And we had been doing so well....
Evan's been tolerating baked milk in cookies, cupcakes, and even pancakes ever since he technically passed his milk challenge a few months ago. Read about it here and here.
And then, with the recent success in testing for tree nuts, fish, and shellfish (here), I had been feeling pretty confident about his allergies. Too confident, I suppose.
During quiet time today, as we took turns playing Cut the Rope on my iPad (what?), I grabbed a snack bar for me and some veggie chips for Ev. Evan was eyeing my bar so I offered him a bite. Like a good allergy mom, I prefaced my offer with: "Let me check the label first, bud." It specifically said that it contained MILK, but I wasn't worried since he's successfully eaten pancakes with milk in the batter AND real chocolate chips. It also said that it was processed on equipment that also manufactures products with tree nuts. But it didn't list peanuts and he tests non-allergic to tree nuts (and we've had products with similar warning labels before with no issue).
He took a bite. "Yum!" he said, "That's delicious!" I offered him another bite. As he chewed and swallowed, a weird look came over his face. "That's not good after all," he said, "it's too spicy." Spicy? It's a fruit bar. Uh oh. He started gagging as if he was going to get sick so I brought him into the bathroom and gave him some water. He swished and spit for about 10 minutes, during which time I called his allergist. I left a message on the nurse hotline and, by the time I was finished, he seemed better. He said his tummy and mouth felt fine, he drank some (hemp) milk and he got back to Cutting the Rope.
When the nurse called back, I explained the symptoms of his reaction and told her how I "treated" it. I asked if, in the future, a "spicy" feeling and spitting (but no vomiting) should warrant further treatment. "You definitely should have immediately given him Benadryl to de-escalate a potentially serious reaction." Whoops. "Okay," I responded, "so I know now to NOT feed him those snack bars, of course, and I know what to do if he says something bland tastes 'spicy,' is there anything else I should know?"
"I'm going to talk to Dr. B, but he may recommend that you cut all milk from his diet again."
I didn't hear back from Dr. B today. To be fair, it was after office hours by the time I talked to the nurse. He's a pretty liberal doctor, so I'm really hoping that he'll say that I can continue to give him baked milk in products that he's successfully eaten before today (such as the baked goods I've made containing milk). And Evan doesn't *need* to be eating processed foods containing milk, anyway, so it won't be a huge loss....but it still feels like a step backwards. And that's frustrating.
The good news? This happened at home. And now I know that I can't get too comfortable with just letting him eat whatever he wants. We may have made some huge strides in the last year or so, but Evan still has food allergies and food allergies are unpredictable. His sensitivity to certain foods may come and go. He may safely eat something once and react to it the next time. I need to be careful. And better to learn that lesson in our kitchen and not at school or a birthday party.