A cure for anaphylactic food allergies would give my children a chance at a normal life where food is not a danger and a threat to their lives but something to be savoured and enjoyed. I want our children to experience birthday parties and sleepovers, field trips and school celebration days without being excluded due to their allergies.
We are not the only family dealing with food allergies. Food allergies affect 1 in 13 people in Canada and that rate is increasing. More importantly a food allergy in the family does not only affect that individual – that 1 in 13 – it also affects their family, friends, school and community. A cure for food allergies would mean freedom for all children with food allergies and for their families.
My hope and dream is that someday our children will be able to live a life where they can eat freely.
This dream is becoming a reality for many families in the USA and for some in Canada.
It is becoming a reality because of a treatment called oral immunotherapy or OIT. The treatment involves feeding the allergic individual sub-threshold amounts of their allergen. The starting amount is so small the immune system does not recognize it. The treatment continues with gradually increasing amounts of allergen given daily and for up to or more than a year. After the patient graduates from OIT they must still consume their allergen daily to maintain the effects.
We started the OIT journey for our children on Feb 16, 2017 and it has been a bumpy start. Sahil who is 13 now is doing OIT for Peanut and Jaya who is 7 is doing OIT for Milk.
After just three days of treatment for milk Jaya developed an unrelated virus so we had to stop giving her the starting dose until she recovered. We have just restarted that process a couple of days ago. She still has a cough but fingers crossed she will be able to tolerate this lowest dose of the protocol until her next appointment. Sahil was doing well on his first dose until he got sick too! Then we dropped down to the illness dose and are still on that since he is not better. It is discouraging since we are so early in the process, however I am trying to focus on the freedom OIT will give us at the end of the treatment.
My children are my heroes – they allow the feared allergens to be placed in their mouths without complaint.
For more information on OIT check out http://www.oit101.org/