June 11, 2012

Logan's Peanut Challenge

Last week, Addi and I went to see her allergist for a peanut challenge.  It went so smoothly, we couldn't have asked for anything more!  I was hoping, praying, wanting so much to have the same experience with Logan.  And although he didn't have a severe reaction to peanuts, it was disappointing.

Let me start from the beginning.  We had known from an early reaction that Logan is egg-allergic (he vomited immediately after having a bite of a scrambled egg when he was around one).  He had also had an early reaction to penicillin at around 2 years old (broke out in a rash on day 8 of a dose of penicillin for an infection).  When he was about 3, I noticed that his taste aversion to shrimp was probably more than that, when a bite of dim sum containing shrimp immediately caused "itchy tongue," as he called it.  Gradually, Logan became an more of an allergy enigma than I had originally thought. 

And so, about a year ago, Logan tested negative for peanuts on his very first skin test.  It was encouraging, but, like with Addison, I couldn't muster up the courage to challenge him with his first taste of peanut butter in our previously nut-free home.  I requested an in-office peanut challenge.

With Addi paving the way for Logan, he entered the allergist's office self-assured and happy.  He spoke to the doctor, got along like old buddies, and had his first bite of peanut butter. 

Logan was in a happy mood at the allergist's office

Part of the challenge is trying to get your child to describe how the food tastes in as clear a way as humanly possible for a five-year-old.  Words with negative connotations for kids like "spicy" could be an indication of an allergic response.  Sometimes the tongue will feel "prickly" or "itchy," or even sting or hurt.  So the first child's first response to the food is important.

Unlike Addi, who loved peanut butter after the first lick, Logan made a face.

Doctor: Do you like it?
Logan: No.
Doctor: Why?  How does it taste?
Logan: It tastes like salad.  Smirk.
Doctor: You don't like salad?
Logan: I do. 
Doctor: Then why don't you like this?
Logan: (Very matter-of-factly) It's not salad.

Unfortunately, the words that come out of my five-year-old's mouth are completely unpredictable.  He was in a bit of a silly mood, and the doctor and I kind of looked at each other with amusement, with a bit of frustration (at least on my part).

Logan passed the time between peanut butter tastes by pulling out superhero books and figures from his pack.
Right before the doctor came out with the second taste of peanut butter, Logan started scratching his arm.  He had irritated the skin, and although there weren't any hives, there were about 4 or 5 small bumps resembling a heat rash, and it was red and itchy.  Not unbearably so, but I showed the doctor before he gave him the peanut butter.  He took note of it but didn't seem too concerned.  He looked inside Logan's mouth, at his tongue and lips, and asked him if his mouth hurt in any way.  Logan said it didn't.

Doctor: So Logan, are you ready for some more?
Logan: It tastes like poop.
Doctor: (Without skipping a beat) So do you want some more poop?
Logan smiles, opens his mouth, and eats the peanut butter.
Logan: Tastes like poop.

(I have three young kids so it takes a lot to faze me, but Logan was doing a pretty good job).

At this point, the doctor explained to Logan that even though he might not love peanut butter, it's important that we have him taste it a few times so we'll know whether he could have peanut butter if he ever wanted it.  Magically, logic prevailed and Logan seemed satisfied with this explanation.

More itchy red arm before the next dose, so the doctor decided to scratch the challenge.  He put some cold water on Logan's arm, and applied cortisone.  Logan felt much better and was ready for some fresh air, but I was disappointed over an inconclusive test.  We will try again another day.

Through the ups and downs of being an allergy mom, we must remember that keeping our kids safe is our number one priority.  And even after forgetting to bring an allergy-safe treat to a birthday party, unsuccessfully trying out a new allergy-safe recipe to a less than enthusiastic brood, or going through an inconclusive peanut challenge, life is still pretty darn good.


3 comments:

  1. Bummer. So Logan already had the irritated skin going into the challenge, or it came up after the first bite? At least he tolerated the process well. Sounds like you have a great allergist!

    I wonder if I should ask our allergist about challenging Callan for peanuts. He had the slightest raised area in the skin test, so slight that the nurse was reluctant to mark it as a reaction but did so.

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    Replies
    1. He didn't have the rash when we went in, but he could've had the bumps--they were tiny. An allergic reaction to peanuts could have exacerbated a rash, or the rash could've just coincided with the test.

      Ask your doctor and see what he/she says. Everyone always has such an individualized journey that predicting the next steps is never black and white. :)

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  2. Kids say the darndest things yeah? Sorry it didn't go well.

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