My son Aaron (we call him Aars – pronounced “Airs”) was born in Spring 2004. It was a “textbook birth” apparently; and I wondered at the marvel of birth and announced if I could do that again tomorrow I would!
I breastfed Aars exclusively until I became ill with food poisoning and my body stopped producing milk. Aars was five months old and we were on holiday with my family who popped to the shop to buy some formula milk and a bottle for him while I sat on the loo and puked into the bath in our holiday home!
They made up the formula and accidentally as they approached Aars with the bottle a drop of the formula dripped from the bottle and onto his forearm. Immediately a huge blister rose from his wrist to his elbow. They were freaked out! Put the bottle down and the local doctor was called.
I was given drugs to help me produce milk again and we were advised to avoid formula. When it came to weaning he loved banana, so I thought blueberry and banana might be lovely to try – he spat it out and projectile vomited everywhere…all around his mouth he was covered in angry red welts and blisters. This reoccured with numerous foods that I did not know people reacted against – like cranberries and cucumber, humus… We never tried dairy or egg in his mouth as his skin had reacted severely on numerous occasions when he had come into contact with it.
Thus we began to learn of Aaron’s allergies. New food I introduced to Aars’ wrist and if there was a skin reaction we avoided it. If it seemed ok we would put a dot on his lip, if that reacted we left it, but if there was no reaction he would try a tiny bit and see how he felt over 15 minutes…slow and laborious and in honesty we gave up on lots of foods as he had reacted to courgette and berries and foods that were not in everything and not essential in his diet and he was getting scared of foods. We found fruits he was safe with and we foraged together he loved picking plums from the orchard and popping them straight into his mouth. Blackberries, apples, raspberries, strawberries we grew and ate them straight from the plants and trees. My concern was ensuring that he had enough carbs, protein, calcium and vitamins in his diet so that he would grow.
His first anaphylaxis was when he was 4 and a half – it was a “free-from” biscuit which had changed ingredients to include dairy -in the midst of separation and moving house I had not noticed the little green star stating new ingredients!
Aaron and I baked bread every other day making up recipes as we went; we packed the loaves and buns with seeds and nuts as Aars had no reaction to these and they had good fats in them from my perspective. We baked cookies, cakes, pancakes & lots of treats that normally had dairy or egg in, experimenting to see what would work in their place. It was normal for us and we enjoyed the process of cooking together. I want to share our very simple recipes with you – which you can adapt for your child’s unique dietary needs as you avoid the allergens which are harmful for them. All of these have been the product of experimenting and fun in the kitchen.
Now Aars is now a teenager! His last two anaphylactic shocks were 5 months apart and both to soya – which had been a “safe” food all his life. It is thought that this is due to a cross-sensitivity with silver birch pollen which we discovered he has a severe allergy to in 2014. We are on a journey, introducing foods into his diet through hospital challenges. I want to share the information we gather with other folks struggling with anaphylaxis. I am learning so much, and I am seeing how hard it is for many parents facing allergy suddenly when their children had previously seemed fine. We have ten years of experience with a very limited diet and want to support others new to these restrictions; as well as those going through the hospital food challenges. I have found these to be very stressful and anxiety has gone hand in hand with me as I support Aars on his very exciting journey. None of us should feel alone or overwhelmed, food is not only part of survival it can be a delight and delicious for everyone.
It felt like a huge accomplishment to get Aars safely into his teens, and on his birthday in March to celebrate this momentous occasion posted a piece on the positives Anaphylaxis has brought to our lives! You can read it here! Over the last couple of years we have continued on our journey – growing in understanding and gathering diagnosis which complicate life further. I want to develop the living side of my blog over the coming months – so that as well as providing scrummy free-from recipes it can be a source of information for parents living in the complex world of allergy.
Apparently I need a disclaimer!?