Thursday, September 20, 2012
After I began researching food allergies, I felt I had found part of the answer to Bee's skin problems and her extreme fussiness.
Unfortunately, every doctor I spoke with seemed to disagree with me. Every time I brought up food as part of the problem they either dismissed me or outright laughed at my theory. I was told time and time again that it was not food. The pediatricians were convinced that food had nothing to do with the problem. The dermatologists thought the food angle was ridiculous. Even the pediatric dermatologist dismissed my concerns.
I don't think I have ever felt more discouraged and ridiculed. I would have given up if not for two people-Bee and my husband. Bee's misery and her lack of improvements even while trying different creams and lotions helped me to continue to read and ask questions. And my husband's support of my "crazy" ideas pushed me to advocate for Bee.
No doctor would do an allergy test on Bee. I knew she was young and that the tests weren't always accurate but I needed some concrete answers. Either the test would confirm what I believed or it would show that she wasn't reacting to any of the main allergens. I just had to know. But each doctor refused to order an allergy test.
With the support of my husband, I decided to do an elimination diet to see if we could notice any improvement in Bee.
I decided to cut out gluten first. I had read in many places about the problems people had with gluten from skin issues to stomach issues and both seemed to describe Bee. My mom was gluten free due to celiac disease so I was already familiar with gluten free foods and I knew I had a great resource nearby to help me.
For 3 weeks, I was totally, completely gluten free. In the first few days I could not see any improvements in Bee. At times I even thought she might be worse. But I kept going and by the end of one solid week, Bee started napping for more than 30 minutes at a time. She actually took a good 2 hour nap and woke up in a good mood. After I got over the shock of the change in her, I was more motivated than ever to continue with our experiment. By the end of the 2nd week, Bee was taking consistent naps and then she started sleeping through the night (she was 6 months at this time).
After those 3 weeks, I picked another food to cut out-dairy. I was dairy free for a week, with even more improvements in Bee when I began to feel exhausted from cooking separate meals for my family and myself. I craved anything with gluten or dairy and I felt utterly miserable depriving myself of all the foods I enjoyed. So, I caved and ate 2 bites of one of my husband's cheese quesadilla.
That was a huge mistake! The next day Bee was back to her cranky miserable self and she refused to nap.
At that point, my experiment became a long-term lifestyle decision and I avoided both gluten and dairy to help Bee. That's when I knew she absolutely had to be tested. I believed that she had other allergies but I didn't even know where to begin.
Several doctors later I did get that allergy test lab slip and a confirmed diagnosis of food allergies.