Monthly Archives: September 2015

10 Feel-Good Reasons to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™

With October just a day away, check out ten excellent reasons to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project this Halloween. Heck, I’ll give you an 11th reason….you’ll help us to smile on…

Source: 10 Feel-Good Reasons to Participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™

Worry-Free Wednesdays – “Impossible is not a Word”

I believe that nothing in life is impossible.  With that same frame of mind, I believe that TJ will outgrow all of his allergies, even the ones that statistics and research tell us are often not outgrown (peanuts and tree nuts).  Some may think I am irrational and have false hope.  However, my response to them is that I am cautiously optimistic and 100% trust in God. Plus, what good does it do for anyone involved if we declare something negative as a constant in life.  All it does is overshadow hope and faith.  With that being said, always remember that prayer with belief is powerful so smile on with us…

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Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome is a type of food allergy that I wanted to learn more about.  Therefore, I found this article extremely informative and wanted to share. Smiling on…

Source: Food Protein-Induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (FPIES)

Stories That Make Us Smile: “Little Brother’s Fearless Food Allergy Advocate”

From now on, I will share some positive stories that make us smile in hopes that they will do the same for you.   Smile along with us and read: Little Brother’s Fearless Food Allergy Advocate

(Source: http://allergicliving.com/)

SMILES

TIPSy TUESDAYS: Always Read Labels – The Reality of Hidden Allergens – PART 3 (EGGS)

From food to non-food products, it is extremely crucial to be on the look out for hidden allergens. Reading food labels and learning about ingredients becomes second nature when living with food allergies.   However, even when you are comfortable with a product, it is important still double check the label especially since companies can change the makeup of their products. In addition, the ingredients in many everyday items will amaze you at times.   I know that I continue to be surprised by many of the components of common foods and non-food products.

Here is some of the information about EGGS that I have learned throughout the course of this journey so far. (It does NOT include every location of these allergens as we are still learning.)

EGGS 2


1) EGG ALLERGY

In the United States, egg is one of the top 8 most common food allergies and second most common allergies among children. Like any allergy, it is important to once again read all labels, checking for any ingredients that may contain eggs.  According to the Food Allergen Labeling Consumer Protection Act (FALCPA), companies are required to label their products for the presence of eggs.  However,  there are some products that are not covered by these FDA allergen labeling laws and therefore, are exempt.

Some include:

  • Foods that are not regulated by the FDA
  • Prescription & over-the-counter drugs
  • Cosmetics, shampoo, mouthwash, toothpaste, shaving cream
  • Alcoholic beverages and tobacco products
  • Pet foods and supplies
  • Toys and crafts
  • And others….

For more information about product labeling, click here.

To read the complete law, click here.


EGG ALLERGY AVOIDANCE LIST & RESOURCE

The following link is an amazing resource for those with an egg allergy.   The link contains an egg allergy avoidance list and travel-size cards.  It also includes the hidden names for eggs.

Egg-Allergy-Avoidance-List-Hidden-Names

Source: http://www.kidswithfoodallergies.org


This second link contains food avoidance lists for the top 8 allergens.

Tips For Avoiding Your Allergen

Source: http://www.foodallergy.org/home


Eggs and Vaccinations

Some vaccines contain egg protein. Read more about this here.   This is why TJ now gets some of his vaccines at his allergist’s office. For example, about a month ago, he received the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) shot by a nurse at this office.   While I was so anxious about him having this vaccine and any potential reactions it may cause, he was safely administered it with no reactions, minus a slight eczema flare-up. Unfortunately, we will soon need to schedule to get his flu shot there too since daycare requires it by law. Since the egg-free version Flublok is only FDA approved for people 18 years of age or older, this is not an option.

Egg Allergy & the Flu Vaccine


Eggs in my Wine?!?!?

Here is an example of just how important it is to read every single label.

Last May, I was on the elimination diet of all of TJ’s allergies in order to continue breastfeeding.  One Friday night as I waited for my husband to get home from picking up food, I poured some wine. Just when I was about to have a sip, I noticed its label…

WINE BLOG

“This wine was produced with the aid of egg fining, and traces may remain.”

