Two years ago, when my daughter was 18 months old, she had a skin-prick test to check for food allergies. At that time the results showed that she was very allergic to cashews, eggs, avocado and shellfish. The eggs and avocado I had already figured out by her reactions when she had eaten them before. The cashew was a big surprise and put her into the “allergic to nuts” category because of general cross-contamination with nuts — different types of nuts are often processed together or served together, so better to just avoid all nuts to be safe.
She also was tested for peanut. The result: negative. Ah, relief. At least I only had to worry about cashews which were far less common than peanuts. She wasn’t a peanut-allergic kid and I wasn’t a peanut-allergy mom. I felt sorry for those moms who had to worry every time a peanut-butter sandwich was in the vicinity. I still read labels and avoided giving her peanuts but in my mind I knew that someday, when I was ready, we would give her a peanut challenge and she would be able to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, just like her cousins and friends. For some reason though, I was never ready to feed her a peanut, and more than 2 years later, I decided to take her in for testing again. Mother’s intuition?
Two days ago she tested positive for peanuts. A big positive, meaning that a big wheal, or welt, showed up where the peanut extract was pricked into the skin. How could this be? I was hoping that she would outgrow allergies, not get new ones. After I shed a couple of tears and tried to hide my sadness and disappointment from my daughter, I asked the allergist how she could now have a peanut allergy that she didn’t have before. He agreed that it was unusual and asked if she had been exposed to peanut at all. No, I replied. He didn’t have an explanation.
So now I am a peanut-allergy mom. I thought I was just a cashew-egg-avocado-shellfish-gluten-dairy-soy-allergy mom (can anyone make a cool acronym out of all that and add a “p”?) Sigh. At least I am in good company with other peanut-free mom bloggers: Gabrielle, Ria, Angie, allergicmom, RationalJenn, and Janeen. Thank you all for your great peanut-free advice and stories.
And at least we didn’t do a peanut challenge and have to be rushed to the emergency room, like what happened to Robyn.
Our next step is to do a RAST blood test to test for the amount of specific IgE antibodies in the blood which are present if there is an allergic reaction. According to our allergist, knowing the amount can help predict how severe the allergy is and also the likelihood of outgrowing it. I am not looking forward to the blood draw with my daughter who will surely be hysterical no matter how many lollipops are promised! I will keep you posted on the results.