Sneeze #1. Hold my breath. Sneeze #2. Are you ok?
Eyes are red. Eyes are itchy. Sneeze #3. Lets call the doctor.That was the scene three weeks ago an hour after Matthew ate the wheat portion of his current dose: 1950 milligrams of each allergen- the wheat portion was 19 mini Oreos.
The doctor on call at Stanford that night was our doctor- Kari Nadeau.
She calmly stepped us thru the allergic reaction- which was considered mild- a few sneezes, very stuffy nose and itchy eyes. After a double dose of Zyrtec, albuterol inhaler and nasal spray the reaction began to subside.
As always Dr. Nadeau was level headed and reassuring. She spoke with all of us- explaining that these types of reactions are to be expected. Three reactions in a row and they would cut his dose in half. So far this has not happened.
Matthew is up to 1950 milligrams each day of wheat, rye, barley and oat. He had an anaphylactic reaction in July to 50 milligrams of only wheat.
We have traveled to Stanford almost every two weeks since August. The drill remains the same and the trips are uneventful. We arrive at the hospital around 8:00 am. As usual Matthew gets hooked up to a pulse oximeter machine and his blood pressure is taken. Since he has moved on from the flours mixed into chocolate pudding he eats his daily dose in the form of foods previously strictly forbidden-- Nature Valley granola bars, Oreos/ graham crackers, and cookies made from rye/barley flour.
We have come so far from a serendipitous conversation last May to his current daily dose. This experience has been life changing for Matthew and our entire family. The little things most people don’t think twice about have changed for us. We are able to go into an ice cream store and not worry about cookie bits contaminating his ice cream and we don’t ask for a clean scooper. We don’t have to interrogate each manager and chef with as much rigor as in the past. Our restaurant choices are less limited now. I can bake again using wheat flour inside my house instead of in the garage. Every waking minute is no longer filled with fear of cross contamination or the phone call from school. Those days are over.
We continue to be so proud of Matthew for his bravery and willingness to participate in this food trial, for his ability to completely trust and be lead by Dr. Nadeau and for his faith in our judgment allowing him to move forward. We are honored and blessed to be part of this life changing experience.