Thursday, March 7, 2013

Rapunzel's follow-up

Yesterday's allergist appt. was a double appt. for Belle and Rapunzel.  Rapunzel was having a follow-up from the appt. she had 2 weeks ago for her skin infection.  The antibiotics and prednisolone definitely helped to clear up her infection!  We were able to talk to the allergist about concerns we had, things we wanted to do differently, and ask questions about things we weren't sure on.  One thing in particular we had a question about was the allergy shots.  Were they helping or making things worse?  We were told not to expect to see results for 6-12 months.  And we were told things might get worse before they got better.  And we were told that there is no guarantee that they will even work for her eczema at all.  There is a very high rate of success when used for respiratory or nasal symptoms, but it's still very sketchy whether or not they are effective for eczema.  And I think a big reason for that is because it's not JUST environmental allergies that cause eczema flares.  It starts with a skin barrier deficiency, which allows bacteria and irritants into the skin, which cause the flares.  So even if the allergy shots help to prevent the body from reacting to those allergens, her eczema could still flare from bacteria or other irritants.  But we were desperate for an answer and decided to try the shots and see if they'd work to help her at all.  The shots work by slowing increasing the amount of allergen injected into the body, in hopes that the body will start accepting it and not reacting against it.  After several weeks, you get to your maintenance dose, where you receive the same amount of allergen each week.  Once Rapunzel reached her maintenance dose, we started noticing that the she'd get a bad flare each week when she got her shot.  We mentioned this to the allergist yesterday, but he was still not convinced that it was the shots causing her to flare, or if she would still be flaring on her own without the shots.  Also, when she had her bloodwork done a couple weeks ago, we were concerned when her eosinophils were so high.  She was just at the cusp of a big eczema flare and serious skin infection when she had the bloodwork done.  Was that why it was so high?  Or had it been getting higher and higher as she's continued to get the allergy shots?  Eric suggested to the allergist that we do regular bloodwork on her to see how her eosinphils compared when she wasn't having a flare and not taking the allergy shots.  He said that's not something he normally does, but that he definitely saw the logic behind it, and thought it was a really good idea to help us get a better picture of how she's reacting and to see if the shots were in fact making things better or worse.  So we're stopping the shots for 3 weeks.  I took her this afternoon to get bloodwork done again.  Then we'll get another set of bloodwork done in 3 weeks and then see the dr. again to go over everything.  I'm very interested to see how her numbers look compared to the last set.  I will say that it was like a breath of fresh air to have the dr. spend time discussing things with us and actually listening to our thoughts and ideas.

And here's a shout-out to our church's Kids Day Out drop-in program!  For a small fee, I was able to send Hercules and Aurora to our church for the day!  They had a great time with their friends, and we were able to have important discussion with the dr. without distraction!

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