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!