"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." ~e e cummings

Monday, November 22, 2010

Evan vs. The Cow: Part 1

Big Day around here: This morning was Evan's MILK CHALLENGE! And Max has his first ear infection.

That's just about all you need to know about the ear infection. Here are the details on Evan's morning:

Just like in the egg challenge, Evan was to ingest tiny amounts of milk in increasing dosages until he had ingested the equivalent of a full serving. Starting at 1/4 tsp., we were working our way up to 3 ounces, which would have equalled about 6 ounces over the course of the 4+ hour test.

I say "would have" because we didn't quite finish the test. Not one to routinely Not Finish Things, I'm left feeling a little....well, unfinished. Ill at ease. Unsettled.

I need to look at the positives!

EVAN DRANK MILK TODAY!!! And we didn't go to the emergency room!

He drank the equivalent of about an ounce and a half before he vomited. Yup. All over the testing room. But this was after the most stubborn display of lip-clenched, angry-eyed, You-Can't-Make-Me tantruming those nurses have seen in awhile....probably since Evan's egg challenge. And, it was after the I've-Tried-Everything-Else decision on my part to suggest that after each teeny sip of milk, he chase that taste away with a gulp of juice. So Dr. B wasn't convinced that it was an allergic reaction, perhaps just a behavioral reaction. You know, tantruming plus a liquid-filled belly of milk and juice doesn't always sit well.

So we went on with the challenge.

We waited an hour to make sure there were no other signs of a reaction. During this time, I called in the Daddy Reinforcements. Daddy brought with him the Chocolate Syrup Reinforcements (and Max, the Cheering Section). The chocolate syrup worked wonders and Evan downed the 1.5 ounce dose in three big swallows. Success! We were one dose and one hour from The Official Milk Challenge Pass!

And then he threw up again.

So we ended the test. Dr. B still isn't convinced that it was allergic, but we were ALL ready (after more than four hours) to call it quits.

That leaves us with REALLY good news:
Evan can be around milk! We're not worried about contact reactions anymore, and we're not worried about cross-contamination. We're not EVEN worried about accidental exposures because the likelihood that he would accidentally ingest more than he drank today is slim.

So what does this mean?

For now, no major dietary changes. Dr. B said we can go ahead with baked goods that are made with milk, though, so that's a pretty huge step. (Although I still prefer my vegan cookies and cupcakes to anything "traditional.") It means that we can be a little more relaxed about ordering food for Evan from a restaurant. We can send him to birthday parties with a little more confidence that the icing on the birthday boy's cupcake won't make him an itchy mess. We can let him play at the Barnes & Noble train table and not have to wipe down his whole body to ward off contact hives from the Goldfish dust the other preschoolers left behind. We don't have to hound our family members and friends to hose down after eating before touching our kid. We don't have to worry that a stray piece of shredded cheese in the guacamole might send our kid into anaphylaxis.

And next Monday, we're going to finish off this beast. We'll return to Dr. B's office for Milk Challenge: take 2. We'll try 1.5 ounces of (chocolate) milk first and then the full 3 ounces. If we make it past that, it's considered a True Pass; an outgrown allergy. If not, then we'll at least know his threshold. From there? We'll see....but tonight: we celebrate some really fantastic news.

Lesson Learned:
I'd just like to take one snarky minute to say, "So There!" to the first allergist who treated Evan. At that very first, life-changing appointment, we were told that, due to the severity of Evan's reaction to the skin prick test, "Evan will never outgrow his milk allergy." What depressing news to tell these two new parents of a healthy 11-month old baby! We had just been told that our baby would never live a normal dietary life. We were told that he would always be at risk for having a severe and life-threatening reaction to a food so common that we would have to be constantly vigilant. What we needed that day was a little positivity, a little hope. Instead we left that appointment scared for our little boy and feeling completely lost.

Thank you, Dr. B, for giving us that hope. This may not be an outgrown allergy today, and it might not be an outgrown allergy next week, but we are optimistic for the first time that our little boy may not be The Allergic Kid his whole life. And THAT, in itself, is reason to celebrate tonight.


  1. Wow, Sarah. This is GREAT! First of all: good thinking with the chocolate syrup. if it was ketchup-flavored milk, do you think he would drink it? :)
    Secondly, way-to-go surviving a 4-hour doctor's appointment!

  2. Wow, congratulations! My son had a mini egg yolk challenge last fall to see if he could tolerate a flu vaccine. (His white scores are much higher than the yolk.) He had probably an 8th of a teaspoon when we stopped after several hours to declare it success enough to get vaccinated, even though we're still avoiding egg. The stress of those things IS unbelievable!