Saturday, July 28, 2012

Excuses and Details

It's almost time to go back for our final challenge, and I haven't even posted the details of our last.  What's been keeping me busy??  It's summer, the kids are out of school (that's reason enough), but I also buy and resell children's items on eBay.  We've been in this house less than a year so there's lots of DIY projects (I'm now addicted to Pinterest), and my garden is in full production.  Over this last spring and summer, my garden has gone from this:

To this:

To that:

And "that" has taken a ton of time. I've made zucchini bread, muffins and cookies, canned pickles, dried and frozen tomatoes, tried plenty of new recipes, and still have a fridge full of fruits and vegetables. But enough about what's been keeping me busy.

The food challenge...

It was our first time going to UNC Chapel Hill.  Wow, it's a huge hospital system.

The Food Allergy Study Center is tucked away in a medical office building across from the hospital.  We barely found it.  We happened upon the sign and realized we had arrived at our destination.

The nurses immediately put numbing cream on her arms for the IV and started the skin prick test.  I was somewhat surprised that after not having noteworthy skin reactions at our last test (a year ago), that she had fairly large whelps.  They didn't itch as bad though.  In the past, we've had to fan Abigail's back while we waited the 15 minutes.  This time, she didn't complain at all.  She said they itched, but were okay.  Might just be maturity, and there was no room for speculation.

They inserted her IV, and didn't waste any time getting started with the doses.

Abigail chose to have her flour mixed with applesauce for one challenge and chocolate pudding for the other.  She got the applesauce blend first.  She commented early on that it tasted good.  I knew then that it wasn't the peanut flour, but didn't say anything.  We were pleasantly surprised to find that each challenge would be done with just 6 doses.  It just meant that that little cup shown in the picture above would soon turn into a larger bowl.  There was a waiting period between each dose, and they listened to her chest and checked her skin in various places before giving her the next dose.

We finished the first challenge by 11:30 and then had to wait an hour before starting the second.  We had internet access, so Abigail spent her day on my laptop.  With headphones on, she more or less tuned out the whole process.

She didn't say anything, but I knew she didn't like the chocolate pudding flour mix.  By the third dose, it was apparent that she was going to struggle to finish it.  The peanut flour (no doubting now) was thick and chunky, and the chocolate pudding was too sweet for an anxious stomach.  She was eating chips and drinking lots of water between each bite.  Luckily, there was a jar of applesauce in the fridge and Plan B was immediately implemented.  We weren't going to fail this challenge because of some chocolate pudding.  She took Dose 4 with the applesauce and was able to eat it all without issue.  Did the same for Dose 5.  By this time, she was doing some sniffing and sneezing.  They were monitoring her, and she could still breathe in a deep breath in both nostrils so onto the final dose.  She ate it all.  We now had to hang out for 2 hours and see what happened.  She got to open the sealed envelope to reveal her dosing order.  No surprise that the peanut flour was second.

She continued to do some sneezing and sniffing.  Her stomach was cramping a bit.  We walked around, went outside for a change of scenery, and her symptoms never worsened.  For the books, it was a pass!  She ate the equivalent of 16 and 2/3rds peanuts.  She wasn't without symptoms.  The nasal congestion did subside by the time we were heading home around 3:30.  The stomachache and cramping lasted all afternoon, and she went to bed very tired and still complaining of stomach pain.  I'm sure it had to do with eating all of that oat and peanut flour, but also with being very anxious, not eating a good breakfast (too anxious to eat more than a bowl of cereal), and having minimal lunch at the clinic.  But, she passed!!!  If a runny nose and a stomachache is all she'll have to deal with in the future after eating that many peanuts...well, we can live with that!

We're just a little over a week away from going back again.  We left without drops.  She's had no peanut protein since that challenge.  I've been thinking of ways to ease that stomachache...a bigger breakfast, cinnamon applesauce for the entire challenge, etc.  I can't control her anxious stomach.  She's even more nervous about this challenge because of that last stomachache.   If she passes this next challenge, they're going to have a "peanut party" and all of us will eat peanut butter together.  She'll need to eat 2 tablespoons.  I've got to bring food that will make that task easier.  She's thinking we top it with mini marshmallows, chocolate chips and Rice Krispy cereal.  That makes my stomach hurt just thinking about eating that.

I'm really praying that she does the peanut flour first at the next challenge.  I'm concerned about her being able to eat both the equivalent of 16 plus peanuts and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter.  If there is a longer break in between, it might be possible.  Also, I wish I could figure out a way to ease her anxiety going into the challenge.  That would take away a great deal of the stomachache concerns.

Regardless, I'm still amazed at how far we've come in the last three years, and how truly blessed we are.