Wednesday, August 8, 2012

An Introduction to My Family

   My family has been blessed with a vast number and variety of allergies.  Yes, I said blessed.  I believe that we have been blessed as opposed to cursed with our allergies because through them we are learning how to be the healthiest selves we can possibly be, though food, cleaning products, lifestyle choices, etc. We are constantly evolving as we add allergens and learn more about the best ways to stay healthy and happy.    
    Truman is my oldest, at 9 1/2.  He has recently been diagnosed with asthma, which is no surprise since he got pneumonia at 19 months and has had to use albuterol in the nebulizer machine at various times since then.  He is sensitive to dairy (he has to use his neb if he has too much) and gluten, and we think sulfites cause his eczema to flare.  He also has lovely seasonal allergies - though zyrtec seems to keep the eczema, runny nose, etc at bay.   He is my book worm, an remembers most of what he reads - especially about animals.  He has very educated conversations with the zoo keepers whenever we visit a zoo.  He also loves animals, outdoors, shooting bb guns and bow and arrow with his grandpa, and being in the water.  He showed his dog and his grandma's chickens in 4 H this year, and hopes to add goats next year.  Truman is very protective of his siblings and their allergies, and is learning how to look at recipes and make safe substitutions. He helps me read food labels for all of his and his siblings allergens.  Truman thankfully outgrew his allergies to mosquito and spider bites.
     Hunter is 7 and my wild man.  He is all boy, loving sports, outdoors, shooting, swimming, playing in the dirt, figuring out how things work, riding bikes and scooters and doing every single thing at full capacity. He absolutely loves anything related to airplanes, and spends hours making and flying paper airplanes throughout the house and at VBS each summer.   Hunter has allergic eczema, is allergic to dairy (bad stomach aches and behavior issues), is celiac, and is anaphylactic to bees and wasps.  He carries his epi pens in a carrier that I made him after the one I bought wore out too quickly (like I said, he is always outside, climbing).  Hunter only has a problem with food dyes when he is not gluten and dairy free - though we eat very little that has artificial color and are trying to phase out the rest. He also has environmental allergies, which we usually keep under control with liquid Zyrtec. He is an amazing advocate for himself and his sister, and has no problems having his own safe foods at school.
        Amanda is 5 1/2 and my "allergy baby", and how we got started on this journey.  After her 4 week early birth, she was in the NICU of Comer Children's Hospital for a week, where we first saw signs of her dairy allergy as she projectile vomited every NG feed over the side of her basinette.  At a few weeks old she had blood an mucous in her stools, as well as continued projectile vomiting and severe reflux. My wonderful family doc an IBCLC said classic dairy allergy, so I eliminated all dairy from my diet, and she began to improve.  Over the course of her life, Mandie has developed 20 food allergies of varying severity, the most recent being corn, chocolate, mustard, oats, and olive.  She was diagnosed with reactive airway disease at 18 months, celiac disease at age 3, and is anaphylactic allergic to dairy, shellfish, mollusks, palm, coconut, sunflower, safflower, chamomile, and almond (all contact, ingestion, and airborne).  She is allergic to peanut, honey (from the pollens), soy, wheat, sesame and bananas (we think just OAS for now).  She is allergic to latex (contact and airborne), wool, lanolin, down, molds, ragweed (entire Aster/Daisy family except lettuces and lavender), most midwest trees, dustmites, grass, grain dust (we are surrounded by fields), adhesives (most likely because they are corn based), and lidocaine.  Mandie outgrew her allergies to cats, dogs, cottonwood trees, and strawberries.  Mandie loves to be outside, especially in the pool or with any and all animals.  She has a real way with chickens and cats.  Mandie is very much a princess, though she keeps up with her brothers very well.  She is an AMAZING advocate for herself, telling people about her allergies, why she wears her epi pens, and how to use them.  She knows ALL of her allergens, and is somehow aware of what everyone else is eating - asking them to please wash when they are done eating one of her allergens.  She asks us to double check all labels, and remembers what is in most things better than we do. She won't eat anything unless her dad or Steve or I have verified is safe for her, and is trying to learn the written names of her allergens. Mandie takes Singulair each day for her RAD and allergies, and from March through November, she takes Cyproheptadine. This helps with the pollen and mold allergies, gives her an appetite, and helps keep her allergic eczema under control.
       All three of my kids have Malignant Hyperthermia , which is an allergy to anesthetics.  All four of us wear MedicAlert bracelets.
       I have a lifetime of pollen allergies, and through nursing Amanda figured out my lifelong dairy allergy, which has become anaphylactic in the past two years. I am also EXTREMELY sensitive to gluten (docs think celiac though I have not been tested) and to soy. I am allergic to wool, lanolin, down, sulfa drugs, adhesives, and have asthma. I have found relief using Advair HFA and Claritin D 24 hour, and add Flonase during spring and fall pollen season.

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