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  • Writer's picture Jana

Snickers, Reese's and Peanut M & Ms, oh my! Miles Defies the odds and Outgrows his Peanut Allergy!

Updated: Oct 1, 2021

I first discovered Miles had a peanut allergy when he was just a baby. I recall being in a bit of a hurry on that particular day. I'll just make him a peanut butter sandwich. That will be a quick and easy lunch. I fed it to him, put him back in the playroom at our old house and went upstairs to change, so we could head off to pick up the other kids from school. When I returned downstairs, I was horrified to find Miles' entire face swollen. His eyes were virtually swollen shut. He had a rash almost everywhere on his body. I was so shocked that I couldn't process what was going on. It took me a few minutes to realize it was probably the peanut butter sandwich I had fed him. Sheer panic set in, having heard all the scary stories about peanut allergies.

Once we made it through the crisis of that afternoon and got him tested (he was in fact allergic to peanuts, no surprise), I had to deal with the emotions that followed. I love peanut butter as do my other kids, so there was that to deal with. Would we be able to ever eat peanut butter again? And then there was the fear that he would ingest peanuts accidentally, somewhere (at a friend's house, at school), unknowingly. Because none of my other kids had a peanut allergies this was not something I was familiar with, nor something I ever thought I would have to deal with.

Six years have passed since that fateful day and not only have we managed Miles' peanut allergy, but I feel we have done it quite well. Miles has had very few accidental peanut exposures (as they are called) over the years, thank goodness. Even when I missed a potential exposure (usually a candy bar with peanuts in it), his siblings have been really good about catching it and intervening before he even got a chance to take a bite. Also, Miles himself has become keenly aware of the potential presence of peanuts in foods. On many occasions, before opening a candy or other food item, he has approached me and asked me to check it, to see if there are peanuts is in the ingredient list. Most importantly, Miles is not anaphylactic, so we have been more fortunate than others, whose peanut allergies are literally life and death.

About a month or so ago, we got the most (potentially) exciting news. I took Miles in for his yearly allergy testing and much to everyone's surprise (including our wonderful allergist, Dr. Schulte), Miles' peanut allergy seemed to have disappeared.. Less than 20% of children experience this miraculous recovery. With cautious optimism, I took him to the lab for blood work, to get a more definitive answer. We got the call a few days later and it was negative!

The last step in confirming that he had outgrown his peanut allergy was a four-hour appointment with his allergist to conduct a peanut tolerance test, of sorts. Last week, Miles and I packed up activities, books and anything else we could think of to keep ourselves occupied in a small room of a doctor's office for four hours. When we arrived we handed over the bag of raw peanuts (in their shells) that we had been instructed to buy and bring to the appointment. The nurse took them and made a peanut mush out of them, of sorts. Over the course of the next four hours we were there, she gave Miles "doses" of this peanut mush. She started with a tiny amount and then each 20 minutes, after checking him carefully for any symptoms (most notably a rash on his face, tummy or back), she increased the amount After four long hours, Dr. Schulte came in and announced that he had passed. Miles was not allergic to peanuts anymore!

There were a few caveats, however. Dr. Schulte warned me that many kids with peanut allergies, who later grow out of the allergy, don't have a taste for peanuts and refuse to eat them, or any food containing peanuts. That is understandable, given that for years, they have lived in fear of ingesting this food and as a result may even develop an unconscious dislike for the food itself. I think. I might. So there was that to contend with. Also, she explained that Miles would have to be exposed to peanuts 2-3 times a week in order to keep his allergy at bay. In other words, we couldn't just decide to give him a food containing peanuts. every once a while and expect the allergy to remain dormant. I found this to to be fascinating. So it seemed we had two uphill battles in front of us. The first was to figure out if he would eat foods containing peanuts at all, and if so, if there were enough ones he found appetizing to keep it up, multiple times a week. This was a. lot more complicated than I had anticipated!

In the first few days following his testing, we had a few failed attempts at home. First, Catherine got a few roasted peanuts out of a jar I keep on the counter, handed them to Miles and said, "Miles, do you want to try a few of these yummy walnuts." He took one look at the "walnuts" and then another back at her, How stupid do you think I am? He refused to eat them, needless to say. Garin was a little more clever in his attempt to dupe poor Miles. Garin took two pistachio nuts (in their shells) out of another jar on the counter. He carefully removed the pistachio nuts from the shells and replaced them with a roasted peanut (from the same jar that Catherine had gotten her "walnut"). He ate one (to show solidarity) and offered the other one to Miles. Miles started to eat it, immediately sensed that something was wrong and spit it out. Although well-meaning, I realized that duping Miles was not going to be a heathy long-term strategy for "selling" him on the virtues of peanuts.

I offered up what I thought might be a better solution. - A Peanut Party! We have parties for everything else in our house, so why not have a Peanut Party to try to get Miles on board with this idea? And so we did. We made Miles feel special about this incredible accomplishment. of recovering from his peanut allergy, and also excited to try foods containing peanuts. I really felt that if we put a positive and exciting spin on all of this that we might have better results. The peanut party was held this weekend and was a smashing success. Congratulations to Miles for having the courage to try a variety of foods offered to him and for being such a good sport about his somewhat very long and sometimes difficult journey with peanuts.

Miles neglected to tell us, until we arrived to the doctor's office, that his entire back was filled with (temporary) tattoos that he had asked Catherine to apply. This makes it all but impossible to do allergy testing. It took an entire team and a lot of alcohol wipes to scrub the tattoos off before we could commence his testing.

Once we got the tattoos off, the allergy testing began. This is when Dr. Schulte noticed that his peanut allergy had diminished significantly from last year.

After Miles got his negative blood work back, we headed in for his four-hour peanut testing appointment. He was such a good patient, on every. level, from being confined to a small office for four hours to ingesting the yucky (and very dry) peanut mush. But he got a big high-five from Dr. Schulte once the testing was over and he passed. She "prescribed" he eat any and all. peanut candies that intrigued him. I've never had a doctor prescribe me candy! Lucky Duck, Miles!

Miles wanted to start with a good old fashioned peanut butter and jelly sandwich. We made one with without jelly as well, for good measure.

Watch here to see Miles' verdict on a PBJ sandwich. It may not be what you expect.

For dessert, Miles got to try all these yummy peanut treats.

Watch here to see his verdict on the various peanut desserts we offered him.

Update: Since writing this post over the weekend after Miles successful peanut party, Miles has refused to return to any of his "thumbs up" picks. It seems that we haven't managed to win him over to the wonderful world of peanuts, yet, but we're going to keep trying!

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