Friday, July 31, 2009

A New Bump In The Road

We've discovered a new allergy for Jayden, and perhaps it isn't so much new for Jayden as much as it finally came to heads for him. You see, Jayden has always fought eczema, and as a baby it was determined that it was mainly coming from his excessive need to drool, and man did that kid drool! He doesn't drool now, he just sweats like crazy and when he does he'd get an eczema type rash. I always presumed (falsely) that it was more prickly heat rash then eczema as he never complained too much about itching and a shower often "fixed" things for him. However, over the past couple of months I've noticed that showers haven't helped his eczema, and that it was so bad behind his knees he'd managed to scratch himself raw. Then he woke up with it on his tummy, and while I battled it, I wasn't seeing any connections as to what was causing it.

His bedding and clothes are washed regularly, I swear if he stinks it's not cause his clothes are dirty! I don't use smelly or strong soaps because I have severe skin allergies and just smelling perfumes gives me headaches and makes my skin crawl! We replaced the doona on his bed and we carefully watched what he ate, yet it wasn't making any difference to his rash.

Things finally came to a head when his entire back was covered with it, as was his tummy, arm pits, behind his knees and down his thighs. I managed to turn the tables and play 20 questions with the local chemist and have him answer my questions for a change. We came home, loaded Jayden up with zyrtec and heavily applied an eczema cream to his body (MediHoney, which I'd highly recommend!)

Then I had one of those dawning moments. You know, a total epiphany where the light bulbs spring on and are shinning brightly at 100 watts. As I sat there watching Jayden drink his umpteenth glass of milk it dawned on me that not only was he guzzling way more then the dairy could supply, but his itches were worse each time he consumed a mug full. So, I did the unthinkable and banned him from milk.

He took one look at me smiled and said, "Funny Mom.." he was quite for a few minutes and then said, "Is it a joke?" Boy was he upset when I said no. He didn't quite cry, but his eyes were big and shinny. Milk is Jayden's weak point. Even when he was little he always wanted milk in his cup opposed to juice.

So for 5 days he was totally milk free, then he asked for a glass of it. I decided we might as well see what happens, and while he wasn't gagging his guts out he was quite uncomfortable. The poor kid was curled up on the floor with a tummy ache, and once that let up he was one stinky little fellow! His itches were also much worse by the following day. Oddly enough his "itchies", as we've dubbed them, seem to be worse 24 hours later (or slightly less) then they do a few hours later.

This is one of those frustrating new bumps, kinda like the time he broke out in hives after having amoxicillin after all ready having been on the stuff twice previously! So now on top of no sugar he can't have milk, which has pretty much eliminated eating anywhere but at home for him. Eating at home is kinda tricky for us too..

I noticed that lots of our recipes contain milk or butter or both. Which means Jayden has enjoyed (Uncle D, you'll love this one!) juice sweetened corn flakes with chocolate soy milk for breakfast this week. Not exactly normal and not entirely healthy since the soy milk had sugar in it. He wouldn't touch the plain soy milk. He didn't like the fresh goats milk we obtained, and I can't seem to get my hot little hands on raw milk.

Due to his reactions I suspect he has more of a lactose problem then a true allergy. If that's so then the problems could be eliminated by using raw milk, but that's a long story and best saved for another day.. For now we're subbing apple juice for milk in most of our recipes (works as a sweetener too..), we replace half the butter with coconut oil and the other half with applesauce and add 2 T oil or we use a nut/seed based margarine for him.

We've successfully converted our Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookie recipe (we've been using dairy free chocolate for a while because it's the only way I can get it sugar-free), in fact he can't keep his hands out of them! I've got an applesauce cake cooling in the kitchen for his breakfast tomorrow, and surely that will be great because who doesn't like being told they can have cake for breakfast?! Pancakes (a normal breakfast food around here) are another story. While I made them with water, I wasn't very impressed with the results. Jayden on the other hand didn't seem to care and ate them anyway. I need to come up with a new salad dressing too because he loves Ranch and that's clearly out.

While the road is a tad bumpy as we work on converting and changing recipes I'm also a tad grateful for it. Things haven't been quite right with Jayden and it's nice to see him feeling better and acting "normal" again. Having mega allergies myself I know how miserable one can feel when they run amuck, and I'm grateful we've found his problems (for now) and they are reasonably easy to deal with. I also suspect poor Susan and Gracie down at the dairy might be relieved too, Jayden demands an awful lot of milk from them on a pretty regular basis..


Julie said...

I'm sorry, Kendra. It's difficult to watch your child be so uncomfortable. I'm glad you figured it out!

(We use rice milk on our cereal here.)

Donna(mom24boyz) said...

We went through the exact same thing with our two year old. I dont mean to frighten you, but you should get an epi pen. I took my son to the allergist when I was told that excema like that (behind the knees and patches) tends to be allergy excema. So I took him to the allergist and his skin test showed milk and soy. The doctor put him on zyrtec for the itching, but also gave us an epi pen....apparently excema due to allergies is highly related to anaphalatic shock (sp?). There could be no signs..he could be 20 years old and suddenly have an attack. I then read the book "Could this be your child?" Wow, did it open my eyes to the seriousness of allergies. My son was still breaking out, but not as bad when we removed the milk...we then did a blood test and discovered he is also allergic to peanuts. We had withdrawn him from all milk and soy products, but I had made some peanut butter cookies for my kids and he broke out horribly..all across his head, his arms and legs. So once the blood test came back saying peanuts, I knew it was right.

He now is 100% better with no excema. He does take zyrtec nightly, and we avoid milk..he drinks rice I have discovered that baking with it is no problems either. None of my boys have noticed ;)
Some people think that our kids are not allergic to the milk but rather the preservetives. Organic may be fine for him. I keep meaning to try this for my son, but have not yet. The book I mentioned...spoke alot about preservetives in our culture being the main suspect in the growing number of allergies. Also, I breast fed 3 of my children totally and known of them have food allergies or excema at all. My youngest, however was formula fed (I was not producing enough milk for him) They now say something like 80% of children with food allergies are formula fed..they are looking for linkage. I am convinced that was the big kicker for my son. Not that I can do anything about it now :( The good news is....milk allergy is often outgrown.

Hope this info is helpful to ya..just know you are not alone....Milk is the #1 allergy..I was shocked to learn that little fact.

Zoo Mommy said...

Aak, Kendra, how awful for your little boy! But you are a great mommy for figuring this out for him!

Kendra said...

Thanks ladies.. our biggest hurdle right now is recipes.. I need to find a better substitute for some things.. And why, may I ask, is there milk in pizza sauce? The one thing I still bought bottled, and I was shocked to see milk in it!