Amy Billington

Fueled by coffee and a passion for helping families living with food allergies.

Damn Nuts | When Anxiety Returns

February 18th was the one year anniversary of my son finding freedom from his peanut allergy. He felt safe and secure. Gone was the anxiety ridden little boy who couldn’t imagine his own future. Then…it happened.

The thing we expected during OIT that never came, came 4 days after his one year graduation. He reacted.

About an hour after he went to bed, my son woke up disoriented and I sent him in to the bathroom. He said he felt “weird.” I noticed a couple red spots behind his ear which prompted me to lift his shirt where I watched tiny hives pop up and then explode into larger welts. I quickly texted our doctor while grabbing our emergency meds.

We sat on the floor and talked calmly while I mentally planned how to wrap my legs around him to secure him if I needed to inject with the epipen. Fortunately, after several rounds of antihistamines and a steroid, the hives began to dissipate and no other symptoms developed. We sat up for a few hours watching Youtube and eating bacon and waffles. He didn’t seem very bothered by what happened, surprisingly. The doctor thinks our incredibly high pollen counts overloaded his system and his night dose tipped him over the edge.

Less than a week later, it started. Panicked, screaming, crying fits while trying to go to school. 15 minutes to get into the car, 15 minutes to get out of the car. 15 minutes to stand outside the school and another 15 in the lobby, trying to get him to go to class. He said he wanted to finish his video games, so I threatened to create a bonfire with them. Nothing changed his behavior, not positive reinforcement and not the loss of privileges. There was way more to this than wanting more time on electronics…anxiety was back.

Fortunately, he has an incredible support system of teachers and staff at his school. Tomorrow we will meet with the staff in charge of his emergency plan and reassure him that they are in contact with me and know what they are doing. He is safe there and now we have to prove it to him.

One non-life-threatening reaction in two years, with a doctor on stand by with instructions and meds in hand is still a better scenario than what our life was like before OIT. Oral immunotherapy has been the single best thing we have ever done for our son and we have no regrets.

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  1. Oh my,when I read he felt “weird”, I winced. Yes, it will take some time to work through that feeling of helplessness and regain his feeling of well being. I want to tell you about my neighbor’s grandson. He had his first reaction to wheat while crawling. As the years passed, he had a few exposures that culminated in terrible anaphylaxis. He is now 34. He has traveled the globe with a major company and is about to settle in Dubai. He has his first baby on the way. He has lassoed his star! He had a strong mother, much like yourself, Amy. Keep up the good work! I am so glad you all had the OIT also.

  2. How is he doing now? Need an update!

    • Amy Billington

      May 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      I had a talk with the person in charge of his health at school and she and I let him know that the school is always in contact with me via email and text, so he is never “alone.” We haven’t had any issues since!

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