Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Pass the Cheese, Please!

We had a huge moment in Georgia's short, but long-detailed and quite stressful allergy life a few weeks ago.  Before the big news, a little review:

* Baked milk recap from May of 2014 can be found here.
* Baked egg challenge recap from March of 2013 can be found here.
* Allergy update from January of 2013 can be found here.
* My very first allergy post back in June of 2012 can be found here.

And a recap of Georgia's dairy numbers throughout the years (following her very first allergic reaction to yogurt way back in the day before she even turned 1 years old)...

June 2012 - Level 16
January 2013 - Level 14.4
May 2014 - Level 9

Since Georgia did great with the baked milk challenge back in May, she's been eating food containing dairy that's been cooked substantially during processing/baking (ex. goldfish, brownies, cookies).  The cooking process changes the dairy protein enough for her body to handle it when she is digesting it.  So far, so good.  

Our allergist explained that the next step in the process of working our way back to dairy items was to have a baked cheese challenge.  So, there I was in the kitchen at 8:30am on a Thursday morning baking off a pizza in the toaster oven and some mac-n-cheese in the oven for our 9am appointment.  Nothing screams breakfast like pizza and mac-n-cheese.  It was like a flashback to college for me.

**Side note -- these oral challenges should really come with an anxiety prescription for Mommy!  There's nothing quite like force feeding your child small bits of items that you've been told can kill them in the past.  Someone should probably strap a blood pressure cuff on me just to ensure that I don't need medical intervention during these appointments.**

Now that we've been through two oral food challenges, I knew what to expect for this one.  So, I packed every electronic device that we owned, charger cables, water, snacks (for me) and I packed up the car like we were going away for the weekend.  However, we were just driving down the road to our favorite allergist's office.  These are NOT short appointments and when you're asking a toddler to remain in an exam room for 3-4 hours, you best come prepared with entertainment!

Before the challenge begins, our allergist always reviews Georgia's file to see where we've been and where we want to head.  My least favorite part is where we review what happens if something goes wrong during the challenge.  Meaning, what happens if Georgia starts reacting negatively during the challenge (aka - hives, breathing issues, vomiting, etc.).  Our immediate plan is to always STOP the reaction whether that be using Benadryl or the epi-pen.  Thank god we've never had to use either during a food challenge, but it's common and we have to review the plan every time before the challenge.  EEEEK!  Commence, Mommy heart pounding.

The first bite is always the scariest to me.  And then you wait 15 minutes.  The second bite is no less scary, but the wait seems to get a little shorter each time.  Of course, Georgia always has to give me minor heart failure by coughing or telling me she needs a drink of water.  This time, she kept sticking her tongue out at me.  WHAT??!?!  Does your tongue hurt?  Is it tingling?  Does it feel ok!??!  Nope, she just liked sticking her tongue out at me.  Ugh.  

Georgia's first official pizza!

Georgia absolutely LOVED her first bite of real pizza.  And the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th pieces.  And she devoured the entire slice they finally fed to her.  The best part - no reactions!!  The allergist came in and was going to give her another whole slice when Georgia spoke up for herself and told her, "Why can't I have that?" and pointed at the macaroni and cheese that I had baked.  The allergist fully agreed with her and the nurse gave her 3/4 cup of that to try.  Georgia inhaled it and was not pleased that she had to wait 15 minutes for her next cup!  We were about to call it a day when Georgia yelled out, "Why can't I have more?!?!?" while the allergist was walking into the exam room next door.  She replied, "You certainly can!" and fed her another cup.  

G's first mac-n-cheese


That's all that matters.  Total and utter pass.  The kid has been cleared to eat baked cheese products.  Do you know what that means?  It means the kids menu is now in play at most restaurants!  Have you seen a kids menu lately... quesadilla, grilled cheese, mac-n-cheese, mozzarella sticks, pizza, etc.  Everything always has cheese!  

My happy girl


We still have to be very careful and make sure that the items are baked and not just heated on the stove top (aka - no Kraft mac-n-cheese for us quite yet).  We also have to be very careful about cross contamination from peanuts and tree nuts.  So if we order a pizza, I'm going to have to grill the chain about their baking process, whether they have desserts with nuts cooking in the same ovens, etc.  I don't think the fear will go away for quite awhile.  The sight of my 9 month old covered in hives after eating a yogurt will always stay with me.  Slow and steady.  Slow and steady.  Baby steps.


But my baby girl can finally eat some things that kids around the world enjoy each and every day.  She loved it.  She loved real ooey-gooey cheese, as she should!  Who doesn't love cheesy goodness!?!  What kid doesn't love a slice of pizza or some mac-n-cheese?!?


Think about elementary school... what kid doesn't love to order pizza with their friends on Friday?!  Maybe, just maybe, my kid could do that one day.  Maybe she could eat a piece of cake or a cupcake at a friend's birthday party one day.  Maybe she could order an ice cream cone one hot day in the future.  Maybe she could have a donut one lazy weekend morning  Maybe, just maybe




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