Thursday, October 4, 2007

I Never Saw It Coming

Over and over we deal with new issues with Paige (former 25.5 weeker-now almost 9). It's never ending. A test for this, a medicine for that. A new diagnosis here, a suspicion there.

I'm always on guard. Ready and waiting for the Mack truck to hit us again. I pick up the pieces, adjust our lives and attempt to move on.

But one day last week, when our son (born at 35.4 weeks-now 17 months old) started excessively clearing his throat, I chalked it up to a new skill he learned and obviously figured out that it drove me nuts. And when, that same night, he was red and wheezy, I chalked it up to all of the running around he did at his sister's school.

But, when he woke up the next morning, hives everywhere, face so swollen that he could not open one eye and edema so bad that he looked like he was growing a horn out of the middle of his forehead, I froze.

After going over everything he ate the day before, I realized that he had a bite of a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. That couldn't be it, right?

A trip to the doc, 2 days of antihistamine and a visit to the allergist a week later.

Which lands us on today.

It was at the allergist office that the freakin Mack truck came out of nowhere and flattened me.

My son.

Life threatening peanut allergy.

Less than 2 minutes after his skin was pricked with the peanut and tree nut allergen he was wheezing, coughing, rubbing his nose and freaking out because he couldn't breathe good.

Blah, Blah, Blah... EpiPen at all times... Blah, Blah, Blah Life threatening reaction.... Blah, Blah, Blah... Watch that Paige doesn't give him anything to eat.... Blah, Blah, Blah... A bunch of other words flowed from his mouth.

To the driver of the Mack truck... could you please find it in your heart to blow your horn so I have a little warning before you hit me again?

This was taken less than 5 minutes after his skin was pricked.


Jennifer said...

OMG Stacy! How unbelievably scary!

My mother found out about my brother's penicillin allergy the same way (and just for comparison I'm a 30 weeker and he's a 34 weeker, so shouldn't deal with anything right?). He had an infection of some sorts, my mom gives him his penicillin and send him outside to play with the neighbors (he was 3 at the time).

The neighbors come running into the house because my brother is face down in the drive way, blue...

He almost died... from a penicillin allergy!

I'm so glad the worst didn't happen with you son - how very scary!

I hear kids can outgrow peanut allergies as they grow right?

Helen Harrison said...

Stacy, this is horrible!

We, too, had lightning strike twice.

Our full term daughter is also life-threateningly allergic --to animals among other things -- so, no visits to friends' houses. She is also highly vulnerable to infection, and nearly died at age 2 from "relapsing fever" (borrelia).

There have been times when both of our children have been critically ill at the same time.

As a fellow allergy sufferer, I have hope (cautious hope, to be sure) that truly helpful interventions (and maybe some cures) for our problems will be available in the not too distant future.

Meanwhile my heart goes out to you and your family! Stay strong!!!

Sammie said...

Poor baby! That's horrible! We just had allergy testing (not for foods) and nothing was that bad! He was allergic to pretty much everything, but not with life threatening reactions! That looks so bad, pooor baby, hope he's felling better!

Chris and Vic said...

Stacy, I'll bet you will soon have another post on avoiding peanuts and all their traces in your son's life.

At the schools here in southeastern WI, there are some elaborate avoidance tactics going on. For example, no one in the class of the child who is allergic to peanuts can bring any kind of lunch or snack to school that has even traces of peanuts. (There is a mom with a son with life-threatening peaunt allergy that withdrew her son from one of the district schools because they were not vigilant enough in protecting her son in school. She now has her son at my granddaughter's school, because that school is willing to be more vigilant . . . But the mother has to transport her son to and from that school.)

Our grocery store bakery has signs up that say that it is possible that everything in that bakery has at least possibly been in contact with surfaces that had tree nut residuals on them.

At school, they are asking the question about the use of hand sanitizers vs. handwashing---in the hope that they can rid kids' hands of traces of peanuts effectively, to protect the one child in all the primary grades that has a severe peanut allergy.

So many questions are born of this problem . . . all your cooking habits, all prepared foods, all Asian foods, all restaurant foods, all birthday cakes, bakery, granola bars, snack foods.

Hopefully the allergist gave you a place to start, probably a list of eliminations in order to protect your son. Keep us informed!

And take a deep breath.

3 good eggs said...

