Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Food Allergy Treatment Study Survey

As posted on the Kids with Food Allergies board...

FOOD ALLERGY TREATMENT SURVEY STUDY

Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh is conducting a research study that looks at food-related allergic reactions in children that caused them to be seen by a medical professional for the FIRST TIME.

Parents (of food-allergic children) are invited to complete a brief questionnaire (15 minutes).

The goal of this study is to evaluate whether food-related allergic reactions are properly treated when it is not yet known that the child is prone to food allergies (the FIRST TIME the child is seen by a medical professional for a food-related allergic reaction).

This research hopes to raise awareness about food-related allergic reactions and anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal disorder, and emphasize to medical professionals the proper treatment for these reactions.


The survey can be found here www.surveymonkey.com/anaphylaxis.

Please consider taking this survey if your child has required treatment for food allergy reactions. My feeling is that there are many medical professionals that are not completely aware of what needs to be done or addressed during major allergy reactions, and I'm hoping that studies such as this will help to solve that problem.

On a personal note, this survey was a little emotional for me. It brought back many memories from that day.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Divvies Bakery Cookbook {giveaway from The Allergic Kid}

I opened my reader today to find a post by The Allergic Kid about the new Divvies Bakery Cookbook. I have been looking forward to the release of this cookbook, and was excited to have a chance to learn more about it. Even better, she was able to share a couple of recipes from the book. Both look great! I'm starting to think about Luke's 2nd birthday party, and plan on trying a couple of the cupcake recipes before hand in hopes of finding the perfect one for his party =) She is also holding a giveaway, sponsored by the publisher, which can be found here: Divvies Bakery Cookbook Giveaway at The Allergic Kid. Good luck to all that enter!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Luke's Shoes

I came across this nifty blog, stark.raving.mad.mommy. and I'm in love. She's HILARIOUS. But reading through her About Us section, a blurb about her 6 year old daughter caught my eye. She has metatarsus adductus also (Luke's initial diagnosis), and wears shoes on the opposite feet. Here's what she said about it...

PBK tends to fall down more than other kids, because her feet curve in a bit (metatarsus adductus) and her shin bones are a little, um, twisted (tibial torsion). She used to get a lot of Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy. And we had to put her shoes on the opposite feet to help correct the curving, which made people think I was a moron. I can't tell you how many random strangers would insipidly ask, "Do you know her shoes are on the wrong feet, Mommy?" Which totally pissed The Peanut Butter Kid off. "They're not on the wrong feet," she would clarify, rolling her big brown eyes. "They're on the opposite feet." Stupid grown-ups.


I can definitely relate. While the comments don't bother me, it's still humorous. Yesterday my husband and I were joking that I should start wearing my shoes on the opposite feet to really throw people off. Or perhaps I should have a prize ready for the 50th person that asks about it.

But the best part is finding someone that has experienced what we're experiencing, and that has a sense of humor about it.




Dreams

It's funny how our brains handle stress. Dreams have always interested me. Most dreams have a reason behind it, even if it doesn't make sense at the time.

Last night I dreamed that Luke had a bad food reaction, and in my dream I couldn't find the epi pen. I woke up with my heart pounding and in a panic. I think it came from me deciding yesterday to start storing my bag (which holds the epi pens) in the hall closet. It's not far from the kitchen, but for a split second I worried and reminded myself to tell my husband where it is being kept, just in case. Of course I forgot to tell him, so I guess it was my brain's way of reminding me.

When Luke's anaphylactic reaction happened, I didn't dream the first night. I was too exhausted as we got very little sleep in the hospital. The second night was the same, no dreams - I think I was still recovering. For several nights after that though, I barely slept. One crazy dream after another. They weren't related directly to what happened. They involved weird things being in the room with me (ever seen the Saw movies? The weird puppet guy? Yeah - he was "in" my room, peeking over the edge of the bed). Each dream ended with me jumping out of bed, and either running for the bedroom door to escape or ripping the covers off of the bed trying to find whatever was freaking me out (mice, snakes, bugs, etc), before I realized that it was just a dream.

