LIVING

With EoE, Allergies, Asthma and a G-Tube

Vacationing With Food Allergies

Gearing up for the trip Adventure Snowman brought us I was excited. However, there was a big pit in my stomach worrying about the kids being able to eat. How would I keep them fed and safe?

My first plan of action was to make sure our hotel rooms had a kitchenette so I could cook something if needed. Next, I packed plenty of snacks. So I devoted a Rubber Maid container to all snacks. I also threw in things like Tinleigh’s safe noodles, grits and syrup so I would be able to make them for her in the hotel. Our condo had a full kitchen as well. Having the snacks handy when we stopped for gas was great because it also saved us on gas station treats. I made sure and packed feeding tube formula ready to go for feeds during the car ride.

I knew we would be going out to eat. It scared me every time. I was so nervous to let them eat anything. I always knew how far the closest ER was. I had 4 epi pens and a bottle Benadryl on me at all times.

img_7655Our first night we stopped at Applebee’s.  The kids have never eaten there before. It was Christmas night and surprisingly there was a wait to be seated. Once we finally had our table I told the boys to figure out what they wanted and then I would make sure it would be safe. Charlie ordered chicken strips and fries. He would be fine. Gage wanted the kids steak. I explained to the waitress that Gage had food allergies and asked if they were able to cook his steak in a cleaned off area or a separate skillet. She left to go ask the chief. She came back and explained the chief felt they were super busy, which they were, and he didn’t feel safe about worrying about making a special steak that night. I said I completely understood and Gage went with a double order of mac n cheese with yogurt and fruit. I was honestly relieved that they were so honest. Now, I could have put up a stink that they wouldn’t oblige to what we needed, but why put Gage’s life at risk? He filled his belly and was happy. He understood the situation.

20181226_184043Next up was Augies Alamo City BBQ Steakhouse. If you ever visit San Antonio this is a must. The set up is sort of a school cafeteria. You start at one end of the line picking your sides, then move down to the next station where you pick your meat. Lastly is pickles, chips, dessert and you pay. Before heading out we fed Tinleigh full of formula so she wouldn’t be hungry. I packed her a few snacks in my purse. I packed Gage a few things as well just in case. We looked over the side items, mac n cheese was the only safe thing for him among the baked beans and different types of potatoes. He then selected the pork ribs for his main course. It didn’t hit me until they were slicing it that they cut all the meat in the same spot. This would be problematic for Nathan as he is deathly allergic to chicken. I got Gage situated with his food then let Nathan know about the cutting area. Tinleigh spotted some lays chips and asked for some iced tea. She was set and happy. Nathan risked them cutting his meat in the same area. I was having a mini panic attack. In the end everyone was fine! Not an itch in site. I highly recommend the pork ribs if you visit. Everything was delicious though.

20181227_123524Our second day in San Antonio we toured all day. I had plenty of snacks for everyone in my backpack. We decided to hit Margaritaville for lunch.  I had never been to one before so I had no clue what we were walking into. Luckily the kids menu had ribs on it and that was what Gage wanted. They were delicious. We did have a hiccup with Tinleigh and Nathan here. Tinleigh was able to order a cup of applesauce which was super exciting for her because it was her new food and they actually had it. Problem was they brought it out on Charlie’s plate full of breaded shrimp. We explained why it was a problem. They happily brought her a new cup. I washed it off before giving it to her in fear they just took the cup then brought it back again. Nathan had a Cuban sandwich which is all pork but something got to him. We’re not sure what. A few Benadryl later he was fine. 20181227_123546That night we were all exhausted from touring San Antonio. We saw the Alamo, rode a boat on the Riverwalk, went up the elevator in the Tower of America’s and visited the Pearl. So we stayed in and ordered pizza. Luckily Gage’s safe and favorite, Pizza Hut, was right around the corner. So we got his safe pizza and found a local place for us to try.

