Saturday, October 18, 2008

Food allergies? Anyone?

Shea has always been a picky eater.

Actually, I didn't think much of it because Jake is too, sort of. I mean, Shea always had his little food quirks. For example, he doesn't like fruit. Weird, I know, what kid doesn't like fruit? He will ONLY eat apple sauce. But, you know how it is, you get used to it. You conform to your kid's tastes.

After I went through the whole UW CHDD experience, the Pediatrician had suggested a Nutritional evaluation in the final report. Good idea, why hadn't I thought of that? I had been concerned about his pallor. He seemed pale; seemed to consistently have a wan complexion. Sometimes he would get these bright red "apple" cheeks and I had wondered if it was due to food allergies.

So, I took Shea to an on island Naturapath that I knew and liked. I gave her the history; told her about the recent diagnosis, our visits to both Children's and UW CHDD and gave her Shea's vaccination records.

I haven't brought up vaccinations before now but both my kids had the full schedule starting as early as 4 months. I thought about it but I trusted my doctor and felt that the risks of not vaccinating far outweighed the risks of getting the shots. Since then I have met and heard of many stories of children regressing back after vaccinations but honestly I never noticed anything like that with Shea.

But, like the Naturapath said, "How would you really know when they start at 4 months?" True.

We got direction on how to do a 5 day food diary and talked about an allergy test. It was easy enough to do; pin prick on his finger, blood samples on little strips mailed off to a lab, we would hear results in 2 weeks. While I was there, I asked about heavy metals testing. Nothing really worried me except our polluted arsenic soil here on this island. Oy! Come to find out, a heavy metals test is even easier to get; just a little hair sample. So, she took that too, just in case nothing showed up with the food allergies.

Then I waited. Actually I was expecting to hear something. Perhaps Shea was allergic to dairy. I mean I figured there was something going on but nothing prepared me for what I finally did find out.

I like to say that Shea got the Allergy triple crown. He showed strong allergic reaction to wheat, gluten, barley, soy, rye, eggs, dairy (whey) and peanuts. I sort of sat there in shock.

"You have got to be kidding?" I mumbled, barely coherent. Poor Kelly, what could she say? I just remember her nodding sympathetically and steering me toward a good cook book.

Cook!!?? Me!!?? My kids don't eat what I cook. Oh, they eat my Annie's cheesy noodles but that is not really cooking. And, NOW even those were verboten! What the heck was I going to do?

That's when I hit the internet and found The Gluten Free Girl. A Northwest girl who had literally been through hell before she realized she had celiac desease. Her book is a real good read. It tells her absolutely harrowing tale, has some wonderful recipes and includes a generous helping of optimism. True, she is married to a chef which has got to help but her book was just what I needed at a pretty crucial time.

I started to recover from the shock. This was not the end of the world; this was just another bump on the road. Hope is always just around the corner, if you just look for it. I picked myself up and started again.

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