Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Our Story

We are starting the year with a healthy child.  It was only mid-July of 2010 that we received the news that our daughter had food allergies.  It was a long-awaited and much appreciated diagnosis because we now had a name to go along with the struggle.  As a parent, your only wish is for healthy and happy children and that you are capable of giving them the world.  That was not our reality for many years.  When our daughter received her three month immunization, we saw a change.  She would no longer breast feed and would cry uncontrollably at times.  The doctors, of course, told my husband and me that we were just the parents to an emotional child.  At 10 months old or so, we were told that she had an allergic reaction to the oatmeal cereal.  She was not to have any foods containing oats, oat flour, etc, and we were to retry the food in 6 months.  We followed doctors’ orders and in six months she was able to eat oatmeal again.  By the age of three she would lay down frequently and when we would ask what was wrong she would just say that her stomach and her back hurt.  That is all she would say; nothing else hurt except her stomach and her back.  Numerous visits were made to our pediatrician.  When I say numerous, I mean that they hated to see me come into the office.  Finally, a few months into our struggle, they told us that she tested positive for mono.  My three year old had mono and I was floored.  I figured she obtained it from story hour or gymnastics; she was positive for mono in the spring and finally felt like herself in September.  By October I left my job at our local newspaper and went back to school to receive my nursing degree.  I knew there was more going on.  During my last year of nursing school, after numerous visits back to the doctor with the same complaints; our pediatrician sent us to a specialist five hours away at a large children’s hospital.  There we were given a diagnosis of hypersensitivity with an emphasis on sensory perception autism.  The doctor told us that her back hurts because she can literally feel all of her joints, muscles, etc.  She compared it to us stepping on a rock; she would feel like she was stepping on a plate of broken glass.  During her growth spurts she couldn’t even feel her bladder; it hurt her to walk at times.  She would only eat vanilla yogurt and nothing else.  The specialist told us that her biggest obstacle would be us, and that we should push her to try more foods and get her body stronger.  So began my work.  I was the mother and I would fix this problem.  I graduated nursing school and we decided I would only work part-time.  I started mashing bananas to mix with her yogurt to get her eating more texture and eventually it worked and she slowly started eating more foods.  We started yoga to get her muscles stronger and when she was old enough she started playing soccer; her now favorite sport.  The only problem is that her stomach and back was still hurting and now she developed urticaria at random times.  The doctor gave us zyrtec to give during the urticaria and an MRI showed an abscess on her appendix; the surgeon opted not to do surgery in hopes it would go away on its own.  We now also discovered a heart murmur.  By this time, our pediatrician had moved away and in a last stitch effort I went back to the office to see a different doctor.  It was the best decision I ever made.  She took one look at her and said that she looked as if she had allergies and requested that we get some blood work done that day.  Two days later they called with the news that she was allergic to wheat, soy, and walnuts.  They wanted us to get blood work done to check for Celiac’s disease and also made us an appointment with a pediatric allergist.  She tested negative for the Celiac’s and during the scratch test she tested positive for wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.  This was discovered two weeks before school was scheduled to start.  The public school she attends cannot guarantee food allergy safety, therefore we bought a microwave to place in her classroom and she takes her lunch on a daily basis.  By September I left my job to stay home until a routine could really be obtained.  I now look forward to a happy, healthy future for our daughter who is currently oozing with health.  She still has problems with her back, certain textures, and over-stimulation.  As parents, we have a little different outlook on life.  We have better patience, a stronger knowledge, and the confidence that we will do whatever it takes to give our children the health and strength they need for a prosperous future.