We brought her back to the allergist in October for full followup. We introduced the questions about her asthma and he gave us a full nebulizer kit to keep on hand. At this time, and the main purpose for this appointment was a full workup and testing for the “top eight” allergens. Dairy, Soy, Egg, Wheat, Shelfish, Fish, Peanut and Tree Nuts. All were skin tested and all came back a resounding positive. He said at that time, “Well, yep; you have an Allergy Kid”. At that time we figured that she was not growing out of these allergies anytime soon and we really had to begin to permanently adjust our life. So the adjustment began.
What does a life adjustment look like? Well, we started to eliminate everything she was allergic to from our home. (within reason don’t get crazy now) At first our transition was mostly food ingestion and food contact related. Food contact became increasingly more important to watch for as we start seeing her constantly putting her hands in her mouth, exploring the world around her with her mouth, etc. This might have been a good time for us to invent our own product line of sanitizer wipers, since we started using them for all sorts of contact scenarios. Shopping carts, public chairs and seats, carnival rides, community kids toys, etc. We aren’t “Those parents” by any means.
This is a picture of Shayla from mid July where she was being passed around and held during a family picnic at Mima & Grandpa’s. She was in a diaper only because it was hot and this was the result of some kind of topical transfer from being held by some of our family members. (this kinda breaks my heart to see today) I think this was also a pivotal point in our awareness on contact allergies.
We actually realized how important wiping things was as we would weave our way through life with her and watching all her hive outbreaks. She almost always had to wear long pants during every season, otherwise her contact outbreaks would be so bad.
I will give you one example of something we learned. We went to one of our favorite restaurants recently and wiped all the woodwork around where she would be sitting. The process of wiping some old unfinished woodwork actually makes the wood wet and the dormant allergens now have a medium to transfer again and that day; even after we wiped everything, she had huge hives on the backs of her thighs and forearms.
With regards to food ingestion, we began adopting all her food restrictions as our own. Completely changing the way we eat for the better. Jen dug deep and started really exploring food recipes, exotic and simple. Experimenting with baking and cooking with alternate ingredients. Green Smoothies for breakfast almost daily to kickstart our vitamins. Food that we too could feel satisfactory and enjoyable. The look in Shayla’s eyes as she eats quinoa and fruit, while we indulge in baked lasagna, was simply too heartbreaking to deal with consistently. I’d rather eat whatever she eats so we all can live through this together and there is minimal guilt. So begins our journey into healthy, whole, and “Shayla Free” foods.
Disclaimer: We haven’t 100% converted as we still do use milk in our coffee, peanut butter in the high cupboard, eggs for breakfast sometimes.