Monday, August 10, 2009

No Forward Progress

Today was the big day that Andrew and I had been waiting for! Andrew would be getting his allergy test done to see if he had made any progress in regards to his allergies, see if the shots had been working, and if the medicines he takes daily were doing there thing and he could wean off them. We were disappointed all around.

Having the allergy test is much like giving birth; you forget how painful it is until you are in the midst of it all over again and then those memories come flooding back. Andrew was not phased by the mentioning of taking the test and even told people, "on a scale of 1-5 it hurts like a 2, not bad at all." Well, that all went out the window with the first batch of pricks when he started asking if we could stop and just not do the test because it hurt so bad. He had to have 50 pricks on his back, mostly trees, weeds, molds, and animals. They started itching from the get go and the nurse administering the test could already tell there were issues before she even got to the last batch (they come in blocks of 8 at a time and then two single ones). She would prick his back with these 'scratchers' that had been sitting in the concentrated juices, and then mark with a pen each section so she could come back and 'score' them later.

Here is Andrew once she got all 50 on his poor, little back. He is inflammed, red, and itching like crazy already but has to sit and let them 'marinate' for 15 minutes to get a good reading. Dale and I knew it was going to be pretty traumatic for him to go through the test again so we had bought him a special treat ahead of time. Indiana Jones Lego game for the Wii, a game he had been begging for for over 6 months. I pulled it out right as she began the test to hopefully take his mind off the pain. He was so excited and had no clue we had gotten it for him.
Even the new game wasn't enough to keep him for being in lots of pain and just needing to breath through it (again much like labor where he would get a pain and start breathing through it and then it would taper off for a minute or so before it began again...... we had a good laugh that he sounded like he was having a baby and would name him Indiana Jones).
After she came back in and scored his back she decided that he needed to do the food panel on his arms since there was no more room on his back for the top foods (13 in all). This was not as painful as the back, due to the location in part but mainly because foods are not his serious triggers.
And then we waited again for the test to do it's thing and then for her to come in and 'score' his arms. After she did all her writing she made me a copy and left us to wait for the doctor to come in. I had brought copies of the test he had done in Feb. of 2006 so I could have a comparision of the results side by side. I was pretty discouraged. Seems like his allergies have gotten worse with time instead of improving with the shots, meds, and time. Dr. M. agreed that they were worse and that we need to change our approach. Most patients on allergy shot therapy have relief within 2 years of taking the shots, not a regression or worsening. We are going to switch Andrew back to taking shots every 2 weeks instead of monthly and are going to order a more concentrated amount to help build up the immunity faster. Faster still means years of shots in our future. He wants him to be symptom free for 6 months before we start decreasing his medicines. He can't even make it one month (or even a week or day at times) without a flair up but we are going to do what we can to get to that 6 month mark. The food sensitivities have also increased but not to the point where we need to eliminate them completely from his diet or require special care at school. He just needs to make sure to not eat super concentrated amounts of the foods he tested positive for.

So what is he allergic to: (LONG LIST WARNING!) Trees: Acacia, White Alder, Arizona Ash*, Olive*, Western Juniper, Fremont Cottonwood, Chinese Elm, Eucalyptus, Mesquit, Costal Live Oak, Sycamore, Box Elder, Mulberry, Bottle Brush, CA Pepper Tree, and Walnut; Weeds: Pigweed, Russin Thistle, Kochia, Lamb's Quarters, Scale, Ragweed*, Sagebrush, Yellow Dock*, Sheep Sorrel, English Plantain, Marshelder, and Pine Tree; Grasses: Johnson, Bermuda*, Timothy, Ryegrass*, and Kentucky Bluegrass; Molds: Aternaria, Aspergillus, Cladosporium, Penicillium*, Helminthosporium*, Minor Mold, Candida, and Cockroach Mix*; Animals: Feathers; Dog, Cat* and Horse*; Foods: Wheat*, Corn, Tomato, Soy Bean*, Peanut, Banana*, Almond, Shrimp, Tuna*, Cows milk, Chicken, Egg white*, and Egg yolk*! WHEW THAT IS A LONG LIST!!! **The ones with stars next to them where the ones with the most severe reactions in their group.

When asked again about the pain by Mrs. B.; who so kindly watched Alexis and Aiden, he said it was a major 5 on the scale and to never do the test again. (She was asking because her daughter is going to take the test in a few months and wanted to be prepared).
He is now at home with no more itches (thank you big tube of itchy cream!!), and enjoying his Lego Indiana Jones Wii game!!! I am so thankful to have this in our past and hopefully we can now get a clearer picture for our course of treatment.
Other randomness:

Aiden sitting by the front door waiting to go to church yesterday. For some reason we were 15 mins ahead of schedule and he didn't know what to do with his tired self so he parked it by the door and just waited.
After church we got a quick bite to eat and then headed to the haircut store for everyone to get their back to school haircuts. Andrew and Aiden love to play with the beaded rollercoaster toy.
Andrew got just a little trimmed off, no major buzz this time. Alexis got a shorter in the back, taper to the front cut (I don't like it and wish it would have been cut shorter and with a more drastic taper.) Had I not been holding Aiden during his haircut I might have been able to communicate what I wanted for her better. Oh well, next time.
And Aiden got his typical little boy cut, cute as ever, tongue and all. :)
Now that the shopping is done, the hair has been cut and the backpacks packed we are ready for school to start on Wednesday. We have Alexis' Kindergarten Orientation tonight at 6:30 and she is anxious to see some of her friends from preschool that she has been missing dearly. And me, I am anxious for school to start so Aiden and I can have some one on one time again, and less hours of begging to play on the computer and/or the Wii. :)


  1. THat part is behind you now Andrew. I hope you will be finding relif in the near future. Love you!

  2. What a trooper Andrew is! I had that done once, but just on my arms and it was not fun, so I can only imagine having to have as many as Andrew.

    Love the pic of Aiden after his hair cut. You and Heather are making me want to cut Drew's hair. I can't decide what to do with it!!

  3. Poor Andrew! That doesn't sound like much fun at all! And that is quite a list of allergies. Oh I hope they subside over time! I work for the Nutrition Department of our local school district and design the lunch menus. I have to do separate menus for each child with a severe food allergy and I have always felt so sad when I make them because most of our lunch items include wheat or soy, so children with those allergies don't have a big selection and I think it would get very boring. On another note - I love the picture of Aiden waiting at the door before church - it is just precious!

  4. Oh man, poor Andrew!!! I can't believe that freakin' list!! What ISN'T that kid allergic too?? Wow. : ( His future wife will have a heckofa time cooking for him!

    Love the pic of Aiden by the door. Is that, like, the first time he has sat still?? haha And it haircut is adorable!! There's something so cute about our boys when their hair is off their forehead. Wish I had the energy to style Aidan's all the time. : )

  5. Hi Andrew! Nana has been praying for you and prays that this new medicine will work at helping with your allergies. I hated to see your back all marked up. But hopefully they can find something to help you.

    I too loved the picture of Aiden by the door. It is like he is saying, "Aren't you ready yet!" I love you all and can't wait to see your new haircuts and hear about school!!!

  6. Glad you are over it too!

    I have never heard anyone else call it a "haircut store" but that is what my 3 year old called it and we have called it that ever since.

  7. Poor, poor Andrew! And I just thought it was hard keeping dairy and cinnamon out of Sawyer's diet! Hope the allergy shots start doing their thing and Andrew has less allergies. The picture of Aiden by the door is priceless...