June 5-on-5: Documentary Blog Circle

So with everything going on in May I'm more surprised than anyone that I am able to make this month's blog circle. May was full of events, school ending, trips, mini vacations, family for extended stays, doctors visits, and pretty much everything you can imagine. 

If you've followed my work it's no surprise my youngest kiddo is very special to me. From nine months old he was diagnosed with an egg allergy. Along the way there were tests and new foods introduced and eventually our list of allergies grew to Egg, Treenuts, Coconut and possibly Avacado. He's had more mild reactions than I can count, dozens of moderate reactions requiring doctor's visits and one severe reaction requiring an epi-pen injection and a ride in an ambulance. 

After multiple failed food trials (more than they should have tried in a short amount of time), we finally decided to seek out a new allergist for more help. Our first visit there was amazing. They ordered more blood tests, and did skin testing that day. Also something they noted was his frequent hives and the fact that they were seemingly unexplainable. The words Mast Cell Activation Disorder were thrown around. It seems to be a small chance that this is the case and really no way of testing for it other than watching him. It seemed over whelming but the doctor gave us a plan of medicine twice a day for six weeks to basically put his mast cells to sleep. Six weeks later no unexplained hives! Within this six weeks we also got back our test results and everything was negative. Even the egg. 

So May 23rd we headed to the office with a muffin in hand baked with eggs. For two hours we slowly fed him this muffin that at one point in his life might have killed him. A total of three hours later we were leaving the office with a feeling of utter joy that his body had tolerated this form of egg well. We were given specific discharge instructions for home. We have to keep the protein in his system for fear that removing it may trigger a reaction again. My poor kid found out he has to eat at least one cupcake, or waffle, or cake or donut a day for 2 months. How's that for a diet?! We were given a plan to trial his other allergens at home, when we felt comfortable, as long as we introduce one thing at a time.

On our way home I posed this idea to my kiddo. Let's pick out a cupcake and I'll take pictures of you eating it! I recently had done a smash cake session for my niece and he quickly jumped at the opportunity to have his own "Cupcake Smash Session"

As we were finishing up lunch, I casually said (as to not upset the delicate balance that is photographing a happy toddler)... "since it's a celebration, why don't we get dressed up fancy for the pictures?" His response? "yeah!! I'll go get my Beastie Boys shirt!!" This quickly turned to "oh and my sunglasses" and "can you make my hair stick up?" Who was I to question his styling on such a special occasion? (Not to mention the kid clearly has excellent taste.)

Every other bite, I was asking "how do you feel? how does your tummy feel? are you itchy?" He just countered with "Mom, this is SO GOOD!" (Picture: mouth full and food crumbs flying out of his mouth as he says this.) Obviously he felt perfectly fine. 

Our game plan seems simple the next couple months but is anxiety ridden as well. On one hand he can eat all this new food. But instead of the restriction "no egg" its "egg is ok if baked at 350 degrees for 30 min or more or if a store processed bakery item egg has to be listed in the second half of the ingredient list." It seems like it should be easier at first glance but in fact is more work for us. That being said... work that is well worth his excitement and joy. 

After two months of daily cupcakes (or waffles, cake, meatloaf, breads, muffins... but who am I kidding, he's going to want a cupcake everyday), we can try items with egg baked and no restrictions on time and temperature. So end of summer he can have his first cookie with egg. Or brownies. Or Homemade pancakes. After two or three months of that... the really scary part begins. We trial solid egg. At that point, if he passes, he is considered allergy free. No more Epi-Pens. No more testing and trials. Our life with have some semblance of normal, which for us, isn't normal at all. I don't even think this kiddo understands how much easier eating is about to be for him. I can not wait until I can see that realization across his face. The little joys of cupcakes and donuts, and not having to ask "Does this have egg?" makes my constant worry and anxiety worth every. agonizing. second.

Thank you for sticking to the end and reading about this little moment in my life that seems insignificant to most (oh your kid ate a cupcake and made a mess, cool) but is SO much a big deal to me (yeah he did, AND HIS BODY DIDNT TRY TO KILL HIM). Please be sure grab some more Monday morning coffee, procrastinate just a little longer and check out Melissa Kayser {St. Charles, MO documentary family photographer} and read about her moment that made her month worth documenting. Happy circling!

Erin Berry3 Comments