The next day we headed further south to South Padre Island. I wasn’t quite as prepared as I had wanted to be. By the time we got there they were all starving. We stopped at Walmart before crossing the bridge onto the island. I let them all pick something to eat. When we arrived at the condo Charlie jumped out of my parents car and came running to me to let me know he had just eaten peanut flour. He kept saying I’m fine. He had picked out the Keebler coconut cookies that are similar to the girl scout cookies and none of us had read the bag. When he started eating a cookie he also started reading the ingredients. After one bite he threw the cookie out the car window. I just stood there staring at him with lots of thoughts going through my head. He didn’t feel a thing. So I told him the instant he did he needed to let me know. My instinct said to epi pen him, but he wasn’t feeling anything. He never did have any sort of reaction. This led to new blood work being done now here at home to see where his peanut allergy is. No results yet.

Our first night on the Island we went to an amazing seafood restaurant called The Sea Ranch. This was my first allergy experience of feeling just a little bit like my family might feel. Since having the kids and developing my own allergies I had never really been in a situation where I couldn’t eat. The Sea Ranch menu only had a handful of things I could eat. It made me feel sad for them. I now had a little better feeling of their side of things. It didn’t feel good. So now that I was already feeling some emotions we had to figure out what the boys could eat. Charlie wanted the Mahi Mahi and I was fine with that. Then Nathan ordered appetizers. He chose a dozen oysters, jumbo shrimp cocktail and calamari. These appetizers looked amazing. The waitress also brought us some bread. Everyone grabbed a piece and I asked to see the ingredients for Gage. Good thing I did, There was egg flour in the mix.
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Once Charlie saw all of this he told me he didn’t need the Mahi Mahi anymore. He was also super excited to try an oyster. I wasn’t so excited about that. Having been able to always eat shell fish with out trouble Nathan and I finally agreed it would be okay. Apparently though my nerves were showing because Nathan kept asking me if I was okay. Charlie picked up an oyster as Nathan explained how to eat it. I can’t believe he tried it. He LOVED it. 20181228_183314

See the calamari on that plate? It was giant and they all said it was the best they had ever had. As everyone was snacking on the appetizers Nathan looks at me and says oh my gosh you can’t eat any of it! He then quickly tried to find something I could have. I told him I was fine. It was the perfect opportunity for me to give Tinleigh a bolus. She came and stood beside my chair and we began. Tinleigh has no issues with her tube and feels quite comfortable doing this in public. We definitely got a lot of looks while doing it. She didn’t notice though. We ordered dinner and Gage chose a steak. Two bites in and his ears were itching. I gave him a Benadryl and then he told me his lip felt puffy. I could see it was a little red. He and Charlie went to the restroom so he could rinse his mouth out. The Benadryl helped and Gage ate all the crackers off the table the waitress had brought since he couldn’t eat the bread. We were bummed about the steak but the reaction was minor. My cucumber martini got me through dinner. 20181228_185703The next day Nathan and the boys did their fishing trip so he baked up the fish they caught. Gage can eat tilapia and bluegill all day. Salmon and tuna are anaphylactic. So the thought of him trying this trout had me a mess, on the inside. I really didn’t want him to eat any. How would I tell him though that he couldn’t eat what he had spent half the day catching? 20181229_104913_resizedLuckily, he had a backpack of formula and really didn’t want any fish anyways. I’m not sure if he was too nervous to try it, but I left it alone. The only people that could eat it were my parents and Charlie. They LOVED it along with Nathan’s homemade hushpuppies. Nathan and I had burgers. 20181229_192458.jpgWhile staying at the condo we ate lunch in. Safer and easier all around.

20181230_204731The following evening we decided to try some local Mexican.  We checked out Senor Donkey. Mexican makes me nervous for many reasons. When our waitress brought chips and salsa and we asked if they made them there or if they were store bought and she had no clue what we were saying I was super nervous. This place was authentic. So we didn’t let Tinleigh have any chips. Another waitress came to take drink orders and she spoke some choppy English. We got our orders in and I felt okay with Gage getting the pork tacos. I had an amazing watermelon margarita. 20181230_192601A few bites in though and Gage was complaining about itchy ears again. We weren’t sure if it was his nerves or if it was real. So I passed him an apple from my purse along with a Benadryl and we took his tacos back to the condo for lunch the next day. Tinleigh had, had enough by this point. She couldn’t eat anything there, she was tired and was getting all worked up. We ended the dinner with her in tears because eating sucks. Gage was fine after his Bendaryl, but I had to feed him once we got back to the condo.

