Thursday, November 06, 2008
We made another trip to the Doctor's office today. We've had some concerns regarding Hope and food allergies, and anyone who has been around us in the last 6 months has been warned of Hope's peanut allergy. I am not an over-protective mother, or much of a hypochondriac. But like most people, my strengthens are also my weaknesses. So, when Hope was 8 months old and she accidentally got a spoonful of peanut butter in her mouth (a BIG no-no, if you weren't aware), I figured my laid back attitude had finally gotten the best of me. Hope responded to the PB with hives and rashes all over her body, but thankfully the reaction subsided within 30 minutes or so.
She had a doctor's appointment scheduled for the very next day, and the Doc was really relaxed about the reaction or pursuing allergies. But she assumed that Hope was allergic to peanuts, for sure. As I scoured the Internet for information, I learned that most kids don't grow out of peanut allergies and that they usually become increasingly dangerous. It soothed my aching conscious to find out that most kids with allergies don't respond to an allergen the first time (unlike Hope), and that if they do respond the first time, it was probably their fate from birth. I decided that it probably wasn't my fault, but I still had a little wrestling with God to do about it since I felt horrible that my child's health was compromised in any way. I felt angry and thought this was "unfair," as if every moment of our lives isn't ordained by God himself. Eric is allergic to cats, deer hide (strange, eh?), and alfalfa. My mom and sister have many environmental allergies, but otherwise, food allergies were unheard of in our genetic line. It didn't make sense to me.
We've removed peanuts from our lives and severely limited tree nuts...and of course Hope hasn't eaten any. Nevertheless, over the last two months, Hope has had two "mystery" reactions, each one fairly extreme. We don't know what caused the reactions, as she didn't eat anything new and we weren't aware of any environmental allergen. The last reaction was about two weeks ago. I was strung out on caffeine and we were away from home. The anxiety of not knowing where this reaction was coming from or where it would take us combined with my caffeine buzz almost drove me crazy. The very next day we made a trip to the Dr. for allergy testing. I requested an emergency Epi-pen as well (co-pay $99, yeow!) which put my mind at ease a bit. The lab did a blood draw...Eva watched with rapt attention.
As I've thought and prayed about Hope and allergies, I have come to a place of complete peace. I did some research about alternative therapies for allergy sufferers and discovered that we could probably reduce her symptoms over time. Halloween came and went with lots of nutty treats, and although Hope didn't eat any of it, she didn't show any reaction to them either. I even let her hold a snickers bar in her hand...sort of tempting fate, I guess. A few weeks ago, one of Eva's friends from church was miraculously healed from many extreme food allergies. I was thrilled for her and her family, and also full of faith for God to heal Hope. Thinking about the coming holidays, with the onslaught of treats and environments where I am not in control, has made me a little nervous though.
Anyway, we reviewed the results from the blood work at the Doctor today. It was absolutely great news! Hope is officially NOT allergic to peanuts or tree nuts, and her only allergies are very minor. On a scale of 1-6 (6 being very severe), she has a level 2 allergy to eggs and also to cats. When I told Eric the news over the phone, he proudly responded, "Just like Daddy!" Ha ha. I told the Pediatrician that Hope eats eggs a lot without any reaction, so she said we probably should just watch her and expect her to completely outgrow any egg allergy she might have. As for cats, we have yet to see how that will play out. Knowing that the "mystery" reactions were still real, we'll keep an eye on her, including avoiding nuts for a few more years.
Still, I am praising God for answering our prayers for healing and for protecting little Hope all of her days!