Initial Allergic Reaction

It was December 2014 and things with being a working mama were really starting to come together.   The two of us were coming up with a weekday routine that I was finally feeling okay with.   Our 30-40 minute drive to daycare and work now consisted of praying then singing songs as well as lots of babbling.  After I picked him up around 2:30 each day, I would nurse him in a lounge area outside of the bathroom of the church next door.   It was our special time together that we both looked forward to daily…. Or at least I know I did and I convinced myself that my son did too.   After that, we would pray and sing all the way home where we had our special routine there too.

However, weekends were my favorite.   I loved just spending time playing and not worrying about having to be anywhere.   My son started eating solids at 5 months of age in October….

hmmmmm….the same month that hives started.

He was very interested in food; however, did not eat much of it.  We introduced foods on a 3-5 day cycle, starting with oatmeal cereal, avocado, bananas, apples, carrots, squash, sweet potatoes, and string beans. Intense teething started up again around then too. For teething, he did not like the teething rings so much; however, loved gnawing on a frozen mini bagel like a nurse at our pediatrician’s office suggested.

In hindsight, I would never have started solids until six months of age and would never ever give a bagel to gnaw on for teething. However, what did I really know at that point about food allergies having never dealt with any myself.

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Saturday, December 13 was a typical snowy evening.   As I was setting up my son’s dinner, I was excited because it would be his first taste of yogurt. After two small spoonfuls, the verdict was in: he loved it!

However, within a minute it all changed.

He started to fuss and rub at his face.   Turning red, his lips and mouth swelled up as huge blotches formed all over his face, neck and chest. Although just an infant, fear was written all across his face.  After calling 911, an ambulance arrived in what felt like a lifetime.  In the ambulance, his state continued to get worse. I held an oxygen mask over his now slightly-blue lips.   As he started to zone out, I prayed that he did not lose his breath. When he cried, I felt a second of relief for he was breathing.

Asking the EMT repeatedly about his state, I now know that she too was worried.  Her silence spoke louder than any words could have. They did not have an EpiPen with them in the ambulance and called to meet up with another team on the way to the hospital. However, due to the snow, that did not happen. As the doors to the ambulance opened, they sprinted in holding my son as I ran behind them, helpless.

The hospital staff administered epinephrine, Benadryl, and a steroid then reassured me that everything would be okay.   It was 40 minutes after ingesting that tiny amount of yogurt and I now know that we were beyond lucky.  Not everyone gets those 40 minutes.

A moment of relief soon turned into the reality of what had happened. It mixed with guilt, throwing me into the most difficult place I had seen. That night, I slept on the floor next to his crib waking up every hour to check for breathing.  Yet, even in his sleep, TJ smiled on…

We soon learned that TJ was allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, oats, barley, rye, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, sesame, soy, and peas. At first, I spent those early months trying to defend myself to others as a good person who did not eat too many peanuts or eggs during my pregnancy.  Or, explaining why I chose to continue breastfeeding despite these allergies.   I was explaining myself to everyone to try to prove that I did not cause this and I was not an awful mom.  However, it was unhealthy and I needed to shift my focus to best help TJ.

Therefore, I turned to writing, starting this blog as an outlet for the emotions I was feeling and information that I was learning. By sharing our story, we hope to teach everyone with or without food allergies while inspiring others who wear similar shoes to smile on despite the challenges they face.   While we have just begun this journey, I have already learned to smile because:

1)      Special kinds of people wear these shoes.  Wear the label often thrown at you with pride.

For you are special.

2)      Make the most of it, don’t let challenges like food allergies define you. Only YOU can

define yourself.

3)      Ignorance is not bliss and needs to be educated.

4)      Let your faith be bigger than your fear.  Trust your instinct but always be prepared.

5)      Educating means advocating. Never apologize for it. Your child’s life never requires an apology.

Last, but definitely not least, TJ continues to inspire us each and every day. Throughout all of our emergency room trips, endless doctor appointments, and the worst days, TJ always smiles, inspiring our blog’s original name (Smiling Away Allergies) and now continuing to teach us to embrace every step of the way… every bit of our story…

…even if it means having a messy house. 

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25 thoughts on “Initial Allergic Reaction

  1. Pingback: TJ’s Daycare Update – September 26 | Smiling Away Allergies

  2. Uncle Mel

    From experience: If you are allergic to peas and peanuts you are probably going to be allergic to anything in the legume family. Soy and oats have the same protein.

