A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down (or the poisonous egg)…

21 Jul

This is my son Philip. He was born with food allergies. His allergies were so severe that he started projectile vomiting my breast milk from day one. Still I persevered. “Breast is best” I was told by doctors, midwives and family members. Except my son was allergic to my breast milk. I felt guilty and ashamed when I gave him his first bottle of formula but if I hadn’t he could have died.

This week I have received good news. While doctors still don’t know how or why children are being born with severe food allergies (one in five) they do think they have come up with a way to help children grow out of these allergies. And it involves feeding the children small amounts of the ‘allergen’ to help their body recognise it as a food as opposed to a poison.

We are lucky enough to attend the best children’s hospital in the city and they suggested this to me a year ago. I was reluctant. But they kept on saying that not only does he have to eat the foods he isn’t allergic to (including peanuts) he also has to start eating small amounts of the foods he is allergic to to help him grow out of them (egg and tree nuts).

The first step was skin prick testing. His reading for his egg test has consistently reduced so they gave me the go-ahead to feed Philip a piece of cake or a small biscuit each day, containing no more than two eggs in the recipe.

At first he got stomach cramps but this was an improvement on the redness, hives, swelling, coughing and difficulty breathing we had previously seen. So I kept giving it to him as often as I could.

Over the past year Philip has gone only being able to tolerate one or two bites of a cake with egg in it to being able to finish a whole piece with no itchiness or discomfort whatsoever.

For the first time since he was diagnosed I feel hope.

I don’t think he’ll ever be able to eat a piece of pavlova but I’d like for him to be okay enough to live a mostly normal life and not worry that a bite of the wrong food could result in his instant death.

He will be retested in December and I am praying that his skin prick test for egg will be even better. The scary thing is that as his egg allergy improves, cashews grow worse. Cashews are so deadly to him that doctors won’t even do a food challenge for him. The skin prick testing is bad enough – the dot with the cashew oil on it spreads across his entire arm and is unbearable.

And cashews are so delicious. It doesn’t make any sense. He can eat peanuts, macadamias and almonds but cashews (and probably pistachios because they are in the same family) could kill him.

Oh well, at least we have some progress.


And don’t forget to watch and share this amazing Australian allergy documentary at triggerallergy.com.au.


2 Responses to “A spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down (or the poisonous egg)…”

  1. Shelley-belly July 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

    Wow, dealing with such severe food allergies must be tricky – he’s lucky to have you, sounds like you’re really on the ball. Good luck with the egg test in a few months



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