Wednesday, December 23, 2015

2015 Year End Update

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year! That should cover it right? I hope everyone is doing well. We've had a busy but also a really good year.

I haven't posted any updates in quite a while-since the summer.  I definitely had good intentions but our family is involved in so many activities and I'm not the greatest time manager! I always post a lot of pics and updates on Facebook because it's much faster and easier to make a quick post there, so if you are interested in keeping up with us and getting more regular updates, you can follow that page here. PBJ Facebook

So, allergy-wise, Matthew is doing very well. If you'll remember in June he had his study unblinding and after a double blind placebo controlled peanut challenge to which Matthew had a bad allergic reaction, we were told that he had been on the placebo patch for the year.

At that point he was switched over to the high dose patch which he will wear for a year and then get more testing to evaluate whether he is still allergic to peanuts and if so to what level. With the new patch he gets an obvious raised, red itchy circle on his arm every day and I love it because I'm hopeful that means it's working! After 6 months of wearing the patch, Matthew says that the redness and itchiness are much less pronounced than in the beginning. Another good sign!:)

This fall at his appointment in Baltimore Matthew had blood work drawn to check for chickpea and tree nut allergies. I had made a chocolate chickpea muffin while trying to eat healthier this year (it didn't last), and when Matt took a bite he said "What's in this? It feels like I ate a peanut!". He did not have any further reactions but it warranted deeper investigation. He had no idea that chickpeas were in the same legume family as peanuts but apparently legume reactions are not uncommon with peanut allergies.

His blood work was mildly positive for chickpeas, pistachios, cashew and hazelnuts. His doctor didn't feel like he needed strict avoidance to chickpeas, but would probably want to avoid because of his discomfort eating them. He also suggested a food challenge to hazelnut and offered to fit us in for an appointment which was super nice considering his busy schedule but I opted to find a local allergist and have it done closer to home which I haven't done yet. He felt the pistachio and cashew levels were low enough to just try at home. I haven't done that yet either! Haha. They are on my mom mental to-do list: you know the one that never ends and runs around your head at night when you are trying to sleep?! That list.

My biggest allergy related issue right now is my son's teenage-ness! He is getting a little bit complacent and probably has some of that adolescent invincibility syndrome.  We were at church recently and he looked at the treats on the welcome table and asked if I could taste one and see if it had peanuts. What?! I said "Matthew you know you cant eat something unless you ask the person who made it or can read the label!'. He actually continued to give me a hard time until I said "Son, you are terrifying me right now! You are going to be out on your own soon and you have to know what to do!!!". Ugh.

I'm also trying to get him to self carry. I had his doctor and nurse sign consent for him to carry his Epipen at school but that was the easy part! The hard part is getting him to remember to take it every day. Now that he is traveling with high school sport teams and eating on the road more often we really need to be more vigilant about making him independent with his food allergy. It's a work in progress.

All of our kids are keeping us super busy with sports. Some days we feel like all we do is pick up and drop of children! Ryan and Matthew both played football and are now wrestling. Matt's doing wonderfully as a wrestler! He has won most of his matches so far. He's very dedicated! It helps that he absolutely hates to lose! I mean, more than most people. He could lose at Chutes and Ladders with a five year old and bitterly complain the game was rigged while throwing his game pieces off the board. I'm only slightly exaggerating!

 Jessica rides horses and does gymnastics and we're very proud of her too! She has no fear! A quality that seems to be very important for both sports as she is riding an animal 10x her size and then also leaping and flipping all around in gymnastics.

Dave and I are just enjoying our crazy busy life. Running kids around, working and both in graduate school. But we do enjoy it! One thing I have learned is that you have to stop waiting for life to slow down, and start loving all the moments among the busyness. Once a month or so while the kids are in school and we are both off we head to Annapolis, MD for a date and eat and go shopping and finish a whole sentence without kids interrupting! Those are some of the best days!

I hope that you have had a good year too. Until the next time, have a great New Year and stay safe!

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