Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Why Did We Do The Baked Egg Challenge?

Seeing as I have gotten this question about 1001 times in the past 24 hours I figured this was the easiest way to explain the "what?" and "why?" of yesterdays appointment with Reed's allergist.
As most of you know, Reed has had some pretty severe anaphylactic reactions to egg. He hasn't ingested egg in over 2 years because of this. I fed him scrambled eggs for the first time when he was 14 months old, and he went into anaphylaxis.
 He did have a run in with some raw egg over a year ago that landed him an ambulance ride. You can see those pictures here
Anyways, some of you probably know that we were told he could try the baked egg challenge.
First, what is the baked egg challenge?
No, its not throwing an egg in the oven and then feeding it to him.
It means baked foods that contain egg excluding egg casseroles.
Muffins are probably going to be the only thing we use for a while.
Here's the story: if you bake an egg with other ingredients at a certain temperature for a certain amount of time it breaks down all but one of the proteins that cause reactions in allergic kids. So the test is to see if the kid can handle the remaining protein that does NOT break down under heat. Some can, some can't. Based on Reed's track record with food allergies I didn't expect him to pass.
He passed...sort of. He still got some little red rashy hives on the bottom half of his face but there was no wheezing, no puking, no swelling of the face. So his allergist decided we should go ahead and give him teeny tiny amounts of muffin every few days. Like 1/4 of a muffin.
"Why would you even bother?" some might say.
Well here's the "why".
This feeding of small amounts of muffin containing eggs is supposed to build up an immunity to egg resulting in less severe reactions if he were to come in contact with say, scrambled or raw egg in the future. That's the idea anyway. Sure, he may never be able to sit down and eat a breakfast of fried eggs and might not even be able to have an entire piece of cake (although this might actually be possible some day in the distant future) but if I can do something to make a reaction less life threatening, I will do it. Even if it means making batches of muffins and freezing them in wrapped up bite size pieces. These muffins are more medicine than food right now. We are trying to teach Reed's immune system that egg is good and not bad. Will it work? Well statistics show that most kids do really well.
He did spend last night curled in a ball with stomach pain so we were instructed to have him eat even less for a while and see how he does.
Honestly I'm surprised and thankful that the test ended well and not across the street in the emergency room. When he took that first bite and had to be watched closely for the first 15 minutes I was so nervous. When the first little hives showed up around his mouth, my heart sank. But nothing worse came of the test.
I don't care if we ever get to eat "normal", but if this can make the world just a little safer for Reed than I will do whatever it takes.
Originally, Dr Smith said we could do the baked milk challenge soon but since Reed only half passed the egg test we are waiting until next year to even talk about that again.
So there's the "what" and the "why" and hopefully it even made some sense.
I think that this whole thing has actually made my life MORE stressful. I have to keep eggs in the house now. I have to cook with eggs. There is the potential of getting raw egg somewhere which is extremely dangerous. Its a risk but the possible benefits outweigh the risks here. At least for now.
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