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

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

RAST Parts 1 and 2

Part 1: "My Name's Curly, like your hair."
At Evan's last allergist appointment, we were given a lab slip to have blood drawn for RAST testing. He has never undergone a blood draw. In the past, the only allergy testing he has had is the skin prick test. In the SPT, the skin is pricked and a tiny amount of the allergen goes beneath the skin. If a hive, or wheal, develops, an allergy is assumed. A larger wheal typically indicates a greater sensitivity to the allergen, but not necessarily. This is a good test because it's fast, inexpensive, and gives fairly reliable results.

The RAST test detects specific IgE antibodies to suspected allergens. IgE antibodies are associated with allergic response, so high levels of IgE antibodies indicate an allergy. Higher RAST numbers=worse allergy, generally speaking. This is a much more specific test. It doesn't just tell you if you *probably* will or will not react to a food, like the SPT. It is a true measurement of your bodies reaction to a given allergen.

So.....the lab slip. Good news because that meant that we would be heading in the direction of Food Challenges (low RAST numbers would indicate that Evan might have outgrown an allergy). Bad news because that meant drawing blood. With a needle. In the vein. Of My Baby.


We planned to go to LabCorp on Monday. On Saturday morning, we started talking about it.
"Dr. B wants to look very closely at your blood. Your blood will show him if your body is ready to try new foods." Luckily, "trying new foods" is pretty big around here lately. Well, as long as the "new foods" are cornbread or cookies we've never bought before. Whatev.

On Sunday, we said that we would be going to a science lab and a scientist would be the person who would take the blood from his arm. Again, Evan had no problem with this. He's into science.

Monday morning. "So, to get the blood out of your arm, the scientist is going to use a special needle to poke your arm. You'll see the blood go through a tube." And still, he's fine.

We arrived at LabCorp with a full arsenal of entertainment, diversions, bribes, and rewards: books, stickers, lollipops, an iPhone loaded with YouTube clips of construction trucks and fire engines. The "scientist," Curly (her real name: "My name's Curly, like your hair."), called us back into the "science lab" and I waited for the meltdown to begin. She told Evan to sit in my lap while I held one of his arms outstretched and bear-hugged his other arm to his body...a human straight jacket. Still no resistance from the little man. Curly showed Evan the needle and the tube and said, "At the count of three, we'll all say Ouch! Then it won't hurt anymore." We counted, we said Ouch! and that was it. Evan watched the blood come out of his arm, through the tube, and into the vial. He said it looked, "Pretty."

We didn't even need YouTube. He did get the lollipop.

Lesson Learned:
Evan's going to be a scientist when he grows up. Or a doctor.

Part 2: There's Gonna Be a Showdown
The nurse from Dr. B's office called today. Evan's RAST test tested for the presence of IgE antibodies to milk, egg, and peanut. (He has other allergies, but these are the biggies.) His RAST numbers to milk and peanut are still off the charts, but..........

And not just baked egg, but whole hard-boiled egg!!!! This is huge news.

Lesson Learned:
I can't wait for Part 3: Evan vs. Egg. My money is squarely on my Big Boy.

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