Over two years ago, we visited Zizzi in Winchester when we heard that they did gluten free pasta. We had a good experience and although the only dairy free pasta sauce was tomato we were impressed. The staff were helpful and ‘got’ gluten free. Zac had never ‘eaten’ in a restaurant before and it was so lovely to see his little face. Much has changed since then and more and more restaurants have been embracing gluten free but still the dairy free offering has always been poor.
Last week, we had an appointment with the dietician at the Luton and Dunstable hospital. We first met her earlier in the year, in between the blood tests and the skin prick tests. At the time, she said she would have to wait for the results of all the tests before beginning any food challenges with Zac, as she needed to know what was safe. Fair enough. She also said she thought it was worth getting the coeliac gene screen, as first mentioned by Dr Adam Fox. For some reason, unknown to me, even though he had requested it in the letter he sent to the consultant we were seeing at the L&D, the test was not carried out.
As the months rolled by and Zac’s skin infections become more regular, I decided to speak to my GP about it. I wondered if they could organise it, as it had been requested by a specialist, and was not just a case of a paranoid mother wasting their time. You rarely see the same GP twice at my surgery, and there are several I deliberately avoid. This time I did manage to see a new one. She is very young and I have found that the younger ones still seem to have a certain amount of drive and care, whereas the older ones at our surgery, just seem irritated by your very presence.
I was so nervous before we went on holiday. Would I be able to find enough dairy free, gluten free foods, to be able to get by? Would I be able to make enough room in the suitcase to take a good supply to get us through the first few days? Are you allowed to take a packed lunch in hand luggage? Since we had last travelled abroad Zac’s diet has become a lot more restricted and I had never faced these issues before.
Fortunately my parents had been out to Spain just before us and did a good search around the supermarkets and found a decent selection of bread, pasta, breakfast cereal, milk and yoghurts. We were self catering, so I had pretty much resigned myself to doing a lot of cooking from scratch whilst away. Eating out at home is challenging enough and even though I have some good basic Spanish, I just couldn’t face asking those questions and trying explain his condition every time we ate out. So instead I would cook for him before we went out, and take a few healthy snacks for him to enjoy, if the rest of us were eating later.
When we met Dr Fox in November, he agreed that the only way to successfully diagnose Zac was to run proper allergy tests. Sounds a bit obvious, but in three years of trying, he was the first doctor we met who came up with that conclusion. Alarming.
After going through his case history, he thought Zac’s reactions to wheat and gluten could either be pointing to wheat allergy or non-mediated IgE allergy to wheat and gluten, as Zac’s reactions when eating the foods seemed so sudden and quite dramatic – instant bloating, liquid stools, tummy ache and itchy skin. More…
Today is ‘our’ first birthday. So please forgive me a reflective and self-indulgent post as I look back over my first twelve months as a blogger – a word I don’t think I had ever used just 13 months ago. The forthcoming anniversary had been on my mind lately, but due to a new job and the busy Easter holidays, I haven’t had much time to check it all out.
I thought it was around now that we got started. I knew it was April, but was not sure of the date. Bizarrely, I was clearing up from the Sunday dinner (whilst watching Julie & Julia for the umpteenth time), that I decided to have a break from the pots and pans and check today’s stats. There was a funny little icon waiting for me that looked like a trophy – it was a ‘gift’ from WordPress, to tell me that today was our birthday. Woo hoo. Spooky that I discovered this fact, whilst watching the film that made me decide to start in the first place. It was playing in the background on the evening Tom and I set up the blog. More…
Yesterday was a big day. Zac had his follow up appointment with the allergy specialist to discuss his blood test results. He also had an appointment with the dietician. I am happy to report it all went well.
Zac was very anxious going in for the first appointment and when we walked past the room where he’d had the blood test last time, he pointed it out and shuddered! When the bloods were taken (over 3 months ago) he was extremely traumatised. He had to have 4 vials of blood taken, from each arm. They had put numbing cream and a plasters over both elbows to prepare the skin – but perhaps unsurprisingly, Zac had an ‘allergic’ reaction to those and looked like he had been branded with a hot iron when they removed them. Rather than numbing his skin it was ‘on fire’ and he screamed the place down.
Anyway, yesterday we saw the dietician first and she was lovely. He cried when he first entered her room but she had a lovely manner and soon assured him that she wouldn’t hurt him. He’d had his height and weight checked on arrival and she said that they were perfect and she could see he was thriving. We had a discussion about his current diet etc and she confirmed that his anxieties about foods are normal and it is ok for me to ‘sneak’ foods in with whizzed up pasta sauces etc, as it is crucial we get the good stuff in him, by any means.