Monday, December 20, 2010

An Anaphylactic Tale

"Use the epi pen! Use the epi pen!". This is the phrase most used by our three year old's allergist when discussing a recent reaction over the phone or in his office. I've always had a general fear of giving my child a shot of epinephrine. What will it do to his heart rate? Blood pressure? What if he doesn't really need it? Will it hurt him? I never seemed to fully believe the allergist when he proclaimed that it would not hurt my child. It's a shot of adrenaline, after all! What if I thought he was having an allergic reaction, but it was really something else?

I'm not scared anymore. Not in the least bit. The epi pen has gone from being my greatest concern to my new best friend. I hope that I can convince all of my blogger friends out there who also have children with life threatening food allergies to love their epi pens, too.

It started around 8pm on Friday. My father in law was in town and we had gone out to dinner at a local Mexican food restaurant. We had eaten there before, but it was the first time we allowed Ace to order off the kids' menu. Our server assured us his selection was safe and no peanut oil was used back in the kitchen. He ordered chicken fingers and fries to share with his little brother and ended up eating a few chips and two or three fries. When we left the restaurant, everyone was pleasantly full and in good health.

About an hour after we got home, Ace began complaining of an "owie" in his eyes and had a rash across his face and stomach. We treated him with a prescription antihistamine and he was feeling better within minutes. A couple of hours later he went to bed seemingly fine. A few minutes later we would learn different.

I had gone to bed and my husband was in the kitchen when he heard noise coming from Ace's room. He went to check on him and found him sitting up in bed, struggling to breathe. I ran in from our bedroom and Ace was tugging at his throat, coughing horribly and obviously having difficulty breathing. His body kept heaving, as if he was going to vomit, only nothing came up. A million thoughts popped into my head. "Dial 911. Give the epi. Give the epi. Call Paw Paw and have him come back to the house to watch the baby. Don't give the epi. Go to the hospital..." . I ended up running into the kitchen, retrieving an epi pen and giving him the shot a good minute after this all started.

I had froze. I was so scared of the epi pen that we lost a precious minute in treating his reaction. Every second counts in an anaphylactic reaction.

My fears of the epi pen turned out to be completely unfounded. Within seconds, he was breathing easier. The heaving stopped. His rash disappeared. By the time we got to the hospital (in hind sight, we should have called an ambulance. Don't try to drive a child who is having breathing issues to the hospital. Take my word for it, it was an unneeded stress!), he had only a mild wheeze.

The ER waiting room was full. Upon hearing his wheeze and learning that he had had a shot of epinephrine, the nurse took us back immediately to triage. They took his blood pressure (normal), checked his pulse (normal) and listened to his lungs. His breathing was still slightly labored and we were immediately taken back to a room. He was given steroids and we were admitted for the night for observation. After a rather uneventful night (he slept most the night), we were discharged with the diagnosis of anaphylaxis and given instructions to give an antihistamine every 6 hours for the next 24 hours and steroids for the next 48.

We learned several important lessons. Call 911, don't try to drive a very sick child to the ER. Give the epi pen immediately, don't hesitate. But, most importantly, DO NOT FEAR THE EPI PEN. I sincerely hope our experience will help ease other parents fears when it comes to using the epi pen. It saved our son's life and we will never hesitate to use it again.

48 hours after his reaction, Ace is back to his usual happy-going, toy car loving self. The morning we were discharged from the hospital, he came home, got dressed and went shopping with my husband and father in law. I'm not sure he remembers what happened, but I know I will never forget.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday!


Friday, December 10, 2010

Lou? Who's Lou???

Who is this woman? Lou? Why is she commenting on my blog? Do I even know her?

Yes, friends. It has been THAT long. I'm really looking forward to catching up with all of you!

Have you ever needed a break from technology? From revealing your innermost thoughts via text on a daily basis? I did. I needed to be alone with God for a while.

Not a lot has changed in my life since my last post. My two boys are still absorbing every last bit of energy I have, which I gladly give. They are such precious little people. I appreciate spending time with them more now that they are both in school a few hours during the week. My husband and I have started going on a date twice a month. They have made a huge impact on our relationship as husband and wife. My grandfather is still suffering from terminal cancer. He is down to his last few months and isn't expected to survive the spring.

But I have changed. I've found that I'm more open to having close friends and able to enjoy those relationships in a way I haven't since becoming a mother. I don't spend every moment of every day fearing the worst for my children anymore. Instead, I find myself enjoying the time I have with them and thanking God for keeping them safe, especially when my three year old takes off running down our busy street, as he did yesterday. Or when he tries to let his little brother out the front door while I'm doing dishes, as he did Tuesday morning. Or when I discover my 18 month old has gotten himself stuck behind the refrigerator again (how does he squeeze into a space so small??).