Poor little guy!! Allergies to food sucks. I am allergic to strawberries, spinach, and salmon. I love strawberries!!! People just think I am being silly and dont like spinach and make a point of putting it in food that is served so I will eat it. I have a serious reaction that requires that I carry an epi pen. So I dont really think its about not liking it. :}

Hang in there. Hope he is feeling better.

Leanne said...

I just read your email on preemie-list and wanted to share a few pieces of info - we're just starting on the 'allergy' path because my son had quite a bad reaction to egg. My nephew had a bad reaction to peanuts that landed him in the ER. So my sister in law and I have started our research and have come across something called NAET. Have you heard of it? We're going to see a practitioner who will help find the cause of the allergies - I have another friend that is currently being treated for allergies and has had many allergies eliminated because of NAET. Sorry I don't have any links for you right now (if you google it, it should come up...), I just wanted to quickly let you know while I have a minute - I am rather hopeful that this is going to be helpful. My email is if you want to ask any more questions.
This is scary stuff - my sis in law has a few links to other blogs of 'peanut free mamas', you can check her out at

My sympathies.

The Preemie Experiment said...

Thank you to everyone. I've received so many words of comfort (via my blog and emails) that it was overwhelming! I am forever grateful.

Chris wrote: "And take a deep breath."

Thank you Chris. This is exactly what I needed to do.

I've brushed myself off, washed my clothes free of the Mack truck tread marks and off we go.

Of course I've researched the heck out of it all and also tried to identify what was scaring me the most.

I came up with a few things.

1. I realized that I was worried that I was going to miss an ingredient and give him something that would cause a reaction.

2. I realized that I was worried that he was going to be fed something or be touched by someone who had peanut products on their hands, while we were attending the many functions at Paige's school. So many people are used to just picking him up and playing with him while we are there. The doctor told us that he is so sensitive that even if someone had peanut products on their hands and then touched him that he could have a reaction.

So, after figuring out what I was so worried about I realized that it was pretty much out of my control and I had to let go. I do plan on getting him a shirt that has some saying on it about not touching him or feeding him without asking mom or dad first.

But, beyond the regular precautions, we are going on with life.

We even went out to lunch and then to dinner last night (something we do quite often). Lunch was at Chili's and they were awesome, even had a printed menu listing all of the menu items that were safe. The manager was wonderful and decided to make our meal himself.

Dinner was at Dairy Queen. I didn't feel comfortable with letting him eat anything there so we just fed him a toddler meal from home. He was able to have one of their pre-packaged ice cream products though, and loved every bite.

Thanks again to everyone and keep the suggestions coming, either through here or via email.

Laura said...

wow! scary stuff! one of my little man's classmates was just diagnosed with peanut allergies as well.
take care.

Special Survivors said...

Stacy, I'm so sorry to hear this news.

As the mom of a micropreemie (26 weeker, surviving twin) AND a full-term toddler, I usually take for granted my younger daughter's health. Your experience is a wake-up call to remember that I shouldn't take my younger child's health for granted.


kellarsmommy said...

Poor fella, those welps on his back are awful..Kellar was allergy test 2 wks ago, his showed nothing but I am still unsure of it...I kept a little boy at daycare and he was deathly allergic to peanuts as well, I was on egg shells everytime a kid came in w/candy...Forget having that driver blow the horn I say lets take the darn keys from him and never let him drive again..

Jenny said...

Poor baby boy! I'm glad you were able to figure it out, although peanuts are EVERYWHERE. :/

Nancy Brown said...

aww.. I am so sorry.. You should really stop playing in the road. I have no words of advice other than avoid the big truck that tends to hit you on a regular basis. We LOVE your blog and hope the kiddos stay healthy and continue to be well loved.

THANKS for the support BTW.

liz.mccarthy said...

Stacy, OMG, How horrible, I'm so sorry to hear the new about your son. Just what you needed in your life.

Just thinking of you.


The Hunt's said...

I have dropped by a few times but just had to leave a comment this time. I too just experienced one of my children having a peanut allergy. It is very scary!! I have identical twin girls and 1 of them is allergic to peanuts. Weird huh?! The doctor said even though they are twins they are still different people...go figure. Anyhow, if one can't have peanuts neither can the other since they are only a year old. They tend to take each others food. My daughter didn't have breathing problems however she swelled started with her eyes, then it was her entire body, you couldn't even see the shape of her ears. She was also allergic to cows milk when she was born but has since grown out of it. Allergies are no fun!! Thanks for sharing your story. Although I wish you didn't have to go through this.