Friday, August 29, 2008

Our visit with the allergist.

Well kids, get comfy, cuz this is gonna be a long one!

The appointment was at 10am, and we pretty much got right in. The doc came and looked at him, gave his usual "how is he, when do you want to see me again, a month?" - so I said "I've got some questions, plus we were hoping to do some testing today." That turned our 15 min. appt. into 2 hours.

I had three lists. One list of the things we tested for last time, a list of suspected foods, and a list of foods I wanted to test for. I'll type up those lists for you, but first I'd like to share how testing is done, for those who are interested.

The nurse went through my list of foods I wanted tested, and marked them on a sheet. The ones I wanted tested but they didn't have, we substitued for other items. In total, counting the positive control and negative control, we did 23 tests on Alex's little back. He handled it like a champ, tho, despite being overtired because we were past naptime. I nursed him while she went and got another nurse and the two trays of food serums. When she came back, we put Alex on his tummy - only his lime green Fuzzi Bunz diaper. She then drew a grid on his back (in a washable Crayola marker), and had the other nurse rattle off the numbers (each serum has it's own number). They use these little blue plastic pieces, about 2 inches long, and they twist this, with the serum, into his skin. It makes a little scratch so the serum can get ino the skin. Going as fast as they could go, one nurse called out the numbers again as the other nurse twisted each piece into his back. Here is what he looked like during the 15 minute wait.

Like I said earlier, he handled this like a champ. He only cried while they were putting the serum in, and he calmed down once they stopped. He even looked like he might fall asleep a couple times.

See? Not so bad!

This is what Brother did to pass some of the time -

- he loved the doctor's spinning stool!

Anyway, after 15 minutes, the nurse came in, measured all of his test sites and wiped all the serum off his back, then slathered on some anti-itch-lotion, which I'm sure he appreciated. He reacted to the negative control (like he did the last time we had him tested), so they had to retest that. This time they did it on his thigh while I nursed him/binky'd him/he slept. As you can see from his back in the photo, he did have some reactions, so now I'll give you all the lists.

What we tested for last time
(his reaction to the negative control in April was 0/2, so doc said anything 0/2 and under did not qualify as an allergy. The positive control was a 0/4+++++ which means he reacted really badly to it, the poor feller)

Milk - 0/4 (yikes!! almost as bad as the positive control)
Wheat - 0/4
Mite - 0/4
Mite - 0/3 (I guess there are two kinds of dust mites?)
Whole Egg - 0/3
Cinnamon - 0/3
Garlic - 0/3

Peanut - 0/2
Oat - 0/2
Rice - 0/2
Cat hair - 1/2

What I suspected
(from seeing how he reacted when I ate these)
Green Beans

Today's testing
(They did not have some things I wanted to test, such as zucchini, pear, peach, goat's milk, or lamb)
(The negative control was 0/1+ today, so anything o/1+ and under is not considered an allergy. The positive control measured 0/4)

Banana - 0/3
Broccoli - 0/3 (really?? even the doc said he didn't think he'd ever seen anyone react to broccoli)
Cocoa Bean - 0/3
Chicken - 0/2+
Egg White - 0/2+
Turkey - 0/2 (yes! turkey! you know, the stuff I've been basically living off of for 5 months now??)
Egg Yolk - 0/2
Carrot - 0/2
Beef - 0/1+
Grape - 0/1+
Corn - 0/1+
String Beans - Green - 0/1+
Sweet Potato - 0/1+
Tomato - 0/1+
Soybean - 0/1+
Tuna - 0/1+
Black Pepper - 0/1+
Garlic - 0/1+ (yay! this has gone down since the original testing!!)
Cloves - 0/1+
Apple - 0/1
Onion - 0/1

And there we go! I feel better having more answers. Only thing, is I thought he reacted when I fed him puree'd green beans (as you read on a previous post), and doc said "Then don't give him green beans. The test could be wrong" - which leads me to wonder what else the test could be wrong about.

So now I'm hoping we can add some of the safe foods back into my diet, and even some of them into his (I might try green beans again once he clears up). Wish us luck, and keep checking back for more updates!

