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Showing posts from March, 2012

granola love

I love granola. It's got just the right amount of toasted nuttiness and sweetness one looks for a morning meal. The one good thing about making your own granola is? Well, you can add just about whatever you love AND control the amount of sugar since we all know how unhealthy this 'meaning to be healthy' cereal can get. So I've been meaning to post this for quite some time now. I actually forgot the recipe/can't find it so sadly I won't be posting the exact one. I was going to wait until I made it again and go from there but I figured my blog just maybe needed a new post. I did however find a pretty amazing recipe that's quite similarhere.

The First Planting....

The first crop to go into the ground this season are leeks.  An odd first choice for early crops as usually thoughts of peas and brassicas jump into the mind long before any alliums, but that's what we had, so that's what went in the ground.  Chris (the Americorps Garden Assistant) was able to secure a good amount of starts and they all went in the ground hopefully enjoying the sun, rain and wind that took turns playing weather yesterday.    
I'll admit they're in a little more compost rich soil than I would prefer.  We're doing all the soil prep by hand at this time as the soil is much too wet to till.  At the Tuesday night workparty, we had a great group of folks weeding this new row and then I amended it with wonderful Allied Waste compost (Thank you Allied Waste!).  The pile was a bit soggy though so trying to spread out the compost and work it into the soil proved a bit more difficult than I was hoping.  Thus I hope our leek starts aren't too shocked or bur…

"Weed the Peanut Kids Out of the Gene Pool"

Hey, ignorant (probably teenage) comment troll.

Yes, I'm talking to you. You're the one commenting on the Anderson Cooper article about the kid with EoE who can't eat, right? You've written things like:
Charles Darwin was right..... Only the strong survive.

Just put the lil guy down. I'm sorry but thats natural selection, he's not fit to live.

When the offspring cannot consume the species' diet, they typically do not survive long enough to reproduce. Nature takes care of the polluted gene pool swiftly.Your comments really piss me off, but probably not for the reason you think. See, my kid has been allergic for 17 years now so I've seen my share of haters. Haters gotta hate and I know that. I've dealt with the Facebook groups calling for his death. I've heard the stories about classroom bullies who think it's funny to spread peanut butter on his backpack. I'm over that part of things. I don't profess to understand why you need to go throu…
Fans and Friends, What a great way to welcome spring and start the growing season!  March 20th, our first Tuesday evening work party, was a beautiful Oregon day, full of rain and fun; perfect for gardening! A great big "Thank You" to all the wonderful people (Paige, Bryan, Brian and John) who came out and braved the precipitation for our first Tuesday work party of the year.  We even had some friendly ducks swim by and help us (you can see from the photo that we're not joking when we say that the ducks could literally swim by us!) After spreading a whole pile of mulch (about 6 yards worth!) and weeding the garlic beds that weren't underwater, we concluded the evening with an excellent pizza dinner.  On site we have a cob pizza oven that quickly cooked our pizzas that were topped with fresh kale from the garden.  The dough was generously donated by Fireworks, the restaurant located directly south of the south co-op.
As an open invitation to all of our friends, family and …

We're In

Yikes! A few weeks back, I wrote an entry about the FAHF-2 clinical trials going on here in Chicago. My husband, son and I have been debating back and forth ever since about participating. There are several reasons it's a complicated decision:

Study participants are required to swallow 30 pills each day. That's tough for a kid who struggles to swallow one!The commute time and time out of school is pretty significant.As with any clinical trial, there's a chance of being in the placebo group and we're not guaranteed access to the medication after the trial if we are (although it sounds like they will try to make it available to all participants if the trial goes well). There's one last biggie though: there are two direct challenges required, one before the dosing starts and one after to demonstrate the efficacy of the drug. That means they're going to give my kid peanut and let him get to the point where they're absolutely sure he's reacting. Wheezing. Vom…

My Perfect Comfort Zone

I'm a bitch. I admit it. (It's right up there in the masthead if you look.)

When it comes to food allergies, I seem to have a little judging voice in the back of my head. The one that says things like:
Are you KIDDING me? The kid has 20 allergies? That cannot be possible.

Four episodes of anaphylaxis this year? Clearly they're using that Epi-Pen for panic attacks.

You're not going to let your kid go to a birthday party? Are you going to keep him away from the supermarket, school and the workplace too?

Anaphylaxis to airborne peanuts on an airplane? Really?
You see, I have a perfect comfort zone. I know everything there is to know about allergies. Don't you?

Some of the cruelest comments I've ever heard about food allergies have come from other mothers with food-allergic children. When our comfort zone is threatened, man, the claws come out! So why do we do it?

I think it's because we believe our comfort zone sits smack between two really untenable options:



We have t…

Competitive Parenting And Blue-Ribbon RAST Scores

Several years back, my family had the opportunity to participate in a Children's Memorial food allergy benchmarking study. (There's more about that in my post on FAHF-2 here if you're interested.) One of the really great things about the study was that we often got to meet other food-allergic families in the waiting room, awaiting their turn for poking, prodding, scratching and blowing into tubes.

Most were great, but I do remember one mother leaning over and asking "what is your son allergic to?" I rattled off the list of allergies. She then said "My daughter is allergic to cashews. Deathly allergic. She has a RAST score that's over 100!" I must have looked puzzled because she followed up with "It's off the charts!"

