Sunday, September 14, 2008

Sigh...Back to Square One

Last week Brian took Kiersta in for her "oral challenge" to see if she was still allergic to peanuts. Unfortunately she is.  The doctor started with a peanut butter rub on her lip. Everything was going well and the next phase, "chew a peanut and then spit it out" was about to begin.  However, right then Brian noticed that Kiersta had hives.  The rest of the testing was cancelled and we are back to square one.  We have to wait two more years before we have her tested again.  Two more years of label reading, two more years of worrying, two more years of not eating Chinese food, two more years of...well, the same.

When Brian called me and gave me the news, I was so sad.  I had been so hopeful and felt that there was no way she could still be allergic, but I was wrong.  Apparently this had been the second time in a week that there had been a negative scratch test result and then a positive result from the oral challenge.  The doctors are looking into the possibility of a bad batch of peanut scratch testers.  I just want for Kiersta to be "normal."  I don't want her to start elementary school next year where food is unrestricted and kids share.  She may just have to go to my school so that I can be there to keep an eye on things.  Kiersta is disappointed too.

Here's one sad girl (age 17 months)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Wii!!!!! This is fun!

Last week  I bought a used Nintendo Wii.  The 14 year old boy I bought it from had only played it 3 times and decided he would rather have a laptop, so he was selling it in order to earn the money.  I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with me when the 38 year old female wants something a 14 year old male doesn't want.  His mother assured me it's because he has so many other gaming systems and would rather play Rock Band than go bowling.

Unfortunately the kid forgot to include one of the cables and the manuals so I had to wait a few days for him to find them.  Four days later I had all of the parts.  Brian hooked it up for me on Friday night, but I was so tired from a long week at work that I fell asleep on Kiersta's floor. Brian stayed up until 3 am playing.  I took my turn on Saturday.  Kiersta had a lot of fun designing her Mii and thought that was a game all on its own.  Her favorite game is the cow riding game on Wii Play.  I'm feeling partial to tennis.  Brian is liking baseball, especially once he figured out that he can hit the ball out of the park by just flicking his wrist instead of taking a real swing.  I also learned that I have the fitness age of a 69 year old (because I couldn't time my swings right in baseball and didn't hit a single ball); I guess I'll have to work on that.

I also learned that there is no way we could have had a Wii at our trailer.  I would have hit the ceiling when serving or swinging the racket in tennis.  As it is, we're not sure we can really even play a 2-player game without causing physical damage to one another.  The coffee table is pushed to the side  and the couch is pushed back.  No, we didn't have to move the couch outside (though that would provide more space), this picture was taken when we were upgrading to a new used couch and had the old one posted for free take away on Craig's List, and it just seemed appropriate.

I've been very disciplined today though and haven't played once.  I worked on cleaning out Kiersta's room of toys, books, and clothing that she no longer uses or wears--with Kiersta's input, of course.  This process took most of the day.  

I'm looking forward to buying some new games. Anyone have any good suggestions?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Encouraging News from the Peanut Gallery

My little peanut at 6 months on a rainy afternoon in Bodie.

As many of you know, Kiersta is allergic to peanuts.  We found out just after her second birthday when Brian gave her some peanut butter on a rice cake; Kiersta immediately broke out in hives.  At that time we met with a pediatric allergist and had a blood test done to confirm our fears.  Kiersta scored a 3.2 on the allergy scale.  What the heck does that mean? Basically, someone who scores 15 or above is pretty much 100% sure of going into anaphylaxis if peanuts are consumed.  A score of 2 or below means that a person essentially has no allergy. The 3.2 means that Kiersta has a chance of going into anaphylaxis but the chances are quite slim, however we do carry Epipens (epinephrin shots) with us everywhere we go.  The allergist believes that Kiersta has a good chance of growing out of her allergy.

As a result, we religiously read food labels to find out if foods are "processed in a plant that processes peanuts," "is processed on a line that processes peanuts," or actually "contains peanuts."  All of these categories are off limits.  We've managed to get her daycare to stop serving peanut butter and educated many people, ourselves included, on peanut allergies.

Recently I went grocery shopping.  I was, as usual, reading labels and looking for foods without peanuts.  I picked up a box of Strawberry Chex and a box of Chocolate Chex (I know, I know, not the healthiest choices).  The Strawberry Chex contained peanut flour, the chocolate cereal did not.  I thought that was strange but went ahead and bought the chocolate cereal.  I gave Kiersta a bowl of it the next morning for breakfast, she loved it.  The next day Brian was about to give her a bowl but was double checking the ingredients and saw that it actually contained peanut flour!  You may be asking yourself, "How in the world did this happen with all of the label reading that happens in this family?"  Well, I'll tell you.  The Chocolate Chex had a sample packet of mocha flavored Chex Mix seasoning inside.  The ingredients for the sample packet were printed on one side of the box, the ingredients for the cereal were on the other side panel. When I picked up the box, I read the sample side.  Why the manufacturer put sample ingredients on the side panel, I'll never understand.  I was trying to be responsible, but obviously I screwed up.  The good news though is that Kiersta did not have any kind of reaction! :)

Which leads to the events of today.  Because there was no allergic reaction we thought that maybe, just maybe our ordeal is over.  Today we met with Kiersta's allergist for the first time in 2 1/2 years.  I expected to just go in and talk and set up a follow up appointment for actual testing.  To my surprise, the doctor offered to have a scratch test done right then and there.  I quickly agreed.  Kiersta was also agreeable until she realized she was going to get poked on her arm and then attempted to fight off the nurse.  The nurse was ultimately successful in scratching Kiersta three times initially and then 2 more when there wasn't enough liquid in the histamine and control scratches.  The histamine spot formed a hive.  The control stayed clear as did the peanut spot!  This is VERY good news.  It looks like Kiersta may be peanut allergy free. The next step is an "oral challenge" in the allergist's office where she'll have to eat dry-roasted peanuts while being monitored.  Kiersta doesn't want to do this because she thinks she won't like peanuts. While Kiersta may never be a fan of peanuts or peanut butter, it will be so nice if we can go through life without having to be so careful all the time.  Keep your fingers crossed for us.