Hercules, Food Allergy, and the Baked Milk Challenge



My son is learning about the Greek and Roman Gods and myths.  And Hercules is one of them.  When I thought of Hercules it was – ‘super strong muscular dude who slayed mythical dragons, animals, and warriors.” Like Yanni on steroids in a loin cloth or something.  Boy did I underestimate his journey.

Well, and I did not know this until my son introduced me to it.  But, Hercules wasn’t just some swoony cat living his life randomly encountering adventures, slaying dragons, taming wild lions… He sought these ‘beasts’ out.  He was compelled to carry out his nine labors because he was trying to make amends for having killed his wife and children while under a spell.  He was driven, beyond reason, fatigue, fear… to confront and slay these wild creatures.

Ok, but what does he have in common with food allergies?

Well, that’s how I feel.  All my friends and family are always telling me how I shouldn’t/couldn’t possibly blame myself for the allergies and asthma that my son battles.  But somehow I do.  I have  running list of ‘sins’ I committed while pregnant – before I was pregnant – and in my darkest moments I visit this list in my mind.  I cannot explain our somewhat ‘outlier’ status any other way… the number of allergies.  The eczema.  The asthma.  The whole ball of it.  I mean, of course there are more and more kids with allergies and asthma, but I feel sometimes so singled out with the sheer number – that surely I must have done something.  And it’s been this feeling that drives me on – like Hercules – beyond reason, fatigue, fear… beyond my check book… to find some answer to heal my son…. or at least gain new foods,  freedoms, hope and ease.

Sigh.  Sigh.  Deep breath.

As you can tell it’s been a bit of a dark feeling time around here.  And tensions are high as we near our baked milk challenge scheduled for tomorrow.  I was disappointed to find out that my son’s IgE level for milk is up to 22 now on the RAST.  Total IgE is up to 1400 or so now.  We are about 6 weeks off the herbs – and eczema has been plaguing us again.    We are up and down on the steroid inhaler – based on whether or not he coughs.

Given the new RAST, I was concerned that we were beyond the challenge window now, however the doc says we are still on.   After reading this study “Tolerance to extensively heated milk in children with cow’s milk allergy”  I am also feeling as if our number is still within range.  However, I may request a skin prick test.  It seems that the size of the wheal would give us a better sense of whether or not he’ll pass.  Although, part of me feels that even if he fails – there is an upside – my son would know what a reaction feels like.  He hasn’t had a reaction, thankfully, in a long time.  We’ve had some itchy tongue, itchy lip things, some hives – but our last challenge – soy, was our last reaction.  He remembers this reaction.  It involved him vomitting and getting pale and somewhat limp.  While the doc present at the challenge said it was FPIES, another doc to whom I conveyed the story ipso facto – said it sounded like anaphylaxis.   Whichever, that was our second soy challenge.  The first one – a year prior – was deemed successful.  We left the hospital overjoyed to get a new food.  And then midway between the hospital and home, the vomitting and screaming started.  Needless to say, we pulled into the ER.

But milk.  Milk has been verbotten all along.  So we’ll see how tomorrow goes.  I definitely think that when your child does a challenge, you should be offered an optional valium drip for yourself.  I’ll take mine straight up please.

On another front on the allergy front – I’ll be ordering TSO this week.  I have to wait for a check to clear before dinking my account.  But I am now solidly convinced that this is worth a go.   I’ll enter in the quasi paper I sent the allergist – who is on board to treat my son – and issue blood test/skin prick test to help us determine what effect, if any, the TSO is having.  Although she would not let us introduce them in the clinic because of liability issues.  Not sure yet, how I’ll introduce the 15ml vial of 1000 ova (our recommended starting & hopefully maintenance dose).

I guess like Herecules, I’ll slay that bitch when I get to it.

Also, and for good measure because I tend to be somewhat pessimistic, I have a vision of my son healthfully eating the baked milk muffins.  We drive home happy that we have a new food.  And I try not to drink each time I feed him this food moving forwards.


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