My kids have food allergies

I'm not sure if I've ever mentioned this or not. Three of my four kids have been diagnosed with food allergies. All of them different with symptoms ranging from hardly detectable hidden abnormalities to hives to anaphylaxis. I don't pretend to have all the answers {the allergist doesn't even pretend to have all the answers!} I just thought I'd share our experience with food allergies and young kids in case anyone out there is seeking camaraderie.

It all started with Monkey, she was 15 months old in the 3%tile weight and dropping. The doctors kept telling me to feed her fatty foods. All I could think was dairy. Cheese, ice cream, milk, eggs.... little did I know I was essentially poisoning her. She would get hungry enough to eat what was in front of her, always reaching for the veggie or fruit on her plate first, and then eat the other stuff. We drew the conclusion later that milk made her feel sick, and so she refused almost all food for several days. Mommy would start to get nervous and whip up some more mac and cheese and the cycle would start all over again.

Some other symptoms she exhibited:

- slow to speak (at 15 months she only said about 8 words)

- red circle rash on her cheek after exposure to peanut butter

- redness around the mouth after exposure to eggs

At her 15 month check I mentioned to her pediatrician that I was pretty sure she had a peanut allergy. He sent me to the allergist to get a complete test run. It came back positive for milk, eggs, and peanuts.

After cutting out these food completely we began to notice an almost immediate change in her speech. She was speaking in sentences at 18 months. I remember vividly her first sentence at Bear's baby shower "mommy I play?" I'm not saying this definitely correlates to the allergy, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did.

So it was back to the drawing board for meals. I was way over my head. I had to make almost everything from scratch and was constantly checking and rechecking food labels and looking up restaurant nutrition guides.

Needless to say I was beyond relieved when she grew out of her allergies at age 4, even peanuts. How did we figure this out? Well, one night after the kids were in bed The Dude and I raided some Halloween candy. We went to bed, but missed a straggler piece of candy on the floor, a Reese's peanut butter cup. Monkey found it, ate half of it, and came to show it to me. I completely freaked out, quickly dosed her with Benadryl, stripped off all her clothes and watched her for several hours. When I saw no reaction we went and got her retested.

Bear is the one child of mine with no food allergies. So, next up, Little Dude. Allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, and sesame seeds. His reactions are pretty minor, just hives if he gets into peanut butter. We just practice strict avoidance and hope that he will grow out of them too.

As for Tiger, his only allergy is cows milk, but it's a doosy. He reminds me a bit of Monkey with how slender he is I suspected that he had a food allergy early on because he would break out in hives randomly, one from chewing on a pizza crust and once from eating a yogurt covered pretzel.

His second exposure to yogurt sent him to the hospital. I was eating Greek yogurt and sharing bites with him when all of a sudden he got really fussy and red all over. He then vomited and started to drool profusely {which doctors later told me is a sign young children exhibit when they cannot swallow.} Lastly he began coughing and gasping for air.

From the moment of his first symptom to the time I entered the ER was approximately 10 minutes, everything happened so quickly.

The doctors treated him with all kinds of medication and we were admitted overnight for observation. He was 10 months old. I was scared and reeling from the what-ifs for a while, so I never wrote about it.

A few weekends ago, we ended up back in the ER in Tulsa with his eyes swollen completely shut from hotel breakfast scrambled eggs. Sigh. A few adrenaline shots later and we were headed home. His eyes were not back to normal for several days. I have pictures of this but I don't think you want to see them. They elicit a lot of "ooooohhhh, poor baby!" from everyone who sees them. So, needless to say he is on strict avoidance of milk. Which is rather difficult.

So , I guess I'll land tonight in the only place that gives me true peace. God is Good. Supremely. Even in the sufferings of our children. He is love, our hope is in him. Let's not let the vulnerability of humanity persuade us to question the things that are TRUE. If you are out there in blogland looking for answers to food allergies, I don't have them here. But I do know a Savior who offers hope and peace amidst life's unanswered questions. To read more about Jesus and the grace offered to you through him, please visit Here and Here.

Thanks for reading, and come back in the morning for a special treat!signature