So are oats and eggs and yeast.
I haven’t been talking about Parker’s allergies much lately b/c I’ve been swimming in a sea of total confusion for weeks but finally feel like I’ve gotten to the surface and am making progress on finding the shore.
That’s not a great metaphor. Whatever.
Her allergies and health in general has had me so fucking confused and frustrated and sad and overwhelmed I can barely breathe when i start thinking about it. And I’ve been crying a lot. Out of desperation mainly.
Like yesterday when she threw up multiple times while coughing simply because she had so much congestion that couldn’t clear her tight airways that i swear the only thing her body could do to get her breathing again was to puke up the snot-blockage. Seeing your kid struggle so desperately to get ONE SINGLE breath of air is the most frightening thing in the entire world. Seeing them struggle ALL DAY LONG for DAYS and WEEKS on end is a nightmare.
We’ve seen our pediatrician, an allergist, a pulmonologist and a homeopathic doctor (also an MD in case you’re wondering) trying to figure out answers as to why her asthma is so chronic and why she’s sick all the time.
We did basic allergy skin tests, blood work and finally an IgG test that tests for sensitivities along with full blown food allergies. We started testing in August and finally have an action plan.
The skin and blood tests our pediatrician and allergist ran (at my request) showed that she has a ton of environmental allergies. Dogs are by far her highest, dust a close second. Then every single tree/grass/mold/etc came back positive. Her whole back was one red hot zone during the skin test. When i asked about food allergies the allergist said if she was allergic to a food we’d know it b/c she’s have hives or worse (think anaphylactic shock!). So I pushed aside the nagging feelings that maybe something she eats is keeping her sick all the time.
Both of their kids had the IgG and IgE tests run by a Homeopath. After months of following Lyndsay’s story (I say that like I read her blog, which I do, but we’ve also had many many long discussions about how we think her lessons could and SHOULD be applied to Parker) and seeing the benefits and then hearing Adriane’s story about the same Homeopath I made an appointment with… well, it sealed the deal. I scheduled the meeting with the doc and we got the test done. We went to Christian Wessling of Webster Family Practice in case you’re wondering and love them there.
In case you have never heard of the IgG test here is (verbatim) what it is from the literature they gave me:
The Food Antibody Assessment provides information on two types of allergic/immune responses to specific foods by measuring concentrations of IgG or IgE antibodies in your blood. A positive antibody result indicates the presence of allergic response (IgE) or food hypersensitivities (IgG) as opposed to food intolerance’s (like when you die from eating a peanut).
While the report focuses on antibody formation, other factors will also have an impact on symptom development, including:
- An individual’s “total load” of metabolic and inflammatory stressors on the immune system
- The ability of the immune system to prevent symptoms
- The ability of the intestinal wall to act as an effect barrier to food antigens
Does any of that make sense?
Basically, your body can be sensitive to a certain food and although you may not die from it, it can effect your overall health. I know, for me personally, I get awful stomach cramps and diarrhea from Chinese food so I’ve always assumed I have a sensitivity to MSG or something. It’s a pretty immediate response which means IF I do have a sensitivity (I’ve never been tested) it’s an IgE response. My friend Adriane’s son started having migraines around 18 months and after lots of testing it turns out he has an IgG response (which means it’s delayed and very hard to figure out without the test) to beans, so by eliminating beans from his diet they’ve kept migraines at bay!
BUT. While your body may be sensitive to a certain food, the other things happening in your body play a huge role as well. Like, how healthy your immune system is in general.
So what does this all means for Parker?
She had a ton of food on her IgG test come back positive. Luckily she had no super strong reactions, all of hers were in the low and very low categories, which is a huge blessing. But for her, it’s more about those bullet points up there. Normally she probably wouldn’t react to the VL (very low) or 1+ (low) reactions at all but because her immune system is so compromised she catches every single germ she comes into contact with.
I hope this is all making sense because it’s confusing to me and I think I have a handle on it! I’m probably doing a craptastic job of explaining all of this and the only reason I want to is to 1. track her progress here when I can so that hopefully, like Lyndsay, I can one day look back and see how far we’ve come and 2. if this helps ANYONE with a sick kid it’s worth all the typing!
Here is the list of 1+ foods she has to stay COMPLETELY away from for 8 weeks.. beef, lamb, chicken, cheddar cheese, oysters, turkey and cottage cheese. The lamb, oysters and cottage cheese should be easy. The others, harder because we normally eat a meat at almost every single meal.
And here is the list of VL foods we’re allowed to only give her once a week, but she can only have one VL food each day so tracking these will be harder. Which is why I’m basically going to try to avoid them completely if possible, just to leave it as easy (HA!) as possible… buckwheat, egg white, grapefruit, peanuts, string beans, cabbage, egg yolk, green pepper, pork, yeast, carrots, goat’s milk, oats, rice, corn, soy, peas and grapes.
This is the list that makes me want to scream FUCK at the top of my lungs.
But here’s the deal.
Although these foods aren’t necessarily making her sick, the constant stream of them, along with her CONSTANT exposure to dogs (which she tests at the highest 3+ level) has squashed her immune system SO much she can’t fight off infection at all. Which is why she’s sick ALL THE TIME. It’s why she has asthma and eczema and a chronic cough. It’s why she has dark circles under her eyes and why she doesn’t sleep well.
Like it says up there, her “total load” of stressors on her immune system are huge (diet and dogs). AND her immune system can’t prevent the symptoms (asthma/cough/eczema). AND her intestinal wall isn’t a good barrier.
SO she’s sick. A lot.
What are we doing to fix all of this?
Changing her diet. Immediately and completely. We moved. At least for the time being, to my parent’s house who have one small non-shedding dog as opposed to two huge Golden Retrievers (this is worth a whole other blog post but yes, we have relocated and it was a HARD decision but one FOUR doctors told us we had to do if we wanted her to ever get well). She’s on an asthma remedy, supplements and we’re using essential oils (more on this in a later post as well). And slowly but surely I’m getting the chemicals out of the house, making her bedroom a safe sleeping environment and implementing a lot of other changes to help us all be healthier.
Does this seem extreme? Maybe. I know Chris thinks so at times and we’ve had our fair share of arguments. But here’s the thing. In the grand scheme these are all small changes (some BIG ones like the diet and moving homes). And each one helps a little. And if all I have to do is a few small things each day to make my little girl healthy? I’m doing it.
It’s not about a full life change like Lynds tells me all the time. It’s about all the small changes. It’s about talking to doctors and friends. it’s about online research and learning. It’s about having support (our parents and friends have been crazy supportive which is a huge blessing).
Here’s what it boils down to.
She’s my daughter. My baby girl. And if ANYTHING I can personally do makes her feel better I’m going to do it. If I have any kind of power to help her heal, I’m all over it. Because I’m her mom. Her protector.
I love this quote Lyndsay just sent to me tonight… “There is no way to be a perfect mother, but a million ways to be a good one.” – Jill Churchill
I am NOT putting all this out there because I think I know it all. Trust me. I am just at the start of learning all of this. It’s more because I want to keep track of it all and ultimately keep our families updated.
And truly, at the end of the day, I just want to go to bed knowing I tried my hardest to be a good mom.