As many of you already know, my youngest son Michael seemed to have an aversion to milk from his first few weeks of life. Like my food allergic son John, he would double up in pain every time I breast fed, or gave him formula. We switched to the ultra expensive, hypoallergenic formula Nutramigen, and poof… his gastrointestinal symptoms disappeared. Then, around 8 months old I gave him a few spoonfuls of yogurt, and within a couple of hours he was vomiting and very ill. I tried yogurt again a week later, and this time, just one spoonful. Within a couple of hours he was violently ill again. One month after that, I gave him two little bits of grilled cheese, and like clockwork, he was ill again a few hours later.
In addition to all the problems Michael seemed to have digesting dairy, he immediately got ill and flat out refused pureed peas and pieces of egg yolk. This all seemed so similar to my issues with John as a baby, so I decided to make an appointment with our allergist. Michael is turning one in February, and given my family history of food allergies, asthma and eczema it was important to me to know if Michael had allergies.
Today, Michael was diagnosed with FPIES, aka Food Protein-induced Enterocolitis Syndrome (a non IgE-mediated condition). It is a rare but potentially serious condition. See here for more information. FPIES mimics food allergies with its gastrointestinal symptoms; vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration and even low blood pressure, but it doesn’t involve skin or respiratory symptoms. It also doesn’t cause anaphylaxis but can be dangerous in that blood pressure can drop severely and quickly, and the body can go into shock if not treated quickly and appropriately. Allergists recommend treating an episode with a visit to ER to monitor dehydration and blood pressure.
The most common foods associated with FPIES are milk and soy, as well as solid foods such as legumes, peas and lentils. The only way to treat FPIES is to strictly avoid the suspected foods, similar to food allergies. Many cases of FPIES are outgrown by age 3, but that doesn’t mean food allergies can’t develop later. We’ll re test Michael at 18 months old and go from there.
I found myself reminiscing in the allergist’s office today about the day I found out John had severe food allergies. I remember hearing all the doom and gloom, details and information, but I didn’t really process it until later when I got home and realized I had nothing in the house that was safe for my son to eat. I remember feeling helpless, angry and very, very isolated. At that time, there were far fewer children with a food allergy diagnosis, and I knew no one who shared the same issues as my son. It was heartbreaking and life-changing. I remembered all these feelings of despair today as I sat and watched my youngest son get tested for allergies, and subsequently get the FPIES diagnosis. Honestly, it’s kind of another learning curve for me because I don’t know anyone personally who has this condition. However, I was grateful there weren’t any gigantic hives all over my son’s back. But to say I’m relieved….well, not so much. I would have preferred a “he’s totally fine” diagnosis. Anytime you hear a diagnosis from your child’s doctor that his life could be at risk, it is unsettling.
So, in the spirit of Michael, and all the random illnesses my family has been fighting for the past three weeks (3 kids with pink eye, 3 kids with stomach flu, 1 husband stomach flu, 2 kids sinus infections, 1 mom sinus infection, 2 kids colds, 1 kid ear infection) I’m posting my favorite Super Fast and Super Easy Chicken Soup recipe. I’ve made this probably every third day for the past few weeks and can promise you it will be better than anything that comes from a can. The best part? It only takes about 20 minutes from start to finish. When everyone in your house is sick, or if you just need a dose of extra comfort, you’ll want to make a quick batch of this. Have a great week everyone!!
Super Fast and Super Easy Chicken Soup
- 48 oz. box of low sodium chicken broth (if you have homemade stock…use it! you’re a lucky duck)
- 1/4 c. finely chopped yellow onion
- 1/4 c. finely chopped celery
- 1/4 c. finely chopped carrots
- 1 c. small pasta (I like ditalini, elbow or tiny bits of broken spaghetti)
- 1 1/2 c. cooked chicken (diced or shredded, your preference)