Wednesday, June 10, 2015

We may be peanut free but are we nut free?

I was one of those people who used to roll their eyes a lot.  I think this whole ordeal may be Karma, or God laughing at me.

I worked at a summer camp a long time ago.  The second summer I was there, the director had decided to go totally nut free.  I used to joke that the camp may be peanut free, but there were more than enough nuts floating around the place.  I was the camp secretary, and all around whipping girl.  I did some of the purchasing, so I had a quick crash course in the peanut free market place.  Lots of stuff that you wouldn't expect has peanuts in it.  It can be "traces" or peanut oil, so you have to read carefully.  Baked goods and candy are especially problematic.  Planning events for school age children is not much fun if there is no candy or baked goods.

Fast forward 10 or so years.  My eldest daughter started preschool.  There was a child with a severe peanut allergy in her class.  Snack days thrust me back into the peanut free mindset. No peanut anything was allowed in the classroom, even in a personal lunch.  Being that Rory could not have any peanut butter in school, she would always ask for a PB&J on the weekends.

One fateful day, she decided to share her sandwich with her little sister, MJ.   Hives and vomiting quickly ensued.  There was a frantic call to the pediatrician, and a debate over whether or not to go to the ER.  I was also scolded for letting a 14 month old have peanuts.  Hey - I didn't give it to her, my 4 year old did.  I was just happy they were sharing nicely.  I wonder if this person has more than 1 child.  Seriously - who are they to judge?

I did call the pediatrician back that week, and discussed the whole ordeal some more at our 15 month appointment.  I was not quite happy with the answers they were giving me.

A.  Keep her away from peanuts (DUH!)
B.  Do you really want to put her through allergy testing?
C.  She is too little for an Epipen

Thankfully, she was also under the care of an ENT.  We had ear tubes put in just after her 1st Birthday. In addition to ENT, they also do some allergy stuff.  I called them for a second opinion. They informed me that no skin testing was necessary. There is a blood test they can do.  We were all over that.

A week after the blood test, they called me.  The nurse called with the news that MJ indeed has a peanut allergy.  She was also allergic to eggs.  The egg allergy was not as severe as the peanut allergy, but something to watch.  They also gave us a Rx for an Epipen Jr.

To that point I did not think I had seen an egg reaction.  She had an MMR and a Flu shot with no repercussions.  Then I started to think back.  I had a text conversation with my husband as proof.  The first time I ever gave her pancakes, she vomited all over the excersaucer.  I detailed for him the joy of cleaning all of the nooks and crannies of the plastic monstrosity. I realized then that all of her seemingly random vomiting was likely a result of her egg allergy.

Things went along fine for a while.  She eventually grew out of the egg allergy.  We had a peanut challenge, and it took her quite a bit to react, so we don't worry as much about accidental contamination as we used to.  I lightened up and let some peanut butter back into our house, which is when we found out Antonio has allergies of his own.

Read more about that ordeal if you wish.

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