“Say Hello to My Little Friends” Why haven’t ordered TSO yet?
So, I have been super gung ho on TSO for the last several months. I’ve imagined my son being symptom free of food allergies and asthma. I’ve seen him eating veggies & dip with yummy sour cream and mayo. I’ve seen us eating at a sushi restaurant – or any restaurant for that matter – food that they prepared. I’ve seen him back at the kung fu place with the cough-inducing carpet.
I’ve filled my online cart several times only to abandon it before cashing out.
After we left our beloved aforementioned cough-inducing-carpeted Kung Fu School, I decided, “This is it. I’m doing TSO.”
Then it was the conversation with the mother at school about how her son gasped and fought like he was drowning during anaphylaxis. And again, I said “That’s it. I’m doing TSO.”
Then when I had to run to the store, in full “out of shape middle age never work out or do anything for myself ‘I’m comin’ Weezy’ mom style” to replace a nut bar from a child at my son’s day camp, I swore “That’s it. I’m doing TSO.”
And still I haven’t. Why?
Well, I’m not going to lie but cost is HUGE. And so I had/have huge anxiety about how I would maintain this.
My other concern is whether or not this is the right decision for us now. Oh man, I would love to not have to think about what foods we’re eating, what others are eating, is there carpet, where’s the nearest emergency room, where are the epi-pens, are they out of the sun, the cold, did that person eating hummus just touch him, is that hummus… what do we do now that his friends want ice cream and so they’re fighting with their moms and begging to get away from him so that they can get it… Oh man, would I – would he, love that!!!!!!!
Quite frankly I would pay the price and more to liberate my son from that. But, I am concerned about further pushing his immune system towards Th2. This in fact might be more of an issue than cost. Because if allergies were not a concern for him, then I could work more. I could cook less. We could eat out sometimes. Travel more. I could use after school care. Let other mom’s pick him up and take him for play dates and sleep overs… but I can’t shake the concern of pushing him further into Th2.
Why does this plague me so?
Firstly, secondly, and finally – I AM NOT A SCIENTIST OR DOCTOR – and so I may be totally wrong. And if any scientist or doctor reading this thinks so, please post. But the immune dampening effect of the TSO also pushes down Th1: the part of the immune system that battles bacteria, viruses, fungi, and cancer. In fact, as I understand it, part of pushing down Th1 immunity is by pushing up Th2. So you lose some immune strength in this process. And while I know there are other facets of immunity that are yet to be discovered, I guess I’m still a bit itchy and scratchy about dampening down all facets without knowing how high or low anything else it except IgE and eosinophils. But, I may cash my cart out tomorrow and order TSO.
I have clung, for the last several years, to this idea of – bring down the IgE, bring down the allergies. Every therapy we’ve tried has been because I thought/hoped/read that it would reduce the IgE levels. We’ve avoided foods, done challenges, introduced foods – all based on IgE. In fact, just earlier I spoke with the allergist about ovamucoid levels to see where a possible baked egg challenge is. And here I am pondering a treatment that may raise IgE. What if we wanted to get off the treatment at some point? Would we be worse off than when we began? Or would the food specific IgE levels have stayed level, or better, gone down? I mean, if he could tolerate full on dairy, and was drinking or eating it regularly while TSO was modulating his immune system and inducing tolerance – would his IgE marker for that eventually go down, or even better, disappear?
Is the immune system such that: It’s akin to having a 12 passenger van. Normally 1 seat or less is taken up by IgE and the rest of the seats are filled by all the other components of immunity. And if you happen to be someone with 3 or 4 or 5 seats taken up by IgE, then that means there are less seats for the other necessary components – so you have reduced immunity overall, with increased in one area. And then let’s say you introduce something like helminths – does the IgE now take up 6 or 7 seats, squeezing down the room for the other components even further. But also, because of the helminths and their dampening effect, suddenly, you have an 8 passenger van? I guess what I’m asking is – for people with already skewed immune systems – does the further skewing and dampening leave them even more vulnerable than before? This is the question that I am pondering. This may be the reason I haven’t yet cashed out my cart.
But then there’s the part of me that thinks – what if on helminths we could introduce all the no-no foods and induce tolerance. Kind of similar to how they use anti-IgE co-administered with desensitization protocols. Would it matter then if he was left with residual IgE that was helminth specific, but reduced or none for foods because having consumed them? I don’t know. Also, what if I gave him supplements that enhance Th1 immunity – like AHCC or specific probiotics?
I am a bit beyond the capacity of my fine arts educated brain – in the realm of science and immunology that is beyond my current knowledge. And quite frankly, not even my uber educated immunologist can answer/ or even wants to contemplate these questions. But I feel like I must make a decision. He will be 8 soon and maybe we still have a window where his immune system can be somewhat reeducated – the question is ‘which of our little friends is the right teacher?’