Our Peanut-free Journey

Life with a peanut allergic son.

1st Grade done. Wheal results for this year. — July 23, 2010

1st Grade done. Wheal results for this year.

Since I last posted, five months ago!, Alex has finished first grade. Other than the few bumps I previously mentioned it was an uneventful year. Thank goodness.

He also had an allergist appointment during that time. His wheal has gotten smaller (now 12mm) but he is still very allergic to peanuts. I know that every peanut allergy is serious in that we never know when the reaction will be anaphylaxis but Alex’s wheal and spread results indicate that he is 100% guaranteed to have a reaction if exposed to peanut protein. The only unknown is what that reaction will be.

Alex was only diagnosed with a peanut allergy because he ended up with a rash and a very swollen eye when he was 20-months-old. I had given him peanut butter crackers that morning. The third time he was exposed to peanuts. I believe the other two times gave him a small rash as well but nothing else was out of the ordinary.

For the first three years I just got his RAST test done every year. He varied between level 2 and level 3 with the blood test. Then before he started school I felt that he needed to see an actual allergist. His kindergarten year he saw the allergist in December and his wheal was 16mm. He was also diagnosed with cat and dog allergies (which we already knew), a spring tree and some kind of fall weed. I believe there were 23 pricks in all. Thankfully he was not allergic to any other food product including tree nuts.

I have to explain to people sometimes that peanuts are not actually nuts at all. They are legumes like peas etc. The look on their face is usually pretty funny.

So, that’s that. We have 37 days left in our summer vacation. Around day 25 or so I will be meeting with the new teachers and discussing protocol for this coming year. Fingers crossed it goes well!

The Allergist — December 31, 2008

The Allergist

Sounds like a book. Lol.

Our first allergist appointment went well. I was told things I already knew and we also found out some things we were 99% sure we knew and I found out something that made me feel very, I can’t find the right word, I’ll go with deflated.

First, the peanut allergy. When the nurse at the allergist’s office asked if he had any allergies, I said he was allergic to peanuts. She grimaced and said, “oh that’s a big one”, thank you I’m very aware of that. I know I sound snide but I’m well aware of how bad a peanut allergy is. Anyway, the doctor came in and asked about his past reactions and what prompted us to see her today. I told her that we had never seen an allergist and I just wanted to get her opinions on some things. She was very nice and we talked a lot about Alex’s history.

Second, other allergies. Although he was never formally diagnosed with cat, dog, seasonal allergies, we were pretty sure he had them. He can’t go to anyone’s house with a cat or dog without having an allergic reaction and come March, he is one miserable little man. So, you probably know how we find this stuff out. Skin test it is. Alex had 23 tests done on his back. The worst part of this whole thing was not having him touch his back for 15 minutes. He kept saying it itched. It was a loooooong 15 minutes.

Other allergies include cat, dog, grass pollen and lambs quarter. The latter is apparently a fall weed. Who knew. What the allergist found interesting is that he tested negative for tree pollen. So we aren’t sure what is causing his spring allergies. She said it could be a tree they don’t test for. Interesting.

Now for the biggie. The one that has left me deflated. Prior to this appointment, from what I have read, Alex had about a 50-75% chance of reacting to peanuts based on his RAST. However, today his wheal was 15mm and left me with the grave knowledge that he has a 95% chance of reacting to a peanut ingestion. It would be 100% but the allergist said that with a RAST as low as his it puts him in a very grey area.

She did say that she would not say he will never outgrow this. She has some patients where she tells the family point blank that there is no chance they will outgrow it based on wheal size and RAST. Again, Alex is in that grey area based on his own RAST, wheal and past reaction history. She told me it’s not futile to hold onto hope. So that’s what I’m doing. Hoping, praying, wishing.

RAST scores at a glance. — August 15, 2008

RAST scores at a glance.

I just found the paper that had Alex’s RAST scores written down and I decided to document it here so that I can keep it for future use. I know that these numbers basically don’t tell me anything and that anaphylaxis can happen regardless of your class but it is still a bummer that his lowest score was his second year. It really surprises me because he ate may contains at that time without me even knowing it. I wasn’t as educated in the beginning and he ate things then that I would not let him have now. Funny that his second score was the lowest. So here they are:

  • October 2004 – 3.63 Class 3
  • October 2005 – 1.09 Class 2
  • February 2007 – 2.63 Class 2
  • June 2008 – 3.81 Class 3
  • December 2008 – Wheal 15mm
  • April 2010 – Wheal 12mm
Vacation Fine – RAST not good. — June 29, 2008

Vacation Fine – RAST not good.

Our beach vacation went great. Alex was able to eat out without incident and enjoy most of the things the beach had to offer. He was a like a fish in water with the ocean. He loved it. Although he loved the beach, he loved playing games on the boardwalk the best.

While we were there our daughter did something to her eye and I ended up having to call the pediatrician. As they were hanging up they said that there was a note on Alex’s chart that he RAST test came back and he is still a Class 3 peanut allergy.

Alex started as a Class 3 and then the last two years he was a Class 2. I had such high hopes of it being a Class 1 this year. At least we would be headed in the right direction. But to be a class 3 was such a blow to my already fragile state. Fragile due to the school situation. Which we still haven’t decided on. I have a month to figure out what we are going to do. Right now I am leaning much more toward homeschooling. At least until he is able to understand the symptoms of an allergic reaction and able to administer his epi-pen himself.

This latest test score has pretty much told me that Alex will not outgrow his allergy. I have decided to look into some teaching hospitals around us to see if they are doing any kind of clinical trials. I would love to be able to send Alex to school without worrying that a slight touch of peanut would send him into anaphylaxis. I have read stories of peanut allergic children who ingest a small amount of peanut protein every day. They are able to withstand some amount of peanut with no problem thus taking the “may contain” scare out of day-to-day living.