Time to progress further

This past year has been successful with adding a few foods back into Bradley’s diet. Instead of boiling most of his vegetables we have been able to just steam them. We have added back in strawberries and watermelon both of which Bradley loved before he wasn’t able to have them anymore and he still loves them now. The biggest item we added in was soy, which as most know is in so many things so this has opened up more items that Bradley can eat. We switched allergists again due to our allergist moving to Childern’s Hospital so we followed, and we are there now as well. Per our allergist we were able to food challenge fish and shellfish at home as those are the least likely to affect EOE patients. Bradley has passed, he now enjoys salmon (not so much shrimp) and lobster tail. On Dec 28th we have an in office food challenge for asparagus and sesame seed and I have no reason to believe that he wouldn’t pass that test as well. He has been doing great with all of his food (minus the typical 5 year old not wanting to eat what I make that day for lunch/dinner). Next year we will be testing the bigger items (eggs, dairy, wheat & nuts). These items are bigger triggers for EOE than the others that we have added back in for Bradley but I will hope that we get to add in at least one of these items back into Bradley’s diet. Through the years I have taken on Bradley’s diet when I eat at home (to make my life easier) and I have found that I have a lactose/dairy intolerance that I didn’t realize I had; so therefore I’m thinking the dairy will be our trickiest item. But I still have high hopes that we get through these coming challenges.

Faith, Hope & Love

I have found these three things to pull me through the past year and a half. Faith in God that he will heal Bradley’s body and give our family the prosperity to grow beyond our bounds. Hope that everyday is a day of rejoice, happiness, and full of blessings. And the greatest of Love to pull us out of the dark.

Bradley & I wouldn’t be where we are without the support of our family and friends around us. Bradley has been doing great on the elimination diet of the top 8 allergens and elimination of the remaining items that he tested positive for. He hasn’t had an outbreak and he has been progressing physically and emotionally just the way he should be. This past year I haven’t been able to do more scopes to see where his eos levels are so that we can progress on the elimination diet, due to financial reasons. But looking back I’m thinking that has been for the best. This break has aloud his body to recover & heal from the torment it was going through for 2+ years and I think his great progress is the result of that. I have learned how to cook some good meals to replace those bad ones and have learned some good substitutes to replace the things that he can’t have in most recipes, so it feels like things have gotten easier. I look back and remember thinking “How are we ever going to get through this?” “How is Bradley going to thrive when he can’t have the basic necessities?” but what is great is that both questions have great outcomes; we are surviving and doing very well at thriving. I hope in another few months I can get a scope done on Bradley so that we can start to add food into Bradley’s diet, instead of restrict it.

 

I’m here to say that it does get better and it does get easier. Just have strong faith, a little bit of hope and a lot of love.

 

Contradiction

These days I find myself contradicting myself a lot from years back. I can remember saying things like “I don’t understand people who go organic or people who eat only whole foods” or “Why would someone choose to go vegan or exclude foods from their diets, they are crazy”, and here is the biggest kicker “Our food is safe“.
Now I look at the those words and say “Jess, you are crazy for believing that our food is safe”. In the past our food was safe but since I’ve been born it hasn’t been. And I guess I was just uneducated and naive; I didn’t care to know what was in food. With all the hormones, pesticides and other things that is put into our foods for one so called ‘good reason’ or another; it is making our food unsafe.
I’ve always known about food allergies, mostly hearing it through the grape vine, but also my second cousin has them. But I never really interacted with someone who had food allergies until my son was diagnosed with EoE last year. And then I had the question: “How can someones’ body be allergic to food?”, that is supposed to be what I our bodies need to thrive and what we need to survive, so how can a persons’ body say “No, this is a foreign substance I don’t like it, I must attack to get it out”.  Then someone told me about a lady that went through the same thoughts that I did, Robyn O’Bryan. I watched one of her speeches and it was like she made me wake up and realize the answer to my question. It was our food, our food is making us sick and to me, that just seems SO WRONG.
I’m not on the warpath that our government is out to get us, or that I will never eat food again, and that all food must be changed. But I do believe that something needs to change. We need to be thinking of ourselves and our children and their children; otherwise there won’t be very many Americans left. I won’t dig into the some many things that can be said about why we as Americans in the United States have lower standards for ourselves, but it is worth mentioning. Canada & Europe don’t allow the crap that the United States allows. They have higher standards for their food and products, so why do we allow our standards to be so low?

I now believe in whole foods and organic foods and trying to do things the most natural way possible.  God gave us the trees, plants and animals to survive and we allow people in our society to alter those natural resources to make our food source “better”. How can it be better, when we are getting sicker, fatter, lazier and just overall unhealthy?

The beginning of our story

I am the single mother of Bradley who was diagnosed with EoE in September 2011 at the age of 1 1/2 years (20 months). I believe that he has had EoE since birth, because since he was just a few months old he had eczema on his cheeks, top of his head and behind his knees. He was always on the smaller side of the growth chart and didn’t seem to gain weight at the rate that he was supposed to be. When I started him on trying solid foods is when he started throwing up his food. At first it was just once every few months but as he passed his first birthday he started throwing up more often to when it got to the point that he wouldn’t eat and was throwing up a couple times a week. His pediatrician sent us to a GI and Dr. Best was able to get him diagnosed within a month’s time. Bradley’s first scope was in September 23, 2011, his first allergy test was October 6, 2011 of at which time I had my first reality shock of exactly what having EoE meant. Bradley was pulled from Egg, Fish, Shrimp, Almond, Watermelon, Green Beans, Corn, Peas and Orange. Egg was the hardest for the obvious reason that Egg is in so many products. Bradley had his next scope on December 23rd and it showed over 50 eos so back into the allergist where more food was taken out of his diet. In February 2012 Bradley had his 3rd scope and it was his first, and so far only,  clean scope. We were ecstatic and thought we were heading down the right road but Bradley’s symptoms were coming back, coughing at night to the point of throwing up and not wanting to eat. We did another scope in April and his eos were above 50 again. At this point I decided to change allergist because I didn’t feel like I was getting the support that I needed. I found an allergist through National Jewish Health which has a group of EE specialist, so I felt like I would get the best support that I could want. We got some new allergy testing and not a whole lot was taken from Bradley’s diet that we hadn’t already taken out. On October 5th we pulled the top 6 allergen foods out of Bradley’s diet, and that is where we are today.

This is a good picture to show the eczema on his cheeks, age 23 months.