Things are good. Life is good. GOD is good. I'm looking forward to a lovely holiday season with my family and find myself so incredibly thankful this morning for all God has done in my life. The most amazing change is when nothing in life has changed from an outside perspective.... but, yet, it has from a personal perspective.

I hope you all are well! I am looking forward to visiting you all soon!!!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Martha and Mary

For the past six months (yes, months), I have been reading a book by Joanna Weaver; Having a Mary Spirit, Allowing God to Change Us from the Inside Out. (Actually, in all honesty, I forgot about it and it sat on the nightstand collecting dust for a couple of months-- BUT I did pick it back up this week!)

I love reading about Mary and Martha. I find the story of Lazarus to be so uplifting and encouraging. Especially now, as we stand witness to damage the cancer continues to wreak on my grandfather's flesh and as we make one adjustment after another in an effort to keep Ace safe without being too overprotective.

The Spirit within tells us to be patient and put our faith and trust in Him and His plan. Our strength comes from knowing He is in control. Our peace comes from knowing that His will WILL be done.... in HIS good timing. We know that a painless existence awaits our grandfather; and whether it is achieved by the healing hand of God within the flesh or the transition from the flesh into a perfect heavenly body, it calls for praise and is a miracle all the same.

I can only imagine how Mary and Martha felt as Jesus chose to remain towns away during their brother's suffering and death. They must have felt betrayed, perhaps unloved.... even a sense of unfairness. It was probably beyond their realm of reasoning and understanding that Jesus could and would heal him after the finality of death. And that this healing would come in the flesh!

I believe if we were able to remove our flesh goggles and look at our world through His eyes, we'd see less agony and despair. We'd see Him at work at every corner. We'd see His glory places we'd never looked before. We might even discover that we are so weighed down by the details of our circumstances that we have missed a miracle or two.

Have a blessed week. May you find His glory wherever you seek it!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Mother..... or taxi?

"A suburban mother's role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after."
Peter De Vries

Sorry, friends. It's been a while.

It's been a little crazy around here. While I am loving my hour or two of free time two days per week while the boys are at school, I'm also beginning to feel more like a taxi driver than a mom. Okay, not a whole lot... just a little. Still love being Mom!

So, naturally, I love this quote.

I also love that I actually had time to paint my toenails this week, without having to deal with the reaching arms of a one and three year old. And by paint, I mean actually removing the five or six layers already on my nails and replacing it with a fresh coat. They look nice, right?

Okay, maybe not pedicure worthy... but they have color on them all the same!

I hope to get around to everyone's blog this week to check in, but please forgive me if I don't make it. I'm looking forward to getting back into the swing of things once our new schedule isn't so new anymore!


Monday, August 30, 2010


Life is full of choices. Big choices. Small choices. If there is any one thing that all of our choices have in common, it is that they all have the capacity to be life-altering. We make numerous choices each day on which foods we consume, what we drink, what we wear, what we watch, what we buy. Sometimes we make choices on a subconscious level, unaware that we sometimes choose sadness over happiness or fear over joy.

When we returned home from church yesterday, my husband and I both noticed numerous missed calls from my sister and mother. A voicemail from my sister said to call back asap... while a text from my mother said the same. We knew something was amiss and my heart knew it would be my terminally ill grandfather. He is suffering from end-stage prostate and colon cancer that has spread to his lungs, kidney, liver and lymph nodes.

Initially, they had believed that he had had a heart attack at home. My parents had found him slumped in a chair and very ill. After running several tests, they determined that he was suffering from an abnormal heart rate that could be controlled with the use of medication and that the pain was stemming from the fluid that was accumulating in his lungs, also controllable with medication.

I cried. Cried, cried and cried. Then, I cried some more. I cried so much that it was borderline embarrassing passing other people in the car on the way over to my grandfather's house. I cried because of the week we had had with annoying food allergies, the stress of starting school and now with the weeks of suffering I know that still lie ahead for my beloved grandfather. Life simply did not seem fair and I found myself asking, why can't we just be happy??

But, what is happiness? Is it a feeling.... is it a state of well-being.... or is it a CHOICE?

After a bit of introspection, it became clear that I was choosing despair over joy. I was choosing to carry these burdens on my own instead of handing them over to the Lord. I had allowed the wordly truth of suffering to eat away at my faith. My grandfather's suffering isn't a certainty. And no amount of suffering can take away the peace that His faith in Christ has given him.

The TRUTH says that we'll all leave this world and return home to our Father one blessed day. The TRUTH says this is a day to be rejoiced, not mourned. The TRUTH says that all things, good and bad, are used for His good and that His peace is forever with us. The TRUTH says to cast our burdens and cares on the Lord, and HE will sustain us. But sometimes I allow my feelings to cloud my vision and I lose sight of HIS truth.

