Sunday, February 26, 2017

Judah's Allergies: An Update

When I last posted in October, I was crying in Foods for Living trying to figure out how to cut out wheat, rice, soy, beef, chicken, carrots, peas, coconut, cashews, almonds, and maybe a few more I can't even pick out of my brain right now from our diet after finding out about Judah's food allergies. 

I was grateful the allergies were moderate and not severe.  I felt guilty for having not found out about the food allergies sooner. I was a little lost trying to figure out what to cook and how to get my questions answered.

Most importantly, I was worried about Judah- how he would feel when he had to say 'no thank you' to so many foods he'd be offered in the future.  Feeling worried about if/when his skin would clear up and if these food allergies were really the answer.  Feeling worried if there'd be more or worse allergies on the horizon.  

Over the rest of October and November, we cut all those foods.  We ate ham, turkey, and especially pork for protein.  We ate a lot of pork hamburgers- which are delicious by the way.  We found some pasta that contained neither wheat or rice- quinoa pasta was a favorite, corn, on the other hand, wasn't.  We went without waffles (one of the boys' favorite foods) because there were NO waffles, anywhere, that didn't have either wheat, soy, or rice.  We used turkey bone broth instead of chicken, beef, or vegetable broth in lots of dishes.  We only had a couple of cereals in the house (again very difficult to find a cereal without wheat or rice) and toast, bread, and bagels were rare too.

People were overwhelmingly kind.  I heard from friends, colleagues, and family about other allergy stories with their children and they offered me advice, helped me join groups on Facebook, and offered to go grocery shopping with me.  On Halloween, my neighbor called specifically to let me know what kinds of food she would have at their house and that she was making a wheat free, rice free apple crisp so Judah could eat it.  My sister, Colleen, made sure the hotel her wedding was at in Cancun would have things on the menus Judah could eat.  Nolan and Judah's preschool teacher checked in with us about snacks.  Lots of people checked in with me to ask how he was doing.  And when I started packing Judah his own snack for preschool, Nolan, sweet, empathetic Nolan, decided he was going to eat that snack too so Judah wouldn't have to do it alone. 

In just a few short days of cutting all these foods, Judah's skin was crystal clear.  We hadn't seen his skin without some rash in over a year.  Our family commented how healthy he looked and even said his eyes and face looked healthier.  It was incredible how fast things changed.

Starting around the end of November, we started to introduce each 'allergic' food one-by-one to see what kind of reaction, if any, Judah would have.  We started with wheat knowing it would be the hardest to cut and the thing Judah liked most of all.  If wheat was a problem, we just wanted to know about it.  We fed Judah wheat like crazy keeping our fingers crossed and waiting to see what happened.  After about four days, a rash started to come. 

After cutting wheat back out- we continued our investigation by re-introducing rice, soy, chicken, etc etc.  So far, he's had no reactions to any other food except wheat!!! We are so grateful!   

The good news is that now we can buy gluten free items ta the store, which mostly contain rice since rice gave Judah no reaction!  

The other good news is that even if Judah does have wheat in small doses, he has no reaction either.  So, he can have an occasional slice of birthday cake or a piece of pizza

During a visit to Uncle John's, we all ordered caramel apples instead of donuts
Chowing on some corn tortilla quesadillas in Cancun
I have learned an incredible amount throughout these last few months- about cooking, about advocating for your child, about human kindness.  I further learned about how beautiful and unique the twin bond is- Nolan has been with Judah every step of the way.  Most importantly, though, I continue to learn how resilient this child is.  Never once did Judah complain.  Not.Once.  Here I was, crying in Foods for Living feeling lost and hopeless, and he rolled with this entire process with grace.

So I guess the thing I learned the most is how much I still have to learn from my own children :)   
Judah <3