Monday, October 02, 2006

Daisy has a variety of inconvenient and dangerous food allergies. Eggs, nuts, dairy, and seeds are foods that she must avoid. We've gotten pretty good at figuring out what types of food are safe to order in unfamiliar places and how to navigate through Daisy-unfriendly events like birthday parties (where the cake almost always includes eggs and dairy). Daisy has gotten used to the fact that she's different in this regard, and she eyes any new food suspiciously, constantly wary of rogue allergens. This seems like a heavy load for a 7 year old to bear, but kids are fairly adaptable and many people have suffered through much worse. Besides, there still are lots of tasty foods she likes, and we've found replacements for a lot of traditional kid treats. Soy ice cream, for example, is a staple in our house.

For the last month or so, however, she has complained on a nearly daily basis about stomach aches. Usually these complaints kick in at around bed-time, which is her least favorite time of the day, so we haven't been completely convinced that there's a physical cause to the pain she speaks of. The stomach aches also appear at other times during the day, so it's pretty hard to pin down. Hank finally came up with a theory the other day though.

"Daisy, I think I know why your stomach has been bothering you," Hank offered one evening during dinner. "It bothered you the last two nights after you had soy ice cream for dessert. And it bothered you again the morning after you had soy cream cheese on your bagel. And it bothered you after you drank chocolate soy milk with lunch."

"So... you think I'm allergic to soy?" Daisy asked quietly.

"Yes!" Hank summed up, triumphantly. I smiled at my brilliant wife, who somehow pieced together the pieces of the puzzle that had eluded me.

Daisy paused for a moment and then burst into tears.

Hank and I sat there, stunned, slowly realizing that we had just informed Daisy that the substance, which forms almost all of the treats that she loves, is now off limits. We promptly back pedaled, explaining that an upset tummy is not really the same thing as being allergic, and maybe soy in small doses would be fine, and there are other kinds of ice cream, and dammit, she'll still get to eat tasty food. It was a disheartening chat for all involved.

To be honest, we're still not 100% convinced it's the soy. Seems like some days she has almost no soy and her stomach hurts, and other days she'll have a bit more soy and it'll be fine. The pain MOSTLY correlates with soy intake, but not entirely.

Hank brought Daisy to the pediatrician today, and, of course, the doctor was no help. Unless you have a bacterial infection, or are literally on fire, there's nothing that doctors can do. Pediatricians are the least helpful of all doctors because the quality of diagnostic information that you get out of a 7 year old ranges from misleading to incoherent.

Anyway, this is frustrating.


zelda1 said...

I can so totally relate to Daisy's allergies, since, I, too, am allergic to almost every good thing that there is, both edible and touchable. I can tolerate the soy milk, but sometimes, the flavors or the additives are really harsh on my digestive system. Many of the sweetners used to make the soy taste better have some alcohols in them and they upset my stomach. You might check and make sure she isn't getting one of those artificial sweetners or flavorings that contain alcohol. While soy milk and cheese is pretty much okay, I tried the soy nuts once and liked to have died. So, proceed with caution, even with soy.

carey said...

Wow, so sorry. That must be so frustrating for Daisy. There are some great recipes, though, for tasty things like chocolate chip cookies with no dairy or wheat. Still, the extra effort required must be difficult.

I know a kid who's allergic to everything too...except, oddly, smoked, carcinogenic-filled meats like hot dogs and bacon. I don't get that.

Mike said...

Zelda, oh, don't worry, we are proceeding with caution. We're now logging every bit of food she eats, and keeping track of how that correlates with her stomach aches.

Carey, yeah, I think the less natural a food is, the less likely someone is to be allergic to it.

patsy said...

it is very sad that you daughter has all these problems. i have no advise to give. a child 7 years old should not have to deal with this.

Mike said...

Hey Patsy, don't worry, I stuff her full of candy. She ain't allergic to sugar.

Miss Misse said...

I have been dealing with something similar with my 8 year old. She has an egg allergy, and seasonal allergies and a sensitivity to sugar(like me) which during allergy season results in the breakout of hives. It's very hard to completely steer clear of sugar so we've been seeing a LOT of hives lately. Poor girl. We just told her, a week before Thanksgiving, that she can not have any of Nana's pie or my chocolate clusters. I will be searching for non-sugar treats that taste somewhat good as poor substitutes.

Mike said...

Miss Misse, a sugar sensitivity, eh? Man, I hope Daisy doesn't have that. Have you tried other non-refined sugar treats? Like with rice syrup or stuff like that?

Miss Misse said...

Yah, stuff like that is fine. Maple Syrup, honey, etc.
There is a great bakery near my house with all kinds of treats she can eat. She eats sugar once in a while without a reaction when it's not allergy season, so it's not too too bad.

Mike said...

Miss Misse, that's good to hear.