Edited to add: The allergist gave us a sample of Nasonex, which is the same stuff the ped wrote us a prescription for. He repeated that it doesn't get into his system - and if it goes down his throat and into the stomach, it gets ... something...can't remember. Anyway, it doesn't go anywhere. I'm guessing the stomach acids do something to it? The doc showed me a graphic of the linig of the nasal area before Nasonex, then a graphic of it after a year of being on the steroid, and it was pretty much healed. Pretty convincing, but I'm still leary. I"m just not a medicine kinda gal.
I asked the doc how long we were looking at before he grew out of the allergies. He showed me a chart, depicting the different type of reactions, and how long the allergies generally stick around. Atopic Dermatitis (skin reactions) peak around 2-3 years, then taper off. Gastrointestinal (tummy/bowels) peak around 1-2 years of age, then taper off. Allergic Rhinitis (which is what Alex has) doesn't peak until age 20. 20!! My poor baby. But like Lisa pointed out, if it isn't something that really bothers him, as he gets older, he'll be able to make the decision on his own "Do I want this food? Do I mind having a stuffy nose?" - sort of like me and my allergies. "If I eat this nut, I'll have an itchy nose. Do I mind, or do I not feel like putting up with it today?"
I'm taking probiotics (Primal Defense, with soil based organisms) that should help heal my gut (why I have allergies, myself, and why Alex is getting the food protiens through my milk, when typically he shouldn't). Allergist said to give him baby acidophilus (wrong spelling) that will help more with his allergies. He also wants me to be sure I continue to take fish oil, to help his (and mine, I think) brain.
Okay. I think thats it. For now.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Food - our worst enemy

I'm growing to hate food.

Zucchini seems to be causing him issues, and now the green beans I gave him the other day have made him sound raspy again. I think the beef I've been eating is also going onto our "no" list. I just don't know what to eat/feed him!

We went to see a new pediatrician today. He said the sound, although it sounds like it's coming from his lungs, is from tha nasal/sinus area. His lungs are clear, so he doesn't have asthma (at least for now). He gave us a prescription for a nasal spray, it is a topical steroid, so doesn't get into his system. I'd like to do some research on it before we fill the prescription. He said it would help the enlarged mucus membranes go back to normal size, and that would help him not sound so "snotty."

He doesn't recommend having him tested at the allergists again until he's one, because allergies and sensitivities come and go - losing those he has now, gaining new ones later. The mucus sound will be lessened by the steroid, so if/when I eat something he is sensitive to, he shouldn't sound as snotty. As long as Alex continues to grow and not seem bothered by the reaction, I should eat most everything, except the Top 8 Allergens (Dairy, Egg, Wheat, Soy, Fish, Shellfish, Peanuts, Treenuts). As for feeding Alex, we can give him vegetables and fruits, and rice cereal. If he seems to react to something he eats directly, take it out of his diet for a month or two, then try again.

I'm still too gun-shy to add many things back into my diet. I guess we'll just have to see!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bring on the food!

So I've been a bit hesitant to give Alex any solids because of his allergies. I gave him some zucchini and green beans a few weeks back, but then stopped. Just recently, the kid started demanding more food. How?? He would act hungry, but when I tried to nurse him, he didn't seem too interested. He would fuss when I put him in his booster chair while the rest of us ate. He kept trying to steal my food when I'd hold him while I was eating. I finally put it together - "Give Me FOOD!" he was trying to say! So I followed the advice from a link I was given (found on left side of page if you're interested) and he has been chowing down! He doesn't seem to be having a reaction to the zucchini, so I think we can keep that one on his menu. Of course I paid the price just a little bit ago with one of THE nastiest diapers ever, but he seemed oblivious. Diapers are in the washing machine as I type!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Welcome to the world, Logan Louis!!

I have a new little nephew! He's just so precious - and is the spittin' image of my brother! It was a little rough getting him here, as Jaime had to have an emergency c-section, and was put under general anesthesia, but both Baby and Mama are doing fine now. He was 7lb 10oz, 19 3/4 in. long, and has quite a bit of blonde hair. Jeff tells me Logan got Jaime's eyes, hands and feet, but everything else came from him!! I can't wait to get my hands on the lil feller!!

Here you can see the trademark cheeks:

The proud parents:

My favorite picture:

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Big days!

For the last 3 years, Ms. Sheryl has been coming to our house once a month to see how Ajay (and more recently, Alex) has been doing developmentally. She's been a great resource through the school districts Parents As Teachers group. Friday was our last visit, so we had the chance to go to her classroom for some one-on-one time there (instead of at our home). Ajay really liked playing with everything agin - this is the same classroom we go to for playgroup. I'm sure he's excited to start playgroup up again in a couple weeks (well, he would be if I told him about it, but since 3 year olds don't quite understand time, I won't put him through that kind of torture). Here are a few shots of the boys with Ms. Sheryl.

