Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Chugging Along

As exhausted as I feel at only 8:44pm, I must say that today has been an amazing day. Our life is GOOD, no GREAT, and I praise God for that!

Overall, 2014 is shaping up to be an amazing year. Back in January, Daddy Monkey and I knew that this year had a lot of potential. Never did I expect it to turn out quite this amazing so quickly.

Today was a big peanut updose day for Big Monkey. Our original plan from last time had been to increase from 750mg peanut flour to 1 gram! I'm not sure why 1 gram feels like such a big milestone to me, but it does. However, when we arrived Dr. R told us he was planning on trying to reach 2-2.5 grams, which would have been huge. The change in plan was probably due to Big Monkey's success and lack of reactions recently. Unfortunately (or maybe fortuneately for mommy's nerves?), Big Monkey woke up with a cold yesterday. Blah.

No fever and no chest involvement meant Dr. R still wanted to try to make some kind of progress. An examination showed a mild ear infection though, so we could only move forward if we agreed to a course of antibiotics for that. Knowing how an updose can really challenge and wear our Big Monkey's body, I agreed even if it was otherwise likely to heal on it's own. While I am not a proponent of overuse of antibiotics, this was the right time to use them as a sort of "just in case."

So Dr. R went off to prepare our 1 gram dose. He came back a few minutes later with a small cup hidden in his hands. He asked Big Monkey if he wanted to see, then said oh maybe not. This caught my curious Big Monkey's attention even though not much does when he is playing Angry Birds. He wanted to know what was in the cup, but also looked very unsure (i think he knew what was in the cup). Dr. R showed me first. It was a peanut. The little poisonous thing that we have spent so many years trying to avoid coming anywhere near, and there it was in a cup. A whole peanut and a few small chunks of peanut. That is what 1 gram looks like in Dr. R's protocol. I can't say that my heart didn't begin to beat faster because it did.

A peanut was like a wake up call. This is real. Not some tan powder that faintly smells of peanut butter but could really just be scented unbleached all purpose flour. A real, WHOLE nut! I wish I had taken a picture, but I was trying to play cool and calm for Big Monkey. He peeked in the cup and said he didn't know what it was. That was quickly followed by " but I think it may be a peanut." Yup my son, it is.

When Dr. R put it on to the spoon, Big Monkey's eyes got huge. As much as my brave little 5 year old understands about this process, I guess he never realized that he was going to eventually have to eat a peanut. He blurted out "I'm not ready!" and scooted to the opposite side of the exam table. He looked at me and I told him it was ok to eat the peanut if Dr. R or mommy gave it to him, but only if one of us give it to him (I didn't need him thinking this meant he could eat anything anyone else gives him). He still looked horrified. Honestly, I was chuckling inside. I have done my job as a food allergy parent well!

We reassured again and told him all he had to do was chew it and hold it in his mouth (he's not allowed to swallow right away to make sure he doesn't have an instant reaction). Still looking horrified he asked me " and then where does it go?" He couldn't even fathom swallowing this nut and I felt proud and a little bit safer even if I didn't know if he could tolerate it or not. Getting nowhere, Dr. R asked if Big Monkey wanted to go back to the flour and applesauce. Yup, that was 100% agreeable and back to Angry Birds he went. Into the trash went the peanut and back to the prep area went Dr. R, who is the most patient doctor I have ever met.

One gram of peanut flour takes a LOT of applesauce to mix in. I think it ended up being 3 or 4 bites for Big Monkey, but, so long as it didn't look like a peanut, he was game. Then we waited, and waited, and waited some more. For what? Well, nothing since nothing happened, and that is the way we like it. No tummyache, no itching, no skin changes, no hives. Nothing but sweet success. 

Why is this all so exciting today? Well because OIT has opened yet another door for us - an across an ocean flight. Daddy Monkey and I have dreamed for years about taking the family to Hawaii, but a flight over the Pacific ocean hours from any land and life saving medical crews was out of the question. Until now. Sure, we are still hours from land and medical crews, but the likelihood of a reaction is now almost zero. We still chose an airline that does not routinely serve peanuts. We will still inform the flight crew of our allergy. I will still wipe every surface in our rows. We will bring all our own food. We will request sealed drinks and wipe them down. However, now I don't have to worry about the spots I missed, the peanut dust that could be in the air, the unseen residue that could be in the bathrooms, or what the passengers are eating around us. He is very, very unlikely to react to any of those things at this point. So a trip to Hawaii is in our near future, and we all couldn't be more thrilled. I will be sure to bring back some photos of the "new fish friends" that the Monkeys are planning on making while there.

Sorry for the lack of photos in this post. Mobile blogger and my photos do not seem to get along. I will try to add some tomorrow. 

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