Our Allergy Home: Early Decisions-Doctors

If you have been reading most of the posts on “Our Allergy Home,” you know by now that when my son was showing signs of food allergies, the pediatrician was very dismissive of my hunch.  If your primary doctor is not convinced that the problem is food allergy-related, what can your other resources possibly be? Where can you start to find some answers and solutions?

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Step 1

My first stop was my mother-in-law since she had dealt with food allergies with my husband as a baby.  She went through the list of allergens my husband had and what she eliminated from her diet.  From my memory, she did the elimination diet as opposed to allergy testing.  She suggested I started eliminating those allergens first.  (Note: People are typically not genetically-predisposed to allergies of particular foods, but rather there is a genetic link between all allergies, both food and environmental.)  This task seemed daunting to me so she also suggested that I call my husband’s allergist, the same doctor from childhood and as an adult.

Step 2

I called my husband’s ENT (i.e., his life-long allergist).  This was really a dead-end.  I never spoke to the doctor, but the nurse was not very receptive to my inquiry.  I told her of my son’s condition and asked for any recommendations, whether allergy testing was appropriate.  Again, I got the run around.  She said, “Well, just try the elimination diet.”  That’s it? That’s all you can tell me?  Ok.

Step 3

I started the elimination diet.  If you have ever done this with the purpose of trying to weed out offending foods, it’s no easy task.  It can be confusing when multiple allergens are involved and it takes a lot of patience over time.  You have to eliminate one food from your diet for 2 weeks, then introduce it back into your diet and check for any noticeable changes.  After the first suspected food, you move on to the second, then the third and so on over many weeks until all offenders are found and eliminated.

I tried eliminating milk, egg, wheat, yeast, soy and probably more.  And I failed.  There were no changes in his eczema and I think it got worse.  The elimination diet was not for me.  It would have been possible if I was the one suffering with the allergic reactions, but to see my infant son suffering at the hands of my food choices was not acceptable to me.

Step 4

Keep in mind that all the while, I was asking the pediatrician to test him for food allergies.  Finally, I had had enough.  I looked in our health insurance network to see who was covered and made a call.  I left a message and a nurse called me back right away.  I gave her my son’s symptoms and the approaches we had taken thus far.  I asked for her recommendation, praying that she would not suggest the elimination diet and the explanation that he was too young to test.  Much to my relief, she said emphatically, “Yes, he needs to be tested for food allergies.”  Finally, after 8 months, I was hopeful for answers and solutions.

Step 5

The Allergist.  Simply, I did not like her.  She was very dismissive of my concerns, only tested him out of “duty,” and was utterly shocked when he came back positive for numerous food allergies.  When I later inquired as to why she did not test him for more of the top allergens, she reluctantly ordered a blood draw.

Step 6

The pediatrician, like the Allergist, was surprised that I was right about my son’s food allergy condition.  We started to build a descent relationship at this point because she started to listen to me.  I told her of my dislike of the allergist and she highly recommended a different one.  We have been seeing the second Allergy Doctor ever since and love and appreciate her attentive care.

Moral of the Story: Don’t take “no” for an answer.  Go with your motherly (or fatherly) instinct.  Find the doctor that works best for you.

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