Long road to food allergy diagnosis

Jan 13, 2010

As I have mentioned over the past year, we have been dealing with “reflux” issues with the little man.  I put that in quotations because his problem has always been tossed off as just being reflux; however, the treatment for reflux does not work for him.  It all started this time last year.  We noticed he was having trouble burping and would tilt his head to the side as he tried to belch.  It looked quite uncomfortable, and at his 3-year-old check up we mentioned it to the pediatrician, who recommended we start giving him Tums and see if that helped.  Of course, it didn’t help, and then we were prescribed a medication that he was to take daily. That didn’t seem to help either what were we to do?

Well, I became increasingly annoying at the pediatricians office, trying to get some kind of answer as to why this medication I was feeding my child daily was not working, and I kept feeling like I was being brushed off.  They would call in another medication and, lo and behold, that didn’t work either.  His symptoms never got worse, but they just stayed the same. 

I hated giving him medicine for nothing and, as annoying as I was to the pediatrician, I just wanted my child to be comfortable.  He doesn’t seem bothered by the problem, he doesn’t regurgitate his food, as is typical with reflux, he doesn’t have trouble swallowing and doesn’t act as though it burns or causes pain.  He just looks extremely uncomfortable.  So, on we were sent to a specialist (gastroenterologist) to have an upper GI done.  I will condense and just say that it was a nightmare of epic proportions.  The Exorcist looks tame compared to that day at Chippenham Hospital.  However, the news was great: no problems or abnormalities present. So, back to it just being reflux, right?

After a visit with the specialists who couldn’t seem to figure out the problem either – 3-year-olds don’t typically just develop reflux – we kind of lay low and just watched him writhe around as he tried to burp.  We began doing some research on our own and began to wonder if he were allergic to milk.  He’s had an issue with milk since birth, and was on soy formula and soymilk up to age 2.  We noticed that this problem started about six months after switching him to regular milk. 

So, I met with the pediatrician on my own and brought this to his attention.  Nothing was accomplished, except I was now $25 poorer than before after being charged an outrageous exam fee to talk to the man for 20 minutes.  I was aggravated and frustrated, to say the least.

 A few months go by and back we go to the specialist, except this time we see another physician in the practice.  Right away after talking to us she decided that little man needed to be tested for food allergies, which meant getting blood drawn.  I was terrified and stressed beyond belief.  What? Needles poking into the delicate flesh of my beloved child? No way.  But it had to be done, and I was ordered by my husband to stay at work and not think about it on the day. 

The day came and went, and our exceptional child did just fine; crying was involved, of course, but no bodily harm was inflicted on any of the nice nurses, so I say it turned out all right.  Results came back right at Christmas and, sure enough, he was allergic to wheat, soy and dairy.  I couldn’t believe it.  He had been living off of soymilk all but 6 months of his life and wheat was in everything.

We started him on an allergen-free diet for a week and now have begun a rotation diet.  I tell you, he’s done extremely well with it.  There are so many gluten-free foods out there that make this much easier; however, soy seems to be in everything!  But, we have managed; the only thing we have learned is that gluten-free bread not only tastes terrible, but also could be used as a deadly weapon if thrown at someone with any force behind it.

It’s been a frustrating journey and I’ve seen some improvement with his problem.  I’m thankful that he is otherwise a healthy, happy child; I just want him to be comfortable.  As mothers, our main concern is, the health and happiness of our children, and when we see something not quite right, we are driven to find out the source of the problem so we can fix it.  Hopefully, this is the solution, the allergens. It would be the best way to start this New Year – with our little guy being 100 percent.

gmlashley @ hotmail.com

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