We experienced our first ever food challenge today. Luckily for us, it was a breeze and a complete success. It went smoother than I ever expected it to go. Thank God! We have officially crossed off shellfish from our little girl's list. Here is how it all went down. Her last round of blood work came back negative for shellfish. This was after she had a previous positive skin test for shellfish. We knew that we were then up for a food challenge and I really wanted to get it done before the annual Christmas Eve seafood feast held by my husband's huge Italian family. It caused me an enormous amount of anxiety last year and I was praying that we would have more peace of mind after (hopefully) passing this food challenge. Of course we wanted to know as soon as possible anyway so I scheduled it as soon as her doc said she was eligible.
We were told not to give her anything to eat or drink after midnight (last night) and luckily, our appointment was early this morning so she didn't have to waste time hanging around the house getting hungry (and cranky). Before we left, I packed a huge bag of her favorite toys, books and puzzles so that we would have lots of activities to pass the time. Here we are in the waiting room ready to go in and not really knowing what to expect.
They started pretty quickly. We were checked in and spoke to her doc who gave us the game plan - she would start out eating a small "dose" of the shrimp we brought with us and then we would wait 15 minutes. If no reaction, she would be given double the first amount to eat, then we would wait another 15 minutes, then double that amount and so forth until she had finished the challenge, which for her was 4 total doses, the last one being equal to about 2 shrimp total. The food challenge room was great - a TV with Disney Junior on, roomy seating, and lots of toys. We settled in and she took her first bite. I was shocked she ate it so easily and thought that she would for sure have pushed back more. What 3 year old wants to eat shrimp at 8am?!?!? Hahaha! Here she is with her wonderful daddy putting together a princess puzzle, hanging out for her first 15 minute "wait and see."
We waited, and absolutely nothing happened! Yay! We rolled through the rest of the doses and to my surprise, she actually didn't seem to even mind eating it! Maybe she was starving but for whatever reason, it was easy! Here she is eating her last dose. Look at the size of that thing!!!
After she finished that, we waited around for a few hours in case of a delayed reaction. We played more, talked to other families in the office, watched some TV, braided her hair, and before we knew it, the doc came in for her last physical examination and told us we were free to leave!
I could not believe we got it so easy. I had prepared myself for her to pass reaction-free but I had also prepared myself for a reaction that would require the use of her EpiPen. I don't think any of us really knew what to expect going into it. It could not have gone any easier and I can see where something could have taken a turn for the worse literally at any second we were there. I have friends who have children who have failed food challenges and I know from their experiences how scary and disheartening it is. I feel so blessed and am beyond thankful that our precious girl passed her food challenge today. It is definitely one less thing to worry about. One food group crossed off our danger list. We celebrated by ordering pizza on the way home and removing the "shellfish allergy" charm from her Allerbling bracelet! :-) YAY!