Asthma & Allergies

George and I had a doctor’s appointment today. I have some severe food allergies and asthma all my life, and I have trusted my care to the same physician from childhood to adulthood and to my own children. This doctor is great, great knowledge, bedside manner, and great with children. Plus his billing team is professional and respectful and also knowledgeable. It’s an annual visit I look forward to!

Today was a busy busy day, apparently one person called off and so it was all hands on deck. Let me give you the most impressive testimony for Doctor Rockoff: he went to the waiting room to call back his patient himself. I mean, when was the last time you’ve seen a doctor in the waiting room? Have you ever seen a physician call for a patient? This guy gives a shit how his office is run, and he will work with his team to see the day runs smoothly. Admirable stuff.

George enjoyed meeting Doctor Rockoff; doc put on his Donald duck voice which is a crowd favorite. I remember hearing him cheering child-me up with the silly voice twenty years ago. Then the nurse administered a skin prick test to check for peanuts, strawberries, and a whole host of environmental allergens. George did not like that. My poor baby cried. My dad held him since I was bouncing to another room to get my lungs tested at the same time.

I hated seeing George cry in fear and pain. I know the discomfort. I had it as a child, and I had it 4 years ago. It’s this ugly claw with 8 prongs loaded with allergens. You know what it really resembles? The way that model trains and boats come packaged; one plastic spine will join several pieces and sometimes they’re pokey or scratchy. So you have an 8 pronged claw pricking your skin all at once and simultaneously it’s designed to make you itchy. It’s really mild torture, as long as your not allergic to anything on the test. If you are allergic, the torture is moderate to severe.

I promised George that this would be the worst thing he had to experience this year. Next year he get a little sister, and that would be a different kind of experience. I coached him with encouragement, reassured my son that he was brave and strong, and thanked him for being so good and cooperative.

I held my breath and waited for any real severe reactions. I was waiting for angry redness and swelling to take over his back from peanuts and strawberries. But nothing happened. There was a little inflammation where the prick poked skin, but nothing spread or grew from it. Incredible.

We agreed that the reaction I had seen from a peanut butter and strawberry jelly sandwich was likely redness from the acidity of strawberry on his delicate little skin. We were encouraged to challenge George to a strawberry. That shouldn’t be difficult. Every time he sees strawberries in the grocery he points and asks for them with wide shining eyes. A few weeks later, if it goes well, we’ll try strawberry jelly. And a few weeks later we’ll challenge peanuts

I’m so pleased. At the very least, I’m far less worried about any dangerous allergy to peanuts. That can be life-threatening.

Now, my own news was also encouraging. It seems my lungs have recovered from the severe respiratory distress I had in September and October. My breathing test compared similarly to my lungs’ strength and capacity from last year when I didn’t have cancer, chemotherapy, or pregnancy. And it improved markedly with the rescue Albuterol. I’ve needed the duo-neb breathing treatment less and less lately. So all good signs for my future lung health and asthma care. A deep sigh of relief is literal and metaphorical.

Another reason to emphasize my appreciation for Doctor Rockoff is that he would gladly see me again in 6 months time, postpartum, and post-chemo to check up on my lungs’ recovery from the ordeal if I still feel unwell. He won’t let me go a year of illness of I feel I need care. I hope we all know that you’re allowed to ask for extra care, right? But to be empowered to call within a timeframe is just an extra step to reassure. I’m glad for it.

Lastly, next year when I’m a cancer survivor, we can come back and get a allergy blood test for George and I to get a less subjective handle on the severity of our allergies. This could be useful to see how I tolerate almonds. And it may shed more light on George’s peanut butter and strawberry jelly reaction from a year ago. What was nice was the respect for the tremendously full plate I already have to deal with. The allergy testing will just be extra info for when we’ve already met 2023’s insurance deductible, ha!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: