How do I sum it all up? The first realization came last month when I realized Ellie was reacting to cinnamon. This opened up a new level of awareness for me that Ellie may have allergies that still have not been identified. I became more observant of symptoms like skin reactions and started to notice some interesting trends.
- For example, Ellie recently was eating some green beans that had been sauteed in garlic and her hands got red and she started asking us to wipe them off over and over again. I put a split garlic clove on her inner arm and she developed a rash. No more garlic ....?
- I had taken Ellie off fermented cod liver oil because I had been giving her cinnamon flavored FCLO. The new order of unflavored oil arrived and she started having tummy aches and was complaining the oil made her lips hurt. No more FCLO .... ?
- A few weekends ago we traveled up to Seattle and in one day Ellie had crab and scallops. That night she was up vomiting for three hours until her poor tummy was completely empty. No more shellfish .... ?
Interestingly, Ellie tested positive for a walnut allergy. She was borderline positive for allergies to cinnamon, codfish, bananas and oysters. She was negative for garlic, clam, lobster, salmon, shrimp, tuna, crab, scallops, strawberries, baker's yeast, brewer's yeast and ginger.
And in what I can only imagine was divine intervention, Ellie just happened to be eating a raw carrot during our appointment and complained to me that her carrot was spicy. Her allergist quickly made the connection and told me that some people who have environmental allergies can cross-react to foods through something called Oral Allergy Syndrome. Someone with a birch tree pollen allergy, for example, will react to a similar protein found in raw carrots.
For most people Oral Allergy Syndrome only causes symptoms in the mouth, like itching. But for people with low stomach acid, like Ellie, the allergen which should be destroyed in the stomach will continue through the GI tract where the histamine will be released and wreak havoc on the GI tract, causing symptoms like severe indigestion, cramps, vomiting and diarrhea.
Interestingly, we did test Ellie for environmental allergies a few weeks ago (the panel included birch tree pollen) and she was negative for everything on the panel. Her allergist said that test is not 100% reliable, but that more invasive testing, which is more accurate, might not be appropriate for someone as young as Ellie.
The question is, where do we go from here? One possible solution the allergist recommended is just putting Ellie on an allergy medication like Singulair to see if that could help her tolerate more foods. I am leery of modern medicine - frankly - at this point and am reluctant to jump on the prescription medication bandwagon. Our nutritionist says that there are other avenues worth exploring, like supplementing with histidine, which is an amino acid and a precursor to the production of histamine.
The influx of this much information about Ellie's health is overwhelming. On one hand I feel extremely grateful for solid information, which could help guide us to finding a real solution for her. On the other hand, I feel as though I'm drowning as I contemplate the prospect of needing to learn more, consider more and question more in order to help her.