Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Looks like I won't be throwing away the wheat-free flour mixes any time soon..

Ella and I survived our first Mommy & Daughter skin test. Going into the test, I was well prepared. I brought along a bunch of distractions including pens & paper, books, games and lollipops. No doubt that I was more anxious than she was, having done the test before. The doctor explained everything to Ella and showed her what the testing stamp looks like.

I was the first up, getting the full panel of 60 plus a few others including some of the foods that we know Ella is allergic to. I also had her retest shellfish, including lobster, crab, oysters, clams and scallops. The test was not as uncomfortable as I remembered. I think it used to be more of a true "scratch" test. Anyway, I had Ella watch watch the nurse was doing so that she new what to expect. It actually sort of tickled more than it hurt.

And then Ella was up. She was a brave little soldier. I held her in my arms as the test was being done. I had to hold her arms to keep her from moving. Once the test started, she was pretty upset. But once the stamps were on she stopped crying. (We decided to not test her for pistachios because she is so allergic that it might have caused a severe reaction.) Instantly, hives began to appear on her back. And she was pretty uncomfortable with the itching. The lollipops saved the day. And when it got really itchy, we cuddled as close as we could without messing up each of our results.

My back also was itching like crazy but it helped to have her to focus on.

The doctor came in to check the results. There were many surprises for me, not so many with Ella. She is still very allergic to all nuts, sesame, wheat and eggs. She is still slightly allergic to soy, but it seems to be diminishing. The odd thing was that last year her blood test claimed that she in not allergic to pecans. But her skin test showed that she is highly allergic to them. So thankfully, I have never given her any. (Not that we would have anyway, as cross contamination with nut manufacturers is a risk that I would be unwilling to take.) So although we were hoping for better news we are relieved that no new allergies have emerged. Thankfully, she still shows no reaction to milk. As far as environmental allergens go, she also tested positive to some pollens and grasses, as well as dust mites. She also tested highly allergic to histamines. I guess each of us respond differently to histamines that are in the foods that we eat. Some foods naturally have histamines in them. Others release histamines once they are consumed. The doctor gave us a list of foods that we might want to try and avoid... cheese, citrus, berries, tomatoes & chocolate. Since Ella's diet is already so restricted, I am not going to pull any of this unless I see a pattern develop where she eats something and has a specific reaction.

As far as my test results are concerned, I was a bit shocked. My body reacted very little to the shellfish samples. Of all the shellfish that they tested, I am only mildly allergic to oysters (1 on a scale of 1 to 4) and I had a questionable response to shrimp and clams. But I did have a mild reaction to the shellfish mix (part of the standard food panel that includes the top six things that people are allergic to most including wheat, milk, peanuts, soy and eggs). So rather than sending me directly to a seafood restaurant to enjoy a celebratory lobster dinner, my doctor is ordering blood tests to get more info. So the jury is still out, but maybe I will be able to enjoy my beloved scallops once more? The other thing that she told me is that I am not allergic to iodine, which another doctor had previously told me. So that will make life a lot easier for me on many levels.

I have a host of other seasonal/environmental allergies, all playing a large part in my chronic sinusitis. But the good news on that front is that I no longer seem to be allergic to pet hair and dander, as I once was. So the kids might just be able to get a cat someday, after all.

After they read our backs, they washed us off and that is when the fun really started with Ella. In cleaning her up, the allergens that she is most allergic to got spread around. Her back quickly was covered in hundreds of tiny hives. She looked like a creature with a shell made of ripples and spots. She was screaming that her back was itchy. They gave her Zyrtec and rubbed a topical cortisone cream all over her. After a half an hour the hives were only getting worse. So they gave her Benadryl. We sat waiting for her hives to go down. After about 1 1/2 hours, she seemed to be improving so the doctor released us. I was pretty upset and Ella was totally out of it. Thank God we did not rub the pistachios on her. My guess is the culprits were the sesame and peanuts, as her response hives for those allergens were the size of two quarters placed next to one another.

Overall, the test was worth doing. But I was really hoping that Ella's wheat allergy would have decreased over the past year. Thankfully we have lots of options and it really is good to know what we are up against. I am just hoping and praying that Milo will not have to deal with any of this. Fingers are crossed...

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