20181231_155050.jpgOur last night on the island was new years eve. Also, our 14th anniversary. My parents happily offered to watch the kids. We took them up and headed out for the evening early. Our plan was to just check out the different bars and restaurants having drinks and appetizers as we go so we would know where to go next time we visit South Padre Island. We started out at Pier 19. It was a little restaurant on the water. I got to see a dolphin playing in the water while we ate.  Next stop was the Wanna Wanna beach bar. Being that it was cold and somewhat rainy they had a cover around everything. So it wasn’t too exciting. I’m sure when it’s warmer out it’s a fun place. There was a sign that said “Please no dancing on tables with heals”. We then headed to a restaurant where Nathan decided he wanted a steak dinner. So Liam’s Steakhouse and Oyster Bar was our last stop of the night. 20181231_185216.jpg

We both had some steak, amazing cocktails and took some chocolate mouse cake back to my parents as babysitting payment. We picked them all up some pizza hut as well. Yeah, wild New Years Eve done by 7:30. We spent the rest of the evening playing Uno with the kids. Then we saw some fireworks from our room. No one had an allergy attack. I would say that’s a good note to end the year on.

January 12, 2019 Posted by | daily life, LIVING | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Crying over spilt milk

Food allergies are no joke.

Here’s an example.

Tinleigh is anaphylactic to dairy. You might remember our Halloween episode. I have a tablet with a keyboard I let the kids play on. Yesterday Charlie got a few drops of milk on the keyboard. I thought i had cleaned it off well. This morning Tinleigh had the tablet. She announces to me her tongue is itchy. I was confused for a moment as to why it would be because she hadn’t eaten anything by mouth yet this morning. Then I realized she had touched the computer then put her hand in her mouth. wpid-20150116_101159.jpgHer whole mouth was breaking out. Her dairy allergy is very real.

If your family is allergy free you might not understand how careful allergic people have to really be. If there’s a child in school that’s allergic to nuts and the class is asked to wipe their hands after eating, this is a great example of why. Gage’s nut allergy is so bad if he touches someone that has eaten a nut he would go into asthmatic symptoms and require a breathing treatment.

Please try and understand how scary our big world of food can be to someone that could die from coming in contact with a food normal people would never blink an eye at.

January 16, 2015 Posted by | LIVING, Tinleigh's allergies | , , , , | Leave a comment

On A Dime

I had a great day today. Scrubbed the kitchen. Switched Layton’s wardrobe up a size. Organized the laundry room / mud room. The girls were happy all day, and so was I. Layton discovered her screaming voice. 20141117_154232Tinleigh stayed out of daddy’s camo paint. We picked the boys up from school and everyone was in a good mood. Great day all around. We continue with our typical routine for the evening. Boys get a computer turn. They do homework. They eat dinner. Nathan comes home. Total daddy excitement is in the air. They play, shower and eat some more. Typical.

