I didn’t think of Ava as having multiple allergies till the Paediatrician said the phrase in conversation “your daughter has multiple allergies” Saying and hearing the term multiple allergies sounded much worse than it was in my head. It hit me, this sudden realisation that we were dealing with something much larger than we had initially thought.
I had maybe naively thought she would just have cows milk protein allergy, like her eldest brother. When we discovered she was also reacting to the soya in my milk through my diet I panicked. It’s in so much, how was I going to do it?
By the time it came to weaning we thought we had it under control. I had got my head around the no soya and no dairy in my diet and we started weaning thinking it would just be the same for Ava. Looking back a nasty reaction to a plaster after her immunisations might have been a clue that things weren’t going to be so easy, I say easy, no soya and no dairy is hard enough, believe me! We started slowly, very slowly with a new vegetable for 3 days and once we had built up to a few we could mix them. The idea being that she only has one new food at a time so that if she reacts then we can tell what it is that has caused the reaction.
We stumbled upon her third food allergy through letting her lick and suck on a strawberry. 2-3 hours of inconsolable crying, a rock hard stomach and a rash that started around her mouth and spread down her body confirmed a reaction. Similar happens when she has had banana and peach. The rash stays for days and turns to sore dry eczema which is heartbreaking to see on her face.
After another visit to the Dietician where we had been told to avoid all high allergen foods, no nuts of any kind, no fish, no tropical fruits, no egg, no legumes and nothing from the latex food family, we are feeling a little overwhelmed. What can we give her? What is safe? She had a tiny bit of something when we were out that we thought was ok, not even thinking about the egg it contained as we knew it was dairy and soya free. Within 10 minutes she was sick and then we noticed her finally clear (after weeks of being sore) face starting to get the tell tale rash. On the way back in the car I noticed her lips looked puffy and she was chewing on her tongue in a funny way, it was also swollen. When we got home we gave her piriton which seemed to stop the swelling from getting any worse. A trip to A&E didn’t really give us any answers other than it was good it hadn’t affected her breathing and to totally avoid all egg.
I don’t feel like I can talk to people about it. I don’t want to seem like I’m being dramatic, or that its all I talk about but it’s such a big part of our lives right now. I know that people live with allergies and have children with allergies and severe allergies and I feel like what we are dealing with, to some (especially on the allergy forums where you think you would be in good comapny) isn’t a big deal. To us it is and so I’ve turned to here, my space to try and clear my head and say outloud some of the nagging doubts and questions that I have.
- Will any of her allergies will be life threatening?
- Have we have discovered all her allergies or will she be allergic to other things she hasn’t had yet?
- I feel sorry for her having such a limited diet, even though she knows no different.
- I’m worried about her having a serious anaphylaptic reaction.
- I’m worried about keeping her safe.
- I don’t like that she cant tell us if she is uncomfortable or in pain.
- I’m unsure of what to give her and when she tries something new my heart is in my throat watching and waiting.
- I don’t like how we haven’t been given any answers and how you are left to your own devices with a tiny shred of advice.
- We know she will have allergy tests and hoping they are being moved forwards, but they are currently months away.
- At the moment she only has foods we give her but it wont be long before she can get hold of other foods.
- Play areas and parties are going to be a nightmare.
- I’m worried about her getting enough of the right nutrients to grow properly
- With all the new allergies coming to light I’m unsure of what and how much I need to cut out of my diet.
- She wont drink the hypoallergenic formula she has been prescribed.
- Will she grow out of her allergies?
- Will we need and epipen?
- I’m worried about if and when she goes to childcare and how they will manage it.
So that’s where we are today. We have a baby, a beautiful, perfect in her own way baby with multiple allergies.