OIT: Milk Graduation!

We’ve had an exciting weekend–last Thursday E graduated from milk OIT which means he can now freely eat dairy!  At graduation E drank 300 ml of whole milk (with strawberry syrup in it, natch) with no problem. It’s truly amazing and our whole family feels so grateful.

We love Dr. Olsen. He always takes time to talk with E about whatever he wants to discuss which is usually computer games ;)
We love Dr. Olsen. He always takes time to talk with E about whatever he wants to discuss which is usually computer games 😉

After our appointment we went straight to dinner at The Pie.  They make great pizza and before it was the only pizza place we could go as a family because they would put Daiya non-dairy cheese on a pizza for E.

But on Thursday, E had his first piece of real pizza with cow cheese and cheese sticks AND an ice cream sundae for dessert 🙂

And he was fine!  Watching him eat all that dairy was AMAZING, almost like I was watching a magic trick and having trouble believing my eyes.

First bite of real cheese pizza!
First bite of real cheese pizza!
First bite of real ice cream and whipped cream!
First bite of real ice cream and whipped cream!  Mimi was almost as excited as E was.

We’ve been going a little crazy since Thursday crossing off things off of E’s dairy wishlist.  He went to Taco Bell for the first time, got the free soft-serve ice cream at Dickies (which both kids have been talking about for months), ate buttered popcorn at the movies, and ate enchiladas with real cheese.

First visit to Taco Bell! He loved the nacho cheese.
First visit to Taco Bell! He loved the nacho cheese.
Free-not-very-good soft serve never tasted so good!
Free-average-tasting soft serve never tasted so good!

It’s such a trip to see him eat things with dairy.  I keep taking pictures.

E’s still allergic to eggs, peanuts, nuts and shrimp but at graduation we got some good news which which I’ll fill you in on later.

If you are interested in Oral Immunotherapy for food allergies I  recommend our doctor, Rocky Mountain Allergy Asthma and Immunology without reservation.  And this Facebook group, OIT 101, was helpful in answering a lot of my questions.  If you have questions about our personal experience I’d love to hear from you in the comments or in email.

Also, let me know if you have any dairy suggestions of things for him to try!  I’m going grocery shopping today and am getting real cream cheese for bagels, Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, Cozy Shack pudding, and whatever else dairy catches my eye.  I’m giving us a week to go a little nuts and then we’re going to find our new (creamy, dairy-licous) normal.



OIT Update: Stomach Trouble

E’s oral immunotherapy (OIT) for milk is going well but we’ve had a few bumps.  The week after the change to daylight savings E complained about a stomach ache after dosing in the morning.  I texted the on-call Dr. and he said to give him some prescription Zantac which seemed to resolve things.

His stomach hurt 2 or 3 more mornings that week.  Once his stomach was still churning when our carpool came by to take him to school so I sent them on and kept E home for another hour to see if it resolved.  It did so I took him to school, but I admit I was a little nervous until I picked him up and could keep an eye on him myself.

One other day he said his stomach hurt but begged not to take the Zantac because it tasted so bad.  He said he’d throw up if I made him take it and yep, he threw up almost making it all the way to the trash can.

The odd thing was that he didn’t have any stomach issues when he dosed in the evening.  Our doctor said that eating too soon after waking up may be making E nauseated and suggested waking E up earlier before feeding him breakfast.

It was already hard to get E out of bed at 6:15 so the idea of waking him up even earlier was daunting.  But I told him that if he gets out of bed quickly he can play computer games for 15 minutes while I make his breakfast.  It has worked!  Since he started getting up earlier before eating breakfast his stomach hasn’t bothered him.  Hooray for the healing power of computer games 😉

So we are still chugging along.  Right now E’s at 8mL (a little over 1 1/2 teaspoons) of whole milk twice a day.  If other issues come up it may affect things but right now we’re on track for E to graduate from milk OIT in July.

Food Allergies and OIT

We found out about E’s food allergies when he was 9 months old.  We were going out to dinner with N’s grandpa and while I had only breastfed him up until then I brought along a bottle of formula to give E at the restaurant.  Within seconds of drinking it he threw up and started breaking out in hives.  He ended up hospitalized for the night.

Skin and blood tests later confirmed allergies for milk, egg, peanuts, tree nuts, and shrimp.  Since then we have strictly avoided all his allergens.

All of our family meals exclude those ingredients or are compartmentalized so E can have a safe option. (e.g. when I make enchiladas I make two pans and put dairy-free cheese on one for him.) It’s been an adjustment but very manageable.  Dealing with the outside world is harder.

