sienna got shot

Posted by kyden on Friday Oct 3, 2014 Under sienna

sienna was supposed to come with me to my check up yesterday to get her flu vaccine.  but when mommy called our doctor’s office, they told her they were all out of flu mist, so mommy canceled sienna’s appointment.  it used to be that kids with egg allergies weren’t supposed to receive flu shots, but some more progressive doctors have recently started allowing it.  and since sienna got the flu mist last year (and didn’t have a reaction to it), mommy thought it was best to stick with that for this year.

so when i went in for my appointment yesterday, i was prepared for the needle.  but luckily for me, my doctor got a new shipment of flu mist right before my appointment, so of course i chose that option instead.  and then mommy scheduled sienna to get hers today.

because of sienna’s allergies and other health conditions, she’s been poked, prodded, photographed, and tested so many times.  she now dreads going to the doctor for “tests”.  but mommy promised her that today’s appointment would be quick.  all she would have to do is “smell” some medicine.  no shots.  not even a check up.  i confirmed what mommy said.

mommy knew she wasn’t going to have much time this morning, so she pre-registered sienna and confirmed that the appointment would be a quick in-and-out — 15 minutes tops.  well, that didn’t happen.  because of sienna’s egg allergy (and also because gung-gung, who lives with us, take a daily dose of prednisone), the nurse who was going to administer the flu mist had to ask mommy a bunch of questions as a follow up to the form that she had filled out.  and then she had to go consult with a PA.  and then the PA went in and asked mommy some more questions.  and then the PA had to go consult with a physician.  and then the physician went in and talked to mommy and sienna for a bit.  he wasn’t our regular doctor — she wasn’t there that day.  apparently, some doctors will administer the flu shot to people with egg allergies, but flu mist hasn’t been studied enough, yet.  so even though sienna had the flu mist last year, this doctor was not comfortable giving it to sienna.

20141003-IMG_4637so, the options were to give sienna the flu shot, or to come back another day to see if our regular doctor would let sienna have the flu mist (again).  since mommy had promised sienna that there would be no needles today, they opted to reschedule.  but while walking down the hallway toward the exit, sienna changed her mind.  she agreed to have the flu shot, needle and all.  so back into the exam room they went.

as an extra precaution (due to her egg allergy), the nurse took sienna’s vitals.  then came the needle.  mommy tried to distract sienna with her iphone, but sienna insisted on watching as the needle entered her leg.  she shed a few tears, but was all smiles a minute later.  we are so proud of her for being so brave.

in case of an adverse reaction, sienna was not allowed to leave the doctor’s office for 30 minutes.  mommy tried to sneak out a couple of times, but the nurse had set a timer.  and that how sienna’s “15 minute in-and-out appointment” turned into a 75 minute ordeal.

here’s a photo of sienna from today, wearing an outfit that she put together by herself.  temporary insanity must be one of the side-effects of the flu vaccine.

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sienna’s egg challenge: round 2

Posted by kyden on Tuesday Aug 26, 2014 Under sienna

a couple of  months ago, sienna did another skin prick test and tested negative for an egg allergy.  hooray!  but before we celebrated too much, sienna had to do another oral challenge to make sure she had really outgrown her egg allergy.

so she went in for the oral egg challenge today.  just like last time, mommy made some tamago, and she and sienna went in to the doctor’s office prepared to spend most of the day there. when sienna arrived, she was greeted by three different nurses/doctors as the “singing baby”.  i guess they remembered her performance from her last visit. 😛

20140826-IMG_4264the first “serving” that sienna got to eat was 1/8 tsp.  she happily announced that she liked it and that it tasted like tofu!  after she ate it, the nurse checked to make sure she didn’t have any sort of allergic reaction.  she was fine.  so 15 minutes later, sienna got to eat 2x the previous serving — 1/4 tsp.  again, the nurse checked her and she was fine.  so she waited another 15 minutes.  the nurse set up a portable DVD player so that sienna could watch a movie in between her tiny bites of egg.  the third serving was 2x the previous amount — 1/2 tsp.  that bite did her in.  within a couple of minutes, she started getting hives around her eye and mouth.  the doctor came in, and he called off the challenge.  sienna: 0, egg: 1.  (actually, that’s 2 points for egg since this is the second time that sienna has failed an egg challenge.)

