What’s That Smell?!…..Our Journey Part 3

What’s that smell?!  Oh, that’s the eggs baking in the muffins.  I hadn’t baked with eggs in over three years, and I have to admit….it smelled disgusting.  But it was exciting.  There I was in the kitchen the night before Nathan’s second food challenge (woohoo!) digging through my Betty Crocker cookbook, and mixing up a batch of  “real” blueberry muffins.  Once the batch was in the oven and the aroma filled the house, it just smelled weird.  I almost couldn’t handle it.

Nathan was again so excited to be trying something new!  This food challenge was even more exciting to him because he actually got to eat something, rather than just sipping soy milk.  With a food challenge, the patient goes in with an empty stomach…basically so there’s not much to throw up if they have an adverse reaction.  He was definitely hungry and those muffins looked so good to him.  Here he is waiting for the doc to come in to get us started with those muffins.  Don’t ya just love the mustache prop that he got at story time the day before?


It was about 9:15 and the egg challenge was under way.  I was nervous, but still hopeful that this would open up yet another new food in Nathan’s diet, even if only in the baked form.  Studies are showing that if an egg allergic person can tolerate baked egg, then it may help them fully overcome an egg allergy.  That’s how I understood it from our allergist, anyway.  The first 1/8 of a muffin was down the hatch, and Nathan settled back in to watching his movie.  Tip:  If you ever get to do a food challenge, take lots of things for your child to do, especially if they are young.  Food challenges take at least 2 hours so keeping them busy can be a challenge in itself.

Every 15 minutes the nurse would come back and check Nathan’s vitals.  First check?  Everything is good.  Let’s move on to 1/4 of a muffin.  Down the hatch.  This boy is hungry.


After the next 15 minute check, Nathan got sleepy, and wanted to hug on my arm, but was ready for more.  “My stomach hurts”, he said, “and it’s snowing outside guys!”  Gotta love the train of thought of a 3 1/2 year old!  I got a lump in my throat, and I got a bad feeling, but the doc thought all was still OK so we went for the 1/2 of a muffin.  Nathan started eating this portion, and unfortunately I had to head home to pick up our daughter.  My husband stayed with Nathan and they started watching his movie again.  Another 15 minutes had lapsed, and the nurse opened the door to come in for his vitals check.  Hives.  She saw the hives that my husband didn’t see since Nathan was sitting on his lap.  By this time I was at home with Julia, and texted the hubby to see what the status was.  No reply.  I comforted myself by assuming he was just chatting with the allergist.  Sadly, I was wrong.  I knew I was wrong, but just didn’t want to believe it.  A mother’s instinct is soooo strong.  Brent finally called me, explaining that by the time the allergist came in to check Nathan he was sneezing, had hives and was itchy.  The nurse had to administer Epinepherine to stop the allergic reaction.  Thank goodness we were at the doctor’s office and not at home.  I will NEVER do a food challenge at home.  The experience was scary, but could have been deadly had we been at home.  We were disappointed that he couldn’t have baked eggs, but thankful that he was OK.

What’s the scary part?  Had he been experiencing those symptoms at home, we probably would have just given him Benadryl.  Well, maybe not.  I did have to give him the Epi-pen at home once after he accidentally ingested cheese, and the symptoms were almost identical.  Having to give an Epi-pen is a terrifying experience, but the alternative is even more terrifying.  When should you give an epi-pen? When there is more than one body system involved.  Hives and sneezing, like in Nathan’s case.  Breathing problems and lip and mouth swelling is another combination needing an epi-pen.  There is often more symptoms that need to be addressed.  Throw vomiting or lethargy into the mix and you’ve got yourself a full blown anaphylactic attack.  Scary stuff.  If you want more info on how to treat an anaphylactic reaction, visit www.epipen.com or www.epipentraining.com

This reaction to eggs was so surprising to us.  Nathan’s blood test results for soy came back at around 2.0/100 or less.  So did his egg numbers.  No reaction to soy, but anaphylactic to egg.  That just goes to show just how crazy food allergies are, how unpredictable they are, and how the “numbers” from blood tests can’t prove what kind of reaction someone will have.  Our allergist was just as surprised as we were that Nathan reacted.  This is going to sound weird, but I’m so glad we did the egg challenge.  Now that  we know how he reacts, we will be even more careful with him around eggs, reading every label multiple times before something new goes in his mouth.

I’ll end this longer than expected post with this adorable picture of Nathan coloring his EggNots at Easter this year.  They’re made of ceramic and are dyeable and can be decorated just like regular eggs….without the fear factor.


Disclaimer:  I am not a medical professional.  Do not make medical decisions based on information in this post.  Contact your doctor or call 911 in an emergency.


10 thoughts on “What’s That Smell?!…..Our Journey Part 3

  1. I knew how this story ended and it still makes me tear up. From his perspective as a kid and from yours as the parent. I can’t believe you found ceramic dyeable eggs!! thats awesome and your such a good mom. I hope if I ever had to do half of the food protection as you did I would be as creative and proactive at finding the alternatives.

    • Thanks, Jessica! I tear up a lot, too! The Egg Nots were awesome and a great alternative to real eggs. My goal is for him to have as normal of a childhood as possible. What was the hardest part for you as a food allergic kid?

  2. That is SO scary! I’m glad it happened at the doctor’s office. I’ve never had to administer the EpiPen and I hope I don’t have to. Peanuts and cashews are a lot easier to avoid than an anaphylactic dairy & egg allergy.

    • Gabby,
      Yes, it was very scary, especially when it was so unexpected after such a successful soy challenge the month before. That’s why we’ll never do a food challenge at home. The nurses and doctor monitored him so well, and thankfully administered the Epi-pen before he was having breathing trouble, which may have not even happened. All i can say, is if you are in doubt, give the Epi-pen and don’t be scared. I’ve had to do it once and so thankful I did, and the allergist said I did the right thing in that situation. When I thought about the alternative, giving him the shot was not so bad after all.
      Thanks for commenting and I’m glad you found us!

  3. I’m glad your son is okay. Just wanted to give you some number examples: My three year old’s blood work for Milk came back with 0.09(kU/L) and he still had an anaphylactic reaction to a cool ranch doritos chip that he somehow managed to swipe. On the other hand, his Egg is at 0.37(kU/L) and he’s able to tolerate both baked egg and scrambled eggs (straight). Peanut’s at 2.46(kU/L) and has doubled in the last year without any known contact at all. His allergist wants to challenge it before he starts kindergarten. Thankfully, that’s another two years away. :/

    • Jen,
      Thanks for stopping by! Isn’t it crazy how blood test numbers simply don’t really reveal anything, other than confirming an allergy? Oh how I wish that there was a concrete number that told us what a reaction would be so I knew how much I needed to worry. Good luck with the peanut challenge when that happens. Why does your allergist want to challenge that, even though the numbers are rising??

      • His only contact with peanut was at 13 months old. I suspect that the decision to actually challenge it won’t be made until then, but the other half of my suspicion is that we don’t know how he’s going to react. He’s never had skin tests done, either. One contact, blood work, avoided since (started off reacting to peanut, egg, milk, and soy – two of which he now eats, one of which still tests positive with blood tests for). For all we know he won’t react at all. I’d like to know before he starts school. Around the same time we also could consider OIT. We’re lucky in that our allergist and his partner have been offering OIT since 2008.

  4. Thanks for sharing your food challenge story. We have an egg challenge next week for my 3 year old son. Of course I have anxiety about it. We had a successful wheat food challenge a few weeks ago. Still dealing with dairy, sesame and nut food allergies too. All we can do is prepare, hope and pray!

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