The Beginning of Our Journey with Allergy Desensitization
Thanks, Jennifer, for asking me to share our story. When she first asked me, I immediately told myself I wasn’t going to write this because I am not a writer or a blogger. I have few blogs that I actually follow religiously for that matter. But, the more I thought about it, I wanted to share our journey, or at least the beginning of it, with other moms who might be considering this program or may not have even heard about it yet.
So, I’m Amanda, a mom, wife, sister, aunt, friend, and general super woman! I run a small in-home daycare currently. I worked in Corporate America for a couple years after my kids were born, but the stress of worrying about their allergies and having a daycare provider I could truly trust was too much. Being the mom of a kid with food allergies is tough! My husband, Mike, and I were blessed with two boys – both with food allergies. With no definite record of history in our families when it comes to food allergies it has been a rough road emotionally for me. My oldest son, Zack age 6, is allergic to peanuts. At this point we haven’t had him tested for anything else and we avoid all nuts completely. My second son, Luke age 5, is allergic to milk, egg and peanuts – all Level 5.
Our allergist, Dr. Whitney Molis, has been wonderful with our boys since they were diagnosed at very early ages. The great news is that Dr. Molis has a desensitization program available for kids who are at least 5 years old. The program introduces very small amounts of an allergen in a liquid solution over a period of months as determined by the doctor. Each week, the solution becomes more concentrated, and as the child advances, small doses of the whole food are introduced for an additional time frame (again as determined by the doctor), resulting in tolerance to the allergen, thus allowing the child to consume wheat, eggs, peanuts and/or milk without any adverse reactions.
We decided to start the desensitization program with Luke, and tackle his milk allergy first (as it seems to be the most difficult to avoid in store bought products). Less than a week ago, we visited Dr. Molis to begin the process. The appointment was scheduled for 4.5 hours. We arrived with lots of activities to keep us entertained as we were limited to our exam room and the restroom. The nurse took Luke’s vitals and weight and brought in the first dose of milk solution (which is simply milk and water). After each dose, he was required to take a drink of another beverage and swish it around in his mouth to avoid any contact sensations. We were allowed to bring a drink of our choice and of course Luke was overjoyed to have his very own bottle of red Gatorade. We repeated this process every 15 minutes for 3 hours. Once Luke had his 12th and final dose of the milk solution, we waited for an hour in the office to make sure there were no reactions. My understanding was after 3 doses the solution is made a little stronger and more concentrated building up the amount of milk in the solution – but yet it was still not quite enough for his body to be able to detect it.
It was a little scarier coming home with that cold jar of milk solution and a syringe. Now that there was a baseline of milk solution in Luke’s body, we need to keep up the doses at home twice every day until our next visit the following week. We’re on our 6th day and so far Luke hasn’t had any kind of reaction at all to the solution. I will take any small success that I can!!! YAY! Our next appointment is tomorrow and I’m very interested to see how his body tolerates the increase in concentration.
There is an emotional side to this process for me. The first couple home doses were verydifficult for me to give. Knowing that I am giving my son something that his body naturally rejects and finds harmful tore at me. It felt like I was poisoning him in a way. However, I’ve prayed about this program and I trust Dr. Molis 100%. The success rate for this program is basically 100% from what I’ve read. What a blessing for a mother to know that there is something out there that can FINALLY help my child’s allergies. I can’t wait to have a pizza party and take him out for ice cream (with chocolate syrup as he has requested), for us to be able to buy food, and plan meals with just a little bit more ease.
It’s estimated that with the milk allergy this process takes approximately 6 months. It can take longer depending on each child. Once the child graduates from the program, they should drink 8oz of whole milk twice per day — every day — as maintenance. In addition, my little Luke will also be able to consume as much milk and milk products as he wants.
My children may or may not outgrow their food allergies. I feel blessed to know that even if they never truly outgrow the allergies, there is still a way for them to eat without worry and fear.
*DISCLAIMER – I am not a doctor, nurse or physician. Please speak with your doctor directly for medical advice.