We’re going to back up though to the part where the kids eat. Tonight Gage asked for salmon which he’s been eating since October 2013. I cooked him up a fillet in his butter and served it to him. I then went about my evening as usual. He didn’t say a word, but once Nathan was home I noticed he didn’t finish it and had left the table. Tinleigh had been begging Nathan to eat.  He agreed to make her some pancakes and Gage chimed in that he wanted some also. Gage was helping Nathan cook and he asked me if I had fairy godparents what would I wish for. I waved my hands over his body and said I would wish that you don’t have allergies anymore. He replied “and no button too?” I said of course no button! I then noticed his upper lip was red. I took a closer look and asked him if it was itchy. Nathan slightly shook his head yes. Right then, my day turned on a dime. I then noticed a spot on Gage’s chest that had a bump and was all red from him scratching it. Gage didn’t want to but said yes he was itchy, then quickly tried to think of something other than the fish that it could have been from. He told me it was from the corn chips that he had last night. I went for the Benadryl but as I did Gage accidentally burnt his knuckle while helping flip the pancake. Off he went to the bathroom to run water on it. Nathan went in to check on him and I could hear Gage was upset. Nathan returned and sent me in. Poor Gage, his little eyes were all red from crying and he told me his eye itched. We went to the couch and I got some medicine for his little burn. While we sat there he said “Mom, I think I’m allergic to fish” then the tears came. OH THIS SUCKS!!!!! So I held him and tried not to get upset too. It’s been a year that he’s eaten fish. Why now? Why do their little bodies play these cruel games? I tried to be reassuring and told him that sometimes you can be allergic to one certain kind of fish but not other kinds. Which is true. So we’ll have to try a different type in a few weeks. We’ll give his body a chance to relax a little. It’s just so frustrating though, sad too. PAUSE………… (coughing in the distance)20141117_200241

I ran upstairs and Gage was continuously clearing his throat and coughing. I asked what was wrong. He said his throat was gunky. I asked if anything else was wrong and if he felt worse. He said yes. That sudden flash of panic rushed over me. Oh shit he’s having a delayed reaction. It’s been a good 2 hours since he ate the salmon. This is after the dose of Benadryl an hour ago. Okay don’t panic mom (in my head) we’ll just give him some more Benadryl. So I give him another half dose. He keeps coughing and clearing his throat so I ask him some more questions without suggesting anything. Don’t ever ask direct questions like does your throat feel like it’s closing. Let them describe it to you in their own words if they’re old enough. It’s still gunky and a little tight because it’s gunky. Nathan and I have a quick huddle and decide to give him an albuterol nebulizer treatment. Yes, of course I’m still panicking. That’s what a mom does. Nathan assured me that if it was really bothering him he wouldn’t be sitting there calmly playing a video game. He says this from his MANY experiences. I agreed. So I sat through the nebulizer treatment watching him like a hawk. Things seemed to be improving. His actual respritory system wasn’t effected or we would have immediately given him the epi pen. We did the nebulizer as caution, preventative. As for now he’s okay. I’m thinking though we won’t be trying any other type of fish until a long conversation with the allergist or some testing. I’m not willing to take that risk.

Dear Allergies and EoE,

I HATE YOU.

Forever,

Kara

November 17, 2014 Posted by | daily life, LIVING | , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Mutton Bustin’

We read in the newspaper that the local fair was having a junior rodeo with mutton bustin and calf riding as the opener. Anyone welcome to sign up. Since it’s Gage’s dream to ride a bull we asked him if a sheep would do instead. Both boys were so excited at the thought of it we called and signed them up.

We signed in with the rodeo and watched all the cowboys prep for the nights ride.

Gage tried hard not to show it, but he was so excited. He tried to play the cool cowboy roll.

Took caution with a little pre-ride Benadryl. Since our last farm trip didn’t end to well we were really prepared this time.

Charlie noticed the cowboys doing their stretches and thought he better do the same. Yes, he looks like one of the Village People in his white wife beater and cowboy vest but it was too hot to put on long sleeves.

The little cowboys were called out into the arena right along with the big cowboys. They thought that was awesome to go out there and hear their name over the loud-speaker.

Charlie’s ride ended as soon as the sheep shot out of the gate. I think he had the fastest sheep that night.

Gage held on for dear life. We’re pretty sure that’s why he made it so far on the sheep. The dismount was a flip that probably would have scored a 2 by gymnast standards.

It’s a bit blurry and hard to see because it happened so quick.

I gathered everything up and ran over to the chutes as soon as they were done. Gage was a bit stunned, but there were no tears. After a long mommy hug we did realize he had busted his bottom lip. He was fine though, he said he was tough.

I then wiped their faces and hands off with wet wash clothes I had packed in zip-lock baggies. We watched the cowboys ride the bulls for a little while. Gage picked up a little fan. She was a cute little 4-year-old blonde. Cowgirls do love those cowboys!

