Archive for the 'Mel’s Diary' Category

Our Allergen-free Pirate Party

So much has happened since my last diary, I will have to make a list of the topics to ensure I don’t forget what I want to write about!

The most important events would have to be the kids’ birthdays. Just recently the kids turned 5 and 3. Declan has mapped out his party themes, up until his tenth birthday. For his fifth he was only ever going to have a pirate party. So a pirate party was had. Dairy-free, egg-free and peanut-free……of course!! The best parties are those that we can ALL relax and enjoy. (It’s funny how the definition of “relax” encompasses running around non-stop for two hours coordinating a bunch of kids to play games, walk planks, eat food, find treasure, keep kids hydrated, birthday cake for everyone, making sure everyone gets their goodie bags……) I am of course using the term ‘relax’ in reference to allergens not being at a party, therefore not having to be on red alert!!!

We all had a great time preparing for the party. We spents weeks beforehand painting, drawing, scrunching paper and many other crafty things in order to have a swashbuckling pirate party. Mateys were summoned from all over the seas and came dressed in shipwrecked, piratey attire. They earned their pirate gear by performing a few tasks in order to prove themselves worthy of joining Captain Declan’s crew. They had to walk the plank, pin the patch on the pirate, sword practice (using balloon swords to pop bubbles that we blew for them), cannon ball pop (where they had a black balloon tied to their ankle with string and had to pop others whilst protecting their own), sink the ship (two fridge boxes cut to look like ships and the kids stand in them in two teams and throw “cannon balls” into the others ship…..we did this several times as it was great fun and looked fantastic, balls flying everywhere) and of course we did a treasure hunt, but we couldn’t do that without decorating our telescopes first (paper towel rolls painted black and the kids put star stickers all over them).

We kept the food simple as they were all too busy playing the games to be bothered to eat too much. They feasted on “grub” (cheerios, sausage rolls and chips) and “kiddie grog” (lemonade, water or red ‘wine’ cordial). The cake looked great. I made a plain sponge slab, and decorated it to look like an island. I placed granulated sugar all around the edge to look like sand, put a couple of plastic pirates on the island beside a plastic tree, and dug out a bit of cake so it looked like the pirates dug it up looking for the treasure. I placed a piece of dairy, nut, egg-free chocolate in the whole for the treasure chest. It was really cute.

The kids and parents enjoyed themselves. I loved two things in particular about the party. The first was watching my kids enjoy the fun and festivities of a birthday party in a safe environment, the second was that all the guests enjoyed themselves equally as much….all without dairy, eggs and peanuts. WOW!!….who would have thought huh!

Another Reaction-free Term

Well another preschool term has come and gone, without a hitch. What a relief. The world always seems a better place however, when the kids are at home for the holidays. There is nothing I like more than to have the kids at home all day where I can keep an eye on them myself. I think it is the security of feeling in ‘control’ of our day and the possible outcomes. I use the term ‘control’ loosely!!

I do seem to be an exception to the norm when it comes to school holidays. Over the top of all the mumbles and groans of ‘yeah, school holidays….what are we going to do with them for two weeks?’, and ‘the kids drive me crazy over the holidays’ I want to shout, “this is the best time of the school year!!”. For me anyway, I am not so sure Declan feels the same way. He is confident going off to preschool and playing with his mates. I never want to discourage that. Fortunately I don’t need to worry endlessly where my son attends preschool, in fact I don’t need to worry much at all. But, there is always that little part of you that wonders if everything will be all right today.

Allergy-aware School Search Complete

A school, is a school, is a school…..or so I thought! After all our searching we have found a school that has made us feel comfortable. The responses that we received from the numerous schools we interviewed, were varied. However, with dairy being our poison to contend with, there was a general consensus on a few points: that there will be no food restrictions, playtime will be a mine field, and that we need to have good communication with his teacher. All schools were happy to have the kids wash their hands as they entered the classrooms after lunch breaks, some classrooms were better equipped than others for this. The objective is to keep the classroom as uncontaminated as possible.

