It's been a while since I've written about Gideon's allergies. I finally gave the doctor a push at his 18-month check to give us a referral to a pediatric allergist. And we finally had that appointment this morning. A marathon three-hour event not including travel time since the office is a few cities away. I really liked the doctor though and he really seems to be committed to bringing Gideon's symptoms to a halt no matter what. Right now Gideon's main symptoms are eczema, mostly up his back, which comes but doesn't really go and is sometimes worse but I can't remember the last time his back was eczema free, and diarrhea. It's not total liquid but it's way soft, smells horrible and requires a diaper change anywhere from 3-6 times a day. I know, more than you wanted to know but it was that symptom in particular that made me push for a specialist to see him. Gideon's original diagnosis of a "whey protein" allergy came at 11-months, 9 months ago and though the vomiting has stopped the eczema and GI problems are still here. I learned a lot about allergies today. About how they start, how they work, how they progress depending on the age of the patient (different symptoms at different ages even though the allergen may be the same)... So much that I couldn't have retained it all. The doctor gave me some websites and I already had some of my own so I've spent most of today reading and relearning. As the doctor has laid it out, here's our plan:
Step 1) Cut out ALL dairy, including hidden dairy which means reading labels and looking for "code words" for dairy (casein, whey, malt, some lactose stuff but not all...) It's in nearly everything, even lunch meat and hot dogs (unless you buy Kosher which I've been trying to do anyway). Previously his doctors insisted that we only need to cut out dairy like milk, cheese and yogurt and that processed dairy was fine.
Step 2) Give a multi-vitamin and probiotic daily. Even these items are difficult to find in a non-dairy form. Flintstone vitamins are OK but probiotics without dairy are few and far between (and expensive) so I'm still researching those.
Step 3) Keep the pets out of Gideon's room. Gideon also tested mildly allergic to dog and cat. :( Big bummer. So far the doc is only instructing us to keep the pets out of Gideon's room which won't be too difficult. I'll be praying that nothing more drastic will be required.
Step 4) A no-wheat trial if the GI issue doesn't clear up after eliminating dairy. Ugh. We tried this once before. It's a pain and expensive. Really, really expensive.
Step 5) Recheck in one month regardless of how the trial does (or trials do). At that point he may have blood work done (in the hospital some of his results were off, the assumption was that it was because he was sick at the time but maybe it was something else) and maybe another referral to a GI specialist.
So here we go and as much as this process can be frustrating and time consuming and energy consuming I'm relieved to have a plan and a direction. The last thing I wanted to do was ignore his remaining symptoms (as his regular pediatrician would have me do insisting that he'd grow out of them) and have them continue to develop into worse allergies or allergies to more things.