Tuesday, March 27, 2012

sesame challenged

My younger son was a diagnosed with a bunch of food allergies when he was very young. He's outgrown some of these (eggs, milk) and some seem to be around for the long haul (peanuts and tree nuts). 

Among the most insidious of these is sesame. It was the first allergy we suspected and has always been the one we find the most frustrating. It's in everything - try reading labels on bread products for a few days and you'll see what I mean.

Last year, we were offered the opportunity to do a blood test that can determine the degree of reaction to some common allergens. Out of a possible 100, Daniel's response to peanuts was as high as could be measured (this allergy is not going anywhere any time soon). His sesame reaction was 0.84. That's barely a reaction at all. When Daniel had no reaction to this year's sesame skin test, the doctor suggested a sesame challenge.

This, as I remember it, was our experience:


2:00pm: Tim goes out to buy Sesame Snaps.

3:00pm: Tim tracks down Sesame Snaps, discovers that they "may contain peanuts."

4:00pm Tim makes own version of snaps, with sesame seeds, sugar, ginger and lemon.

10:00pm-2:00am I have insomnia, partly due to sesame challenge. This may also be due the fact that I discover my free games of Chuzzle were re-newed when we reformatted my computer.


9:00am: Daniel and I arrive at the allergists office.

9:10am: The doctor explains to us how the day is going to unfold.

9:12am: The nurse is blown away by our home made sesame snaps. Apparently most folks just bring in seeds.

9:20am: Daniel's arm is scratched with a bit of sesame. There's a bit of redness (which might be from being scratched but nothing more). Daniel says that it's itchy but remarks that "it might be psychosomatic."

9:25am: The doctor gives us the go ahead to continue.

9:45am: Daniel eats a bit of sesame snap.

9:50am He insists that his lips and tongue are itchy and swollen. I suspect anxiety (we have never been helicopter parents but I can only imagine how he must feel after practically a life-time of hearing the message - from many directions - that a food allergy can KILL you). The nurse sees no evidence of a reaction.

9:51-9:59: I attempt to distract Daniel with hang-man, offer him lunch out and cupcakes as a reward if he sticks it out.

10:00am: The doctor examines Daniel and sees no evidence of a reaction. Daniel is still anxious. The doc holds up a mirror so Daniel can tell that he looks fine. He soberly informs my eight year old that he can walk away now "but you will have to continue to abstain from eating sesame."

10:05am: I tell Daniel that he can have the whole day off from school.

10:06am: Tim drops off Daniel's DS.

10:10am-12:00pm: Testing resumes. Ever larger amounts of sesame are consumed without hesitation or reaction.The last couple of times, Daniel barely looks up from his Pokemon game.

12:00pm: We are dismissed, with one fewer food allergy on Daniel's list. The doctor (who remarks that Daniel is "a different kid" now that the test is over) instructs Daniel to eat lots of sesame in the next little while.

12:30pm: We celebrate!

Anyone know a good falafel recipe?

Friday, March 23, 2012


I don't know whether it's the unseasonably warm and sunny weather (It's about time I noticed that I get depressed every winter and recover every spring), a recent change of scenery or just the passage of time but I feel myself re-engaging with the world.

Shortly after writing my last post, I decided to "give up" on forcing myself to write. I was spending tons of time staring at the blank screen or coming up with creative ways to avoid writing - and feeling pretty miserable about it. What I was doing wasn't working and I had to make a change. So I decided to walk away.

But lately my heart beats a little faster when I think about putting pen to paper and fingers to keyboard. The creative synapses are buzzing and I have lots of ideas for new projects and a whole new approach to how I go about doing them.

It feels good.