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Saturday, August 16, 2014

He is the eggman, goo goo goo joob

For the first time in five years, Dallas is now one of the zillions of people in the world who can enjoy an omelet, a fritatta, a custard, or a lovely quiche.  The boy still can't have any dairy, but he is no longer allergic to eggs.

About a month ago, I took Dal in for a check-up with his allergist.  He hadn't been tested for his allergies for a few years as his doctor didn't see the point of putting Dal through unnecessary testing.  However, he did recommend that Dal be re-tested before beginning public school, and like the dutiful momma I am, I took him in.  I was anxious because the first test was a blood test, and children are typically not great when it comes to having someone stick a needle into their arm to draw bodily fluid.  I tried to stay very calm as we walked into the lab, and I promised the boy a trip to Target for a new toy if he could get through the needle stick without struggling or freaking out.  Before the nurse even got to us, I was sweating like I was standing in the Sahara Desert with no umbrella or water.  Turns out I could have saved all of my worry (and a jaunt to Target) because Dallas was fantastic.  He didn't move a muscle when the needle went it, and he even looked at the blood coming out and said, "That is SO awesome."

The blood test surprisingly came out negative for the egg allergy, so we moved on to the next step: the skin test.  The nurse made teeny scratches on Dal's arm and then dropped a bit of various proteins on the scratches to see if he would react to them.  A enormous hive popped up right away on the spot where the cow's milk protein had been placed, so we knew the dairy allergy was sticking around.  But once again, the scratch test was negative for the egg protein.   We quickly ran out that day to get an egg from a local convenience store.  The nurse did a fresh food challenge which involved putting actual egg white and egg yolk onto Dal's skin to see if it would react.  He passed that test with flying colors, and we made an appointment for the next step: the food challenge.  Dun dun DUUUUUUN!

Unfortunately, our first appointment was cancelled due to an emergency with the doctor.  Doh.  We rescheduled and went in yesterday, Friday.  Dallas couldn't have any sort of antihistamine for three days prior to the challenge, and he couldn't eat for two hours prior, either.  The appointment was in the Crown Point office (ugh) at 9:00 AM, so I woke Dal up at 6 that morning to shove some food into his face before it was too late.  (For those of you who know Dallas well, you understand the terror I felt knowing that he couldn't really eat the entire morning.  When he doesn't eat, he's like a combination of Godzilla, Denis Leary, and Bobcat Goldthwait.  It's ugly, really ugly.) The challenge went like this: Dal ate a teeny piece of hard boiled egg, was monitored for twenty minutes, then ate another teeny piece of egg.  Picture that for three and a half hours, and you have the gist of the challenge.  Dal complained that the egg was rubbery, but he willingly sent every piece down the hatch with no protests at all.  By 12:45 PM, we had confirmation that Dallas had outgrown his egg allergy.  Not only was he free to eat eggs, but he has to eat something with egg in it every day for the next two weeks.   Somehow I don't think he's going to be asking me to hard boil any eggs for him the near future, though.  He got his fill of those yesterday.

I made angel food cupcakes for him today, and it was a totally surreal experience to bake with eggs again.  I mean, everything I have made in the last five years has been egg- and dairy-free because I couldn't stand to ever have Dal feel left out of anything.  Separating the eggs for the cupcakes felt wrong, like I still thought I was going to essentially poison the kid by setting the cupcake in front of him.  Understandably, he's a little hesitant to eat anything with egg: we have spent the last five years telling him not to touch eggs and anything with eggs in it, and now we are basically forcing him to eat the incredible, edible egg.  Dallas is a by-the-book kind of kid, so this will take some time for him to get used to.  But in the meantime, I get to rediscover recipes that I have put away for years and try out some new ones as well.  The nurse said that outgrowing this allergy would make my life easier as far as food preparation, and I guess she is right.  Checking labels is no big deal, and cooking without the allergens is truly second nature now.   I'm just happy that a new world of food to explore has opened up to my best boy.


Friday, August 8, 2014

One and done


If I could pick one word to describe the mood chez Wells lately, the word would be TIRED.  We are all, for one reason or another, pretty fatigued around here.  The kids are tired from being kids: swimming, playing on the zip line, running around like crazy, and spending every waking moment outside.  We have had some wonderful visits with friends and family in the last couple of weeks as well.  I'm tired from keeping all of the proverbial balls in the air and from simply being around all of the kid activity.  And T?  T is tired from the pesky poison that has been running through him for the last five weeks.  

This last week, especially the weekend, was a difficult one for T.  The fatigue has built up over the weeks, and it's completely overwhelming at this point.  Unfortunately, the fatigue doesn't dissipate with even a full night's sleep, and one of the lovely effects of the chemoradiation is that T rarely sleeps more than three hours at a time anymore.  I know he is looking forward to these next recovery weeks so he can hopefully get more comfortable and manage to get some decent REM sleep.  

Along with the physical fatigue comes the mental fog.  It's hard to concentrate for very long, and the lack of sleep doesn't exactly help anything.  He tends to feel guilty that he isn't helping out more around the house or doing more with the kids.  No matter how many times I tell him that he has to rest, he resists until he literally cannot stand to be vertical any longer.  

But today, y'all, today is the day.  Today is the LAST day of this round of chemoradiation.  This is the last time for a little while that T will have to go into Chicago for his radiation treatment, and the last day he will have to swallow the horrible chemo pills.  Written down, it doesn't seem like such a big deal, but believe me when I tell you that we have all been waiting for this day for weeks.  Finally, T's body will have a chance to really rest and begin the healing process.  He'll need this time to physically and mentally prepare for surgery and the next round of chemo to come...but we're not going to think about that right now.  Instead, we're going to reconnect as a family and hug each other a lot.  It's time to think about school starting and Dallas's upcoming birthday and enjoying some much needed time together.  We'll get a chance to enjoy the now instead of always counting down the days until the end of treatment.  And that right there is something to celebrate.