On the way home we asked them if they would do it again. They both agreed they would love to try again. Look for a post around September when we head to the state fair for some more mutton bustin’!

July 9, 2011 Posted by | LIVING | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

No Bull

For Gage’s 3nd birthday he wanted a bull birthday. As parents we felt it was our job to pull it off. Nathan asked around and we found a friendly farmer willing to open his farm to us for a few hours.

I knew this trip probably wouldn’t be a great one in terms of allergies, but I was ready. All three of them are allergic to everything you would find on a farm.

Upon arrival we were just in time to feed the baby calf. Gage was so excited. He ran right up to the gate and practically climbed in trying to pet the calf. Once the calf realized Gage was there to love on him the calf warmed right up to Gage.

Both boys got a turn at holding the giant bottle. I told them it was good practice for the new baby!

After the feeding we watched the farmers son hypnotize a chicken. I am kicking myself for not getting a picture. If you can picture a chicken laying perfectly still flat on its back in a trance. Funniest thing I’ve seen in a while. No harm to the chicken. We then visited the goats, sheep and ducks. Last – the Longhorn Steer! Gage was so excited. He even asked the farmer if he could ride one. This kid thinks he’s a professional bull rider. No fear. So we headed over to a fenced in area. The farmer had to go out to the pasture to call some of steer in. 

Gage waited patiently for the farmer to round up about 10 steer to join us in the fence. In we went. My heart was pounding. These animals are HUGE! Charlie and Gage had no fear, they walked right up to them. Daddy showed Gage how to hold grain in his hand to feed the steer. Yes, the boys were allergic to the grain mixture. We let them know not to taste it or put their hands on their face after touching it. I will forever love this photo.

I have a similar one of Charlie that I had forgotten about. Never thought longhorn steers would keep popping up in my life.We spent a good half hour with the steer. Gage was so intrigued. Charlie had lost interest. He found a frog then started turning over cow patties and found centipedes. So gross. We then thanked the farmer and hopped in the truck. It was a great trip, until Charlie rubbed his eyes before I could wash his hands. His eyes swelled and he screamed. Whatever he had gotten in them burned. The farmers wife ran and got us some eye drops and a wet cloth. Maybe two more items I should keep in our camo bag. Meanwhile I gave him a dose of Benadryl.  Charlie cried and cried. We’re not sure if it was because he was so tired, him just being dramatic or if it really was that bad. We’re always very sympathetic and do our best to make it better. Gage even told Charlie “be tough Char, it will be better”. After about 10 min Charlie had calmed down. He said he loved the farm and has asked quite a few times since then to go back.

Just one of our LIVING experiences.

Even though there were consequences the boys learned something about farm life and enjoyed themselves.

July 4, 2011 Posted by | Charlie's allergies, LIVING | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Always be prepared

I am always ready for anything. Well, allergy and asthma related anyways.

Anytime we go anywhere we take this bag.

It started out as Charlie’s emergency bag for pre-k. We now just make sure we have it with us at all times.

It has an epi pen. Sometimes I pack two. A large bottle of Benadryl with medicine dispenser. One spacer and puffer. Depending on if it’s cold and flu season I may pack both spacers.

Find a bag and have all your emergency items in it so you’re ready for anything.

Where will you go with your bag today?

July 4, 2011 Posted by | daily life, LIVING | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Had a bigger than oops on vacation

Gosh darn if mommy didn’t have a brain fart while on vacation. I blame it on the new baby.

A few weeks after our move the boys and I went to visit my snow bird parents. Mom had everything we would need for the beach including lotion. We have only ever used Aveeno lotions. Mom had another well-known brand. After day one we quickly learned that Gage was allergic to the lotion. He had a head to toe rash. I mean this kid was covered. So for two days he got some Benadryl to help it go away and not itch. Well the second evening we were headed to the store. The boys were begging for candy before we went. Mom asked me if they could have a peppermint patty. Now, in the back of my head I knew they have an egg in them. However, we had been eating the new peppermint pieces at home right before we left for vacation. So out of my mouth comes sure give them one. Luckily she had the miniature ones, not the full size. As I’m strapping Gage in his car seat he’s coughing and starting to sound a little funny. It smacked me in the face. OMG, um mom we better go back up to the house.

