The cashew incident at the park

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We go to a park sometimes that we call ‘sand park.’ It is one of the only parks around that has sand in it, and Cake loves the sand (like most almost 3 year olds). There’s sand, 2 play structures, swings, a basketball hoop, bathrooms (key for a potty training kid)…..it’s a fun park overall.

One of the last times we were here was over a year ago. I brought along a Lara bar (which I loved before we found out about Cake’s nut allergies). I let Cake have a bite (this was before we knew he was allergic to nuts, at that time we were only avoiding peanuts). Then Cake went and played in the sand. He somehow had sand in his hand that he rubbed on his face….then started crying. He had some kind of bite on his face that stung. Looking back, it was probably a giant itchy hive and not a bite from a bug, but who knows.

Then the crankiness kicked in. And the throwing up. Once Cake got whiney (which is rare for him), we headed to the car. Cake threw up twice before we got to the car. I got home, where Allergy Dad was conveniently working from home, and got Cake cleaned up. Allergy Dad looked online to see if a bug bite could cause throwing up. It can, especially if it’s a spider bite. I called the pediatrician and we went to see her after lunch. By then Cake had thrown up at least three other times and had giant red hives around his mouth. Fun stuff.

We saw one of the doctors that could fit us into her schedule (not our normal one). She thought it was a stomach bug and recommended benedryl and to call her if it continued. She didn’t think it was a bite from a bug or a spider and had doubts that it could be food related. Thankfully the benedryl helped and Cake stopped throwing up. I asked for an epipen, just in case the reaction was from the cashews that I ate (or in case of another incident like this one). I was denied an epipen. She left a message for Cake’s normal pediatrician with me asking for an epipen. Denied again.

Looking back, I should have fought harder for an epipen. We ended up getting one a few months later from Cake’s allergist and now keep it on hand at all times. If Cake started throwing up like that now, I would administer an epipen and go to the emergency room.

Oh, and today’s fun trip at sand park? It ended with Cake getting sand in his eye. I’m thinking this park has something against us!

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The current allergic list

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Our current list of known food allergies is pretty long – 19 foods. We have separated the list into different categories, mainly because it’s almost impossible to eat normally without eating at least some of the foods Cake is allergic to. Most importantly are the ‘never ever ever feed this to Cake’ foods, which includes cow’s milk, goat’s milk, peanuts, cashews, walnuts, pecans, poppyseeds, and pistachios. Then there’s the ‘do not feed to Cake, but if it happens it means a huge behavioral reaction which I would prefer to avoid’ which includes oranges, grapefruit & mustard, the ‘we avoid because it’s easy to avoid and causes excema’ foods, which are oats and peas.

Then there’s the rest. The rest of the foods Cake eats but I limit it if he’s had a lot of that food or if he gets a reaction like hives or excema. Excema happens often, hives not as much. These foods include wheat, soy, eggs (he’s allergic to both egg white and yolk, I only let him eat baked egg products), corn, garlic, and lemon.

Figuring out the food allergies

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I suspected Cake had food allergies from the beginning. When he was around 2-3 months old, he had all the symptoms of a milk protein sensitivity – green poops, tons of spit up, low weight gain, and excema (most of the excema came later, around 5-6 months old, but he had skin rashes). I was breastfeeding and quit all cows milk products and he was a different kid within a few weeks – he gained weight, stopped spitting up so much, and his skin looked better. Then I would eat another random food and he would start all over again with the rashes. Most notably was when I ate peanuts, so I quit eating those too. He was also having some breathing incidences so I brought him to my allergist.

Cake was both blood tested and back scratch tested for food allergies, as well as given a nebulizer and all the medicines that go along with it to help his breathing. At this point, I had quit eating several foods due to his reactions when I ate them, which included all cows milk products, peanuts, strawberries, crab, and watermelon. All of his tests were negative (which is common to get before age 3, even if an allergy exists). I was told to feed him foods and just stop letting him have foods that he reacts to.

At age 2, my husband wanted to do a milk challenge. We decided it was best to redo the back scratch test just to see if he may have a reaction before an actual milk challenge. He had excema and other symptoms still, so food allergies were still suspected. He came up positive to 19 foods. 19. We now have most of the foods separated into categories of ones he can’t have (& we have an epipen for), ones he can have a small amount of, ones that cause behavioral reactions, and ones I let him eat unless his excema goes crazy.

So now at home we have asthma medicines, a nebulizer, an antihistamine, AviQ epipens, and a whole bunch of food Cake can eat. I follow Cake’s diet for the most part (it’s just easier that way).

(This post will also be in the ‘about’ section)

Welcome to the blog!

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Welcome to our food allergy adventures! Cake, who is almost 3, has lots of food allergies but we try to accommodate him and try to let him eat as much ‘normal’ food as normal. Today’s task was making mock buck eye balls (from http://community.kidswithfoodallergies.org/blog/peanut-free-milk-free-chocolate-buckeye-candy).
They were yummy. And the best part? Cake was able to help make them! He mostly ate all the almond butter and sugar ‘batter’ but I managed to keep some of them for later!