We had a playdate with Angie and her three and Lisa and Ellie. Alex had his first interaction with a puppy! He loved it - Jax nibbled on Alex's hands and feet a bit, but Alex wasn't bothered by it. He giggled at the little black and tan darling, who repaid the compliments by licking up Alex's drool. Aw, how sweet.

Biju and I took the boys on a walk in a park this past weekend. We got to see some heron, ducks, fish, turtles, and some statues and stuffed animals (taxadermy!). Ajay kept asking if the animals were real. Sort of an odd concept to try to grasp! (especially since he really doesn't understand death). Here are Biju and Ajay checking out the turtles....

A baby shower for Aunt Elissa!

Went to a nice shower for Auntie-Lissa. The boys enjoyed themselves! Ajay ran around playing with Parker, and Alex got to be held by a number of happy ladies! He also got his cloth diaper changed by brave Mama Jan - she was even able to figure out the snappi and cover!

Here is the glowing mama-to-be:

Here are Parker and Ajay putting a puzzle together:

Alex and Ellie hanging out in their carseats together (6 mo. difference):

Just for fun, I'll throw in a shot of Ajay and Parker in a similar pose, over 3 years ago (5mo difference):

The whole gang (minus the menfolk):

Parker holding Alex, with Auntie Janel and Auntie Natalie:


Here is Ajay going for a drive. You can see by his face that he is saying "vvvvvrrrrr" as he turns the steering wheel.

Ajay and I playing a game of memory (however he can't always remember the rules of the game, the little cheater!) - Alex in the background watching.

Ajay playing in the rain - he told me later he was taking a shower. Mmm-hmmm.

My little monkey playing at the park.

Alex in the umbrella stroller (which has been to India and around the world and back home, btw!) - enjoying the beautiful weather we've been having lately.

Sleep sleep sleep

We've been working on getting a little more sleep around the house.
Alex has been swaddled for most of his young life for every nap and each night. Much like this:

Or this...
(Okay - I know I have a pic of him napping in his swing, I just can't find it right now! So use your imagination. )

However, this is one of the last times he slept swaddled up. Aw, sleeping so peacefully.

Then mean ole mama goes and takes away the swaddle and makes him figure out how to sleep with those two arms of his flailing around, grabbing at his ears, his nose, his pacifier.... Eventually he figured it out (yes, he's actually sleeping in this position).

Here he is snoozing in his carseat...

And here is the big one sleeping in his handy dandy carseat. At least his head doesn't flop forward so bad - looks like a halfway comfy ride!

I'm thrilled that Alex is now sleeping 5-6.5 hours in a row!! Previously, we were getting 1.5 - 2 hours of sleep at a stretch. The changes we made were hard but are paying off it looks like. Speaking of - I should probably be in bed right now since he's about to head into his 2nd hour of sleep for the night!

Craft time!!

Ajay and I made crayon muffins.... we took some de-papered crayons, some were already broken, we snapped a few others, put them into aluminum-muffin-liners, and let them melt. I had looked at a few different websites to get this idea, and couldn't remember how they all went. So I think you're supposed to just let them get all gooey and then let them re-solidify. Instead, I totally melted them, and I'm pretty sure the wax separated from the color, because they didn't color very well on paper, and they looked odd. Next time, I'll try a lower heat setting. (like 250) OR - I think one site said to preheat the oven to 350 then shut it off when you put the crayons in. Maybe thats the trick... Anyhoo, it was a fun craft.

Ajay posing with the craft...

Ready to go into the oven...

Watching them melt...

Giving the new crayon muffins a test drive...

Friday, August 8, 2008

A dip in the pool

I know these posts are out of order, thats what happens when I don't get on here and write when I intend to. Ahyhoo - my sis and her two kids, me and my two kids, and my mom all went for a refreshing dip at the Y pool a couple weekends ago. Alex had his first swim and l-u-v-d it! He just kicked and splashed and splashed and kicked. Ajay enjoyed his swim-time, too, and liked playing with his cousins. We should really take the boys swimming more often....

A new baby in our midst!!

We're so thrilled that little Ellie Jane has made her debut!! She is now a week and a day old, the precious lil thang!! Here are some pics - some from the day she was born, at the hospital, and some from the other day when her mommy brought her for a visit. Ellie and Alex are exactly 6 months apart. As you can see by the picture, Ajay is fascinated by the princess.