Monday, February 06, 2012

Ahren, Allergies and Asthma (nice alliteration!)

We had suspected for a long time that Ahren had asthma, or at least asthmatic tendencies. Every time he got a cold he would always get a bad wheezy cough. Then two weeks ago a cold, wet front moved in on a Monday and by that evening Ahren had a little cough. No fever, no runny/stuffy nose, just a cough. No big deal. Well, throughout the night his cough got worse and worse. I gave him a breathing treatment early that morning and it did absolutely nothing. I got the other boys ready for school early and dropped them off the second the doors opened and then debated on whether to run to our doctors office 3 minutes away or head to the ER 30 min away. I knew our doctors office opens early and I would make it just as they opened their doors, so as they unlocked we were coming in. it turned out to be a good call because by that point he was in moderate to severe pulmonary obstruction and heading downhill. We spent the next couple of hours fighting to get him breathing well. He received a high dose of steroids in a shot and in a breathing treatment, he got 2 breathing treatments with heavy duty meds to relax his airways (meds that were new to me) and when he finally was breathing much better, we headed to the pharmacy to get 4 new prescriptions. Two days later he was worse again and back to the doctor for another shot of steroids. We also scheduled allergy testing for this past Monday. 

The allergy testing went very well. They used a lidocaine cream to numb his back so he didn't really feel a thing. We began with the easy portion of the test, the scratch test. Each little scratchy applicator is dipped into liquid allergens and then scratched into the surface of the skin. After 20 minutes the spots are measured for a swollen red reaction bump to see if they are positive. Shoot, poor Ahren didn't hardly make it to the twenty minutes and she was scrubbing the allergens off and reaching for Benadryl. His whole back looked like he had been stung by a swarm of bees.  In fact, he was so hugely positive for almost everything that he doesn't even have to do the second half of the test where they inject the allergen under the skin with a higher dose. He will begin allergy treatment as soon as they can formulate his serum and we will have to have epi-pens on hand at all times in case of a life threatening reaction. 

So what is he allergic to? Almost every single environmental allergen except for dogs and pigweed. He is also allergic to wheat, soy, peanuts, strawberries and celery. (Celery? Is that even possible?) So starting immediately we have adjusted his diet, alerted his school, and begun reading the labels on all food. (OK, why do they print those ingredient lists in teeny, tiny print when they are so important?) It seems so far that even gluten-free products can contain soy, or a product will say wheat-free but also state it is NOT a gluten-free product. I thought Gluten came from wheat? And what is soy lecithin? They call it a stabilizer but is it really soy and therefore off limits? I have been opting for cooking my own recipes to avoid some of the hidden dangers, plus sticking to fresh whole foods that don't have hidden ingredients. 

And so, I set out to make Ahren's favorite food. Pancakes. All-Recipes is my friend and I downloaded a highly rated recipe and headed to the store. I was amazed that they had almost every single ingredient in my local grocery. So on Sunday morning, I cooked our big family breakfast and we all enjoyed Ahren allergen-free pancakes. 

Then I decided to make Ahren allergen-free brownies. They turned out wonderfully! I couldn't tell the difference. It is going to take me some time to really get the hang of this diet, but I can do it. I almost messed up on Saturday while we were out running around. I needed to feed the kids and was heading for McDonalds when it struck me. The only thing he could eat was the french fries. So after a bit of racking my brian, I swung into Panda Express and got him a chicken/rice bowl. I just hope there wasn't any hidden dangers in it, but I think I can find their ingredients on the web and know for sure in the future.


Reba said...

Poor little guy. I did that allergy test once and found out that I was allergic to cockroaches, eggs, most trees and grasses, and cows of all things. :) (I have outgrown a few of them I think; allergy shots made a WORLD of difference. I don't care to know if I am still allergic to cockroaches though) Are you going to share that brownie recipe? It looks amazing.

Elle said...

Ok, here's the lo down from the allergy queen. First... poor little dude. I feel for him. Next... food and allergy free food. It is a pain. Does his allergies include eggs and dairy? If not, it's easy. If so, that becomes more difficult. I have loads of recipes for you that may or may not include eggs. Waffles, pancakes, cakes (betty crocker is your friend), bread, pasta. Oh pasta. I have a great pasta recipe that you can then use for ravioli.

Eating out... soy sauce. Avoid the soy sauce. Soy Sauce includes wheat well, and soy. So probably that Panda Express thing wasn't the best. McDonalds: the fried, un-fried are gluten free. Fried they are not. There is cross contamination in the friers. That is the case with nearly all fast food. At McDonalds I can eat the grilled chicken bacon ranch salad, but I don't know if there is soy in the dressing.

No, wheat free does not always mean gluten free. Ezekiel bread is wheat free, but not gluten free. Best gluten free bread on the market is Canyon Bakehouse if you can find it. If you can't find that Udi's is the next best.

Good luck! Let me know if you need help deciphering stuff.

Anonymous said...

You might want to check/update with McDonalds, but I believe the fries also contain wheat.