But it's His truth that brings TRUE joy. TRUE happiness.

It's at times like these that I wonder... how do people survive without Jesus? Do we realize just how blessed we are to know Him? Do we wake every morning and retire every evening singing His praises? Do our actions and choices scream to the world-- I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I accept the love, joy and peace that He so greatly wants to give me?

Today I choose to accept His joy and to feel it reverberating throughout my soul.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, August 27, 2010

It's a Miracle!

This past week has been nothing of what I expected it to be. This past weekend, I was a bundle of nerves.... frightened to send my newly severely peanut allergic child to a public school. Although the school has a strict "no peanut" policy, I was concerned about what types of snacks the parents would send and the possibility of cross contamination. Unfortunately, not all snacks that have the potential of containing peanuts come properly labeled.

But, to be honest, the most stressful part of the week has been braving the crowd of mini vans and SUVs at drop-off/pick-up. (It's a miracle!)

We have a wonderful teacher who is very vigilant about food allergies. She requested a list of processed foods that our little guy tolerates well, printed the list out and gave it to the other parents as an approved snack list. The nurse called me on Monday, shortly after I dropped him off (my heart DROPPED into my stomach) because he had a skin rash. I arrived to discover it was his normal eczema and that I spent so much time discussing the peanut allergy, I had completely forgotten to mention the eczema! I was able to see him participating in the classroom and the nurse said she had been in the classroom that morning and had gone through all of the community snacks that had been brought in by the parents and had personally removed any snack that was not appropriate.

Talk about being blessed! While I don't expect everyone to make adjustments to their normal routine because of my child, I am extremely grateful when they do. Especially when this means we can send him to school without the fear of him having a full blown anaphylactic reaction away from home. Although, this can still happen... (peanuts are sneaky little boogers that can literally pop up anywhere)... we're very grateful that the chances of it happening have been diminished greatly through acts of kindness by the staff and other parents.

It's a miracle I'm not glued to my phone and afraid to leave a five mile radius of the school every day. We are very blessed!

Next post will be about something else, promise!!! Thanks for sticking with me! :)


Thursday, August 19, 2010

Not the Hair!!!

I would take a picture of myself pulling my hair out and post it here if, #1. I had a tripod, and, #2. I had enough hair left. But since I don't have a tripod and I pulled out most of my hair yesterday, this post will have to suffice without a picture.

I actually do have some good news, before I start whining about the bad. I have been Paxil-free for a full week now. Thank you for the prayers, they have obviously worked! I really thought it would take MONTHS to get completely off of it, but I had one very bad day where I accidentally mixed it with an OTC cough medicine it was not supposed to be mixed with and wasn't able to take it for a few days. Then I started taking Omega 3 instead and BOOM! I'm off of it. Wow. Wow.

Remember my post from Tuesday? About how concern can sometimes turn to fear and I had felt it creep up while waiting on Ace's yearly allergy testing? Well, let me tell you a little something about worry and fear. It doesn't make handling a bad situation any easier. I could have chosen not to have worried all week and we'd still be in the same boat today.

The nurse called yesterday with bad news. Our little guy had started out with a Class 2 peanut allergy, that had dropped to a Class 1 last year. We were expecting to see it drop further or even possibly drop completely below the "allergic" mark this year. I was all excited when I got the call, I just knew it would be good news. My heart kept saying something different, but I thought it was that nagging fear and dismissed it. Wish I wouldn't have. Then I would have been more prepared. Our guy is now a Class 3 and out of the "probably will outgrow it" range. He is now also testing positive for eggs.

I have two thoughts about having him labeled as "not going to outgrow it". One, I was really looking forward to that day! Nooooooo!. And, two, Whatever, what do they know? They also said that it was very unlikely his number would ever shoot up into the high range, after it dropped last year. If he beat the odds once (if even they were odds we didn't want to beat), then he can beat the odds again and outgrow it. I've been going in between these since yesterday, it's exhausting!

So, what can I say? Other than the Lord has shown this week how He heals. He delivers. He loves and takes care of us. I believe with every inch of my being that He will use this for His good.

In the meantime, I am still working on keeping my full head of hair. Getting the news less than a week before he begins preschool wasn't the greatest timing. But, then again, is the timing really ever good for bad news?

We'll go to meet the teacher tomorrow night and I'll be carrying the Epi Pens that I didn't think he'd need. We'll visit with the nurse for a while and then we'll move on. Because there are so many great things that are going to happen in the life of my child this year. I'm on my knees praying I can put this thought into practice.

Thanks to everyone for praying. And for reading.

Enjoy the weekend!