Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Clowns to the Left of Me, Jokers to the Right

In case you don't follow me on Twitter or Facebook, we've had a couple of really awful shitty weeks over here. After the oozy incident, Emerson got tons better on the steroids, new antibiotic and antihistamine.

Three days later, when he took a step down of the steroid, he completely broke out again. A week later we were back at the doctor, crying. Not sleeping. Begging for an answer.

At this point, the infection is secondary. The issue is the inflammation, which is opening the skin to be susceptible to the infection. Their only thought?


At which point I totally did a facepalm because duh, I should have figured that one out on my own.

I spent that whole Friday calling the allergist's offices (who's having her own set of health issues regarding her eye, poor lady - I really like our allergist a lot). I spent the whole Monday calling her offices (she works out of three: the "fancy" one we go to, one at KU Med and a third kids' clinic at a satellite KU Med location) (doctor has credentials, yo) and couldn't get Emerson an appointment until Friday.

Another allergist in her office offered to have us come in on Tuesday to "explain to us how food allergies in babies work, but wouldn't test the baby for allergies." Like there's anything any doctor can throw at us that we haven't already heard, studied and had test results that were against their textbook lectures.


Aaron pushed back a business trip, I nearly had a nervous breakdown (as in, do I need to go to a mental institution? or just check into a hotel and get some freaking sleep?) and we finally made it to the appointment.

We arrived, and immediately got stuff rolling for Emerson.

This is a good true-to-life photo (little slap-happy filtering on this one - the others? hello funky filters that don't make my baby look quite so miserable), taking his blood pressure.

After going through all our papers, asking us questions and looking him over carefully, we were sent to the hospital for his allergy blood test.

Five vials. They needed five vials of blood to test all of the allergies ordered (and the doctor ordered every single one possible).

The results are in, but OF COURSE we have to wait to tomorrow 'cause today is her day at her kids' clinic and she'll review them tomorrow morning.

In the meantime, we have new body soap and lotion, new antihistamine and two cans of Elecare just in case he is allergic to my breastmilk. And based on the tests we did at home (rubbing some into a quarter-sized spot on his back that was originally clear), he is (his poor back broke out after three applications).

So remember when I said we have tests that go against textbooks? Yes. We do. All of us. (Well, not Aaron. But the rest of us.) Please don't leave any snarky comments saying IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO BE ALLERGIC TO BREASTMILK!!!1!!!!!

Improbable, yes. Impossible, no.

Darwin was. I will not at all be surprised to find out Emerson is too.

And yes, to answer your question: if he's allergic to me and my milk, then why now? Why not when he was born?

Because of two things: One, a baby's immunities is reflective of his mothers when being born. It takes a while for the mother's immunities to flush out and the babe's to turn on. Two, genetics turn on and off multiple times over your life (and each switch is slow, taking a few months or as you age, a year). Once around six months (Emerson's age), another big genetic switch around the age of five (when lots of kids "grow out of allergies"), another during puberty, and genetics can turn on and off anytime the body goes through trauma (broken bones, pregnancy and delivery, hernia surgery, etc).

I can haz nerd cred.

Emerson started breaking out in November - I just thought it was the cold weather. In December I went dairy free (keeping in mind, for myself I'm gluten and soy free), which helped a bit. Then I went egg and nut free. But it's just compounded and compounded and compounded and nothing I do is making him any better.

I may have to start weaning tomorrow, which is a great disappointment. I had planned on nursing him for a few more months.


I will do whatever is necessary to take care of my babies. Emerson's constant screaming and inability to sleep is proof something is going on his little body. Whatever it is needs to be diagnosed and remedied. Period.


Vicki said...

When are you guys going to get a break? I hope you get some good answers, soon! And that baby gets better and you get some sleep soon, too!

hawkeyejlp said...

Wow...you are a trooper. Hope you get answers soon--will be thinking of you & yours!

laeroport said...

::sigh:: I wish there was something I could do. But I'm happy you're getting answers....

Anonymous said...

I've been following you on and off and the first thing I thought of when I saw your "weeping" post was my son. Though his face was never quite as bad as that it was weepy accomplanied with an all over rash. After useless trips to the dermatologist my mom suggested cutting out gluten (but I can't remember....are you already gluten free?)...he was getting it through my breastmilk. Through more "eliminating" we found out that he was also "sensitive" to all things acidic (oranges, tomatoes, vinagars, peaches, berries... the list goes on). This all started when he was 2 months old, and now at age 4 he's fine with gluten but still gets a rash, though not to the same degree, on his cheek when he has the acidic things.
I know how frustrating it can be. I'm thankful to be out of it and was thankful that by age 12 months he could have other glutens just not wheat and by 18 he was in the clear.
Unfortunatly it seems as though my youngest also has a minor eczema-y rash on her legs...

Ali said...

Hope today brings some resolution Laura. You guys hate for life to be boring, dontcha?

jac said...

Oh no! Ouch. Hope he feels better soon!

Kristen said...

I'm so sorry to read that you're going through this. I confess, I was one of those people when my son entered preschool and it was time to bring snacks who said, "allergies? Ah, people can't really be that allergic to stuff ..." I've never had to deal with them and neither has my child (or anyone else I've known well, for that matter). But you write so eloquently about the real challenges of allergies and I appreciate the understanding, even though the process is miserable for you. It makes me wonder what parents did 50 years ago before we had so many specialized products on the shelves to choose from ...

amy h said...

Goodness -- I hope you get some useful answers TODAY. Poor babe and mama. If you eliminate much more from your diet you won't have anything to eat!

Laura said...

Wow! What a palava, I think you're coping amazingly well. Hope you and Emerson get some sleep soon. Good luck.

Unknown said...

I think you're amazing. Seriously.

Sending you good vibes for a good resolution. (and some sleep)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad there haven't been any snarky comments because I was fully prepared to tell them to go suck it, because I was allergic to breastmilk and had to be fed soymilk. So.

I hope you get the answers you need soon and that everyone starts to feel better even sooner!

Unknown said...

Man, I am so sorry to hear all of that is going down over there. Hugs from Ohio and I do hope E feels better soon!

Jersey Knitting Mama said...

My dearest! You inspire me. You are one amazing mama. I'm sorry baby is allergic to breast milk. Allergies seems to run in the family but you don't let it run your life. you do so much research and take such good care of your boys. They are so lucky to have you as a mama. You are such an inspiration to me. I hope baby Emerson feels better soon.