Practice makes perfect!

As anyone who follows our blog knows, our youngest daughter, Olivia, has anaphylactic food allergies. We save up her expired epi-pens (now Allerjects) and use them for practice on oranges each year. This year each child in our family was able to practice with two devices. The video depicts Olivia setting off her expired Allerject for the first time. You can sense the nervous energy as she wasn’t sure what to expect. I also love that her “child” is allergic to “peanuts, potatoes, and salmon”. Olivia is allergic to peanuts, eggs, and soy; we told her about friends’ child who is allergic to potato, and the child in the waiting room when Olivia was challenging Macadamia nuts was allergic to salmon. She obviously recalls what we tell her. I love all the facial expressions and deep breathing after administration!

We will reiterate to all kids that you do not need to use the new ten-digit dialing system when using 911!

p.s. Her “treat” after each needle/appointment is duct tape rather than food. You can see she is sitting on her beautifully decorated chair!

Somebody pinch me!

Olivia finally had her almond challenge today. (It had been put off after her bouts with pneumonia.) I will admit I did not sleep well last night – tossing and turning and having crazy allergy-mom dreams. We had some almonds that D’Arcy’s father had given us that contained the allergy warning: contains almonds. I can’t stress enough how difficult it is to find tree-nuts that aren’t contaminated with other tree-nuts and peanuts.

At her last tests, Olivia tested negative for an almond allergy on her skin-prick tests, but had a 4.6 on her blood test. Her allergist was confident that she was no longer allergic. After being thoroughly checked over, Olivia was offered a quarter of an almond. It was interesting for me to watch her. She was nervous about eating it, and afraid to put it in her mouth. In fact, she didn’t want to hold it, so her understanding nurse gave Olivia a plastic spoon to use.

After her first two quarter almonds, she ate the next half almond she was offered with gusto. After three hours, when she had eaten eight whole almonds without reaction, she was declared no longer allergic to them! She ate another four for good measure!

The important take aways from our day at the allergist: She has been cleared to eat almonds, pecans, walnuts, and pine nuts at home because she tested negative on skin tests and very low on blood tests and had this successful challenge.  She is only allowed to eat these particular nuts if her father or I have given them to her. She is still allergic to cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts, hazlenuts, and Brazil nuts, and the risk of cross-contamination is huge. She is scheduled to challenge cashews in October and our hope is that eventually she will be left with only peanut, egg & soy allergies to contend with during her lifetime.

Our home will continue to be peanut and tree-nut free to keep both Olivia and our food allergic guests safe.

In the meantime, we celebrated with a box of Honey Nut Cheerios on the way home! 😉

One step at a time…