4

Is it a cold?…

It’s been just over a week since the day arrived for allergy testing.

And I’m still trying to get my head around it all!

We’ve now had written confirmation of the results of the RAST test, which show that Callum isn’t suffering from coeliac disease. I am so grateful and relieved, words can’t even describe. It’s also unlikely that he is suffering from Crohns. Again, thank god!

This kid goes through so much already, he really deserves a bit of a break!

The most likely result we have been given, is that Callum is suffering from Non IgE, non-mediated wheat allergy. This confirms the suggestion of removing all wheat products from his diet. Once completely out of his system, allowing his system to cleanse itself, and then slowly reintroducing to see if any symptoms occur is the only way of truly getting an accurate result.

To be honest, if it helps to relieve the horrible symptoms he’s currently experiencing (excess bloating, discomfort, bloody stools….!) then I’m all for it.

Anything to make him more comfortable and less in pain!

We were also advised to slowly start to reintroduce egg as he showed up negative during testing.

I’ll be honest, I was (and still am!) somewhat wary of this given his previous reactions to egg!

The safest way to test, is to give food that has egg in baked form, so what better way than to create another cake recipe – which I will post soon, I promise!

So, I made a kind of apple clafoutis type cake, that takes 40 minutes to bake. And it’s still dairy-free, wahoo! J

All good so far!

Gave a slice to Callum, and he loved it!!

Still good!

The cake was given to him for lunch yesterday.

Within an hour, he had puffy eyes, shiners, and seemed out of sorts.

By last night he had a snotty nose, was itchy and eczema was flaring….

He had us up most of the night due to his eczema making him incredibly uncomfortable.

And then, all day today he’s been very very snotty, coughing, sneezing, itchy, nasty nappies……..

My guess is ‘reaction’, it seems too much of a coincidence!!

So, my question to you lovely lot:

Reaction or a simple cold?

0

Simple blackberry jam…

Blackberry jam

Autumn is my favourite time of year. Absolutely nothing compares to it!

Winter is beautiful, but can cause many issues with eczema and the central heating being on.

Spring is the start of hay fever season, and Callum sneezes and has streaming eyes constantly.

Summer brings the hot temperatures and sore, dry, itchy skin, more hay fever, and also increased issues with asthma.

Autumn however, still has warm enough temperatures for the days to be enjoyable, sunny enough for the kids to still want to play outside, and the countryside turns into a beautiful picture, as the leaves turn their wonderful shades of red, orange and gold.

You wake up in the morning to mist, and as the sun burns through, the days become glorious.

The fruit and veg that you’ve been cultivating all summer become ripe and ready to eat, and quite scrummy! (a cheeky greengage off a tree, or a plum, or a newly ripe late tomato – yummy!!)

And on top of that, you get the extra fruit, the stuff that mother nature nurtures and gives back to us as an extra surprise.

Blackberries

Rosehip

Elderberries

…….

Bet you’re smiling as you’re reading now! :)

So, the best way to keep that smile, is to make some scrummy things with those extra delights! I’ve been playing around with a recipe for a blackberry cake, which I promise to share another time. Then there’s the crumbles, oh the crumbles!

And the stews and casseroles. You know the ones, where you can put them in the slow cooker at the start of the day, with all the root vegetables in season, and come home to a house smelling simply amazing!

Yep autumn is fab!!

A recipe which is a huge hit in our house, is simple blackberry jam. It’s so quick and easy to do, and it tastes soooo good!

This recipe will make around 6-7 jars.

You will need:

  • around 900g fresh blackberries (washed!)
  • 1kg jam sugar with added pectin
  • a tablespoon of dairy-free spread (I find the stork bar is the best)

Method:

Add the blackberries to a large saucepan, and crush with a masher (or blend until smooth) – depending on how smooth you like your jam!

Add the jam sugar and cook over a gentle heat until all the sugar has dissolved. Stir continuously to ensure the jam doesn’t stick or burn. (Do not allow the jam to boil!)

Add the tablespoon of dairy-free butter and stir in until dissolved

Increase the heat, and stir continuously, until the jam is boiling itself into a roll (it will roll and bubble and can’t be stirred down!)

At this point, boil for 4 minutes.

After the 4 minutes is up, remove from the heat and then pour carefully into warm sterilised jars.

Cover, label and leave to set!

Enjoy!

(This jam is wonderful on toast, in cakes, on pancakes or even stirred into porridge!)

NB: Try it and let me know what you think, I promise you’ll never buy shop bought again!

4

Allergy testing time again…

For the past few weeks, we’ve been gearing up for Callum to have repeat allergy testing, and on Tuesday of this week, the dreaded day finally arrived.

It started with a visit to the consultant just over a month ago for a regular review and check-up, and discussion about the allergy testing that was coming up. As part of the preparation for the allergy testing, we were asked to trial him on 3 food types, which included trialling him with strawberry, which didn’t quite go according to plan!

