Friday, April 3, 2009

Update: Nightline Report

So I just watched the report from last night's Nightline about food challenges and severe allergies.  As with so many of these types of reports, there were far too many questions left unanswered.  The biggest problem I had was that they showed a little girl who had had a horrible reaction after eating an ice cream cone with peanuts.  So they decided to test her with a food challenge to see if she could actually eat peanuts.  (They did not mention if she had been blood tested or not or if there were other things that she was allergic to, like maybe milk.)  In any case, they began giving her small amounts of peanut butter, gradually building it, as they monitored her reaction.  They mentioned that it was "her dream" to eat a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup.  So at the end, when it looked like is was safe, they let her eat the peanut butter cup.  My problem with the report was there was no mention as to what could have caused her to have the reaction in the first place.  As a parent, I would be freaked out to have this question mark looming over us.  Okay, so it wasn't the peanuts and maybe not the milk but what was it?

As far as Ella is concerned, I know very well what she is allergic to because I have seen very quick responses when she has eaten an offending food.  The blood tests that we have taken have only confirmed that.  There is no doubt that she is allergic to pistachios, sesame, wheat, soy and eggs.  There are a few things that the blood tests were positive on that I am not so sure about, like peanut butter.  She had it before her crazy pistachio reaction and she was fine.  So at some point we might food challenge it.  But people often ask me if I truly "know" that she is "really" allergic to wheat and soy.  And my answer is a definite, "YES, I know!"  How do I know?  Because it causes her to have insane eczema that she itches until welts form and then she keeps going until she starts to bleed.   And she sneezes and has a runny nose.  It usually takes about 3 hours to see the affects, but it happens.  And if she has a lot of wheat, it takes about a week for her skin to clear up.  And that is with regular doses of Zyrtec and Aquaphor.  Thankfully, we know what causes this discomfort in her life.   And as I have mentioned before, I would give my right arm for her to be able to eat anything and everything.

I just wish that we had more answers.  There are too many unknowns.  As a parent, that is very unsettling!

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