The “I Don’t Knows” of Food Allergies

0

Last April it was confirmed that our son had a Tree Nut allergy. The allergist told us to stay away from all Tree Nuts. As my husband and I tried to ask questions the doctor did not listen to any of them or address any of our concerns. Basically, they gave us a sheet that listed all the Tree Nuts he should avoid and signed us up for an EpiPen.

We left that visit feeling confused, scared, worried, and a little defeated. How were we supposed to manage our son’s food allergy if we weren’t exactly sure what a Tree Nut allergy entailed.

It wasn’t until I talked with another food allergy parent at my son’s preschool that we were missing an important piece of information. She asked me what my son’s blood levels were. I didn’t know because the doctors office never called to inform us of his test results.

I called the office and found out he was a Class 2 Walnut, Class 1 Pecan, and Class 0 for Almond, Pistachio, Hazelnut, Brazil Nut and Cashew. This definitely gave me some insight and prompted me to schedule an appointment with a new allergist for a second opinion.

Photo courtesy of Pexels.

This month we finally had his second allergy test. It was informative and eye opening and the new allergist listened to my anxiety and fears. She didn’t discredit what I was saying and she gave some valuable feedback.

Family and friends were checking up on us that day and asked how his appointment went, but explaining food allergies in a quick phone conversation or text is complicated. Food Allergies are not black and white. There is a huge gray area.

This test our son tested positive for Walnut, Hazelnut, Pistachio, and Almond. He tested negative for Cashew, Brazil Nut, Sesame Seed, and Pecan. Just last year he was a Class 1 Pecan and this year he is negative!

This years skin test.

Does that mean he is growing out of his Tree Nut Allergy? I don’t know.

Does this mean he can eat the Tree Nuts he’s not allergic to? No.

The doctor explained that the way his test read was very strange. Pecan/Walnut and Cashew/Pistachio are like cousins. They are related so it’s surprising that he tested positive for one and negative for another as they share a lot of the same proteins.

This years measurements.

Her advice was to keep him away from all Tree Nuts and carry the EpiPen for emergencies. She believes he is too young to express himself if he were to have a reaction. She explained that Science is trying to catch up with Food Allergies and right now they do not have very many answers.

Even though he’s seen two different allergists and the outcome has been the same, to avoid all Tree Nuts, the experience was completely different.

We left his appointment feeling a little more educated and a little less stressed.

Will he ever go into anaphylactic shock? I don’t know.

Will he grow out of his Tree Nut allergy? I don’t know.

Will he ever be able to do an oral food challenge? I don’t know.

There are a lot of I don’t knows and the unknowns create an anxiety that is indescribable.

We are asked to put that all aside and have faith in science, doctors, and studies. We are to trust our instincts and educate the food industry that surrounds us.

We want our son’s quality of life to be like any other four year olds; birthday parties, lunch with his friends, field trips, and dining out.

As a society I feel like we are making progress towards a goal; however it is taking a lot for us to get there.

We need to turn these “I don’t knows” into solid answers.

Help me spread the word about Food Allergies to increase awareness and hope it will lead to additional funding, laws and regulations, and potential life saving studies. 

If you want to learn more about Food Allergies please visit the Food Allergy Research & Education website at https://www.foodallergy.org/

Please check out my previous allergy related posts here:

STOP: PLEASE DO NOT FEED MY CHILD

How Do You Spread Food Allergy Awareness To An Uninformed Society?

The Realization Of A Life Changing Tree Nut Allergy Diagnosis