Friday, June 27, 2008

Allergy Testing-Part #4

This post will be about my reactions thoughts, my feelings. When the allergy testing was all over, and we were leaving the building, I definitely had mixed emotions. I really knew that all I wanted to do was cry, but couldn't because of Madison. Only one gentle tear escaped before I got it under control, and Madison was none the wiser. First & foremost, I was happy that the testing was over, and I felt that we had been held in God's hands throughout the process. It was good to have a medical opinion about the food allergy in writing, and that what we had been doing to prevent a reaction were the right things. But, I was also sad. I felt a sense of guilt that I had done this to my child, or that I had passed it on, or that I could have prevented it, or even more crazy things that a parent thinks when their child is diagnosed with anything. I know it's not true, but it was what I was feeling. Then, a heavy sense of burden, wondering if I, as a Mom, could handle the severity of having a child with a nut allergy. I also felt helpless in the times that my child is not with me - that is so out of my control. So, it was with mixed emotions that I continued through the day. Today, as I have processed through some of that emotion, I do feel better about the sad things. Not so blown out of proportion, I guess. I feel empowered (I already emailed both of our senators about food allergy legislation!!) I feel a little more capable, and I feel a sense of completion of something that has been a long time coming.

Allergy Testing-Part #3

To continue, the nurses take out the test vials from the refrigerator. They are already pre-dabbed. Madison puts her arms out, underside up, on top of a pillow, which is on top of a mobile desk that can be adjusted to proper height. They take the **8** 8-pronged vials and one by one dab them on her arms. Dab is probably not a good word, more like gently push the "caterpillars" on her arms so that they only break the 1st layer of her skin. It caused no pain to Madison. Some of the dots were darker than others (the darkest was mushroom, no problems there!) All of Madison's vials were foods - none of the grasses, molds, etc. Then of the 64 dots, one dot is left off, and a positive reactor placed there separately. This will show what a positive reaction should look like, as well as indicate that the test is working. They do the first 32 her right arm, and then the other 32 on her left arm. Within 30 seconds, Madison starts saying that her left arm is hurting. They have warned her that a positive reaction might feel like a mosquito bite. Pretty soon, all but one of the nut "caterpillar" dabs are reacting. The area is turning red, stinging, and all we can do is blow on it to make it cooler. The entire test is 15 minutes, and before 4 minutes hit, the nurse is wiping off the peanut dab, and adding a benedryl-type cream to take away the sting. Madison cries just a little as the rest of the nut dabs react, and strangely other dab reacted...the orange. (Madison eats a lot of mandarin oranges from the can, but not so many fresh ones, and she has never had a reaction that I know of. However, this would explain the V8 smoothie problem.) They clean off the nut area right before the full 15 minutes are over, and then the rest of the dabs when the test is done. They measure the positive reaction area for size, and then measure the other food reactions to compare them. (There is also a small reaction to lima beans - darn the luck - a medical reason NOT to eat lima beans!) Once all this was done, the doctor came back to check the chart and discuss food allergies. There was so much info given to list here, and all my questions were answered, but I so thankful that God worked it out the way He did. In the course of conversation, I mentioned that we went to Crossroads Christian Church, and the doctor said she did too. And in fact, she is the one that helped get our daycare and nursery staff educated and trained about food allergies. Again, I can see where God is protecting us!

Allergy Testing-Part #2

OK - now to yesterday. Madison had literally been watching the date, counting down to her appointment. She KNEW too what the day & time was of her appointment!! She took her binkie with her (her favorite blanket) and her DS video game machine, and we actually arrived early (I really didn't want anything to get either of us hysterical!) They called us back into the exam room about 15 minutes later, got her vital info, and had the doctor come in just a little later. The doctor is a "woman", as Madison requested, and she was very personable and knowledgeable (more on that later!) Now the reason that a "woman" doctor is important is because Madison told her pediatrician that she wanted a woman doctor; then, they ended up referring her to a male doctor, so I had to call & correct that. I told Madison upfront that I would tell her everything I knew about the whole process if she acted like she could handle it. She did very well & I actually think for her, treating her "like an adult" in this case, helped take away the unknowns that scare her so much. So, we start talking to the doctor and she listens to everything. (I love a doctor that listens!) So, she tells Madison about the "caterpillar" that will actually have the food samples on it. It was an 8-prong little white square thing with jagged ends on the prongs. They will put liquid dots of different foods on the ends and then push them on the undersides of her arms. No needles, no piercing of the skin, nothing scary. I think this is what made it all go well for Madison, and she even let Madison push it down on her arms to see what it would feel like. No pain!! (Praise God!) So, we headed back to a "prep" type room, where several other people were getting either allergy shots or allergy testing. (In the middle of all this, they asked Madison to participate in a laptop questionnaire about asthma, where they are conducting a study to help underpriviledged children get diagnosed with asthma more efficiently-no, we're not the underpriviledged, we're the test group!) They sit her down, take out the food samples, and we begin the testing.

Allergy Testing-Part #1

(Although I use this blog primarily for my scrapping adventures, I wanted to get into writing what happened yesterday...from my point of hopes to one day put on a scrapbook page.) We have been putting off official allergy testing for our daughter, Madison, for years. We have suspected since her first birthday that she has a food allergy, and specifically a peanut allergy. On her first birthday, we had the typical little cake (which was homemade in this case) that you set in front of the 1 year old and let them dig in. She did, and suddenly hives starting appearing everywhere that the cake had touched. As soon as we washed the cake off, the hives starting going away. Several months later, we were having chili, and it's a midwestern custom to serve peanut butter sandwiches with it. So, we gave Madison a bite of the sandwich, and she almost immediately began vomiting and got hives all over her body. The third instance, she was at church in Sunday School, and they were doing crafts, where they put peanut butter on pinecones and add birdseed. Well, the helpers had peanut butter on their hands and had washed it off - but because Madison was crying about something, they picked her up. Where they had touched her under her arms immediately broke out in the biggest hives. The last instance we've had was from a bottled V-8 smoothie. I had read the label to make sure it was clear, and it looked OK. But Madison drank it, and again, got hives all over her body and had a little trouble breathing, but just when I was going to whip her up & take her to the emergency room, she started to get better. All of these instances pointed to Madison having some kind of food allergy. And she is petrified of needles, so we had put off the allergy testing - until this summer, it became apparent that it was time to do it. Her school wouldn't acknowledge her allergy until we had it in writing from a doctor, and the chances we were taking just were not worth putting her life in jeopardy. So, yesterday, she went for allergy testing.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

New Challenges for me!

I've been hanging out at some, and I have committed to a "Summer of Scraplovin" 6 week challenge. It starts July 13th. I am excited about it, but hope that I can finish all 6 weeks. Also, starting that same week is our Arts Smarts Camp - a camp devoted to encouraging students to use their creative talents for Jesus. I love this camp. This is my 4th year to teach a scrapbooking class to 3rd, 4th, & 5th grade students. The project this year is a calendar, whereas other years we've done scrapbooks. I am looking forward to doing something different, however, I really need to get my sample started!! Finally, I have a Disney vacation album that I need to get started on, but it will all happen in it's own time!!