They eventually stopped, but in the couple of weeks leading up to Luke's endoscopy they started again. I can remember waking up from one, and telling my husband, I just want the dreams to stop so I can sleep. When it happens, it's like a constant bad movie being played in my head. Makes it impossible to get a good night's sleep.

This is just an example of how something like dealing with a child's severe food allergy can affect you in more ways than you would imagine.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Homemade - and Safe - Pizza

I stumbled across this recipe at All Recipes for 1-Dish Pizza. I've never made a yeast recipe, but this sounded easy so I gave it a try. The results were great! The crust itself is pretty bland - next time I will definitely add spices to the dough. But the recipe is super easy, and the kids loved it. And I loved that it was made from scratch.

*I'm posting what brands we used and found to be safe, always check before using though*
Ingredients

* Batter:
* Cooking Spray
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (Pillsbury flour)
* 2 envelopes Fleischmann's® RapidRise Yeast (used Hodgskins Mills Rapid Rise - called and was told no nut or sesame products used in facility, no risk of cross contamination with egg)
* 2 teaspoons sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 3/4 cup very warm water (120 degrees F to 130 degrees F)
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
*
* Topping:
* 1/2 cup pizza sauce (used Wegman's chunky sauce)
* 2 ounces pepperoni slices **We used Bob Evans canadian bacon and Dole pineapple instead**
* 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


Directions

1. Mix batter ingredients in a pre-sprayed 9-1/2-inch deep dish pie plate. Spread pizza sauce evenly over batter.
2. Top dough with pepperoni slices. Firmly push pepperoni into batter. Sprinkle with cheese.
3. Bake by placing in a cold oven; set temperature to 350 degrees F. Bake for 30 minutes or until done.



Thursday, July 15, 2010

Coincidence?

Since realizing recently that Luke might have more than just a mild GI allergy to egg, we've started getting rid of anything that has egg or cross contamination with egg in our house, including pasta. In the past Luke stopped eating anything pasta related. At one time, when he first started eating solids, he loved mac and cheese, spaghetti, etc. Then he just stopped eating it. Kind of the same as he did with bananas - went from loving it one day, to refusing to touch it the next. Today I found pasta marked as vegan at Wegman's, so I bought several boxes. Made spaghetti tonight and put some on Luke's plate. I was expecting the same thing as usual - him playing with it for a few minutes, then throwing it to the dog. Didn't happen though - he LOVED it. So I'm left wondering...is it a coincidence that he ate pasta for the first time in close to a year the same time that I bought pasta that wasn't contaminated with egg? Or did something feel different to him, and he was able to enjoy eating it?

The allergist has asked me several times if Luke had become a picky eater - he had. Feeding him the last several months has been difficult. I'm hoping that tonight means that as long as we have options that don't contain his allergens, he'll once again be a good eater.

Rosco is waiting for his usual dinner-time snack


No such luck tonight!


Endoscopy

Yesterday was Luke's endoscopy. It went fairly well. The hardest part for me was holding him while they put the gas mask on his face. My job was to hold his arms to keep him from grabbing the mask - and sitting there trying to cradle him, but man-handle him at the same time, was hard. Feeling him fight and slowly go limp, was hard. The doctors in the room kept telling me that I was doing great, and counted down how much longer it would take until he was completely out. He fell asleep holding onto one of my fingers. I cried when we left the room, it's just not something that you want to see your baby having to go through.

The procedure itself took just a couple of minutes. When the doctor came to get us he said about 80% of the 20 minutes that he was in there was spent trying to get blood from him for the IgE test for egg and sesame. Once again, little man has been cursed with my tiny veins! They ended up having to get it from his neck. I'm glad I didn't have to see that, I would have probably passed out!