When E goes to a birthday party I go along too and bring his own food and an egg-free, dairy-cupcake cupcake and his epipen.  When we fly, we board early and I carefully wipe down his seat and tray table.  (Last time I found a few almonds under his chair, yay :-/)  Going to a new restaurant causes anxiety and requires looking up their allergen info beforehand or calling to talk to the chef.  Traveling out of town takes a lot of planning.

At school he eats lunch separately from his friends at a food allergy table  with just one other kid.  He has a bag of safe treats in his classroom to substitute for when kids bring in things he’s allergic to (which happens a lot) but it bums him out to feel excluded.  So for every school party I volunteer to bring the snack so I can make sure it’s safe for everyone and to keep an eye out for him.  Yada, yada, yada…all of this is routine by now but it wears on E and our whole family.

But this last December E started oral immunotherapy (OIT) which is a treatment where you ingest a small dose of your allergen every day, gradually increasing the amount until you can eat it freely.  There was an article in the Wall Street Journal about it recently.

I first heard about OIT when a little girl in E’s class last year started treatment for milk.  I followed her progress via a Facebook group her mom set up and was amazed when she was eating ice cream and other dairy by the end of the year.  Since then another little boy in their class finished it for his peanut allergy and another friend of our started for milk.  So we made an appointment with Dr. Jones and I joined a few OIT Facebook groups to learn more.

We became convinced that this was the best chance E had of living a more normal life without the anxiety and exclusion that comes from food allergies. For the first time since we were told it was unlikely E would outgrow his food allergies I felt hopeful.

We were on the waiting list for about 8 months but since we started in December it has been going really well.  E started on a diluted milk solution but he is now dosing with whole milk (!)  We dose twice a day.  E is supposed to eat at least 15 minutes before a dose and keep his heart rate down for 2 hours after to minimize chances of a reaction.  During the school week he needs to be up with breakfast in his stomach by 6:30am so I can monitor him for a hour before he leaves for school, and also so it will be more than 2 hours until morning recess so he can run around.

E hasn’t had any side effects, like an upset stomach, that sometimes occur.  If things go according to schedule he’ll graduate from milk OIT in about 3 months.  Hope is a wonderful and welcome thing!

I could go on and on about OIT (as you can tell) but for today I’ll stop here.  If you’re interested in learning more, this Facebook group was helpful to me.  They aren’t unbiased and are definitely pro-OIT but they’ve collected a lot of info and research in a pinned post that I found helpful.

And feel free to ask me any questions 🙂



Mimi’s Rainbow Cake

At the end of last month Mimi turned four.  It was a crazy time with Sundance going on and N being out of town for work but we made sure to celebrate and had a birthday dinner for her with N’s parents.

I’m not sure where she saw one but when I asked her what cake she wanted Mimi immediately replied, “a rainbow cake!”  Since all our birthday cakes need to be vegan because of E’s food allergies I ended up using a white cakemix with Vegg egg-replacer and then tinting the batter with food coloring.

Mimi was ecstatic to help shake on the sprinkles and had such a good time that I didn’t even mind the almost constant pinging of sprinkles as they hit the kitchen floor and bounced away 😉

She was really, really excited about the cake (And lately the kids have gotten into mugging for the camera, sigh.)

Trendwatch: painting your dining room to match your children’s eyes is all the rage for spring!

I’m so grateful to have this little one in our family.  She is full of joy and sweetness and sass and her laugh is the best sound in the world.

My Vegan Birthday Cake

my slightly-smushed vegan birthday cake

Because of E’s food allergies he can’t eat traditionally-baked goods but there’s a great bakery in Salt Lake, City Cakes, that specializes in vegan items. We stop by whenever our family is up in Salt Lake and it’s become a family tradition to order our birthday cakes from them.

When I ordered my cake over the phone it when a little something like this:

Store clerk: “Do you want anything written on the cake?”  
Me: “Happy birthday Faith.”   
Store clerk: “And what’s your name?”
Me: (long pause) “…um…Faith?”
(Awkward laughter.) 

The cake was worth that little bit of social awkwardness though because it was DELICIOUS!  Dense, moist lemon cake with raspberry filling and lemon buttercream.  Better than most normal store-bought cakes I’ve had.  Their buttercream icings are great but, word-to-the-wise, don’t get their “cream cheese” frosting.  Real vegans are probably fine with it, but to anyone who likes normal cream cheese it’s just not worth it.  Buttercream is the way to go.

Seriously guys, make these doughnuts.

A while ago I ran across this recipe for doughnuts made using canned biscuit dough. E is allergic to dairy (among other things) but I found a type of dough that was dairy-free (although it contains beef tallow so sorry, vegans) and it was game-on.

