Saturday, June 22, 2013

New and Exciting World of Food Allergies

I have known several people who have had children with food allergies.  It is a tough road.  I have always felt so bad for them.  I have always thought that probably we dealt with some things that they talked about as well, but I didn't even know where to begin with eliminating things - nor did I know HOW I would be able to manage some of the dietary restrictions that they dealt with...

And yet, here we are.  Brianna has seen a naturalist who is managing her care.  Dr. Lawler ran a blood test that showed that Brianna is reacting to egg, gluten (which we knew, and have had her off of since the first of the year, except for the time right before this blood test), soy, barley, almond, cranberry, and banana.

My first reactions were:  EGG?!?  How could she be allergic to EGGS?!  We have CHICKENS!!!  We raise our own eggs...what will this mean for us?  And BANANA?!  Who is allergic to bananas? That just seemed crazy to me.

After working on this list of food allergens now for 2 months, it is SOY that is the hardest for me.  It is a government subsidized crop, and in absolutely EVERYTHING.

Over the last 2 months, we have really not done well with her elimination diet.  On average, we couldn't get past the 5 day mark.  Until recently!  We have now done very well for the last 12 days!  She is looking so much better!  The dark circles under her eyes are gone.  Her skin is clearing up.  She has more energy.  She is better able to think through cause/effect, when deciding to do something or not.

This is not only hard on me as the one who prepares meals, and does the shopping, but also on her.  She cannot have what everyone else can (though this process is showing us that a few others, Anna, Justice and Ashley all have some sensitivities, too - they just are not AS bad as Brianna).  She has to eat something special at times...and she does feel like she is missing out.  That part of all this is really hard!

Her treatment plan is three-fold now...not only are we eliminating the things that she shouldn't be eating, but we are building her system up with probiotics.  she has a powder that she takes in a drink each day, and then she also has home made kefir each day.  She is also taking fish oil to help replenish her skin.  The final leg of this is to minimize damage caused by her eating something she shouldn't.  To do this she is taking a digestive enzyme when she might eat something that is questionable, or at a pot luck where we do not know exactly what is in each thing!

The progress she has had in the last 12 days is remarkable!  And with the first 2 months under our belts, I think we will be able to make this work for us.  It is just going to take a bit of time, and energy to find new favorite recipes, and learn which brands will work, and which will not.  And it is all worth it to see how much better Brianna is feeling!

The ultimate goal is to keep her off of her food sensativities for 12-18 months, while giving her the probiotics, and the fish oil, and the digestive enzymes, is for her stomach and digestive track to heal...and ultimately we won't have to be as careful.  She will be able to have all of these things once in a while, in a rotation.  It may not be able to be part of her 'regular' diet, but it will be able to be part of her diet...kind of an extra treat.  She will at some point be able to have a piece of birthday cake, etc!  I keep reminding her of this, and trying to keep her focused on the ultimate goal.

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