May 4th is National FPIES Day (In Oct there is a Global FPIES day, so we get two days to reflect, advocate, and celebrate the small victories in this overwhelming disorder). I’ve been thinking about our journey over the last couple years and how it has changed our family, our lifestyle and me as a mom. We have come a long way. I haven’t written in so long, it is pretty amazing to see how much has changes since my last post. I’ve been busy and we’ve all been growing! I have been stretched and grown and learned to deal with the challenges. My faith has grown as I learned to rely on God’s strength and trust His will for my child, knowing He loves her more than I can imagine. Most days I can deal well. But there are still the occasional days where the overwhelming feeling of responsibility makes me want to hide under the covers all day. The days I’m so tired and would give anything to be able to order take out, eat out or make a quick simple meal that feeds my whole family. These days I really struggle with self pity and jealousy. For example, today after taking four kids grocery shopping I was exhausted. I came home to make a “easy” lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. That is 3 totally different sandwiches.
Miss A has a good base of foods now that she tolerates and has celebrated the additions of a few previous triggers such as chicken, carrots, pineapple and recently wheat! That’s pretty huge for us. It’s giving us hope that she is outgrowing this. We still have a handful of food triggers to test, some of which will be done in-hospital due to the severity. We are planning those for around the time she turns 3, this fall. Food trials are stressful. I need to offer her the food in the morning so she will not react while sleeping which can be dangerous with the vomiting and if she goes into shock. After the food is given the waiting begins. I need to be mentally and physically prepared to go to the ER. She typically reacts 2hrs after ingestion. I prefer to be home during trials in order to deal with any symptoms and also to be close to the hospital.
Looking back, I remember the worry of Miss A picking up anything and everything and putting it in her mouth. The stress of any food being left on the food. The work of meticulously cleaning everything. These days the challenges have changed. She is 2.5 yrs now which amplify some other concerns. Like the new-found defiance when said she can’t eat something, the understanding that others are eating things she cannot, and the picky eating phase! Whew!
In the last 2 weeks, our family has had 5 reactions, two of which took us into the ER. None of those were Miss A though! Though I am hopeful that she will be outgrowing this soon and know that it will be a huge relief, our family still deals with “normal” IgE allergies as well. In fact Miss B has been in the ER more times than Miss A for reactions.
I am currently in a period of suspense as our newest child, sweet Mr. D, has reached 6 months and has begun solids. Unfortunately he had an episode that looked horribly familiar to Miss A, resulting in a trip to the ER. And another milder one a few days after that. I am holding off solids for a few weeks to rule out stomach bug and see what happens when we resume solids. There is a good chance we will be dealing with FPIES all over again. If so, I am hoping the last 2 years of experience will make this round a little easier.
However, in and through all of this, I find joy, hope and strength. I have been blessed by friends and family that have made the enormous effort to make safe foods for us, or even just to welcome us over for fellowship while we bring our own food. FPIES and allergies can be so isolating, but we have some good people in our lives, whom I am so thankful for. It has made all the difference! So a HUGE thank you to everyone that has supported us over the last couple years with prayer, encouragement, food and fellowship. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!