Thursday, November 20, 2008

Oral Food Desensitization Program UPDATE

So I took Ainsley to the office of the allergists who are conducting the desensitization today. I hate going to a new allergist, because it means engaging in a half-hour review of Ainsley's food allergy history (along with her asthma and eczema history). Anyway, after we got done with that, I talked with the doctor a lot about the desensitization. She said she highly recommended it -- since Ainsley was allergic to so many foods, it would be good to at least knock out one from the list -- and that she thought Ainsley was mature enough to start the desensitization right away. She will talk with her partners/medical staff just to confirm that we can start now, but she thinks it will be fine.

I have talked a lot with Ainsley about the treatment (I have not told her she would be exposed to her allergen, but rather that "the doctor would be giving her medicine for several days to try and get rid of her milk allergy") and she is all for it. She says she would really like to not have all of her food allergies "because the food I can't have looks so good." Her answer almost broke my heart, just as my heart breaks every time we're at a birthday party and she looks longingly at the birthday cake and then eats the "special cupcake" I've brought for her instead.

So I'm happy with how the appointment went, but still torn. Is this really something we want to do? For some reason it feels irresponsible to sign onto a program that involves exposing Ainsley to one of her allergens every day. But the doctor was very reassuring, reminding me that dose increases would occur only in their office and that "allergic reactions don't scare them," i.e., if Ainsley had a reaction to one of the dose increases, they can handle it, no problem. I know it must seem obvious to all of you that this is the right thing to do for her, but I will have to think about it and talk about it a lot more with Dave before I become totally comfortable with it.

We have a follow-up visit scheduled in two weeks with the allergist if we want to proceed with the desensitization. She agreed that, if we choose to do it, we should probably do the milk first. The idea that, in six months, Ainsley could be eating mac & cheese, milk chocolate, ice cream, grilled cheese sandwiches, whipped cream, etc., just blows my mind.

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