1 year anniversary of OIT

One year ago today, we walked in for the first day of OIT with our eight-year-old daughter.  As parents, we were anxious and excited all at the same time.  The anxiety resulted from years of conditioning ourselves to protect our daughter from any ingestion of peanuts.  We had even trained her as best as any 8 year old can be. The excitement came from the small seed of hope that had been whispering, “what if this works?” So armed with nothing but hope, prayers and two epi pens, we embarked on this journey. Some people from the OIT groups may recall that I’ve posted a quote several times that resonated with me during our decision to do OIT. “May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears.” I don’t know the author, but I found it to encompass exactly how I felt about starting OIT.  Food allergy living can be isolating and scary.  While it seemed scary enough on that first day, we weren’t isolated anymore.  We had Dr. Agrawal with us every step of this journey.  And though we didn’t know him very well at the time, we soon learned that he was the most dedicated doctor that we’ve ever known.  
The first day went well with no concerns. The next few months went very well.  Chloe had a few symptoms of her body learning to accept the allergen. An occasional hive would pop up at random and this continued throughout the up-dosing phase.  On one occasion, she got a hive on her lip from contact with the peanut and water solution.  She had an itchy lip after dosing one time due to chapped lips.  These are things we learned to deal with along the way. While her body was learning to accept the allergen, my mind was learning how to let go of some of the fear of constant avoidance.  After a few months, she was cleared for cross contamination, which opened up life in a new way.  We were elated to see her have the freedom to eat new things and be included in ways she hadn’t before.  Transitioning to cross contamination takes a little time because our minds take some time to trust this new reality.  But, seeing is believing.  Every day for 365 days, she been eating her peanuts and every day she is safer than the day before. She reached maintenance after 10 months.  She has also passed several tree nut challenges so we no longer have to check labels. I wanted to write this for any parent who is on the fence.  Circumstances are different for everyone, and each family has to make their own decision.  But if fear is what is holding you back, step into the light with hope.  Don’t let the fear paralyze you and hold your child in isolation. I never let myself believe that my daughter would be able to complete OIT because of various fears in my head, but I didn’t let that stop me from giving her the chance. There’s one more quote I’d like to impart by Naeem Callway: “sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step of your life. Tip toe if you must, but take the step.”  

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