Abigail’s Milk Allergy


Amber ~ Hi I'm new to the allergy game. We just got done with a 5 day hospital stay due to milk allergy. For the longest time I heard milk allergy and thought lactose intolerant. You know gassy, bloaty, maybe uncomfortable. My youngest had an intolerance, we put her on soy she was fine, we switched her to milk at 18 months and she was fine. I had heard about kids who had weird poop and a couple other things but we never had any of those issues so I didn't pay much attention to it …

So why would I think that the same thing wouldn't work for Abby. She's 2 in Feb after NEVER getting sick beyond the occasional case of the sniffles she got an ear infection. No big deal right? Well she got another one 3 weeks later, then her face started puffing up. The NW has had one of the worst springs for pollen in a long time this year so the doctors and I all agreed that she had likely inherited my seasonal allergies and that she had a sinus infection. So she went onto antibiotics and zyrtec. It didn't really seem to help much. So I made another Ped appt. On Friday in the space of about 2 hours her legs swelled up to twice their size. I FREAKED. 2 year olds aren't supposed to bloat at least not like that, her legs looked like that of a woman 3 weeks over due.  It was insane. So I rushed her into the urgent care thinking it was something that they could deal with.

The doctor was a really old guy but he seemed pretty knowledgeable and super nice. He told me he suspected kidney involvement. I was surprised because her urine tests from about 3 weeks before that didn't show protein in her urine. He told me that they could try to run tests there but honestly we needed to be in the hospital. So I took Abby home to figure things out with my husband, we have two other little ones beside Abby and we had to figure the logistics.

Chris couldn't miss any more work, and Sara is only 16 months, Izzy is 3 we couldn't take them to the hospital with us. So I called my mom, they would pick up the girls if we were admitted.

Abby and I left for the hospital. We got there and it was packed, with people wearing masks who thought they had the swine flu…greaaaaat we were going to have to wait. The General Hospital actually has a Children's Hospital in it with it's own ER unfortunately they share a waiting room soooo we were out there with drunks and some scary people. It took quite a long time. My sister who had flown into town for the weekend on Salvation Army business came and sat with us. We finally got seen by the doctor…. One thing about Abby is that she HATES doctors, nurses, dentists… if you wear scrubs and or a stethoscope you are loathed. She will scream when she sees you. She will shriek when you touch her, and if you come at her with a piece of medical equipment she will fight like a little tiger. They decided to admit her. Honestly it scared the beans out of me.

We were up on the ward for 4 days.

Day one – they discounted kidney issues, they discovered dangerously low protein, iron and potassium levels. Based on this they decided it was probably a gut issue.

Day two — Albumen therapy to replace some protein, A little exploration down her throat to check out her small intestine (I actually have some pretty cool pics that will go in her baby book), Lasiks to bring the bloat down, and a stop to soy as well as dairy as this was assumed to be the allergy she's dealing with.  They decided to put her on Neocate. At this point I had no clue what any of this meant. It wasn't until the nutritionist came in to talk to me that I really started understanding.

Day Three — Abby had bigger eyes and skinnier legs. She also had an ultrasound and a blood transfusion to bring her levels up faster. She turned pink again, she felt better. I figured it was because of the blood, I'm betting it also had to do with the fact that she wasn't drinking 32 or so ounces of milk a day.

Day Four — we had a partial diagnosis pointing to an allergy.  At this point we didn't know what allergy and were told it could be any number of things. The doctors said if she was doing better we could go home on Tuesday.

Day Five — we finally went home.

Abby has a confirmed diagnosis of a severe dairy allergy, nothing else though luckily. The doctors say no milk, no by products. We need to let her gut heal before we go experimenting. She's pretty messed up at this point.  I have found all kinds of interesting supplements and "fake" foods that don't use dairy. I'm pretty excited to try them out actually. We may all go dairy free if it's not too bad. Luckily she doesn't seem to have a skin reaction so I'm guessing she's at the lower end of severe? I will never ever scoff at an allergy sufferer or think that they are over reacting again.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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