    Rye and barley are in the same family as wheat.. .

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for sharing your experience with these allergies. That was mentioned to us by our allergist at the start of this. However, since last December, my son was able to food challenge peas and soy, passing both. So as far as we are told and understand, that means he either outgrew them or he was never truly allergic despite his elevated IgE levels in blood. I actually did not know that soy and oat were in the same family. Thank you for sharing this information. Maybe this is hopeful news to more of these allergies being outgrown eventually? Thanks again! =)

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      1. Uncle Mel

        You’re Welcome, and thank you for starting this blog. Reading other experiences help you better deal with and gain new insight to food allergies. . I hope your son outgrows them and soon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Thank you for the kind wishes. It means a lot to me! Talking to other people in similar shoes, encouraging words like yours, writing this blog, and most importantly, lots of praying are truly what give me strength throughout this journey. Thank you again! =)

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  3. lydiaa1614

    When I was young my mother learned that I was allergic to tomatoes and anything containing even a tiny bit. So, I was not a child who had ketchup slathered on everything to make sure I would eat it. While I grew out of the allergy, to this day I still don’t like ketchup or a lot of tomato products. My husband and I have a boat load of food allergies and intolerances between us; however, we learned about most of them in adulthood. It is difficult enough for us to keep track – I can’t imagine having to deal with a young child’s allergies. I look forward to following your blog.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for sharing your experience. What are your allergies now if you don’t mind me asking? And how old were you when you outgrew tomatoes? It’s funny you send this comment when you did because I literally just brought up how we should try to introduce tomatoes to my son’s diet. My husband was the same way with eggs after he had outgrown it, he still barely ever eats them. Thank you for stopping by, commenting, and following. =)

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      1. lydiaa1614

        I am intolerant to gluten (but not celiac as I can handle some things such as durham pasta and not others) and lactose. My allergies include eggs, pineapple, sulphites, caffeine and MSG. When I was 12 I was tested by an allergist for 64 things and I was positive for 58 of them. My Dad joked that I must have been allergic to the needles used to test. The irony of that statement came to light last year when it was determined that the scar tissue created every time I have surgery is from the fact that I am allergic to surgical steel! Any instruments used and staples cause infection and/or scarring. I was in my late teens when I finally started to not react to tomatoes, but I still find that if I have too much tomato sauce I react slightly. The severe reaction was hives and trouble breathing (not anaphylactic) but now my eyes swell and tear up but I rarely have it. I think it is the acid – same with pineapple. I hope your son can grow out of some of his allergies. It is not fun. I also now have to worry about sugar due to diabetes, fat due to a liver ailment and can’t have anything too cold!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Oh wow! That must be beyond trying and difficult. I am sorry that you have had this entire experience; however, I am glad that you have found ways to handle all of it. I pray that all of this continues to improve for you. Thank you for sharing your personal experience.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Ohhhhh that has to definitely help! I think that’s where I really need to turn my focus becoming more creative of the kitchen with these allergies.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. campfirememories

    Thank you for sharing… I think we can help each other because clearly we’re on our own when it comes to discovering food allergies. Through the years, with my own allergies, my kids, and now grandkids, I’ve discovered our bodies change almost as frequently as our minds and the ingredients in prepared foods also change. I’m not a scientist, doctor, or any sort of expert, but I’ve come to believe our bodies can max out on additives to the point of clogging our livers so they no longer filter as well as they should. We have a better chance of surviving a slip up if we are not gummed up. For me, that means not ingesting anything with preservatives. I know you found my citric acid post, so you know even that seemingly harmless ingredient is made in a lab from black mold and now mostly imported from China. Keep up the good work and there is a good chance your kids will outgrow most of the very difficult foods to avoid. My prayers are with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for this message and for stopping by. I agree that we can totally help each other out. That is truly what all of this is about in my eyes. I do look forward to following your blog as I found your posts extremely interesting, informational and very relevant to our lives. Food allergies and the entire body reaction to them often scare me; therefore, I choose to shift that focus on health and how best to ensure the best health of my son and all of us.Thank you also for the encouragement and prayers. =)

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    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for stopping by and sharing this. When I was breastfeeding and did an elimination diet of his allergies, I remember bringing up this exact thing to my husband. I guess beforehand, I never truly realized how food is involved in almost everything! Thank you again for reading. =)

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