Lol. That's right, you read correctly. Today, we're sponsored ;)
It was our second time going to CHOP after it opened up about a month ago. We wear masks and drive instead of taking the train. Other than that, everything is the same. (I miss the train 😕)
Ella was particularly nervous today - (enough that she mentioned it various times throughout the last week) - because she made it to her final updose! Why did that make her nervous? Because it was 1/3 tsp of peanut flour, which equals (drum roll...) ONE peanut! In case you didn't already know, that's a big deal :)
So, to help calm her nerves, I posted on FB the night before and asked for prayers that she remain calm and carry the "peace that passes understanding". Feeling anxiety actually increases the chances of having a reaction - which we didn't want! My wonderful community responded.
I decided that before we entered the building, I would let her read all the comments. I gave her the phone after we parked the car, and I told her what I had posted. Her first reaction was - "wow!" cool! :) She was overwhelmed by reading comments from people she's known since she was little, people she doesn't know, and people from NC, FL, PA and a couple from Peru :) So, thank you. You made her feel encouraged, loved and a little famous ;) lol
Once we made it inside, we checked in on the ground floor, then took the elevator to the 6th floor which has become all too familiar.
When she was called back, they took all her vitals (she's still 4'11...just can't seem to get to 5' 😂) and we got placed into a room. CHOP has fun murals in every room and it helps us keep track of which ones we've been in. Today, we got a new room with umbrellas...I tried to get her to take a picture with them but she declined ;) lol
The nurse and doctor were thrilled that she'd had no reactions with her last updose. This was a long time coming!! This process was supposed to be over in 3-5 months. Instead, it has dragged on for 10.
I forgot her OJ to dose with so she had to dose with their applesauce. She wasn't excited about that, but afterwards she said she wants to use applesauce everyday now! So, I'm glad I forgot ;) 1/3 tsp is a LOT of peanut flour when you're mixing it with a bite of food 😝, but she put on the nose clip and ate it like a champ!
She immediately dove into her popcorn and lemonade which is now her go-to after dose snack. Your stomach has to be full beforehand, but you also need to snack afterwards. This has become her ritual. Once the taste in her mouth is gone, she removes the clip ;)
When they checked on her 15 minutes later she felt perfectly fine and an hour later, the same! NO REACTION!!! So incredible. Although it was peanut flour, we still feel the celebration of her ingesting the equivalent to one entire peanut and having ABSOLUTELY no reaction! CELEBRATE!
The next step is to go back in 2-4 weeks (depending on any reactions during that time period) and take with us a peanut M&M.
She will eat that (I keep telling her it tastes good but she's not going for it) as her dose for the next two years. After that, she is welcome to try and increase her tolerance, but that is up to her...and it's a long ways away so we don't need to think about it yet!
We had a few questions now that we are nearing the end of this and our CRNP Elizabeth Hanna answered them all -
1. if Ella accidentally ingests peanuts and we KNOW she has, do we skip the dose? YES
2. Once she is eating the peanut M&M every night, does she still need to rest 2 hours afterwards? FOR THE FIRST YEAR OR TWO, YES. THEN THEY START TO TAPER IT DOWN UNTIL IT IS JUST 30 MINUTES
3. How often do we come in once she starts "maintenance" (one peanut)? EVERY 3 MONTHS FOR THE NEXT YEAR.
4. We didn't ask this, but she volunteered this helpful info - HOLD OFF ON EATING "MAY CONTAIN" PRODUCTS FOR 6 MONTHS.
Obviously, when we go to Peru we won't be able to go back every 3 months, but we'll continue the one peanut M&M per night and jump right back into the appointments once we move back to the States.
So, there you have it. It seems like a miracle - although when I see her eat an actual peanut in a few weeks, I think it's going to hit home even more. For now, we're enjoying the non-eventful dose today and praying that all her doses for the next few weeks will be the same.
PLEASE SHARE! This blog/post is not private. I am writing them because so many people don't know about this treatment. Doctors and Allergists don't tell you. It's something you have to find out on your own. If you ask them about it, they will try and answer your questions, but if they don't offer the treatment themselves, then I guarantee you they aren't freely telling patients that OIT is an option. So, please pass this on to anyone you know that has an anaphylactic food allergy.
This is the go-to page that explains which OIT doctors are recommended and the homepage has all the private practices that are offering OIT. Just search by state. But now, like CHOP, a few public places are jumping on board. If you aren't sure about your local hospital, CALL them! If they don't offer it, look into the hospitals in the biggest cities closest to you. Do your homework and check out their protocols (make sure they aren't just jumping on the bandwagon but actually know what they are doing!). If you have to drive an hour or two every 2-4 weeks, it's worth it. Believe me. I've even met people that drove 4 hours. One even flew across the country! It's worth the minor inconvenience, I promise. In addition, any age can do this. When Ella took her first food challenge there was a 1 year old in there doing the same. Ella said she wished she could've done it earlier - kids that young don't understand the implications of what they're doing so there are no nerves/anxiety. If you can get it taken care of before they start school that would be a huge blessing. Sending a food allergy child to school is terrifying. They're in an environment (possibly for the first time) where you have very little control. As much as you want to protect them, you just can't. It starts to fall on their shoulders - at the age of 5 (which is too much to ask from a 5 year old 😕). So, look into as soon as possible!!
I started writing about our journey back in August 2019 when Ella went in for her "food challenge" - here is the first link:
From there I tried to write (sometimes Ella helped me) every trip, although I missed a few - and then we couldn't go for 3 months because of COVID. If you're interested and want to know more, go back and read our journey! We want everyone to have the freedom of living without the fear of dying anytime you put food in your mouth!
God bless and thanks for following our journey!!