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

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Peanut Challenge Bust


A little over a year ago, Evan had a skin prick test to all of his suspected allergens. It came back COMPLETELY negative. As in: Evan Has No Allergies. (We know about, and continue to learn about, his sensitivity to raw milk, but it's mild.) A subsequent RAST test indicated an allergic response to peanuts. I didn't care. Peanuts are easy to avoid and they're not missed.

But....then he was about to start school. The big school. And his allergist suggested we find out just how reactive he is...after all, the skin test was completely negative. Did he really have to sit at the peanut-free table? Would proximity really be THAT big of a deal? And what about treats brought in by the other kids? Could he try them?

So today was to be the day.

I hadn't slept in the two days leading up to the Challenge. I've had a nervous tummy. I just felt.....off....about this challenge. And it's not the Challenge that made me feel this way....this was to be our fourth food challenge. We KNOW food challenges. But something felt different....True, this would be the first that I wouldn't be in attendance for...but I knew he was in good hands with Sam. It was something different. I was scared for him to ingest a peanut for the first time. I had a bad feeling about it. I've seen my boy suffer an anaphylactic reaction to milk and even THAT food challenge didn't scare me.  But today? I didn't feel well. And from the minute he and Sam left the house? I was tied to my phone, looking for texted updates. Couldn't get anything done. Felt......disconnected.

And then I get the call...

Before any tasting, they repeated the skin prick test...and there's a big hive. A big reaction. A challenge FAIL.

But....a Win. A skin reaction means no food challenge. The allergist got on the phone with me: "The aggressive way to proceed would be to go ahead with the food challenge," she said, "It's the gold standard. But...."

"No." I interrupted, "I don't want to go ahead with it. I didn't feel good about it anyway. I had a....gut feeling."

"Trust it," she reassured. "I agree with you. There's no rush. We'll reevaluate in a year."

"And the peanut-free table?"

"Yes. I'd take the results of the testing seriously. With the RAST tests as high as they were and now a positive skin test, I'd interpret the negative skin test as an outlier. A mistake. A false negative."


BUT....now there are no questions. Evan is allergic to peanuts. It is what it is. It is what it always has been. And to be honest, had he passed the challenge, even though some things wouldn't have changed (I can't imagine Evan being willing to branch out to incorporating many peanut products in his diet...), others would have:  Dr. D would probably have taken our Epi-Pen away. What would I have done? It's become my security blanket. For five years we have never been without it. Not for an hour, not for a mile. What if it was no longer needed? I'd have felt naked. Unprotected. Because....what if, someday, things changed...again? If you're allergic and then not....couldn't you, conceivably, become so again?

Lesson Learned:
It's not the news I thought I wanted to hear....but it's good news. Nothing changes. And if you know me, and know my boy, "nothing changes" is right where we like to be....

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