It was only 15 minutes from E and I deciding some fresh doughnuts would be lovely to us holding these treats in our hot little hands.

All you do is

  1. Heat up some vegetable oil (about 1/2 inch) on med to med-high heat
  2. Pull apart the canned biscuits and cut out holes
  3. When the oil’s ready (I like to test it by dropping in a doughnut hole) add the doughnuts, getting each side golden brown.
  4. Pull them out and then dip each side in melted butter (vegan margarine for us) and then toss in cinnamon sugar.
  5. Devour.

Because of E’s food allergies it can be hard to find baked goods he can have, let alone ones that are delicious and quick to make. This is the most excited I’ve been about a recipe in a long time. They are sooo good when they’re fresh and hot.

Allergy Tests

Back in October I had a weird allergic reaction to shrimp. I say “weird” because it was the first time I’ve ever had a reaction to food but considering E’s food allergies I guess it wasn’t that strange. I went to the allergist on Tuesday to get tested for food and other allergies.

(Right before the hives developed)

The good news?–I tested negative for shrimp and other food allergies. The bad news–I am crazy allergic to cats, dogs, weeds, grass, and dust mites. But I kind of already knew that any way so it’s not a big deal.

Even with the negative skin test the doctor still wants me to avoid shrimp for a year and then come into the office for a “food challenge” (e.g. sit in their office and eat a bunch of shrimp). I’m also supposed to carry around an Epi-pen for myself but I already have a kid-sized one for E and they are awfully expensive so we’ll see.

This puts a bit of a damper on my preferred method of celebrating New Year’s is to eat an inordinate amount of shrimp cocktail. Oh well, I guess there’s always assorted cheeses and cured meats.

Food Allergy Update

I took E and Mimi to see our allergist yesterday. It was E’s yearly check-up and time to do a skin test on Mimi to see if she shows also showed signs of having food allergies. Our doctor is really great but there is always a lot of waiting involved during these visits. We were hanging out in the exam room from for over two hours.

I was able to distract E for the first hour but then I caved and let him play on the rolly stool.

When I got desperate to entertain her I allowed this small shirtless bald man to root through my bag for fun.

E is still very allergic to cow’s milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, and now he’s allergic to shrimp. BUT, Mimi doesn’t show any signs of food allergies! I was SO excited.

On the advice of our allergist I’ve been avoiding milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts, etc… while I’ve been nursing Mimi and now the doctor said it’s time to introduce those things into her diet. We’re suppose to gradually ramp things up and get her eating all of the things E is allergic too, even peanuts. So I’m supposed to be eating those things too. My ten-month fast from everything milky and creamy is over!

On a somewhat-related not, we have dinner reservations at The Melting Pot tonight.

(Doctor’s orders, you know.)

Faith vs. Food

Winner Round One: Faith!

I followed through and made a galette with the pears from the co-op. I used this recipe for the crust and it worked well (you normies can substitute real butter for the vegan margarine).

I have totally fallen for galettes. Less fussy than a pie, they’re great for a quick weeknight dessert. Plus saying “galette” makes me feel kind of fancy 🙂 I have two pear trees in my backyard covered in fruit so we’ll probably be eating a few more of these this fall.

Winner Round Two: Food

Yesterday I decided that shrimp cocktail and garlic bread sounded like an awesome lunch. I had picked up a shrimp ring at Costco on a whim the day before because I love shrimp cocktail and I was shopping hungry and my birthday’s later this week and hey don’t judge.

Anyway, so I enjoyed my tasty-but-weird lunch but a few minutes later my face starts feeling flushed and itchy. I look in the mirror and see this. And my heart just drops.

I’m sorry, but what the hell?!! Did I really just developed an allergy to shrimp? I had it a few months ago and was fine. But this time my face got really itchy and I had a few scattered hives on the rest of my body. I downed some Benadryl and the hives went away in about three hours.

Shrimp is pretty easily avoidable but I’m freaked out by the idea that I’ve developed a food allergy at thirty. I didn’t know that could happen. Am I going to develop other allergies? Maybe it was just a weird one-time thing. I’m scared to try shrimp again because if I have another reaction and it confirms an allergy I’ll be bummed.

Sneaky Cupcakes

So this is what I’ve been up to lately:

My friend Stephanie and I held a baby shower for one of our neighbors on Thursday which kept me pretty busy this week.

It seemed cruel to bake five dozen mini cupcakes if E (and I) couldn’t eat any of them so I made these dairy-and-egg-free chocolate cupcakes. I was a little worried that people might taste the difference but they went pretty quickly and a few people without any dietary restrictions (“Normies,” we call them) even asked for the recipe.

So, success!