Help Came

Due to the constant ear infections and sinus infections, my daughter was quickly developing a resistance to antibiotics…all of them. After seeing a hearing specialist that the E.N.T. sent us to, it was clear there was no choice when it came to the topic of ear tubes. She told me that everything my almost one-year-old was hearing was muddled as if she was constantly under water. It would eventually delay her speech development if she didn’t get ear tubes put in to at least drain the fluid out of her ears caused by her constant infections and inflammation.

As hard as that was, ear tubes were the BEST thing we did as far as treatment. She handled the surgery well and started talking almost the next day. Her communication took off and it was a huge relief. But that did not solve the prevention of the infections. She could hear finally but her ears would constantly drain yellow fluid and her nose was still constantly clogged with green. What to do???

Just by chance, a friend of mine worked with in a wellness center that had chiropractic physicians who specialized in Applied Kinesiology. Not knowing much about what that meant but willing to try anything, we made an appointment. After faxing over the book that had become my daughter’s medical records, we spent a few hours learning a lot more about allergies, intolerances, and sensitivities to food. Yes and of course, finally, we had answers. She wasn’t tested for peanuts as we had a blood test to prove that after her reaction. She wasn’t allergic to dairy in a severe sense but she was dairy intolerant. The 24+ oz of whole milk (and dairy formula before that) I had been giving her every day was not helping her grow and become healthy… it was making her sick. And deep down, I had always known that. But without knowing what to do, where to turn, I just didn’t know an alternative. Because of her peanut allergy, she couldn’t have soy or almond milk. Thankfully, the wellness center doctors had options.

Luckily as well, my husband doesn’t just believe anything he is told. He researches everything to the point of becoming an expert on the topic. Pouring through books and articles and studies, he embraces knowledge and change is a way that is admirable. He went off on a campaign to not only find out what alternatives were out there for all things dairy and peanut filled, but to find out which were the healthiest. Yes Coconut Milk (http://www.sodeliciousdairyfree.com/products/coconut-milk-beverages) is good and it tastes similar but my daughter has been loving the Hemp Milk (http://livingharvest.com/products/milk) that actually provides more calcium for the past two years. There are many substitutes to peanut butter but most of them are made in a facility that processes some kind of nut product. Since my husband will do anything to make the kids smile, my daughters are now overjoyed to share a Sunbutter and Jelly sandwich (http://www.sunbutter.com). 

In the beginning, there were not as many options for us. Thankfully, we are not alone. Gluten-free, peanut-free, dairy-free facilities are providing more and more food out there for everyone to enjoy. My daughter’s ear tubes eventually will fall out, and their purpose is long forgotten. Since implementing the changes to her diet she has been without a single infection. She is thriving and not missing out on a single song (loves to dance to MJ!) nor is she missing out on a single day of play because of an illness or infection. I will always be grateful for the chain of events that led me and my family to figure out a way to be gluten-free, peanut-free and dairy-free.  If you have any products that you love, please let me know!

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Welcome to the Solution!

This blog is one small step in the direction of helping parents, kids, and anyone who is interested in learning more about how to live easier with food allergies. My daughter has a severe allergy to peanuts and I would have never known what was happening or what to do if I had not had a friend who’s daughter had the same allergy. I know that having that connection helped with a quicker response and faster relief as my daughter went into anaphylactic shock. Two years later, I know that having a common ground with other parents whether it is allergies to gluten, dairy, nuts or night-shade vegetables makes leaving your kid at someone else’s house for a playdate a lot easier.

For me, it’s as much about the balance of being educated and educating others as a safety precaution as it is about being aware of my child’s emotions.  It must be difficult to be two and not understand why everyone has something you can’t have suddenly. Why have my parents suddenly become obsessive about snatching every package out of my hand and reading the label? Why do I get “special” snacks and milk?

Luckily I have a good-natured child and the brunt of unanswered questions came from me  early on concerning dairy when she was a baby: Why does the pediatrician keep telling me that allergies to milk are very uncommon even though she has had a constant sinus infection and ear infection since she stopped breastfeeding? Is she ever going to be able to breathe out of her nose or is that green snot going to take over my house? Can she really be on antibiotics again? Will she have to take the turquoise bulb (snot sucker) with her to high school? Well of course I would never let it go on that long… and I didn’t.

After offering to write me a prescription for Children’s Claritin (“How long will she have to take it?” I asked. “Well…forever,” came the answer), I decided we needed to come up with a better solution. I didn’t even bother to check the sample Claritin packages to see if they were processed in a facility that processes peanuts, tree nuts…

I know there are a lot of stories out there that are very similar to mine and it can create a lot of frustration and anxiety and worry. But along with those feelings, I hope we can share things that have worked, helped or enabled our kids to eat, play and have fun…and just be kids! I have learned some fun lessons along the way and found some great substitutions for those things our kids would like but can’t have. In the days to come, I will try to get more out there. But for now, tell me about your kids.