Monthly Archives: April 2019

Allergy Update

Lawd. It has been a hot minute since I updated the blog. I updated about Mae for her birthday, with the intentions of updating about Harper, Emrist, and Theo for their birthdays too. Did it happen? Eh….no! Oops.

I figured today was a good time to hop back on the train. Harper had a presumed anaphylactic reaction to some sunflower seeds about a month ago. We had been thinking for a while that he may be allergic to them, but had basically chalked his symptoms (which hadn’t been severe!) up to the seeds being too salty. I think we were mostly just in denial because surely we can’t have two kids that have food allergies, right?!

Well, of course you can! Duh. And we found that out the hard way last month. You see, Emrist is highly allergic to soy, which requires an EpiPen. One of the things we give her, in place of soy, is sunflower. Sunflower letchin, sunflower butter, sunflower oil, etc. Sunflower has been our saving grace for over three years now, because she can have it and it doesn’t make things taste differently. Like…there is literally only one kind of chocolate she can have, and it’s because the company uses sunflower letchin as an emulsifier, instead of soy letchin. So for real…it has saved us! Sunflower is also used by a lot of allergy-friendly companies (like Enjoy Life) because it’s not a typical allergen.

On the night of Harper’s reaction, I had bought Em some new crackers from Costco. They were made from almond flour and sunflower seeds, with a few other things mixed in. While she was packing her lunch, Harper grabbed one and ate it. He immediately complained that his tongue was itching. He was even scratching it, which I had never seen him do. I gave him Benadryl and waited. About thirty minutes later, he complained that his stomach felt weird. He laid down on the couch. I started to get nervous because I knew anaphylaxis could initially present as stomach pain and vomiting (thanks, nursing school!).

I was getting ready to leave for work, and absolutely torn on whether or not to leave. My gut said no, but the rational part of my brain said I was overreacting. Feeling that I couldn’t call out because of my intuition, I decided to have Benji observe him and I went along my way. I told Benji that if Harper started vomiting, to call me immediately and get him to the hospital. I didn’t make it to the end of our street before he called. He had started projectile vomiting. I circled back around to pick him up. By the time I got there, he said his throat “felt funny.” Y’all….I panicked at that! In a nutshell, we went to the ER where he was given steroids and observed. He ended up recovering and we were sent home.

I was finally able to have him allergy tested last Friday. He had his skin test and tested positive for dogs and cats, which I suspected, along with a few other things. Unfortunately, as mentioned above, sunflower is not a common allergen, so there is no skin test for it. This meant that they had to draw his blood and test for it that way. Harper was NOT a fan, but put on a brave face and let them do it. I was so proud of him!

His allergist voiced skepticism over him having an allergy to sunflower. He thought it might actually have been the almonds instead (he tested for almonds via the skin test and it was negative). I’m grateful that even though he was doubtful, he still listened to my concerns and ordered the sunflower testing – that’s a true sign of a good doctor! 🙂

We got the call today that Harper is indeed allergic to sunflower. The nurse laughed a little as she told me…like a laugh you do when you’re shocked. I guess it really is a rare one to have? Idk. Shrug. She said he would need an EpiPen and that they would call it in. So now we know and are prepared for any future events. Thank heavens! It makes me rest a little easier.

So that’s the update. And just in case anyone missed it: Emrist is highly allergic to soy, and can have sunflower as a replacement, while Harper is the exact opposite – highly allergic to sunflower and can have soy as a replacement. In my family, we have a term for this: Waldrop luck! Because really…what are the freaking chances?! Sigh.

This makes things interesting and truthfully, just a tad bit dangerous. I’m going to have to develop some sort of system for meal times and food storage. Advice, sharing of similar experiences, and words of wisdom are obviously welcome and appreciated!