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Monday, March 26, 2012

If Not One Thing, Then Another -- Part 1

We treated Lily to a peanut butter cookie
for being so brave when getting her blood
drawn. We had no idea it would be her last.
It's been a busy few weeks in our household. In making good on our New Year's resolutions to focus on health this year, I made appointments for physicals for everyone in the home. You already know the results of mine. To sum up the results of everyone else's, let's start by saying medical insurance is a good thing. The upside of a PPO is that you get to see any doctor you want. The downside is you can pay anywhere between 20 percent and 50 percent of the services rendered. Still, 50 percent is better than 100 percent; and 100 percent is what you pay when you don't have insurance at all.

For our family, the hits in the health department just keep coming. With all we pay out of pocket for health-care expenses, I hope someone somewhere is putting their kids through college.

First, let's be clear on one thing. Our daughter is beautiful and healthy. She had a routine check-up for her second birthday, complete with our doctor's typical assessment of her being "practically perfect in every way."

This time, as we were packing up to leave, I decided to mention food allergies. Here's my sneaky tactic for asking sensitive questions, "Oh, before I forget. Lily has been having some reactions to foods that we can't pin down. That's nothing to worry about, right?" See ... I phrase it like that so the doctor will nod, smile, tell me I am paranoid and send me on my way. Instead, we walked out with a lab slip for blood work.

When the test results arrived by mail, I was not prepared for what we would find. We suspected a milk allergy. Our dairy-loving girl would live on cheese, yogurt and sticks of butter if we allowed it. The half-inch thick document revealed our suspicions to be true. Aside from pineapple, our toddler was indeed allergy to milk and to whey protein. But here's the kicker: She's also allergic to egg whites, potatoes, peanuts, sesame seeds, tomatoes, spinach, cauliflower, and buckwheat. If you're like me, you're looking at that list and thinking, "Potatoes?! Who on Earth is allergic to POTATOES?!" Apparently, our daughter. And from what I read on allergy websites, she's not alone.

The list reads like a who's who of Lily's favorite foods. She devoured eggs daily and eats tomatoes like candy. Her ideal breakfast at the time was egg, banana and a scoop of peanut butter.

My husband and I discussed the results from the perspective of "she's been eating lots of these foods and they haven't killed her yet." But there was one particularly scary restaurant incident where her hand and face blew up like a blow fish that prevented us from being completely lackadaisical about her results. The doctor's advice was simple: Stay away from all listed foods until she's 4; except for peanuts, which is a particularly scary allergy and requires even further precaution.

When we think about it, the allergens make sense. Peanut butter was a recent addition to her diet, and it coincided with the blow fish incident mentioned above. And well, we just aren't fans of Russian Roulette.

The transition hasn't been easy but there have been blessings along the way. Lily has never been a picky eater. She transitioned easily to rice milk. My best friend introduced her to a very tasty brand of soy yogurt. And though she's allergic to a lot, there's a lot Lily can eat. Processed foods have never been a staple in our house, thanks to my post-WLS dietary restrictions, and going dairy-free never killed anyone.

Social eating is difficult. Lily doesn't yet understand that she can't eat certain foods, and other people don't really know what to do with her. So we are all adjusting as best as we can as fast as we can. That's life, right?

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