though.  We made kale chips (oven-baked with sunflower oil and sea salt).  They aren't her favorite, but she will eat at least a couple a day, which is great since they are loaded with nutrients. 

She loves it when she can have the "same" meal as everyone else.  We try to make similar foods as often as possible.  We found whole wheat tortillas at Trader Joe's that are safe for her, so when we have tacos, we make her a taco as well--whole wheat tortilla, ground pork, and Daiya cheese.  Or if we have hamburgers, she gets a pork patty with her cheese on her special bread/bun.  She has come across a couple situations where she has gotten mad because she couldn't have the same treat as other kids.  It's really hard to watch and it just breaks my heart.  But, we are working on always having extra treats/snacks with us just in case.  We have safe homemade cupcakes and her coconut ice cream (or Grandma makes a yummy strawberry ice cream)  on hand, so we are always able to grab something to take with as a treat. 

Overall, she is doing fabulous and we will keep on truckin'!  When she is ready to try another food and when things slow down a bit for us, we will start picking out what's next.  Right now, she is enjoying the beautiful weather and feeling great!  Thanks for all the love and support throughout this journey!  

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

An update finally!!

WOW, I can't believe it has been so long since I've updated!  Summer has been crazy busy I guess!  =)

B has been doing pretty well. We've had a couple more fails, but we have been able to add grapes and wheat to her diet! YAY! She has a few different crackers she can have now and even some store-bought cookies!  She loves them.  She has had quite a few "mystery reactions" and I have yet to figure them out.  We have had quite a few bad days/sleepless nights because she hurts.  She is telling us now when she is in pain, so it is a little bit easier for us to figure things out. The most recent fail was oranges/orange juice.  She actually told me to dump her juice out and that she wanted water instead. I asked her why and she said "juice make my tummy hurt".  =(  Poor girl. 

On a positive note, she is growing like a weed!!  We are working really hard on getting her a well-balanced diet so we can be done with her formula.  We have cut back quite a bit and replaced that portion with coconut milk.  She isn't a huge fan though....she requests "no coco milk PLEAAAAASEEE!!" quite frequently.  Haha!! We also have been managing everything on our own for months now--no GI, no allergist etc.  Slowly but surely, we are getting a handle on this I think.....

Sunday, April 1, 2012

BIRTHDAY CAKE!!!

Brynn had some issues the last couple months. We weren't sure what was causing the issues, so we went back down to 4-5 foods to get her back to 100% baseline.  Once we established that, we slowly added her other foods back in, making sure they were still safe.  Once THAT was taken care of, it was time for her 2nd birthday party!!

I was able to find a recipe that *sort of* worked.  It took a few tries, but I successfully made her a birthday cake!! 

She LOVED it....and it was good! A few people even ate a piece of this cake instead of the other "regular" cake we had available.  =)  

Happy Birthday to my big TWO year old!!!





Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My life as a mother of a child with FPIES and EGID

Written by a mom of an FPIES child: 


"My son has a severe protein allergy to milk & soy. This is not the same as being lactose intolerant. This is not the same as colic. This is a severe allergy that has almost taken the life of my child twice. This allergy is time consuming, life consuming, overwhelming and frustrating. People seem to think it is as easy as just not giving him milk or soy, but it is not.

It is label reading. It is shopping at 4 different stores to get all of his safe foods. It is frustration of not finding any foods he can eat because soy is in everything. It is the disappointing trips to the grocery store, and returning home yet again empty handed for this child.

It is calling and being on hold with food companies for what seems like hours to be 100% certain that the vitamin E or natural flavoring is not soy based, because soy fat ingredients do not require labeling for allergens. It is constant cross contamination research to check what foods are run on the same line as foods made with dairy and soy, because I will not let a drop enter his body.

It is constant research, constant planning, and constant thought about what foods to try next and in what order. It is the facts about food constantly running through my head.

It is constant recipe search, trying to find new ideas for the same foods search, and recipe experimentation. It is the constant meal planning. It is food journaling.

It is frequent trips to the store, since everything needs to be made from scratch. It is the steaming, blending, storing, cleaning, and repeat, multiple times a day. It is the not having the luxury to do "fast food" ever, even on those days where you just need a break from cooking.

It is trying to explain to his sister why she can't share her cookie with her brother. It is the look on his face when he wants to try just a bite of what you are eating.

It is expensive! All his foods need to be organic, natural, and whole. It is having to give up the luxuries that are my sanity in order to pay for hypoallergenic formula, because each can cost $39 and one can lasts about 48 hours. Although expenses are the smallest of the issues because his health is more important than anything money can buy!

It is the constant wonder if a behavior is due to an allergy or not. He is fussy: is he tired or reacting? He is not eating: is he full or is he reacting? He had 3 dirty diapers today: just an off day, or is he reacting? He is sleeping a lot today: is he just tired, or is he reacting? He seems uncomfortable: is it his teeth or is it his stomach? It is the fact that your heart always goes to the allergy, and your head has to try to talk your heart out of it.

It is the poop checking. Every day for 7months, poop check.

It is the not having anything in common with your friends anymore, because you eat, sleep, and breath this allergy. It is talking to people in online support groups that you have never met before more than talking to your friends, because they are the people that truly get what you are going through.

It is the prevention and worry of cross contamination in your own home. It is the little decisions about food that have turned into monstrous ones. It is the selfishness of wanting to introduce more foods then you should for convenience, and then the guilt of even thinking of that. It is the constant thoughts of food running through your head that have taken all the joy and fun out of introducing them to your child.

And the worst of all is the constant anxiety that you are going to put your baby through a reaction again if you don't do everything right. It is the constant fear that overwhelms you every time you put something new into your child's mouth."
 This says it all and I couldn't have described it any better.   This is exactly what we do each and every single day.  THIS is what it means to be a parent of a child with FPIES and Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorder.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Our new normal

Cody (3) and Brynn were playing so nicely the other day.  They then came out of the bedroom and asked for a lunch-box.  I figured they'd just be shoving as many things as possible inside, likey they do with any other bag/box.  So I gave them each their own lunch-box and they went back to their bedroom.  I quietly peeked in on them and observed them playing "lunchtime".  =)  They made a table and chairs with blankets and pillows, and were beginning to pack their lunch-boxes.  Brynn started just grabbing any toy food she could find and Cody stopped her, saying, " BRYNNIE!!! You HAVE to be careful.  You can only pack safe food for the baby (a doll) so she doesn't get an owie tummy and have to go to the hospital!!!"  Brynn said "K" and took the food out and waited for Cody to tell her what was safe for the baby.  They enjoyed their lunch, then began to clean up.  Cody said, "QUICK! Brynnie! Vacuum up the crumbs!!" 

After watching this, I wasn't quite sure what to feel.  Upset that they think food can be a dangerous thing? How can something that is supposed to nourish you, be such a terrible, dangerous thing?  Or should I be happy? Happy that he is there to protect his baby sister?

I decided to be happy.  They need to have this knowledge.  This is a new lifestyle for us.  This IS our normal, and it's ok.  We WILL be ok.  =)