First Food Challenge – Soy!

Food Challenge #1

I encourage everyone to go to the grocery store, pick up a handful of items, and look at the labels. One of the most common ingredients listed in the allergen section, is soy. It’s actually superrr shocking, and was totally eye opening when we received our diagnosis earlier this year. When we were told to avoid soy, I actually didn’t think too much about it at first, until I went grocery shopping for the first time. Everythinggg has soy. It’s been one of the hardest things for us to avoid, because it’s so so common. So, when we received the letter in the mail with our blood work from our new allergist, we were told we could challenge soy!! Sooo incredibly exciting. I called immediately the next morning and got us scheduled.

For those of you who don’t know, an oral food challenge is roughly a four hour test performed in the allergist’s office. A food challenge is the ultimate test to determine if an allergy still exists. Skin and blood tests can only provide so much information, which is often times conflicting. Food challenges actually involve ingesting the allergen to see if there is a reaction – talk about terrifying. Challenges vary depending on the allergen being tested, but typically involve the allergen (powder form) being mixed with a “safe food” that your child will eat. Something like applesauce, yogurt, pudding, etc. The doctor starts by looking your child over completely to see the “before” and understand what your child looks like reaction-free. Then, the challenge will officially begin with the nurse bringing in a small dose of the allergen to consume. After 15 minutes, a slightly larger dose will be given. This will continue, with incrementally larger doses given every 15 minutes, for a total of 6-8 doses. By the end, a full serving will have been given. Then, you stay in the office for an additional 1-2 hours to be observed, in case of a delayed reaction. If at any time during the process there is a sign of a reaction, the test ends. Otherwise, if you make it through all servings without a reaction, you have “passed” and are encouraged to add the food back into your diet. Crazy.

So, when we were notified we could challenge soy, I can’t even explain how excited I was. This had the potential to be life changing. We made sure to pack lots of activities to keep us sane during the four hour test (books, iPad, flashcards, coloring books and crayons, etc.) As well as plenty of applesauce, yogurt and fruit pouches to use as mixers. Noah couldn’t eat anything two hours prior to the test- you have to show up hungry to ensure you’ll actually eat the entire test period. It adds up to quite a bit! Once we arrived, the nurse took his height, weight, blood pressure, and then Dr. Leickly examined him. And we began.
I couldn’t believe how small the first dose was. It was literally one bite of applesauce with soy flour. And Noah immediately was begging “mo applesauce” “mo applesauce”. Then, we waited. Fifteen minutes later, the nurse came back in, and we gave the second, slightly larger dose. After the third dose, Noah started pulling at his mouth, and rubbing his eyes. I immediately got worried, but quickly realized he was just being a turd. No other signs, etc. So, we proceeded. Before the fourth dose, the nurse took a closer look at him, making sure there were no hives, etc. We noticed a few small dots on his tummy, which I hadn’t noticed before. So, the dr. came in, and gave us the go-ahead to continue. It wasn’t a hive, or a reaction. More like a fluke. Before we knew it, we were on the final dose. This time it was much larger, and seemed super thick. Noah was nottt a fan. This kid had been a total champ for every dose, and the nurse mentioned many times that he was doing this better than most kids. But, by the last dose, he was over it, and I think he tasted the actual soy flour much more this time. So, we literally had to force feed him the last few bites. It was terrible, but we made it!

soy food challengesoy food challenge
soy food challengesoy food challenge

And then…we waited. For an hour. And before we knew it, the dr. was walking in saying “HE PASSED!” Hallelujah. Best early Christmas present, ever. So, we will keep an eye on him for the next few days to see if his eczema flares up, but otherwise, we are totally fine to introduce soy into his diet!! The first thing I thought of were these amazing looking ice cream sandwiches from So Delicious I had seen months ago. Noah lovesss their coconut based yogurt, and their ice cream, so I got soo excited when I saw the ice cream sandwiches. But of course, they contain soy. I remember feeling soo defeated. It’s little things like that I can’t wait to try with him!! So much to explore!!

Where do we go from here? We’ve passed our first challenge – check! We actually have FOUR other scheduled for early 2016!! We will be challenging egg, shrimp, sesame, and CASHEW. The thought of giving Noah any sort of nut is literally sickening. Oh my gosh. But, his blood work for all of these items came back below a threshold that our doctor is comfortable challenging. David and I both agree we are wayyy more nervous for the upcoming challenges, than we were for the soy. He had never been anaphylactic to soy, but these others? We have no clue. And seeing how his back blew up from the shrimp and sesame skin prick, it’s actually terrifying. My anxiety will be through the roof I’m sure. BUT, we are hopeful, and feeling so great about things currently. God is SO, SO good. I can’t wait to see what the future holds for our food challenges. All of this definitely reconfirms my thoughts on trusting my gut and switching our allergist. To be continued!!

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