Dantè’s allergies are a huge part of our life. We constantly need to factor his allergies into our plans. As he has both food and non food allergies this can often be tricky to manage. Apart from that there is also a mental side of dealing with his allergies.
Sometimes people say to me “oh it must be because you have allergies”
My husband, Dexter has none, however I am allergic to sulphur, this means that I can not ingest food that has been sprayed with sulphur-grapes and coffee are two major items. And no, Dantè does not have this allergy, so how could it possibly be genetically inherited from me!
I have also had people say to me it’s because of food I did or didn’t eat throughout my pregnancy. Whilst this had at one time been thought to be true, extensive studies have now show this to be false. For example- not eating nuts, doesn’t cause or stop a nut allergy! When I was only 20 weeks pregnant with Dantè I was selected to be a part of an allergy study “the Domino study”. During my pregnancy they had advised us to NOT avoid high allergy food items, to eat a healthy balanced diet and drink plenty of water, all of which I did. I was also instructed to have daily fish oil tablets. These study wanted to see the long term effect of fish oil and pregnancy. I religiously took my tablet.
When Dantè was born (43 + 0 weeks) he was a very healthy baby- 7lb 11oz & 51cm. He scored top marks on all the test, he took to the breast beautifully and he was a very content newborn. It wasn’t until his 4th month when (as instructed by our doctor) we began solid food that things got more complicated for us.
We quickly discovered he was allergic to egg and dairy! Suddenly Dantè was breaking out in rashes all over his body, itching all over, scratching at his neck, grizzly and unhappy.
Not long after his 1st birthday we attended the hospital as part of the Domino study and Dantè had his first scratch test. This was a simple process but gosh was it traumatic for us all. It was 10 minutes of preparation- discussing the test and putting the texta numbers down Dantè’s back, then 5 minutes to put on each individual allergen and then the doctor scratches it with a small pricker and then….. a 10 minute wait. So it was approximately a 25 minute process, but it felt like a lifetime.
Within seconds of having the allergens on, Dantè started howling. You could see why- his back was red and he was getting hives on affected sites. I too began cry. And as the tears streamed down my face and I tried to hold his arms back so he wouldn’t itch his back, I couldn’t think why my little boy? What have I done? What does this all mean? What now? I was simply devastated…
When the bell rung and the time was up, the doctor wiped Dantè’s back over and rubbed it with lotion. Then she began measuring the sites. After discussion of the results it was revealed Dantè had several allergies, including egg and dairy. But the doctor was hopeful he would grow out of these by the time he was at preschool. However, he had registered very highly to nuts, this was an allergy few would grow out of and he is at risk of going into anaphylactic shock. We were advised to organise a consultation with a paediatric allergist as soon as we could.
This was just the beginning of a new life for our family. Dantè has since had a further 8 scratch tests and has had allergies go and he has also grown into new ones.
We have since made many changes to our home(to be discussed in future blogs), and we take many precautions but one thing I know gor sure-
This is not our fault.
It is not my husband’s fault, it is not my fault and its certainly not Dantè’s fault.
It has been unfortunate. But it has also been an education. We will go on this road with Dantè for the rest of his life and by doing everything we can, to keep him safe and healthy (which of course any parents goal is, for us it’s even more so) and by doing this and making this commitment to him it makes us amazing parents.
Look in the mirror and congratulate yourselves for being a wonderful parent- I want you to say outloud ” I am a wonderful and amazing parent”
If you or your child has allergies- it is not your fault.