This just goes to show everyone who is dealing with food allergies to read every single label even when it seems irrational to do so!


Since we want to educate others on the world of food allergies and believe sharing is caring, we continue to smile on…


Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.

TIPSy TUESDAYS – Always Read Labels –

Research Article: Atopic Dermatitis & the Peanut Allergy

“History and severity of atopic dermatitis (AD) are risk factors for peanut allergy. Recent evidence suggests that children can become sensitized to food allergens through an impaired skin barrier… “

peanut

Read more about this research here: Atopic dermatitis increases the effect of exposure to peanut antigen in dust on peanut sensitization and likely peanut allergy

Source: http://www.jacionline.org/


And we smile on because….

LOVE

Allergy-friendly & Gluten-free Pasta Choices

While TJ has only tried corn pasta so far, I find comfort in knowing there are a bunch of different options for someone with his allergies. Therefore, I wanted to share the following resource as we smile on…

http://allergicliving.com/2014/10/23/allergy-friendly-and-gluten-free-pasta-choices/

(Source: Allergic LIving )

Oats & The Gluten Free Diet

OATS    &      glutenfree

Sometimes the world of food allergies is beyond confusing.   One area that I have found confusing is this very topic: oats and the gluten-free diet.  Because of that, I found the following article helpful so I wanted to share and smile on…

Oats & the Gluten Free Diet

Source: http://allergicliving.com/

 

 

Food Allergies on the Rise – What do you believe to be the cause?

According to FARE, it is estimated that up to 15 million Americans have food allergies, affecting 1 in every 13 children under the age of 18. What is causing this increase? There are a bunch of theories out there as well as tons of research being done to try to figure this out.  However, we are interested in your thoughts. Please participate in the following poll and help us smile on…

TJ’s Daycare Update – September 26

It has been almost a month since we started back at work and daycare after having off for the summer. Therefore, I wanted to give an update on how everything is going with TJ being back at daycare as an active toddler with his eczema and multiple food allergies. While there have been some challenges, we are blessed because he has been safe. So let me recap week by week the challenges while also counting our blessings.

For more background information on the safety plan we put together for TJ’s utmost safety, check out these two previous posts:

  1. Preparing for Daycare (A Plan in the Works)
  2. TJ’s Daycare Accommodations

Leading up to that first week back, I experienced major anxiety, worrying about all the “what ifs” and horrible possibilities that could happen. I even reached out to different moms through other allergy sites about sending their toddlers with multiple food allergies to daycare. After the first few people responded to my post, I started to get even more upset. They were mostly all suggesting not to send TJ to a daycare at all and offering other options that they themselves took. While I appreciated all the suggestions especially since I had been the one who asked, I grew even more anxious. That’s when I realized that I was not looking for suggestions. Instead I was hunting for confirmation from everyone and anyone that we were making the right decision for TJ. Asking others on other allergy sites for suggestions is one thing and a great resource to have.  However, searching for confirmation all over the place is the same exact reason that complicated and frustrated me last winter when TJ’s allergies were first discovered. I reminded myself that I do NOT need confirmation from everyone and anyone who will listen. Therefore, I stopped reading the other posts and suggestions, and shifted my focus to trusting our detailed plan, my mother’s intuition and most importantly, God. Repeating to myself over and over again every single time a worry comes to mind… “I trust you God.”

Therefore, with the start of the new school year, TJ  started back at the daycare facility that is a block from my work and has been working with us since he started at 6 months.  This staff has been working  more closely with us since his initial allergic reaction in December. (Read more about that experience here.) And even more closely now that he is a very active toddler among many other active toddlers.


So, let’s get back to the actual update:

WEEK 1
Challenge: The Food Strike

In addition to the screaming that happened and broke my heart every morning when I dropped him off, TJ would not eat much at daycare that first week, and even had two days of total refusal. Thankfully, he would drink his soy toddler formula. However, we were panicked since he was losing weight in only 4 days being at daycare. He would, however, eat his dinner at home on those days.

Was it just the transition back to daycare?