20140826-IMG_4268the nurse gave sienna some benadryl, and the little hives went away within a few minutes.  but just to be safe, they made sienna stay for two more hours for observation.  luckily, mommy brought a big container full of fruit for sienna to eat.  she was starving because she wasn’t allowed to eat anything in the morning before the oral challenge.  mommy was hungry too, so she ate the rest of sienna’s tamago. 🙂

well, the bad news is that sienna failed another egg challenge — she’s still allergic to egg.  the good news is that mommy and sienna were outta there in plenty of time to go eat a real lunch!

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let her eat cake!

Posted by kyden on Friday Jun 6, 2014 Under Uncategorized

when we moved to san ramon last year, sienna found a new allergist.  she had a skin prick test done, and the results conflicted with the previous tests she’d had.

it had been about a year since then, so it was about time for sienna to see her allergist again.  but mommy didn’t really like the first doctor, so she found a new one earlier this week.  and she loooves this one.  so now, sienna has a new allergist, and he thought it was about time to have sienna re-tested.

so today, sienna went in for another skin prick test. this was her 3rd skin test and 3rd set of conflicting results. today, she reacted to peanut, wheat, almond, whole egg, egg white, and cashew. (she was not tested for cockroach, cedar, or dog — which she had previously tested positive for — because really, what would we do with that info?)

20140606-IMG_3349if you’ve never had a skin prick test before, it goes something like this.  you get poked in the back with dozens of needles, some of which give you really big welts and make you really itchy.  then you have to sit there while the welts get bigger and you get itchier.  after 15 minutes, the diameter of each wheal (welt) and erythmea (the surrounding red area) are measured.  the sizes indicate your sensitivity to the different allergens.

sienna is an old pro at this.  while she waited, she sang some of her favorite songs to pass the time.  this was her set list.

  • part of your world (little mermaid)
  • do you wanna build a snowman (frozen)
  • let it go (frozen)
  • we could be in love (lea salonga & brad kane)

after sienna’s test was complete, we headed out of the exam room.  some nurses had overheard sienna singing and asked for a live performance.  she was not shy about it!

sienna’s doctor heard the singing and came out of his office to see what the commotion was all about.  he spotted sienna and offered to see her immediately rather than calling mommy later to discuss the test results and an allergy plan.  the performance paid off!

20140606-IMG_3344sienna’s peanut allergy is still high, but her reaction to the other foods was small enough to be considered negative. whoa.

so, here’s the plan.  sienna will continue to avoid peanuts.  also, she’ll avoid whole eggs for now, but she will do an oral challenge with egg in a couple of months. (that was the next available appointment.) remember when she failed her first oral challenge with egg?  we are hoping that she will pass this time.  the negative skin test suggests that she’s outgrown her egg allergy. or perhaps she has a contact allergy to egg (touching it causes redness/rash and itchiness), but can tolerate eating it.

and the best part of the plan…  let her eat cake! (or, anything made with wheat, for that matter.) sienna is so excited to start eating “itchy bread” and “itchy pasta”. we’ll just have to keep an eye on whether it affects her eczema or not.

and in other news, sienna’s new allergist’s office has a revolving door at the building entrance.  she is a fan.

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gung-gung’s sort-of-fancy birthday

Posted by kyden on Saturday Feb 15, 2014 Under Uncategorized

20140215-IMG_1336 20140215-IMG_1335we ate a lot of really yummy food today.  for brunch this morning, mommy made chocolate crepes.  they were wheat-free, so it was a special treat that both sienna and i could have.  sienna loved them.  apparently, they didn’t love her.  mommy thought that the egg in the crepes would be okay because sienna has been eating muffins/breads made with egg, and she hasn’t had any problems.  mommy was wrong.  bad for sienna, but good for me because i got to eat the rest of sienna’s crepe. 🙂

for dinner, we went to forbes mill (danville) to celebrate gung-gung’s birthday.  forbes mill (los gatos) is daddy’s favorite steakhouse.  that’s probably why he was a little worried about taking us kids out to that sort-of-fancy restaurant.  because if we ended up getting banned from there, daddy would have to go all the way down to the los gatos location to eat his favorite prime rib!

20140215-IMG_1363but the evening turned out just fine.  they gave us crayons, and the entire table was covered in paper.  how fancy can a restaurant be when the tables are giant coloring pads?

uncle tilton and his friend joined us for dinner, which was a nice treat because we don’t see him very often.  and it’s always fun hanging out with cousin zoey.  we were on our best behavior all through dinner.  sienna was pretty good until later in the evening when she got tired and restless and wouldn’t stay in her chair.  the food was super yummy and gung-gung enjoyed a nice evening out with his family.

happy birthday gung-gung!  (i don’t know how old he is, but i’m guessing 180.)

