Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Food Allergy Week!

Sue reminded me that it's food allergy week, so I thought I'd share our journey with Avery...



When Avery was around 4 months old, we noticed that she had a skin rash that just wasn't going away. At her 4 month well baby check up, the doctor decided to check her for a milk allergy. That came up positive. She then advised me to either stop eating all milk products (since Avery was on breast milk) or to switch to formula right away. PG and I decided that there was no way I could cut milk from what I ate, so we thought the best thing would be to switch her to Enfamil ProSobee formula. Our pediatritican also made us an appointment to see a dermatologist too.


(her body rash at 4 months)


When we went to the dermatologist a week later, he told us that her body rash wasn't from her milk allergy, but that it was from a skin condition called "atopic dermatitis" and that we shouldn't have stopped the breast milk. (Gee thanks, wish I would have known that a week earlier) I had already went through the fun pains of stopping cold turkey and there was no turning back at that point. We kept her on the ProSobee formula and had to do many different techniques to get her skin back to normal. Her sensitive skin is another long blog story...



When Avery was around 17 months old she started to be "different" with eating. And, at 18 months old she had stopped eating what I gave her all together. All she would eat was graham cracker sticks and her formula. I took her in to the doctor and they sent us to the Children's Specialty Clinic to their "food therapy" program. They tested her for all the food allergies. We got the results the next day. The confirmed what we did not want to hear. She was indeed still allergic to milk, but also soy, eggs, wheat and peanuts. How am I supposed to feed this child? is the question that went through my head. These products are in EVERYTHING! Then, it all started to make sense. We had given Avery eggs one time, and she threw them up. Her skin had been bumpy and itchy for a while, and that was the reaction from the soy. She had some problems with constipation, and that was the wheat. Sigh...



Avery had to be switched, yet again, to a new drink. She would not take the formulas that they prescribed for her, so we had to start her on Pediatric EO28. This is a orange type of juice that had the milk and soy proteins broken down for her to a level that she could drink it. This was her only "drink" till she was almost 3. It came in little 8 ounce juice boxes that were $6 a piece, and she was to drink 3 of them a day. At that time, we were on WIC, so we didn't have to pay for them...



Avery learned through all of this that food isn't fun, and it doesn't make her feel good. She learned that she has to be very cautious with foods, and that sticking to the same food items is the only "safe" way for her to go. This has been a very hard issue to deal with. She has been to numerous specialists that have tried to get her to try new food items, but we always end up back at square one.

(this is what milk does to her)

Since her diagnosis at 18 months, the only meat product that she will eat is hot dogs. So, we give her 3 different types of hot dogs. She will NOT eat the ends of the hot dogs. They have to be cut off for her. She will eat corn, carrots, and green beans for vegetables. They can't be mixed together at all, they have to be in their own little section on her plate. It is a chore to get her to eat any fruit. So far, she will sometimes eat apples, pears and pineapple. As far as snacks go, she will eat pringles, animal crackers, potato sticks, veggie chips, fruit snacks, skittles, and some cereals. She will only drink sprite, sierra mist, water, apple juice, or V8 strawberry Kiwi juice. We have tried to give her other items, and if you could witness what it's like to have a 4 1/2 year old scared out of her mind and running into her room, then you too would understand why we just leave well enough alone. I wish that she would try other items, but she won't.



In February, we had Avery tested for her food allergies again. The allergist told us that she tested so low on her wheat and soy tests that we could start introducing those items to her again. We thought this would be the beginning of new foods. It didn't go to well, and she still is back to her normal foods. We've tried fish sticks and chicken nuggets, but she wouldn't do anything but touch her tongue to them, and that was on a good day.



So, that's where we are today. I wish I could rewind time and go back to when she was 4 months old. I would have done whatever I could have to start producing milk for her again, and I would have tried my darnedest to stay away from milk. Her allergies are, I think, a direct result from being on the formula and not on breast milk.



That's our story with Avery and why she eats only "hot dogs and skittles" as some say. No one knows what it's like until they are in our shoes and battle with this every day...it stinks. But, Avery is an amazing girl, and I wouldn't change her for the world...allergies and all...

9 comments:

Theresa Marie said...

Jennisa -

I can't even begin to imagine having to go through this. Avery is an amazing little girl and I think you and Gavin are doing a wonderful job raising her! Thank God that she eats what she does - I would be afraid of food if I knew it 'hurt' me too... She has been through so much already at age 4. wow.

HomeSchool Mommy said...

WOW! Poor little girl (and mommy and daddy)!

I think you're doing a great job, though. Who cares if she's not getting a completely balanced meal right now? She's happy and I'm guessing she will eventually try new things.

Kimberly said...

Man, the confusion and frustration you guys must've went through! I agree with both comments above mine, Avery IS an amazing little girl with AMAZING parents. Landen doesn't have any food allergies (that we know of), and I don't know how in the world I would handle it but I do know that RIGHT NOW he is the pickiest eater, it is so frustrating, b/c all you want them to do is to eat healthy.

Beth~ said...

WOW...how hard!! She looks great so I think you are doing a fine job! Maybe as she get's older she'll want to try more time will tell!

Stephanie said...

I have similar issues.. I am lactose intolorent and I have IBS, so no matter what I eat, my mouth LOVES it, but my guts, hate it. I spent 18 years not knowing that I had either condition, I just new that my body never agreed with any food that I ate. But now I know and I know what foods trigger the bad 'attacks' and try to eat less of them or not eat them at all. I hope you little girl learns the food that she can have and isn't scared of it anymore.

Anonymous said...

I totally know what you're goin thru! Has she ever had anaphylaxis? Very scary!!

The frustrations of finding things for allergic kids is almost as frustrating as explaining the seriousness to friends & family.

Thank God that allergies are becoming more wide-known. Meanwhile, it's McD's hamburgers & fries for us!

Good luck,
Amy

Alycia said...

Thank goodness that you were able to find out what was causing her terrible reactions! I am passing this link onto a friend of mine in California who is having something similar happen with her daughter at this time. Thanks for sharing! I enjoy reading your blog!

Sue said...

I hear you on the eating. We had a long road with Kayla - she was in feeding therapy for 4 months. It's sad to know that Avery knows to be afraid of foods. Kayla doesn't and we are lucky for that, although it makes it harder to get her to not pick food up off the ground to eat it. LOL

All you can do is the best you can with the difficult circumstances you are given.

Hey - and she looks healthy!

:)

Kati said...

Wow, what a long hard journey for all of you! I can't imagine being a scared little girl who knows food "hurts" her, so she doesn't want to eat!

Hang in there...You've been amazingly strong and curagious this far!

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