I was feeling pretty weirded out at that point because she was so ebullient about it all, but I waded in anyway. "You do know that RAST measurement has nothing to do with the severity of an allergy, right?" I said.…

A Prayer To Saint Patrick

May the corn beef not have soy
And the cabbage not have whey
'Cause the ER's not the place to be
On ol' Saint Patrick's Day

May the beer be pure of "fining"
And may nuts not touch the brew
'Cause my kid is getting older
And he's Irish, through and through

May his friends be ever vigilant
And keep him e'er from harm
'Cause all allergic Irishmen
Needs friendship's lucky charm

Though banshees sure are lurking
And pookas haunt the trails
Watch over him and keep him safe
Through all of his travails

And one more thing I'd like to ask
With an Irish heart that's pure
Please send us down our pot of gold...
A fecking Irish cure!



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The 5 Stages of Parenting a Food-Allergic Child

One thing dealing with food allergies for 17 years gives you is perspective. I joined my first on-line support board in 1999, so I've seen the same types of posts, over and over, from parents. The moms who make these posts seem to pass through stages, similar to the ones K├╝bler-Rossmade famous:

Stage 1: Diagnosis/Panic

These posts inevitably start with Help!, followed by "my child was just diagnosed with..." They come from all different types of moms:
Executive Mom. She's posting to get the list of store-bought foods her child can eat (Where IS it!). She's always surprised, and usually annoyed, to find allergies are going to require quite a bit of work and time. Traumatized Mom. Having seen a horrible first reaction unfold right in front of her, she never wants it to happen againand she's willing to read any amount of information or change her house in any way to keep it from happening.Perfectionist/Guilty Mom. She knows there was something she did to cause thes…

Why Do Bad Allergy Doctors Stay In Business?

I recently saw a post from a mom that I've seen in various flavors, over and over, for years:

"Help! My child just went to the allergist. They performed a comprehensive panel of scratch tests and the doctor told me he's positive to tomato, soy, walnuts, pecans, peanut, kiwi, fish, potato, beans, wheat, lettuce and milk. How do I feed him now?!"

Why is it that, despite clear guidance from the AAAAI and other organizations on the limits of these tests, doctors continue to do these treasure hunts?

Dr. Wood, a noted expert in the field, has estimated that up to 60% of "positives" on a SPT are really false positives. Because of this, a skin prick test should be used to confirm an allergy to which there is already a clinical history. Allergies are confirmed by SPT and at least one other piece of evidence: a history of issues when eating the food, a positive RAST test and/or a food challenge.

I'm not excusing all mothers. There are plenty of mothers who shop for a…

"But Mom, I'm NOT Allergic!"

It's my daughter's birthday today. The daughter (as she reminds me) who I rarely write about. The easy child.

When my daughter was born, we were terrified she would also have allergies. We had put off having a second child because dealing with my oldest son's allergies was sometimes overwhelming. When she was born, my "DON'T GIVE HER FORMULA UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES!" message made the nurses tip-toe past my room, shaking their heads at the nut cases who were ultimately handed babies to take home.

We did have her screened before six months, just to see if anything would show up. Nothing did, but the doctor warned us that screening tests for infants were notoriously unreliable. He gave us the then en-vogue advice: introduce solids slowly and avoid allergenic foods.

What we didn't allow for was that our daughter was a differentbaby than our son. Completely different. She was more than 3 lbs heavier at birth. As my mother said, she came out "fully baked.&quo…

FAHF-2 Trials In Chicago!

I'm pretty excited! Just learned via the Allergist Mom that there's a clinical trial in Chicago (Chicago!) for FAHF-2, a traditional Chinese medicine made from nine herbs.

Chicago has pretty much been the final frontier for clinical trials. We've watched year after year as Duke and Mount Sinai and even Arkansas (Arkansas!) set up clinical trials. Several years back, I did call Duke to see if there was any possibility of flying in to participate, but local residency was a requirement.

We participated in the food allergy benchmarking family study at Children's Memorial Hospital several years back and it was a great experience (other than the blood draws for my then 7-year-old daughter). In addition to receiving a comprehensive work-up of my allergic son, we were also given an allergic profile of the entire family, including a measurement called Total IgE.

Total IgE is just what it sounds like - a measure of the total output of immunoglobulin E by the body, the antibody type…

Are Our Food-Allergic Children Disabled?

My son and I had a rare moment of togetherness this week: filling out the forms for the College Boards. This is a joint project because, while it requires my credit card to pay the fees, there are a ton of profile questions they ask about college plans, priorities, career goals, etc.

It was the question about special needs/challenges/disabilities that stopped us cold:
Do you have a disability that requires special provisions from the educational institution? Mark the one choice that most closely describes your situation. Providing this information is entirely voluntary.Huh. There was an option provided for "Other." Should we check it?

My son squirmed on the chair next to me, clearly uncomfortable. "Just let it go, Mom. Please just don't get into it."

Even at 17, my son is very sensitive to the idea of being different from others and asking for what he needs. But wouldn't it be a good idea to just tell all these schools up front that this student would have spec…