He was one angry little man when we got to see him - screaming, throwing a fit. I sat in a chair holding him, and I almost had to ask my husband to take over because Luke was so darn strong - I was afraid I'd drop him. They finally let us go, and by the time we got to the car he was in a better mood. Loopy, but at least not screaming.

It'll be a couple of weeks before we get the results, but the doctor said that to the naked eye there wasn't any inflammation, which is good news. Hopefully the biopsy will show the same thing.



Monday, July 12, 2010

Little Lamb

I saw this Lamb over at Made and fell in love. I had dreams of Luke falling in love with it, and it keeping him company when we went for the endoscopy this week - no such luck. He does like to throw it around his room though =)

I'm not the best sewer - I'm still in the beginner stages. So my mom helped me with this one. But I learned a lot, and can't wait to make another! Which will be happening soon, as my bestest Cody in the whole wide world has requested one for himself.

I used a microfleece blanket that I no longer needed for the body, and regular felt for the other parts.




Give Him a Break!

Last Thursday was Luke's appointment with this amazing orthopedist, Dr. Tuten with Tuckahoe Orthopaedics. It was quite a day! The appt was for 1:20, so we left around 11am as it's a 1.5 hour drive. Leaving our house, Luke tripped on the concrete steps outside and landed smack dab on the top of his head. Luckily the boy has a hard head, because other than a few tears, everything was fine. The traffic however wasn't so fine. My most favorite road in Northern Virginia, I-95, was bumper to bumper for about the first 40 miles of our trip. I *heart* living in Northern Virginia (not).

Once we got past the traffic, everything was peachy except the GPS kept wanting me to get off at random exits. I finally bailed off of 95 because I realized I was dangerously close to downtown Richmond. I'm definitely not a city driver, so that would have been bad. We ended up on the outskirts of the city, so we still got a bit of a tour. Drove through Monument Avenue, which is home to, well, some monuments. Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Arthur Ashe to name a few. I was the nerd snapping pictures of the monuments with my camera phone.

We finally made it to the doctor's office right on time, but as with most doctor offices, they were running behind. Finally got in to see the doctor around 2pm. Good news? Luke's thumb looks GREAT. Doctor said he isn't worried about it at all (last September there was talk that he may be missing a tendon, and that would have required surgery, so this was excellent news). Bad news? I wasn't imagining things with Luke's toes. Dr. T. said that he has residual effects from the positional clubfeet that he was born with. So Luke gets to wear snazzy orthopedic shoes until early November. The best part is that they look like you have them on the wrong feet, so I imagine it'll be 4 months of good intentioned people saying, "did you know his shoes were on the wrong feet?". I'll just smile =)

From there we were sent to the ortho shoe people, where we got to sit around as we didn't have an appointment. At some point Cody peed his pants, and made sure to announce it to the shoe guy as soon as he came in, and then Luke pooped, which I'm sure the shoe guy loved getting whiffs of as he fitted the shoes on him.

The trip home was full of adventure too - the GPS got us lost, again, and wanted me to drive on US 1 for 60 miles (I don't think so!), but I managed to find the highway instead. 95 north was at a deadstop due to an accident on the southbound side (seriously people, it's an accident - we've all seen them - quit staring and get to driving!). About 30 miles from home Luke and Cody started flipping out, so we stopped at McDonalds for milk (Luke), nuggets (Cody) and potty break (Cody and mom while Luke squealed like a banshee in fear of the bathroom).

All in all, it was a good trip. But I just wish little Lukester would catch a break. Hasn't he had enough to deal with in his sweet 19 (ack, almost 20!) months of life?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Patriotic Craftiness

I posted awhile back that I'm trying to be more crafty. I need an outlet, and being crafty is something I've been interested in for awhile. I've started checking out various craft blogs, and came across this guest post by I Am Momma - Hear Me Roar. Cute! I love that it's a patriotic shirt that can be worn throughout the year. So I clicked over to her site. Pure heaven - crafts for boys! I've found that it's hard to find sites geared towards making stuff for boys, so this made my day.

