Sunday, March 22, 2015

My New Life: Damn you Allergens

As some of you may know we have been having some trouble with my little one who has been chronically throwing up for the past 6 – 8 months. At first we were told to ignore it but we got a second opinion and was quickly referred to a GI specialist at Sick Kids Hospital. They did a bunch of blood tests, which didn’t really give us any answers so an endoscopy was done earlier this month.

Our little boy was put under and an upper endoscopy was done with multiple biopsies. We just found out that the results that came from the biopsies were useful. Turns out, he has very high levels of eosinophil in his upper, mid and lower esophagus and has been diagnosed with something called EOE (eosinophilic esophagitis).

To a layman, it’s an allergy that is not anaphylactic (as is the case with Ellil and peanuts) but an allergy nonetheless. Apparently, a reaction to the allergy can happen up to 10 days post ingestion, which is why it felt like his vomiting was completely random! We couldn’t link it back to any particular food as such, except milk so we stopped giving him milk thinking that maybe it was a lactose intolerance issue.  But clearly the issue isn’t lactose.

We met with the GI Doctor, the nurse who we’ve been in touch with for the appointments and then we were put through to their Dietician who came in to see us last.

The Doctor talked to us about EOE. Explained the history and symptoms in different age groups and also the two routes we could take with treatment. Option 1 was give him a steroid, which is temporary and his condition could be chronic so nobody was keen to go this route. The second route was to withhold the allergen it seemed most likely to be causing the issue.  In his case, milk or dairy of any sort.

There are 6 allergens. Milk, eggs, wheat, soy, peanuts/treenuts and shellfish. In 7 out of 10 cases for children in Ro’s age group the culprit is milk. So it seems like the obvious type of food to withhold and see if he gets better and starts putting on weight and stops vomiting.

The dietician explained the issue and in more detail what the treatment entailed.  No milk, cheese, butter, foods with dairy or milk solids or milk powder. But we have to substitute with other high caloric foods and give calcium and vitamin D.

Okay. Take a breath. Here we go.

Feels like we are entering a new world order.  A world where milk comes from nuts, cheese comes from rice and banana bread is made with avocadoes.  What is going on here?!
I was so careful when I was pregnant with both of them. No pop. No caffeine. No alcohol. No sushi. Walked everyday. Ate lots of vegetables and fruit. Took my multivitamin religiously. Maybe not as religiously as I think? I know I missed a few days here and there…who knows?

I also couldn’t breastfeed him the first 10 days because of my PDPH for which I am still incensed at the anesthesiologist at St. Mike’s about. And I wonder if I had been able to breastfeed him from the start, that maybe all this wouldn’t have happened. But I will never know that.

On the bright side, we know what the issue is and in this day and age, thanks to stores like Whole Foods that keep these alternative products on their shelves (dairy free frozen cheese pizza as an example) it makes it a lot easier to feed our kids.

If you have any dairy free recipes for birthday cakes, please send it my way!

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