The new allergy mantra: You probably won’t outgrow it
"I'll never be able to eat there, will I, Mommy?" he asked.
"Probably not, babes. Probably not."
In years past, my answer would have been different because I let each new round of allergy testing raise new hope. This year, though I tried to downplay it in front of Big Guy, I was almost optimistic. His levels had been falling steadily - in fact, he was "only" on the high end of moderately allergic to garlic, but because he'd had reactions in the past his doctor wanted to wait. Plus he's nearly 7. That's the age when many childhood allergies begin to disappear.
If the garlic sensitivity would fall just a bit more, he could be a bit more normal, I thought. Take-out pizza and ketchup with his fries. Salsa at restaurants. Pepperoni.
Instead, it went up. He's now highly sensitive to garlic and all tree nuts. Previously, he'd nonallergic to almonds. He'd always been highly sensitive to egg, and his levels climbed higher this time around. His peanut allergy is through the roof at 70 - double his last result. Anything over 17.5 is considered "very high." He's likely going to react to peanut oil as well, his doctor cautioned, which explains why he started choking at the mall a few months back when he sat next to a friend who was eating Asian food. If it keeps doubling every two years, eventually he's going to react from looking at a peanut three states away.
He's also on the high end of "moderately sensitive" to most other foods he was tested for, including banana, green bean, oat, peas, potato, soy, tomato, wheat and virtually everything else that grows in the ground. That doesn't mean he can't eat it but it does explain a history of bellyaching about belly aches. It also means, based on my own food allergy history, that I need to be careful about combinations when planning meals.
He's completely nonallergic to beef, chicken, turkey, tuna, codfish, seafood,pork, lettuce, milk and chocolate. The only foods we've found that both he and I are completely nonallergic to are tuna, beef and chocolate. Pass the Hershey bar, please - without almonds.
All in all, it's a pretty discouraging result at an age when children outgrow food allergies. Outgrow it? He's not even eligible for a food challenge, which involves a patient eating every-increasing amounts of an allergen under a doctor's supervision.
In the past, I would have answered Big Guy's pizza question with "maybe someday you'll be able to eat there." Now I'm thinking that that response cruelly raises false hope. We have a new reality now.
Probably not, babes. Probably not.
Copyright 2010 Debra Legg. All rights reserved.