Monday, October 15, 2012

Nope, not yet

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At the allergist. With her own stethoscope,
you know, just in case... 

I wasn't expecting any sort of earth-shattering news like she's completely outgrown her allergies or anything; in fact, I was more concerned about the possibility of having to draw blood and how upset Sophie might be. In the end though, the doctor opted for a skin prick test instead and the results show that Sophie still has a bad allergy to egg and all dairy products. Sigh...

Most children outgrow these common allergies by age 2, if not 1. So the fact that her allergies still linger even after she's turned 3 means she falls in the category of children with "persistent" allergies. There is still a likelihood that she may outgrow them, but there is also the possibility that this is just something we're going to have to keep managing.

It's been so much a part of our lives that it really doesn't seem that hard actually. We're still reading food labels vigilantly, watching out for cross-contamination at home and at the grandparents', and being really careful to ask questions when we order food outside. Managing Sophie's allergies has been both easier and harder now that we've moved back to Asia- on the one hand, there are less foods with dairy in them in Asian cuisine so Sophie has had the opportunity to try (and fall in love with a whole myriad of foods that she otherwise wouldn't have eaten in the U.S., case in point- fishball noodles...); on the other hand, egg is used so prevalently in Chinese cooking-- in thickening sauces, coating meats before they are fried, as a glaze to so many pastries, etc.-- that it's hard to know if something *really* doesn't have egg in it, not to mention the risk of cross-contamination.

We're lucky that Sophie's daycare has been really wonderful in working with us to manage her allergies. Her current teachers aren't as used to dealing with children with allergies as the teachers in Gretchen's House but they've still done a great job always being very careful and thoughtful about keeping Sophie away from possible allergens. The common practice of children celebrating their birthdays in school-- together with cake and treats-- has been a little tricky for us though. Sophie almost always can't have any of the cake but her teachers have been really good in letting us know in advance when a birthday celebration is coming up and I've packed her a special vegan treat as a snack so she doesn't feel left out. And Sophie's cognizant enough about her allergies that she never kicks up a fuss about why she can't have regular cake like the other kids. She never asks for it. In fact, when I offered her soy ice-cream last week, she insisted she couldn't have it, and that she can only have sorbet- "No cream, Mama. I can't have cream because it's not safe for my body. I will get hivey hives hives."

Hopefully, the day will come when Sophie will be able to enjoy food free from care or worry. But right now, she relishes what she can eat happily and joyously and is always open to trying new (and safe) foods. Which is more than we can ask for, really :)

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