My Lightning

baked milk challenge April 2015

When I was pregnant with my son, I worried about the possibility of my second child also having food allergies. My friend had said, “He won’t have allergies too. It would be like lightning striking in the same place twice.”
Well. He did. He has all of his sister’s allergies plus one more.
I recently found out about a doctor near us who provides private practice OIT, or oral immunotherapy. Oral immunotherapy is a process that slowly enables your body to develop a tolerance to an allergen, like allergy shots would for seasonal allergies. We’ve known it’s been around for some years now, but previously only at major research hospitals several states away. We visited this new allergist and left feeling optimistic. He wanted to challenge my son with baked milk and baked egg first, to see if he could tolerate it and then use the baked products for a while to hasten his tolerance to milk and egg, a form of modified OIT, if you will. From what I understand (and I am no expert!), the normal OIT process starts with just a speck of your allergen, say peanut flour, then you (carefully, methodically, and always under the supervision of a skilled physician!) increase the amount every week or two weeks over months, sometimes years. You graduate from peanut flour in liquid, to peanut flour in capsules, to…peanuts! Then you continue to eat your daily “maintenance” peanuts for life to avoid the allergy returning. He would still always have those allergies, and still always need to carry an Epi-pen, but his chance of reaction would be diminished while his freedom would greatly increase.
The day of his baked milk challenge, I was nervous, of course. We got up very early and made the 2 hour drive to the office. I felt good about it, and so did he, but we were all a bit worried that it could end poorly… like with an epinephrine shot and a trip to the hospital. If he was nervous, you wouldn’t have known it. He had two muffins to finish. First a small piece, then a bigger bite, then another. The process went on for about two hours, spacing each about 20-30 minutes apart. I kept trying to watch him without staring at him. Lol. At one point, he bent over to stretch, and I was all, “What’s the matter?! Does your stomach hurt?! Are you ok?!” Turns out he was just bored and stretching. Uneventful. That’s what it was. I’m still amazed. All this time, perhaps, he could have been having things with baked milk in them to help him outgrow his allergy. Of course, things have to baked at a certain temp for a certain duration to change the protein, so we still have to be careful. When I asked him if he was nervous, he said, “At first, but then once I realized it didn’t taste bad, I was fine.” Leave it to my son not to be worried that he has to eat something life-threatening, but that it might be “yucky”!
He is my lightning. He surprises me daily. He is brave, smart, strong, fast, thankful, helpful, and loving. Everything he does is intense… like lightning. 🙂