I just baked a cake. It has an egg in it. A real egg for my egg allergic child! Last night I baked bread in the bread machine. I put 15 grams of dried milk powder in it. Real milk for my milk allergic child!
I haven't shared anything about this nearly 3 month journey because like all journeys, it's had plenty of bumps in the road and wrong turns. Frankly, I feel like we've stepped off the road and we're ploughing our way through uncharted territory. It's scary. It's exciting. We continue to move forward.
This food allergy journey began in July 2010 when we made an appointment to do a baked egg challenge in our allergist's office. As instructed, I baked an angel food cake with 12 eggs. My egg allergic child needed to eat one piece to get roughly one egg. There was much anxiety leading up to the appointment. It's hard to convince a child to eat something after telling them for 10 years to never eat it. The anxiety made the appointment difficult. Physical symptoms were hard to separate from symptoms of anxiety. The challenge was not completed. We left the office not knowing if there had been an allergic reaction.
Over the next few days, we, the parents, decided to use egg in baked products- just one egg in a whole cake for example. Our allergist was aware and not totally comfortable with the plan, but acknowledged that we had the tools to handle a reaction if there was one.
There wasn't a reaction.
For several months now my egg allergic child has been eating baked goods containing one egg that have been baked for approximately 30 minutes.
So, we decided to tackle baked milk. We wanted to use a small amount of dried milk powder in a batch of muffins. For the first serving, we decided to go into the allergist's office. This wasn't a traditional food challenge as technically we weren't using enough of the allergen, but the reassurance of having a doctor close by was helpful. My milk allergic child was able to eat a whole muffin that contained 0.33 grams of dried milk powder. As per the allergist's instructions, we've continued to keep milk powder in the diet over the past week.
This experience has been fraught with anxiety for all of us, but we hope we're doing the right thing in the long run. Our efforts are two-fold: get missing nutrients into the diet and begin to introduce the allergen slowly to allow the body to recognize it as okay.
There continues to be moments of, "I think my mouth is tingling" and "What if I can't breathe after I eat this?". We work through each situation as it comes up with as much confidence as we can muster. We're just parents trying to do the right thing by our child.
I certainly can't recommend this method, but I can recommend an open dialogue with your allergist. The research is coming in quickly and it's hard to keep up with the latest recommendations. Talk to your doctor and make a plan that is best for your child and your family.
I'll keep you posted on ours and hope you'll keep us posted on yours. We can all learn from one another.