So sorry that it's been a while....again! We have been busy with lots going on.
Zach had review allergy tests and all levels were the same and he has also been diagnosed with coeliacs. I know! How lucky can one little boy be??!!
So, how have we dealt with it? This time I have gone easy on myself, rather than feeling wholly responsible for all of Zach's nutritional and social needs. I have relaxed and let it sink in. I've had a cry and done some baking, but other than that, not a lot. I've allowed myself to say no to people and also to tell people that I don't know the answer. I don't know what contains gluten apart from the obvious...bread! As well as not knowing, I am taking my time to find out. I've stood in three different supermarkets looking at the freefrom aisles searching for eggless and gluten free products and felt fairly sad at the very poor display, but slowly I am learning to replace the gluten and bake again!! Actually its pretty similar to replacing egg, so most of the ingredients (or one of them, albeit an important one....xanthum gum), we already have.
I have been bought a BBC gluten free recipe book by my mum which has some good recipes and have borrowed the Intolerant Gourmet by Pippa Kendrick - a fabulous book and have already cracked flatbreads - quite an achievement! I am spending a lot of time being slow and thinking a lot about meals (not helped by the fact that I'm pregnant) but I think that's natural and it will all become second nature.
The hayfever season is also in full swing and its taken me a while to remember all the helpful tips to lend Zach a hand. As well as dosing him up daily with antihistamines, I try to remember vaseline for his nose (funny, but it really does help), daily hair washing and not to hang his bedding on the line, not a great deal to remember but a challenge for me at the moment!
We also decided to give him fromage frais deciding adamantly that, if he has to avoid gluten, he will be able to have dairy (hilarious - like we have a say in it!). However, two days of that and he was covered in itchy eczema and we abandoned that for now....not to be defeated.
The amazing thing about Coeliacs is the support. We had a dieticians appointment within 4 days and were given a bag full of leaflets, free food, information and even a recipe book (as we have one of the more 'challenging diets', as the dietician put it!). Coeliacs UK, the main charity is free to join for 6 months and have sent a food and drink directory, full of information about brands, where to shop... the list goes on. We have a gastroenterology appointment in two months.
So, it got me thinking, how different life could be when diagnosed with food allergies. Imagine for a minute if your child was diagnosed, then seen within DAYS by the dietician who was knowledgeable, helpful and full of nutritional and recipes ideas. Then you saw the allergist within two months and there was a directory of food in a book form and online where you could put in brands of food, the shop you buy at and it would tell you the allergens in the product! Imagine if everyone was that knowledgeable and helpful and the system just worked!
I think it can become reality. Maybe starting with baby's red books to flag up food allergies so they are identified and diagnosed earlier, working with the allergy charities and educating health care professionals about food allergies and their management. Anyway, we can wake up now, but maybe we could work towards that as a community of parents of children with food allergies? Who's in?!
The final few thing to say is, yes I'm worried about our next baby in terms of allergies and coeliacs, but that's life and I am very grateful to be pregnant and there many worse diagnoses.
And finally, we have a book deal!!!!!! Random house have signed The allergy-Free Baby and Toddler Book by myself and Dr Adam Fox. It's due to be published and launched for Allergy week 2014. I am so excited I could pop.
Keep in touch and let me know your thoughts about how to change the world of allergy!