The school we have chosen have not had anaphylaxis experience before, so they are willing to do what we all agree is necessary to reduce the risk of a reaction. Currently the grade 1 class all sit together at food times. Next year they will continue this, and then have the kids wash their hands before they go off to play. So hopefully, Declan will have kids he can play with who will not be contaminated with dairy, eggs or peanuts. There is of course the issue of the kids buying any of the foods from the tuckshop after they have already washed their hands….nothing for us is foolproof. It’s only early days of the management program development.

Another great advantage of this particular school, is that the teachers on playground duty carry with them walkie/talkies. We feel this provides a great opportunity for fast contact with the office to call for an ambulance, or get the medicine down to where it is needed, rather than send a student up to the office to report an incident in the playground. This gives us a level of comfort we did not know would exist. Why don’t staff in all schools have a communication device during playground duty? With the level of violence in schools increasing, kids breaking limbs, students having diabetic episodes, an increase in attempted child abductions outside schools….the list goes on and on…..teachers should be able to report to the office in an instant what is happening in the school grounds. This is on top of the fact that all schools should have their own full-time nurse!

We are still waiting to hear from one school who have never bothered to return our calls!! This is a public school. Don’t they HAVE to accept all students! They have achieved what they set out to achieve – to prove themselves too incompetent to look after our boy the necessary way. We have decided on a school that has shown compassion for our needs and have shown abhorrence for those schools and teachers who have said that they would not want children like our son in their class. They have shown an understanding of the seriousness and consequences of a reaction and have endeavored to develop and maintain management strategies to reduce the risk of exposure.

After all this, I would still love to home school Declan!!

Naturopaths and Allergy Cures

I have wondered how much help a naturopath would be in reducing the severity of allergies. I have been hearing a lot of stories lately from people who ask me about our children’s allergies. “They” all have friends who had ‘allergies’ and eczema, and after seeing a naturopath they were eventually allergy-free. I am somewhat skeptical.

If there was a cure for this, why are there so many millions of people still afflicted? Why don’t Doctors and Specialists refer us to these professionals to help us? Has is it been kept a secret so the pharmaceutical companies and doctors don’t lose out on all the profits from us constantly needing medications and treatments after a reaction?

What about before the fact? Has anyone had any success with an alternative approach to allergy prevention rather than medical treatment……that honestly works?

Allergy Test Results

I never quite know what to expect when we go for allergy testing. With each skin prick butterflies raced in my tummy. With each skin prick Declan winced and Bianca cried. We filled the few result-waiting minutes with questions about school, upcoming medical breakthroughs and dealing with the children’s anxieties. We had hoped that these questions would be answered. Unfortunately we did not get any useful information to answer any of the questions we had. This seems to happen every time we go to this particular doctor. We would like to try another specialist and hope that we can be enlightened, and get help to go along with the results, not just the results.

Speaking of the results, they are as follows.

Dairy: 4. Last year: 12 (if it went that far) official recording 4+.
Egg: 3. Last Year: 1
Peanut: 2. Last Year: 3
Goat milk: 1. Last year: 4
Strawberry: 0

He did not retest the environmental allergies saying that exposure to those are imminent anyway. Last year he had dust (4), dog (1) and grass (2).

We were upset that his egg allergy has increased. Even though the dairy response is a 4, it is a lot more encouraging than the result from last year. He is still regarded as having anaphylaxis, and we must maintain the same level of vigilance that we have become accustomed to, and treat egg with the same respect aswell. Actually we always did. We didn’t want him exposed, to give his body a chance to desensitise itself to the egg protein. The doctor still thinks he has a good chance of out-growing the milk allergy, even though it is so severe. We always cross our fingers and hope for the best!

Dairy: 1. Last year: 2
Fish: 1. Last year: 1
Strawberry: 0 Last year: 1

We were thrilled with these results. They are heading in the right direction. Thankfully, as she is a lot harder to convince to stay away from certain foods and drinks.

Our minds wander to those foods that the kids have not been exposed to yet. What will their response be to those?