PSA: we learned tonight that rice is not always gluten-free.  some restaurant suppliers add wheat flour to the rice to make it stickier and to help preserve it.  we will definitely have to ask from now on!

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hello, wheat. goodbye, wheat.

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Oct 2, 2013 Under sienna

sienna is definitely allergic to peanuts and eggs.  but what about wheat?  in her two skin prick tests (a year ago and 4 months ago), she tested negative for a wheat allergy.  and she used to eat things with wheat in them all the time — they never made her itchy or caused any breathing difficulties.  so it was confusing that her blood tests came back moderately positive for a wheat allergy.  mommy’s theory was that it aggravated her eczema.

when sienna went to see the dermatologists at UCSF, she was prescribed some steroid ointments for her eczema.  she used it for a few days, and her eczema disappeared.   her skin has been looking fantastic for weeks.  so mommy thought it was time to reintroduce wheat into sienna’s diet, then see if the eczema flared up.

20130930-IMG_1753so monday morning, we said hello to wheat.  mommy made us muffins for breakfast.  she made them with real whole wheat flour — not the almond/arrowroot/aramath/whatever flour blend that she usually uses.  and she packed a sandwich in sienna’s lunch.  the sandwich was made with a pita — not the gluten-free wraps that sienna usually gets.

the muffins were so yummy.  i ate 3 of them.  sienna liked them too.  she liked them so much that she kept eating them even though they were making her itchy.  and sure enough, there were hives all around sienna’s chin and mouth too.  no more muffin for sienna.  and mommy had to re-make sienna’s lunch, too.

mommy was perplexed.  sienna had never reacted to wheat before.  maybe sienna was reacting to the coconut oil in the muffin?  everything else in there was stuff that she’d had before — bananas, blueberries, coconut, and fake egg.

so today, mommy did an experiment on sienna.  on one arm, mommy rubbed some coconut oil.  on the other arm, she rubbed a paste that she made out of wheat flour and water.  within seconds, sienna started complaining that the wheat paste arm was itchy.  and then it turned red and hivey.  the coconut arm looked shiny and well-moisturized.

mommy was wiping sienna’s arm with a towel and apologizing to her just as daddy came home.

daddy:  what are y20131002-IMG_1785ou doing to our daughter?

mommy:  it’s the wheat.  she’s allergic to wheat.

daddy:  uh, yeah.  we knew that.

poor sienna.

bad mommy.

goodbye, wheat.

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it’s me or the dog

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Jun 12, 2013 Under sienna

when we moved to san ramon (about 6 weeks ago), sienna’s eczema got worse.  the change happened almost overnight.  we know that there are so many things that can aggravate eczema — heat, cold, environmental allergens, etc.  we’ve also heard that the water is harder here than in san jose, so it could be that, too.  but since sienna needed to find an allergist in the area anyway, mommy took her in for an appointment.

the doctor asked about any changes in sienna’s diet, our new home environment, or anything that might help pinpoint the cause of sienna’s worsened eczema.  nothing.  if anything, our hardwood floors (instead of carpet) should cause an improvement —  fewer places for dust mites to hide.

20130612-IMG_0847another possible cause could be allergies, so the doctor ordered a skin test to see if sienna had developed any new allergies since last year.  so… sienna basically turned into a lab rat for the afternoon.  she was tested for common environmental allergens (like pollens, dust mites, etc.) and common food allergens that she regularly consumes (like milk, salmon, etc.)  poor sienna was poked 20+ times.  she did not like it at all.  some of the pricks made her itchy, and mommy had to restrain her hands to prevent her from scratching for 15 long minutes.  luckily, the nurse came in with some stickers and toys for sienna to play with.  that helped the time pass more quickly.

20130612-IMG_0857last time sienna had an allergy skin test she tested negative for egg, peanut, and wheat (even though the blood test came back positive for those foods).  today, she tested positive for egg and peanut allergies and negative for wheat.  the allergist recommended being more aggressive in treating her eczema (use prescription desonide ointment until it’s under control) and then introducing wheat back into her diet to see what happens.  more food experiments.  fun.

but guess what else.  sienna is allergic to cats and dogs!  how could that be?  she was never allergic to them before.  and she doesn’t get a runny nose or anything from being around koda.  she even rolls around in koda’s bed sometimes!  mommy was always worried that one of us kids would be allergic to koda, because she wouldn’t know what to do.  how could you choose between your furry baby and your human baby?  easy.  daddy says that we have to get rid of koda.  (he was kidding!)

well, do you know how mommy is handling this?  she is in denial.  she has convinced herself that the dog allergy result was a false positive.  everyone always says that skin testing is inaccurate.  it must be true since sienna previously had false negatives for egg and peanut.  so koda can stay.  sienna can stay.  and we’ll all live together happily ever after.  but we won’t let sienna roll around in koda’s bed anymore.  just in case.