Was it our fault for allowing and using Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and music videos (ha) during mealtimes at home to get him to eat? (At the start of the summer since TJ’s iron levels were slightly low, we were following our pediatrician’s advice to not give a supplement yet and try different iron-rich foods. Therefore, we gave into the television and it worked! ) However, was it causing a problem now?

Was teething not helping the situation?

Or, a thought that crossed my mind which several others Including my hubby may think I’m crazy for …

Even though TJ was only 16 months, did he somehow already understand that only food from Mommy and Daddy was safe? Was God protecting him with this strike?

Counting our blessings: The hunger strike then continued over that weekend at home. All of the sudden, TJ wanted to feed himself the specific foods that he wanted. So, after emailing our pediatrician, we followed TJ’s lead and also avoided watching Mickey. By the end of that weekend, he was eating and much more independent with it. And, two new teeth had cut through … the upper canines. Ouch!

TEETHINGIf you ask me, these new teeth and independent phase ( hunger strike and all) could not have come at a better time. Now that TJ was eating more on his own, he did not need as much assistance from anyone and there would less of a chance of cross contamination during mealtimes. Every day when I pick TJ up from daycare, I thank God for keeping him safe that day. Despite the hunger strike,  I count my blessings… TJ was protected and safe.

WEEK 2
Challenge: No More High Chair?

To start the week off, TJ and I had a “talk” in the car about eating at daycare and that all of the food is safe and sent by Mommy and Daddy. (Ha I know this is a bit silly but hey, they understand more than we think they do, right?) As we went to get out of the car that morning, TJ held on tightly to one of his favorite stuffed animals, Buddy. Since I did not want to upset him, I let him bring it with him. He did not cry that morning and actually ate half of his food! Thank you Buddy and the rest of his stuffed buddies who take turns going to school with TJ each day now.  Our mornings are no longer filled with tears.

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With the eating improving week 2, another challenge presented itself though. That Friday when I picked TJ up for the day, he was not drinking his afternoon sippy cup in the high chair we had provided.  Instead, he was seated at one of the main tables where four other toddlers eat.  He was seated in a seat labeled “Hunter.” While there had been conversation about TJ eventually being transitioned from the safe, allergen-free high chair to the “food allergy safe table,” we did not think that this would happen without us knowing and on the 8th day of school!!! Plus, he wasn’t even at the table designated for allergies.  He sat at one of the main tables.

NO MORE HIGH CHAIR

As soon as TJ saw me, he threw his sippy cup down onto the table and ran to me.  While I know that the staff cleans the tables and it is a peanut and tree nut free classroom, I was not comfortable with the entire scenario and how it went down without us knowing.   I told his teacher that I was not comfortable with this and explained my reasons why.  However, it was Friday, I was exhausted, wanted to beat traffic, and discuss this with my husband before deciding what to do next.

SURPRISE

One of my biggest fears before the school year started was that everyone would be super cautious and careful with TJ to begin with.  Then, as the weeks and months went by, they would become “comfortable” and more relaxed with everything. I did not expect that comfort to already present itself on day 8 though!

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Counting our blessings: We emailed the directors that weekend very nicely explaining our concerns with this change.  They responded right away with a very supportive email, indirectly letting us know that they had no idea about the change.   After speaking with them, it was clarified to everyone that for now TJ is to sit in his high chair for all meals.  At the end of October, we will all discuss switching him to his allergen-free table. They also assured us that before any change occurs with TJ we would be contacted and asked our thoughts on it.   TJ also now participates in art activities at the main tables.   However, food is not involved.

We count our blessings…Not only is a daycare facility going above and beyond for TJ’s safety, he has been protected and safe.


WEEK 3

Challenge: First Cold of the School Year

Counting our blessings: Although colds and sicknesses stink and I hate to see my Cutes not feeling well, I know that they are inevitable especially when you attend a daycare. Because I know that TJ has been kept safe for almost a month now and a facility is working so closely with us even though they don’t have to, this first cold doesn’t even seem like a challenge at all. Therefore, we are extremely blessed and thankful.  With all of that being said and some extra cuddles and rest, we know that we will kick this cold in the butt so we smile on…