allergy testing

Last Tuesday was the big day I have been waiting for, part anxious, part dread. I had all 3 kids with me and I didn't know exactly what it would be like but I just prepared the kids and pretty much threatened their lives to behave and explained this was very important for Sawyer. The weeks leading up to this we had multiple conversations with the kids about the possibility of Sawyer being allergic to dogs and what that would mean for Lola. We knew that if he was allergic to her we couldn't choose to keep her since I felt that was sacrificing Sawyer's health. But we all crossed our fingers and toes it would be something much different like grass or soy or pollen or dust mites.

He was a trooper through the whole test and laughed at parts since he said it tickled. The lower down the nurse got on his back the more he felt it and he flinched a few times. The left side of his back were common things like cats, dogs, pollen, dust mites, soy, dairy, grass, and so on. The right side was shellfish. Scallops, lobster, crab, shrimp, you name it.

She didn't tell us what each particular thing was as she applied it to his back so we all kind of sat there and wondered, however when I saw the right side all puff up immediately I knew that side was shellfish. And then when two little hives appeared on the right side right next to each other I had my suspicions it would be cats and dogs but I didn't say anything.

Here's what he looked like 5 minutes into it. We had to wait 15 minutes, and he was very itchy and uncomfortable at this point.

The spot next to number 15 should have been the biggest thing he reacted to if he had no allergies. That was a histamine they scratched him with to make sure no benadryl was in his body, so if that's the strongest allergy they tried to induce, you can compare that to all the other hives. The largest one of the right was shrimp. Since this was my first time I thought maybe that's just a normal size allergy but when they measured it they were surprised at how strong his reaction was to it. In fact, he's so allergic that she recommends that whenever we eat shellfish we should try and not sit next to Sawyer. I am in fact the owner of several Epipens now. She trained me on how to use it and assured me I probably wouldn't have to use it ever, but just in case the need arises, it's always better to be prepared. She highly doubts this is an allergy he will grow out of.

You don't see the lines down the left side of his lower back in the picture, but those we are all flat, no reaction. Thank goodness. Those were foods that she tested him for and I was dreading that he would be allergic to something like gluten or dairy. I was very relieved at those results.

Immediately when the kids saw that he was allergic to dogs they were pretty upset. At first all I felt was relief because he is allergic to things I can actually control. Which means that my son doesn't have to be on daily allergy medication. Later it hit me that Lola wasn't going to be a part of our family anymore. We had in place a backup plan for her and she is so happy with Sawyer's first grade teacher. Which also means we can still visit her and even take her camping with us. Lola is loved and spoiled to death over at her house and she has two retired parents so they get to spend the day with her. We couldn't ask for a better situation given the circumstances. But it didn't make it any easier saying goodbye. Aaron probably took it the hardest and I should've expected that since he's her primary caregiver. We definitely feel a void in our home but when I look at what we will gain and how Sawyer already is looking and feeling so much better, it's a sacrifice we had to make.

I decided the quicker the better and the less drama filled it would be, so that evening we packed up her things and after the kids were in bed Aaron drove her over. Whenever we go on vacation she stays there and so it really is like a second home for her. We had no tearful, drawn out sob fests with the kids, we just told them that we'd see her soon and thank goodness she was going to live with someone we know so well. The following morning was very hard for me and I wore sunglasses most of the day because out of nowhere I would start to tear up. I think the man at Feast From the East thought I was a little crazy when I started to cry as I paid him for my salad. :(

Gunnar is going to be tested next week and I can only hope he too is allergic to dogs. I know this sounds very odd, but it will make me feel so much better to know that Sawyer won't one day later on blame himself or feel guilty for having to give up Lola. If both of them are allergic then there's no one who can feel bad.

I asked the allergist, who we love by the way, and if you need a referral, please let me know! By the way, I should've bought stock in Vanicream. So many of you are now using it and love it. I love that we can share the things that work for us! Back to the story, I asked the allergist why, after four and a half years is Sawyer developing allergies to Lola. She truly believes that the shellfish reaction he had a few months ago in a restaurant (shrimp) followed by a second reaction a few months later to something he usually eats and has no problem with (calamari) triggered this. He probably always was sensitive and had mild allergies to her but this triggered it in his body where he no long could battle it. So that's our story and I will keep you posted about Gunnar and his allergy testing. I have a feeling his is more seasonal and it won't be something I can necessarily prevent. I believe his has something to do with trees or pollen, but we will see. Thank you to everyone who already checked in on us and for all the wonderful comments on facebook about Sawyer. We are hanging in there.