Today I saw this series of photographs called the face of anaphylaxis. A mom of a milk allergic boy photographed how scary and life threatening a milk allergy really can be. I feel so lucky when I see this because we have never had to deal with a reaction this serious. Bo has had an anaphylactic reaction where I had to use the epi-pen, call 911 and spend the afternoon in the ER while they monitored Bo but the epi-pen made everything better and Bo’s reaction never worsened. I can’t even fathom how difficult it would be to have your child on a ventilator because of a milk reaction. That is one brave mother, family and little boy.
This series reminded me of some photos I had on my phone. Ever since Bo’s anaphylactic reaction I have wanted to make it a point to try to take a picture of Bo when he has any kind of reaction. I have to say that it is really hard to remember to take a picture when you’re in full on panic mode….but now that we have been doing this for almost 2 years I think I am starting to get better at managing my anxiety in the moment and in the last few months I have remembered to snap a picture of Bo once I knew he was getting better because the Benadryl appeared to be working. I thought these photos would be handy for a few reasons but one main reason I wanted to have them was so that I could show other care takers what to look for or what a reaction can look like for Bo.
The photo on the bottom right is a NORMAL/NO REACTION photo of Bo so that you have something to compare the other photos to. These were all pretty mild reactions and were just treated with Benadryl. We also have NO idea what caused any of these reactions. If it’s hard to tell in some of them his eyes are red, bloodshot and his nose is running…some of the first signs (along w/hives) that he is having a reaction.
Earlier this week, we met with Bo’s doctor to go over his test results. They re-tested all of the foods he had been diagnosed as allergic to after his blood test at 6 months old. We were definitely hoping for some good news but were prepared to hear that nothing had changed. The doctor compared his tests at 6 months with his 2-year-old tests and unfortunately all of his numbers have gone up significantly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that his allergies have gotten worse but it was disappointing because we definitely want to see his numbers go down. His numbers going down would lead us to believe he is ‘outgrowing them’ and/or they give the doctor more of a reason to do a skin test and food challenge. With that said, there is definitely some argument as to how much weight these numbers hold and what they really mean but because we have seen a reaction from both dairy (an anaphylactic reaction) and nuts from Bo mixed with the fact that we now know his numbers are going up the doctor believes it’s safe to say he is still very allergic and should avoid dairy & nuts. As for the eggs, those numbers did increase but are still very low – especially his numbers for egg yolk. His numbers for eggs and the fact that we have never seen an egg reaction in his two years of life led the doctor to give us the OK to slowly try to see if Bo could handle egg yolk! This was definitely the best news we received. I really feel like his little body doesn’t react to eggs, but we shall see as we slowly test how much egg he can handle or if he can handle it.
Brief summary of his test results and what is he is allergic to listed in order of highest to lowest levels.
Casein (a milk protein)
So, other than the possibility of having egg in his diet, which would be huge, nothing else will change. We will still need to be dilligent about keeping Bo from coming into contact with dairy and nuts and will continue living this more ‘high alert’ lifestyle we are starting to become accustomed to. Bo will be tested again next year as long as he has no major reactions or changes between now and then.