On to the craft. I've never used freezer paper to make a stencil. Heck, I'd never even heard of freezer paper. I tried looking at Walmart as she mentioned. No luck. Tried Amazon, but only one seller offered it, and the shipping was more than the paper. Looked at various local stores, again, no luck. I finally found it at Alice.com. Bonus, free shipping!

Now, I'm a procrastinator. I start stuff with good intentions, but I tend to put things off until the last minute. Yep - I started this project about an hour before we were due to leave for the weekend. As in the Friday before the Fourth.

But, it WORKED! The stencil part took some time, but not a terrible amount. Painting was a breeze. The paint package said to allow 4 hours to dry. Psh, yeah right. Who has time for that? Nothing a hair dryer set to warm/low couldn't take care of.

And so I present, my first holiday inspired craft. Please excuse the four year old's expression. He's unable to be serious for pictures these days =)



Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Ho Hum Mum

That's how I've been feeling the last couple of days. I really want to post about a cute t-shirt that I made for both boys for the 4th of July, and will, but I need to get some allergy related stuff out.

I'm feeling so overwhelmed right now. I posted this last month about the follow up visit to the allergist after Luke's reaction to a Burger King burger. The doctor told us to avoid sesame, but didn't mention egg. We have been avoiding it anyway.

So that leads me to this week. Monday Luke ate some yogurt, and had a little left on his chin (he got away from me!). He was petting the dog, and some dog hair stuck to the yogurt on his chin. When I wiped it off, there was one hive on his chin, near where the dog hair was. It was the only one that popped up, but it was fairly large and stuck around for awhile before it disappeared. I looked online and found that dog allergies for food allergy kids are usually related to their saliva, not their hair. But that if hair gets on someone, it has more than likely been licked by the dog, so there is saliva present. I need to drag out the 500lb (exaggerating a tad) bag of dog food to check the ingredient listing. I'm crossing my fingers that his food contains egg or something else that Luke is sensitive to. Then we can toss the food and find something else. I just pray that this isn't the beginning of finding out that he is allergic to the dog. This is of course assuming it was the dog that caused the hive. He tested positive to milk on his patch test, so who knows? I sure don't these days.

And then there's today. Cody wanted french toast, but I was feeling lazy so I brought out a box of Trader Joe's french toast that we hadn't tried yet. Made some for both of us, and since no egg warning was on the label, gave a few pieces to Luke. He LOVED it, which was exciting as he's been picky lately. About 20 minutes later though he was rubbing his eyes like he was tired, and got a little whiny. That's when I noticed them - a cluster of hives around his mouth, on his chin and one on his cheek. Then while I was pinning him own trying to get a better look, one popped up on his eye brow and forehead. I read the box - listed in the middle of the ingredients it says, "may contain 2% or less of (insert several ingredients here) and egg". EGG. I lifted his shirt - no hives. Checked his back, arms and legs. None. I watched him like a hawk, but they all eventually disappeared without any other problems.

This is why I feel so overwhelmed. My mom's instinct is telling me that he has an egg allergy, and probably others. Not just GI, but good old fashioned food allergies. And that scares me. Keeping peanuts and tree nuts out of his diet has been scary enough. Worrying about other, especially sesame which isn't a top 8 and doesn't have to be declared on food labels, really scares me. What if I fail him? What if something like today happens again, and I give him something not realizing that it contains an allergen?

Oh, and the topper for me? I was reading Emily Vonder Meulen's story, and read some info on there about soy allergies. That there is some belief that if you have a peanut allergy, soy should be avoided also. That there is a "link" between severe peanut allergies and severe soy allergies. Great. Soy is in everything. I'm not a fan of soy products anyway, but almost every single processed item has soy in it. And now I have a paranoia that he will end up reacting to soy the same that he reacted to peanuts. I'm going to look into it more, but it's weighing a little heavy on my mind for now.