Tuesday, April 29, 2008

More News

Well, Ryan's lab results are back. He got an expected Class 6 for peanut, no surprises there. But he also got some Class 2s and 3s for some tree nuts: hazelnuts, filberts (which are a kind of hazelnut, I think), brazil nuts, cashews and pistachios. What does that leave--almonds, pecans, and walnuts, right? So that's something at least!

So that means that we will be getting him skin tested for all of those iffy nuts, to confirm the diagnosis. Skin tests are more accurate than the blood tests we just had done, so it's not until then that we'll know definitively which (if any) tree nuts he's allergic to.


It's not going to change a thing for him materially, if all of his tests come back positive, since we have been avoiding tree nuts as well as peanuts. But this comes hard on the heels of some new feelings he's been having recently about the peanut allergy. He feels sad and angry about it and demands that I take off his bracelet. He is desperate to know when the Scientist Peopleguys are going to be done making some of that medicine already to fix his peanut allergy. He handled the news about Morgan's lab results extremely well, but that's another thing that makes this difficult for him.

And on top of everything, he is struggling with the concept of death, specifically his own mortality. Because, you know, he's 6 years old now and it's time he dealt with this inevitability. This morning, in fact, he sobbed for about 30 minutes because he doesn't want to die. I don't know if this has something to do with Brendan's grandmother passing away recently or what. I suspect it mostly has to do with him and the fact that his brains are larger than his maturity. So I haven't mentioned the tree nuts to him just yet. Too much Life Trauma in one day is bad for one's mental health, don't you think?

Kind of a bummer of a post. I've got a more cheery one for later today or tomorrow, promise. :o)


Allergy Mom said...

(((((Hugs))))) for both of you. Ryan's a couple years older than my little boy, and when I read your posts about his allergies, I see our future. Thanks so much for sharing. Libby

Jennifer Snow said...

Poor guy.

If you don't mind some advice from the armchair psychologist, it sounds like Ryan has just started on something that hit me when I was around 11.

I think it's more a result of feeling trapped or hopeless about something (allergies in Ryan's case) rather than a fear of death per se. I think it may be a matter of feeling out of control--that it doesn't matter what you do, you're screwed.

So, if I were to make an *extremely* cautious helpful suggestion, it might be to nudge Ryan into thinking about the things he *can* control and then doing them. Then when the inevitable accident or problem (in any area, not just allergies) occurs, you can say, hey, he did enough of the right things and thus the worst didn't materialize. It helps to banish the fear and replace it with confidence and a love of your own abilities.

Of course, I'm not a professional, I'm just speaking from my own personal experiences and the battle I still fight with fear so great that even today it almost paralyzes me when I really need to be doing something useful. Maybe you can get some use out of that.

Gina Clowes said...

Ah Jenn,
That is very sad. My son his having similar issues this year. It's a heavy load for a little guy isnt it.

Try not to worry too much over the tree nuts. Once you're avoiding one, what the heck?

Hang in there!

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

I think Ryan is a gifted and precocious child!

I remember getting similarly upset about the concept of infinity--it is very scary when you are six! And I remember that after my dad told me to stay out of puddles in February (I came home soaked) when I four "because you can die of pneumonia" I laid awake that night worrying about dying.

This too shall pass! In the meantime, you are wise to limit the information about tree nuts for a while.

Good luck! All this and seven months along, too!

No wonder your Cost Co trip was so short. I used to have a map of all available bathrooms in my head during late pregnancy.

Rational Jenn said...

Thank you, all, for taking the time to write. It's really NOT horrible news--our house is currently tree nut-free with one small exception. But it's still kind of a bummer, especially since he's been all mad at the allergy lately. Who knows? He could surprise me; he does it all the time.

Jennifer, you are absolutely right that the emphasis should be placed on control over the situation--allergy and otherwise. Many of his concerns are bigger than the allergy issue, but he has recently been made aware that his allergy could be fatal, so I'm sure that doesn't help. I tried to steer the conversation that way today, but he just wasn't ready to hear me. I think he needs some time to process these Big Ideas and Big Emotions. A friend of mine suggested to me tonight that I draw a comparison to Brendan's diabetes, which is an awful disease, but his health still remains very much in his own control.

But yes, as Gina said, it's a heavy load and I wasn't really prepared to have so many conversations on such weighty matters when he is still quite a young little guy.

Allergy Mom--I know your boy will weather it through when he gets to the stage, and maybe I'll have some concrete advice for you by then! ;o)

EHL--I myself was a worrier and spent many hours worrying about big things like this--I'm not sure it hit me as young as 6 though. It's easier to have perspective on Life, the Universe and Everything now that I'm a grown up, but he is just struggling right now. And you're right: this, too, shall pass and that is always a good reminder. It was hard, not to break down and cry with him today, 'cause you know hormones do NOT help these situations! But I didn't!

And yes, I think I've visited every bathroom in every store I regularly shop in over the last 4-6 weeks! But it really works out, since my companions are small kids and often need to visit them anyway.

Thanks again! It's not great news, but it could have been much worse, I know that.

suchlovelyfreckles.com said...

Oh, poor baby. My daughter has the "death" issue too. Every once in a while she just gets sucked into this feeling of complete hopelessness... and she'll cry. She cries for me, because I'll have to go, and for herself... and she can't get over the fact that she'll never see me again afterwards. Yes, very very tough... and not a subject I like very much either. Ugh...

Hugs to you!

MoreThanMommy said...

I'm so glad I found your blog in the food allergy carnival. My two year old is also allergic to peanuts and tree nuts (I've forgotten which since they're all processed together and it just seems easier right now to ban them all). He's also got milder allergies to soy and eggs and some issues with cranberries and carrots. Time will tell if our nearly 1 year old has any food allergies...

Anyway, I'm dreading trying to explain all of this to him as he gets older. And I'm just sad... I don't want him to have to worry about every little thing he eats.

So... thanks for your post. Even though it wasn't a cheerful one, sometimes it's nice to know that I'm not the only person dealing with all of the mom emotions around this. My family and friends are great, but they don't fully understand.