Alyssa

Well, we’ve survived it for another year. Alyssa’s allergist appointment went as well as can be expected and we are all happy to be home.

We piled in the van with Nana and Papa to head to Clifton Park on Wednesday morning. I’m so thankful we’ve been able to stay at this location – Certified Allergy has several – as we were traveling into Troy for her visits. After gathering basic information and going over all the test results with the doctor, Alyssa is still highly allergic to all traces of cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Unfortunately, the lab that did Alyssa’s bloodwork uses a different scoring system for their RAST tests. The doctor wasn’t too pleased about that. It doesn’t give us as much of an understanding about what her allergies are doing. Either way though, Alyssa’s numbers are in the 40-500 range. A specific allergen needs to test at less that 2 before the doctor will consider doing an in-office food challenge. Only with a number below 2 and a successful in-office food challenge is a child considered free of the allergy.

Now that Alyssa is 6, it’s time to face up to the reality that she may not outgrow her allergies. Her doctor has been honest and forthcoming with us for 6 years now and we take her advice seriously. Once a child is over age 5 and still has incredibly high RAST numbers, it becomes unlikely that things will change. It was strongly recommended that Alyssa get a medical ID bracelet for times when she is away from me. They aren’t often but now that she’s getting older, I’m sure that will change. We’re looking into this company because the bracelets are so pretty!

Alyssa, as usual, handled things quite well. We’re going to start experimenting with soy cheeses so she can have a real pizza. I think that’s the only thing we haven’t found a good substitute for yet.

After the appointment, we celebrated the girls’ good behavior with a trip to Build-A-Bear. Alyssa already has a bunny from her birthday, but she chose a fancy outfit and shoes. Lael and Lauren each chose a creature to stuff without all the accessories. Dinner out and a stroll around a mall with more that 5 stores completed the day.

The girls had some time sledding and playing on Thursday morning before we headed home. Apart from a (very) few tired tears, it was an excellent time away. The girls are did a great job and we were super proud of their behavior. Obviously, we’d rather that Alyssa didn’t have any food allergies but in the grand scheme of things – it really isn’t anything to complain about. She is a happy, healthy girl! And for that we are so thankful.

Allergist

It’s that time again.

Alyssa has her check-up with her allergist. She has already been through the blood work. Her RAST test results came back as still being strongly positive. We’re not sure if she’ll have to go through the skin prick tests as well. If we can avoid them, we will.

This isn’t our favorite trip of the year but we’re still hopeful that she will outgrow some of her allergies one day.

more results

I’m sure if most people walked into allergy testing they would test positive to something. Alyssa had 50 skin tests yesterday. 50. It was a painful day but our girl was brave and strong. She was tested for some animals, several trees, pollens, molds, mites as well as her food allergies again.

The bad news:
She is allergic to dust mites, several kinds of molds and several kinds of pollens, as well as dog and cat. The mold and dust mite allergies are strong and we’ll be taking some steps to lower her exposure to these things. She is also still highly allergic to peanut and cow’s milk. We got the full results from her blood tests last month. On a scale of 0-500, Alyssa’s cow’s milk was a 36. Her egg white was a 41 and egg yolk an 8. Her peanut was over 500.

The good news:
Her allergies to the pollens, dog and cat are very minor. (We won’t be getting rod of our Max puppy!) And perhaps the most exciting (and frustrating) moment of the day – the skin test for egg yolk and egg white was completely negative. Completely. Not even a red dot. But since her blood test was just last month and showed her to be strongly allergic, the doctor recommended continued avoidance. But she was completely baffled as to why the skin test was so strongly negative. Rather than waiting a year for another check-up as we’ve been doing for the last couple of years, she wants to see Alyssa back in 6 months. Hopefully she will re-do the skin test for egg then and we will see some progress.

the little blonde girl

– On Thursday evening, my dad called to talk with the girls. As Alyssa was chatting with him, she said “Papa, there’s a motor home just like yours in front of our house!” Papa decided to take a short detour and spend the evening at our house. We went for ice cream and then the big girls left with Papa Friday afternoon for our weekend trip to his house.

– We’ve gone swimming, walking, fishing (Alyssa caught a fish!), to the arcade, shopping and hit our favorite ice cream shop (the only one that has sorbet for our little blonde girl). Lots of marshmallows and fire. And unfortunately a bit of rain. But its been fun.

But today is the day that I dread. We have to take Alyssa back to the allergist for more skin tests. She is being tested for environmental allergens in hopes that it will help us control her asthma. I’m thankful that Josh is coming this time. Lael and Lauren will stay home with Nana and Papa. The appointment isn’t until 2:30 but I already have a knot in my stomach, knowing how painful and uncomfortable these tests are for my girl. Prayers are always appreciated. 🙂

more info

Alyssa’s results are disappointing for one main reason. When she was first diagnosed at 5 months of age, I was told she had a 90% chance of outgrowing the milk and egg allergy by age 5. She will be 5 this coming October. Now I’m sure that when she was younger her milk and egg were probably closer to a level 6 allergy. So it is progress. But until the allergy gets well below a level 2 she has to avoid it completely.

I guess since we were this close to age 5, I assumed that her allergy would be closer to outgrown. Granted we’re half way there but I’m definitely “glass is half empty” on this one. I really need to tighten things up in the kitchen in hopes that it will help. That means preparing Alyssa’s food with separate utensils, serving her first before anything can get cross-contaminated, washing my hands after I touch an allergen and before I touch her food, etc. The more strict her avoidance, the better it is for her hopes of outgrowing it.

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I’m going to get several quarts of strawberries tomorrow. Some will be frozen whole and some I will make into jam and can. Have I ever made jam? No. Have I ever canned? No. Do I even have a clue as to what I’m doing or where to start? No. But I have this book handy. I mean, there are people I can call for help but what good is being self-sufficient if you can’t figure out how to do things your self, right?

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This cool weather is such a nice break from the extreme heat and humidity we were having. Just think of how fast all the flowers and plants are going to grow once it gets hot again. After soaking in all this rain, giving the roots time to absorb water rather than having the sun burn it right off … I like summer.