Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Not the Pepsi Challenge

So, N's sick again -- a cold that morphed into a cough, then into breathing issues, which then led us into nearly an entire afternoon at in the doctor's office. We came home with a breathing machine and an asthma diagnosis. She's fine -- it really wasn't all that alarming an incident overall, and she was a champ: just a little ramped up by the albuterol.

So now we have another action plan to post on the inside of my cookbook cabinet right beside the accidental peanut ingestion directive, and she's one step closer to being Allergy Girl. (There is apparently an Allergy Boy in the school district we live in: the moms I know that have had children who shared a classroom with him assure me his issues are far more severe than N's. Purple glue stick is apparently off limits for him). Seems like asthma's just another one of those childhood hazards these days, anyhow. Potentially scary, but highly manageable for sure. It's amazing how much better she got so quickly after just one breathing treatment.

Anyway, I realized it's been a while since I gave an allergy update. How can I not have shared the results of a momentous occasion: the soy challenge!

Back in mid July, N. and I visited her allergist so that we could conduct this challenge. Soy was a food we'd been avoiding since March, along with the egg and the nuts of all sorts. Since there were mixed results from her two tests (positive for soy on the blood test, negative on the skin test), and she threw up soon after eating soy cheese and soy milk, the allergist suggested the challenge to confirm one way or another whether or not it was a food we needed to avoid.
A food challenge basically involves administering increasing doses of the food in question over a designated time frame, in the controlled situation of a doctor's office in case any adverse reaction occurs. I brought a quart of soy milk into the office with us, along with a whole bag of toys and activities to entertain N., as we had been told we would be in the office for about three hours.

The nurse started her out with a sixteenth of a teaspoon, and then we had to wait fifteen minutes and watch for symptoms, like hives, vomiting, trouble breathing, etc. After each fifteen minute increment, the doctor checked her over, and then a dose double the amount of the previous time was given. It was a long three hours, especially since N. tore through all three pages of stickers I had brought within the first dosing time period. As the morning wore on, we didn't even wait for the doctor to come to our examining room, just followed the nurse down the hall to wherever Dr. Ann was seeing other patients. N. got quite used to strolling around, acting like she owned the place.

By the time she had tolerated a half cup of the soy milk total, with no adverse symptoms visible, the doctor pronounced that soy was back on the menu in the Small World!

It's interesting, back when soy was off the menu, it seemed like there were so many things that she couldn't have because it had soy in it. It's true, soy is in a lot of places you wouldn't expect, especially if you're also avoiding soy lecithin and soybean oil, which we were not. However, now that I can buy things with soy protein and soy flour, I haven't really changed my buying habits all that much. I can now buy any kind of bread and buns I want, which is nice. Soy protein seems to be a filler in processed foods, so really, why start buying lots of Rice a Roni or Chef Boyardee just because I can?

N's allergies have caused me to cook more food from scratch, and rely less on prepackaged and/or frozen foods. Sometimes I'm really irritated I can't just grab a box of frozen pancakes or depend on picking up a bag of mini-donettes to take to the potluck breakfast, but in the end, of course it's a better thing for all of us.

Now, stir fry is back on the menu, (yay, soy sauce!) and we're down to just avoiding egg and nuts. Still makes difficulty on the baked goods scene, but we've figured out some ways around that. For example, we've had great success with cakes baked with diet soda in place of the egg and water in a cake mix recipe. N's actually getting TWO birthday cakes made in this method during Birthday Week. (She turns 2 this weekend: WOW. Look for photos soon: Birthday Week brought me a new camera!)


mep said...

I'm thinking of a song called "Allergy Girl," sung to the tune of "Calendar Girl."

"I love, I love, I love my Allergy Girl ... sweet Allergy Girl."

Can't wait to see photos from your new camera!

CaraBee said...

Diet soda in cake? Hmm. Interesting.

I can't imagine life without soy sauce. Would seriously limit my cooking. Not that my daughter eats anything I make anyway. Sigh.

Cynthia said...

I'm with CaraBee...this house would stop without soy sauce:O

Tina said...

I would still be careful with the soy. Quite a few people have bad reactions to soy in certain forms but tolerate it well in other forms.