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awww… nuts

Posted by kyden on Wednesday Apr 24, 2013 Under sienna

mommy doesn’t use recipes to cook, and she rarely makes fancy dishes that have names.  (coq au vin?  what’s that?)  mommy’s super power is her ability to make complete, healthy meals out of the random things that we have in our fridge.  but since we are moving soon, we intentionally haven’t bought any food.  this is our current fridge inventory:

  • 5 eggs
  • 3 shriveled mushrooms
  • 1 stalk of lemongrass
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 english cucumber
  • 2 sad-looking strawberries
  • 1 piece of gluten-free bread
  • 1/4 jar of almond butter
  • a variety of sauces and condiments

keep in mind that sienna is allergic to egg.  the bread and almond butter will be her morning snack tomorrow.  the mushrooms and strawberries don’t look fit for human consumption.  mommy couldn’t throw together a meal for us — she was stumped.  so for dinner tonight, we ordered takeout from our recently-discovered favorite cambodian restaurant.

20130424-IMG_039920130424-IMG_0402one of the dishes we ordered was lemongrass chicken.  it had peanuts in it.  mommy was going to let sienna try some just to see if she really is allergic to peanuts.  (she tested off-the-charts positive, but she’s never actually eaten a peanut before.)  but instead, mommy rubbed a tiny piece of peanut on sienna’s forearm.  within a minute, she had broken out in hives and started scratching.  the scratching caused the hives to spread across her entire arm, and she must have touched her face because she had hives all around her mouth too.

well, i guess that confirms it.  sienna really is allergic to peanuts.  i hope her epi pen doesn’t get lost in the move to our new house.

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i’ve been learning that around the holdiays, we give presents, and we get presents. and when we get presents, we put them under the tree and open them on christmas day. i also learned that christmas fell on a tuesday this year. so ever since last week, i’ve been asking “what day is today?” and when i got my answer, i’d follow up with “why it not tuesday yet?”

well, today is finally tuesday. and that means it’s christmas. and that means i got to open all my presents!

after breakfast, i looked under the tree and found all the ones that said K-Y-D-E-N next to the “To”. that meant that it was for me. i helped sienna find her presents too. there was even one for koda. i helped sienna open her gifts, and i said stuff like “oooh, sienna, look at that. how cool!” (just like mommy and daddy say to me when i am opening my presents.)

then we went over to grandma and grandpa’s house for lunch. auntie barbara and uncle randy were there, too. there were so many presents under the tree. and guess what — most of them were for me and sienna! i guess that’s what happens when you’re the only kids in the family 😀

after spending the day with the tanakas, we went to grandma and grandpa lau’s (our great aunt and uncle’s) house for dinner. all of mommy’s side of the family was there — everyone from cousins zoey, justin, caitlyn, and jerrod to bak-bak (great grandmother), and all the aunties and uncles in between. guess what. we got to open more presents! i think we need to buy a new house to fit all of our new toys.

when we first got to grandma lau’s house, sienna and i were both tired and grouchy. i warmed up quickly and started playing with my cousins right away. sienna pretty much just clung to mommy. bak-bak really wanted to hold sienna, but sienna wasn’t having it. toward the end of the night, mommy gave bak-bak a tiny piece of jello and told her that she could offer it to sienna to help win her over. it worked! bak-bak ran off with her, and sienna did not protest at all.

a few minutes later, mommy’s intuition kicked in and she suspected something fishy was going on. she went to the next room to check on sienna, and there she was, sitting on the kitchen counter, licking her lips, and looking giddy. bak-bak and grandma lau were feeding her frosted cinnamon buns! what’s wrong with a little sugar on christmas? it’s not the sugar — it’s the egg and wheat! (if you don’t remember, sienna is allergic to both egg and wheat.) mommy protested, and bak-bak looked confused. she knew about the allergies, but didn’t realize that cinnamon rolls had egg and wheat in them. hives started appearing on sienna’s face, but nothing serious. i didn’t get to use the epi pen. darn.

i love christmas. i love seeing all my family (especially cousin caitlyn, who i don’t get to see very often). and i really love opening presents! mommy and daddy make sure i read the tag before unwrapping my gifts so i can remember who gave me what. and whenever i wear/read/play with that gift, mommy always tests me to see if i remember. i get it right about 1/2 the time. but sometimes i just guess.

we got so many great clothes, books, and toys (and in sienna’s case, shoes and shoes and shoes) from our friends and relatives. thank you to all of you for being so thoughtful and generous. merry christmas everyone!

p.s. auntie jan asked me if santa came to our house last night. i told her no, but we saw him on the train. why would she think that santa would come to our house? was i supposed to invite him over?

