Many moons ago, when Maya was a wee thing of only 18 months old, she had an allergic reaction to peanut butter, which landed us in the allergist’s office for allergy testing. The almost immediate hives that sprung up on her back in several spots made it apparent we were dealing with a nut allergic kiddo. Sure enough, after the testing window was up, the results indicated a fairly severe allergy to peanuts, cashews and pistachios. Epipen in hand we went on our way.
Here we are 3.5 years later and we found ourselves in the allergist’s office again. Our pediatrician in St. Louis recommended retesting Maya at 5. Our pediatrician here in Seattle said she would have probably recommended retesting sooner, but 5 worked, so she referred us to a great allergist here. I admit I was hopeful going into this appointment. Perhaps too hopeful.
Our appointment was first thing in the morning and this clinic deals with a lot of pediatric patients so they were well equipped for my two kiddos to be running through their halls. The staff was wonderful, the receptionist got us checked in super fast and the nurse has us back in the office 20 minutes before our scheduled appointment! The nurse was great and super friendly with Maya, which helped calm her nerves a little. After a brief once over by the nurse the doctor came in. She was super sweet and very informative. We went over Maya’s history at length, including everything I could remember from her previous appointment, many moons ago. She went over in great detail what they are looking for in retests, specifically what indicators they hope for that would show Maya is perhaps on her way to outgrowing this allergy and what indicators would show that she may be one of the 20% who never outgrow their food allergy.
Once our long, and very informative conversation with the doctor was over it was time for the actual testing. Maya is, shall we say, a bit over dramatic when it comes to needles, bandaids, pricks of any kind from medical professionals. I had done my best to prepare her for what to expect at this appointment but I don’t think she completely understood. She flipped out a bit when the nurse came in with a tray full of little pins! The nurse did a great job of calming her down and talking her through everything she was going to be doing. Maya laid down on the table and was super brave. She did cry the whole time, but given her history for melodrama I was very impressed. With the allergens in place on her back we began the waiting game.
The waiting game didn’t last long. Within minutes she started to develop hives in several locations including the peanut, cashew and pistachio spots. Halfway through the testing window the nurse came in to check on her and this is what her back already looked like
6 minutes later when the test was complete each hive was bigger and there was no question she was definitely still allergic. The nurse came in and measured each of the reaction sites. The doctor returned to go over the results. Just as I had expected from watching the hives rapidly develop on her back during the test she is still severely allergic to peanuts, cashews and pistachios, and has now added pecans and brazil nuts to the mix. Her allergy has not gotten any better over the last 3+ years, in fact it has gotten worse. Each of her reactions was worse than her previous testing plus she reacted to 2 new nuts. I was so incredibly bummed by that news.
So, what do the results mean? Well, they mean that Maya is still severely allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (more so than before). She will still require an epipen. And, she is getting closer to the likelihood that she will never outgrow this allergy. The doctor recommended retesting in 3-4 years to see where we are. There is still hope for her to outgrow this allergy, but her chances definitely took a big hit today.