By the time we are back up to the house Gage is non-stop coughing and almost lost his voice. He realizes he doesn’t sound right and keeps asking why. I call Nathan asking his opinion on the steps to take. (Nathan has done this his entire life for himself) Gage is’s not visibly swelling but I can tell his throat is. Nathan says give him Benadryl and an albuterol breathing treatment.  I do both. While mom is holding him doing his breathing I’m on the phone with my quick tech brother who is finding us an ER incase I must use the epi pen. We quickly learned we would have to make a decision quick because there’s not a hospital near and would need to call an ambulance. His breathing treatment ends and he sounds back to normal. The coughing had stopped too. We watched him like a hawk the next few hours and wouldn’t allow him to go to sleep. Everything turned out just fine.

Sure the normal parent would have called 911 and stabbed their kid with the epi pen. Until you’re in my shoes don’t judge me. We’re pretty sure the dose of Benadryl he had gotten at dinner time for his rash is what saved him. That was definitely the scariest thing for me to happen to one of them, so far. We did learn that Gage is still very allergic to eggs and probably won’t be adding those back to his diet ever!

April 19, 2011 Posted by | Gage's allergies | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Food Allergies Don’t Get Us Down

It’s fall! Halloween! TIME FOR PUMPKINS! Oh, wait, we’re allergic to pumpkins. What do we do?? We carry on as if nothing is wrong. How can you go through a holiday like Halloween and not let your kids get a pumpkin? Charlie is the only one allergic to pumpkins. He actually has a contact reaction to the pumpkin guts. But that doesn’t stop us. We picked out some great pumpkins this year!

When heading to the pumpkin patch we know there’s going to be a hay-ride, corn maze and lots of other itchy outdoor irritants. Both boys get their daily allergy medicine. I pack the Benadryl just in case. Right before the  hay-ride Charlie gets a shot of his inhaler. We are always a little stuffy and itchy when we get done but it never seems to bother them. They never complain because the fun totally overrides the allergy reactions. I would never want my kids to miss out. If it got to the point that they are miserable then we wouldn’t do it. 

Pumpkins home, it’s time to make jack-o-lanters. This is daddy’s job. The boys always like to help get the guts out. This year we just taped plastic bags on Charlie’s hands and he was able to do his job. Of course Gage wouldn’t touch the guts so he wanted bags on his hands too.

Daddy did an awesome job this year.

Cheers to Charlie for getting to be part of the pumpkin process.

October 26, 2010 Posted by | Gage's allergies | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Poor itchy Gage

This morning Gage woke up and had a few more dots. By noon he was itching like crazy and I had spoken to the on call allergist. Keep Benadryl and allergy meds in him. He will be tired but it should keep him comfortable. So we did that along with limiting his diet down to a few single foods. He had some corn at snack and a hive popped up beside his mouth. OH CRAP! Not corn. By evening he was feeling much better. Not itching as much. He didn’t get anymore hives. We’ll see what tomorrow brings. Monday he will go to the allergist and we’ll get this figured out!

My mommy instinct says it’s either the prevacid he just started taking, chocolate he had a lot of this week, corn, rice or the grass. I’m really praying its chocolate and not something major like the corn or rice!

May 1, 2010 Posted by | Gage's allergies | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pox or Hives

Over the past few days Gage has developed some dots on his head, face, behind his ears, under his chin… At first I thought they were hives. They looked like hives. Thing is though they don’t go away. This is about day 4 that I’ve noticed them. I called his allergist yesterday and they said “keep an eye on him (duh) and give him Benadryl” So that’s what I’m doing. Then last night I noticed the two behind his ears looked like they had fluid in them and thought oh no chicken pox! He had the shot so I didn’t know how he would still get it. This morning he only had one more, on the top of his head and still has the others. No more fluid in the ones behind his ears though. I’ve never had it happen where the hives stick around for a while. What is going on!

To be continued………

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Gage's allergies | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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