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elimination diet weeks 5 – 8

Posted by kyden on Monday Nov 12, 2012 Under sienna

let’s see… where did we leave off?  in week 4, sienna started eating wheat again, and her eczema flared up.  so we stopped the wheat.  the plan was to wait another full week to let all the wheat proteins get out of her system, but someone accidentally fed sienna cow’s milk.  i won’t say who, but his name starts with a “d” and ends with “addy”.  so week 5 turned into a dairy week.

week 5 and 6:  no eggs, wheat, or peanuts.  to everyone’s surprise (and delight) sienna did fine with all kinds of dairy!  not sure how to explain the previous repeatable reactions she had to milk, but who cares?  hooray!

week 7 and 8:  no eggs or peanuts, but we planned to give wheat another try.  her eczema returned, which could have been coincidental, but the fact that red splotches appeared on her face where it came into contact with wheat was enough to eliminate wheat once again.  she didn’t make it through the planned 2 weeks.  she stopped eating wheat on the 3rd day.

i think sienna is done with her elimination diet for now.

  • she’s allergic to eggs
  • she might have a mild wheat allergy (at the very minimum, it causes a skin reaction)
  • she might be allergic to nuts, but no need to experiment with that

so it’s just like the blood test said.  it turns out that the skin test was completely bogus (for food allergies).  don’t feel too bad for sienna — there are plenty of things that she can eat.  it’s just hard for her to eat asian food because so many seasonings and sauces contain wheat — even soy sauce.

oh!!!  i almost forgot to mention a very exciting accidental discovery!  you know how sienna’s hands and feet are always peeling?  her condition seemed to have improved with the elimination of wheat.  and when she started eating wheat again, even for those 3 days, her hands started peeling again.  and now, with no wheat, they’re getting better.

the photo on the left is from june 2012.  the photo on the right was taken at the end of october, after 3 weeks of no wheat.

we are trying not to get too excited because it could be purely coincidental, but we are hopeful that we’ve found a way to “cure” (or at least improve) her palmoplantar keratoderma, a condition that everyone said she’d have to live with for the rest of her life.

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bad mommy moment #1021: the cake batter incident

Posted by kyden on Sunday Oct 21, 2012 Under sienna

mommy promised that if i took a nap today, we could make apple cake when i woke up.  so the first thing i said when i woke up was “mommy?  we make apple cake now?”  so we got to work.

we weren’t making a healthy wheat-free egg-free version.  we were making a full-sugar full-fat sour cream apple coffee cake that would be full of deliciousness (and allergens).  after we had poured the cake batter into the pan, i went off with daddy to help him with something upstairs.  mommy turned her back to the counter to get some ingredients for the crumb topping, and when she turned back, sienna was standing on my step stool.  she had dipped her fingers into the raw cake batter and was trying to shove her entire hand into her mouth.

mommy tried hard not to laugh, but she couldn’t help herself.  she wanted to stop to take a photo, but given sienna’s confirmed allergy to egg (and positive blood test for wheat) — both of which were in the cake batter — there was no time to waste.

sienna’s face and hands turned red and broke out into hives immediately upon contact.  she started scratching her neck and chest.  (the photo was taken just seconds after mommy wiped the cake batter off of sienna’s face.)  mommy thinks it was the raw egg in the batter than caused such an immediate reaction.  daddy went out on a benadryl run, and mommy stood by with the epi pen.

by the time daddy came home with the benadryl, the hives had spread to sienna’s torso.  mommy gave her 1/2 of the doctor’s recommended dosage, and that did the trick.  no epi pen needed.  darn.  i mean, whew!

doctors always say that benadryl can make a kid either sleepy or hyper, so we weren’t sure how it would affect sienna.  well, it knocked her out.  cold.  her bedtime routine was much quicker and earlier than usual.  i hope mommy doesn’t get any ideas about “off-label” benadryl usage 😉

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