12 January 2012

Peanut Allergic Teen Desensitized to Peanuts: Progress Report 9 Months Later

My son Alexander was desensitized to peanuts on April 12,2011. Today marks 9 months since this momentous occasion. What has happened during the last 9 months??
First let me provide a little background.
Alexander was diagnosed at 22 months old with an allergy to peanuts. He is now 16 years old.

When he tested positive for a peanut allergy I was aware that this allergy could be dangerous.
I was very surprised to be told there was no cure or allergy shot or any protocol to eliminate or reduce his allergy to peanut.
We were told to strictly avoid peanuts.
The doctor said that was "all we could do." This was hard to believe in this age of modern medicine.

So.... we avoided peanuts, peanut dust, peanut contaminate snacks, certain types of restaurants etc.
I read every food label and asked every restaurant if they had peanuts in "x" dish.
In those days, restaurants and fast food places did not care. There we no allergen statements on menus. They did not pay attention to cross-contamination. Schools were unconcerned and unprepared.
Perhaps someday I will write a post about it.

In order to protect my son, I prepared and sent "special snacks" to school and provided non-peanut snacks to the class on our snack days or birthdays. In addition Alexander was not allowed to eat any cookies or desserts served on a tray which meant parties, school events etc.

Not to mention the series of precautions and steps necessary for Alexander to fly on commercial airlines especially SW Airlines. For these of you with a peanut allergy, you know the drill!

All these efforts were successful. Alexander never had an allergic reaction or scare, even though he tested off the blood chart for his peanut allergy.
You may want to check out my post "Peanut and Food Allergy TESTING Results for Alexander Over the Years"
We never had to use an EpiPen!

By God's grace we learned of a program to desensitize my son to peanuts.

Thankfully this new and revolutionary treatment was offered in our hometown (and only 10 minutes from our house).

Click here to read my blog for all the details. You will find posts describing every aspect of Alexander's treatment by Dr. Wasserman and his fantastic staff.
Be sure to check out the "Helpful Links" on the right side of my blog.

Now 9 months after completing the treatment program and becoming officially desensitized to peanuts, I am happy to report Alexander has never had an allergic reaction to peanuts.
In fact he never had a reaction during the treatment program.
Alexander eats a "maintenance dose" of 8 peanuts every day, which I hope he continues as he gets older and makes his own decisions. 

Alexander loathes eating the peanuts but for the most part sticks to the rules thus far.
The taste of peanuts makes him want to choke.
He recently asked me "Mom what food do you truly hate and cannot choke down ever?"
My answer was asparagus.
Then he said "Imagine having to eat asparagus every night. Now you know what I have to go through"

I still remind him to takes his peanuts and then I rely on him to eat his maintenance dose.
He has missed doses.
Sometimes Alexander just does not want to choke them down!


Alexispretty said...

alex is so pretty.

Lilia said...

He is very bave. My daughter is another program at Stanford Hospital.  She eats 12 peanuts today and she will need to get 20 when she finishes the dose. I personally thisnk is too much.
It is so good we can have these programs available.

Tara Chapman said...

We are getting ready to go through this with our 9 year old son.  We live in the Abilene area so we are looking at a 3 hour drive to get there.  I was just wondering how Alexander felt during the process?  Did he feel sick at all as his body got used to the peanut flour?  With a long drive to and from I am trying to get prepared.  Thank you!

JulieBeiersdorf said...

HI Tara,
Somehow my answers to comments have not been publishing. To answer your question Alexander never felt sick at all. The peanut flour dose is 1/100th of a peanut as your first dose. Very teeny. Then it increases from there slowly. Alexander started out with an IgE of over 100. This was off the charts. 
Now he is eating 8 peanuts/day as his maintenance dose.
I hope this encourages you.

When do you begin treatment in Dallas? 

JulieBeiersdorf said...

Dear Lilia,
How is your daughter's treatment going? Has she made it to 20 peanuts yet? Alexander has to eat 24 peanuts for his challenge at the end. It was fine.

JulieBeiersdorf said...

This post was email to me by Julie Paulson. She gave me permission to share it. You never know how all the ways God works in the background but here is a wonderful example.
"Hello Julie,
Just wanted to share something with you regarding your Wisdom posting yesterday on  your “Just a little peanut” blog.  We have our initial consultation with Dr Wasserman on Oct 3rd.  I have been going back and forth in my mind about whether  I should go thru with the program, not go thru with it, wait until my daughter is older etc…anyways, last night I decided I would just ask God to help me make that decision.  To be my guide and leave me with a definite feeling of yes or no after our appointment.  Anyways, that was yesterday.  Came to work this morning and tried to log into my yahoo email.  For the past 3 weeks our firewall has been blocking yahoo so haven’t had a chance to check it.  Well this morning I was able to get in and I saw your email about Wisdom.  It made me cry because its exactly what I prayed for the night before and to have it come from your blog was even more amazing as that is where I wanted wisdom for….the peanut program.  So, just wanted to share with you how that posting not only was so fitting but the timing as well.  T hank you for psoting.
Julie Paulson

A&A's mom said...

Congratulations to you and Alexander! My two sons are in the multi-allergen desensitization clinical trial at Stanford (the one using Xolair to accelerate the process) and have both been desensitized to all of their nut allergies (one son was treated for 3 nuts; the other son was treated for 5 nuts) in under a year. (Our journey is chronicled here: shkedim.blogspot.com) We, like you, feel so lucky to have found this type of treatment as it has been life changing. To those of you whose children are still allergic: I know how hard it is... hang in there, as there is hope and treatment is coming.

robin said...

thanks for sharing.