In fact, it was far from what we had been expecting, and scared us somewhat!

Let’s be honest, the poor little dude has had a pretty rough ride in the lead up to the appointment. And, after all of this, we also had to go through full repeat allergy testing. On top of this, and because of ongoing tummy symptoms/ issues, Callum was also booked in for blood tests, primarily to test whether he may be suffering due to wheat and/or gluten.

I was absolutely dreading the appointment day, particularly after the last round, which quite frankly was a horrific experience to go through!

We dropped Chloe off at school as normal, and then Callum and I headed off to the JR, me with fairly high stress levels, Callum his usual calm, cheery and smiley self.

On arrival, his consultant explained that they would be testing for 18 allergens due to the extent of Callum’s reactions, and also to see if any had improved at all.

That’s an awful lot of things to test in one go, especially for such a little person.

On top of that, he had the blood tests to get through, which were also to include RAST testing as a result of the query around wheat and gluten.

So, it started with Callum having his arms numbed, so that it would be a slightly more comfortable experience whenthey drew the blood. 5 vials were taken in the end (!!!) and he didn’t even flinch, not even a tear!

photo 1

Brave brave dude!

Then came the important bit, the actual skin prick testing. Last time, it had to be done on Callum’s back because he was covered so badly with severe eczema. This time round, his skin is thankfully much calmer, so they were able to do the standard skin prick test on his arms.

Somehow they managed to fit all 18 (yes 18!) tests onto his 2 little arms.

These pictures show immediate reactions within just a couple of minutes…!

photo 3photo 2

Such a brave little soldier, again no tears, but he did complain of it being very sore and itchy!! I’m not surprised, I think I’d be pretty damn sore if I was experiencing that too!!

So, at the end of it all, it was confirmed he still has severe immediate reactions to:

  • Peanut
  • Almond
  • Cow’s Milk
  • Grasses
  • Dog
  • Cat
  • House Dust Mite

Interestingly, egg has now become negative response for the first time, so we are now considering an egg trial to see if he can cope. If successful, it opens up a whole new world of opportunities food wise, so fingers crossed!!

The not so good news, wheat has now become an immediate response, which we were kind of expecting. It now means we need to exclude wheat from Callum’s diet, and see if it improves his symptoms.

So, back to the drawing board, and new learning time for mummy!

Watch out for some new recipes as I try to overcome this latest hurdle in the journey to get Callum better!

1

Blues and twos…

Every day with Callum is a challenge, anyone who is part of the allergy world will agree with this. You are always on the lookout for something to happen, or a reaction to occur.

But sometimes, things happen that are totally left field, and beyond your control, no matter what you do!

During the summer holidays we all went away for a weekend in France, and had no issues while over there, other than Callum suffering his usual allergy symptoms. In fact, it was so warm and sunny over there, the vitamin D worked wonders on his skin – it was the best it has looked for a long time. Since being back in blighty, it’s gone back to its usual itchy and blotchy form however.

So, a foreign country, and no issues. Get back to the UK and terra firma, and it all hits the fan….!

Picture the scene, the plane lands, we walk down the stairs, go across the tarmac to the waiting bus which will take us to the terminal, hold Callum’s hand as he steps up onto the bus helping him up in the process, and he screams!

And doesn’t stop!

And his arm is hanging limply by his side!

He’s utterly inconsolable!

I hold on tight to him, to stop him moving whilst the bus is moving, and he still is inconsolable.

Ahhh damn it!!!!

As soon as the bus stopped, and I lifted Callum out, along with our luggage, I knew straight away that there was something very wrong!

After giving him a quick check over, my suspicions were either dislocation of the elbow or shoulder.

The security guard came over to ask if all was ok, and requested first aid to come and check Callum over. Due to him being so young, they also requested ambulance support.

The first response attender arrived, and diagnosed ‘pulled elbow’, an almost dislocation of the elbow, and very painful until it pops back into place!

Poor Callum!!

The airport team were fantastic! Whilst waiting for the ambulance to arrive, border control took our passports away and got us security cleared. The security team collected our baggage and brought it to us, and they also got our car delivered to the airport as well.

All while we sat waiting for the ambulance to arrive, trying to keep Callum calm and comfortable. A very impressive team, who we are very grateful to!

Callum’s way of coping is to fall asleep, when ever his body is going through trauma, he falls asleep very quickly to protect himself. To anyone who doesn’t know him, it can be quite unnerving, and it initially worried the security guys, until I explained. Bless him, they were all really impressed with how brave he was.

During the ambulance ride to the hospital, Callum started to gain some movement in his arm – a really good sign, as it meant the elbow was popping itself back into place!

By the time he was in A&E, it was almost back to normal. A bit of manipulation and a dose of brufen later, and he was almost back to his usual chirpy self, all be it slightly cautious and careful of his arm! We got to escape soon after, with strict instructions to keep his arm rested as it could easily happen again now!

The brave soldier strikes again!!