Yesterday I paid bills from Maddox’s doctors appointments. After insurance, we owed approximately $250 to the allergist, $225 to the pediatrician for all of his appointments regarding his ear infections, and a bill from the hospital for $650 for his blood test. $1,000 later, and we really didn’t have any answers. The scratch test at the allergist showed a reaction to milk and also a potential reaction to cashews, beans, and peas. This led us to do the blood draw. Maddox took the blood draw like a champ. The only time he cried was when I took his apple away from him so that the nurse could have his arm. I held him in my arms with tears in my eyes but he hardly flinched. About a week later the allergist office called to tell me that he had no food allergies so I could feed him anything. She did say to start slowly with dairy. What?? No food allergies? How could that be when I saw his back well up from the scratch test? What about his eczema and his constant ear infections? All of this left me confused and frustrated. I started digging. I searched the internet for any information on food allergies. I came across and ordered Dr. Nambudripad’s book, “Say Goodbye to Illness“. In this book she talks about how blood tests can be inaccurate and she offers alternative testing methods. One of these is a computerized food and environment allergy testing. Through a little more digging, I came across Dr. Howard of Wellness Associates of Chicago. While this method of testing is of course not recognized by the medical community nor is it covered by insurance, “it has been clinically shown to have over 99% accuracy”. Proof enough for me. I made the appointment.
Maddox and I went in about a month ago. He sat on my lap and he had to hold onto a brass (or other metal?) device the size of a pen. I held my hand around his and Gene, who was administering the test, held onto his other hand and gently dabbed each of his fingers. Somehow this all was attached to the computer and instantly told us what he’s allergic to. Truthfully, I don’t really understand how this test works but I do know that it uses acupuncture points and tests for blockages. The office usually does a three page panel of common allergens but we had to give Maddox frequent breaks so we just did the most common ones. The results (below) showed that he was highly allergic to dairy, and also allergic to sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, buckwheat, oats, wheat, and gluten. The good news is that he’s not allergic to eggs, corn, sugar, soy, beans, or other nuts. Also, I finally had some answers. Still, since I hadn’t yet started weaning, I realized that this was going to be another lifestyle adjustment.
In the past month, I have basically eliminated all of these allergens from both of our diets. I also had myself tested and I came back allergic to dairy, corn, wheat, gluten, oats, and sugar. Luckily for me, I’m not allergic to coffee (which I love), alcohol (also really enjoy), or dark chocolate. I also learned that I’m allergic to feathers (I need to do something about my down comforter), cats, and on a lesser degree dogs. The good news is all of my other environmental allergies are gone…which I attribute to years of acupuncture. I had a scratch test done on my back years ago and my back literally blew up. It seemed I was allergic to everything including mold, pollen, etc. This wasn’t really a surprise for me. I knew I had allergies. Instead of doing allergy shots, which never seemed to help my brother, I took a Zyrtec everyday for years. That was until I got pregnant with Brooks. It was also when I was pregnant with Brooks that I sought out accupuncture for my sciatic nerve pain. I’ve been going ever since.
So, what are Maddox and I eating? Most days we have a smoothie, eggs, chicken sausage, and gluten free bread for breakfast, leftovers for lunch, and a meat or fish with veggies for dinner. If someone would have told me a year ago that I would eat a gluten-free, diary-free diet I would have laughed and told them that I would probably starve. I would have never believed that I could do it. Now that I am doing it, I can honestly say that it’s not that hard. I keep our house stocked with lots of gluten and diary free foods so there are plenty of options.
As for how we are doing, I think really well. Maddox’s skin looks great. You would never know that he has eczema at all. He had a cold a few weeks ago and for the first time it didn’t go to his ears. I don’t feel drastically different but I also notice that I never feel bloated, or stuffed regardless of how much I eat.
Going forward, my goal is not to never again eat ice cream. My plan is to avoid my allergens 80% of the time. The other 20% of the time, I’m going to eat whatever I want once I’m done breastfeeding (soon). It will be interesting though. For the last year that I’ve been breastfeeding, I’ve made my food choices based on Maddox. Soon though, I’ll be making food choices just for myself. I’m not sure I can stick with it without his needs being a factor but I’m going to try. Concerning Maddox, I’m going to do my best to make sure he avoids all of his allergens for at least another year. During this time, I’m hoping that his gut heals through probiotics and clean eating. Also, his immune system will continue to develop. Hopefully with a little care now, we’ll be able to experiment with these foods in the future when he’s old enough to tell me how he feels after eating them. For now, I’m grateful for the knowledge that we gained and I’m grateful we are all healthy (for the minute).