"Carolyn had just turned one when she was diagnosed with her peanut allergy. We vividly remember getting the diagnosis and being terrified. Our lives changed that day, and food has never been looked at the same again.
Working with our allergist, Dr. Jyothi Gadde, we learned what foods Carolyn could and could not eat. We learned to read allergen labels on foods and be careful of what we eat and any exposure Carolyn could have to peanuts. During each annual allergy test, we always hoped the outcome would be different, but each year the reaction was strong and showed no sign of fading. Epi-pens and Benadryl went everywhere we went. We resigned ourselves to life-long avoidance of peanuts and taught Carolyn how to avoid foods that could cause reactions for her. But, there was always an underlying fear that she would accidentally eat a peanut and that something terrible would happen.
We believe in the science of medicine and the power of prayer. Luckily, there have been advances in allergen science in recent years. Last year, Dr. Gadde brought these advances to us as a potential way to reduce the risk of Carolyn’s peanut allergy. Dr. Gadde worked with us to make the decision to utilize a treatment called Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) to build Carolyn’s tolerance to peanuts. There were risks, and yes we were scared, but the science behind it showed that the results could be life changing.
Through this advancement in science and carefully following doctor’s orders, our prayers have been answered! Ten years after her initial diagnosis, and 11 months after starting OIT…Carolyn has successfully completed her treatment! She can now safely tolerate the equivalent of 8 peanuts (or more) a day. Just today at her final challenge – she ate about 24 peanuts. No rash, no wheezing, no hives, no anaphylaxis … no reaction! Prayers answered!
Our biggest thanks goes to Dr. Gadde. She has truly been such a rock for us during this process. She has gone above and beyond the call of any doctor we have ever experienced. Thank you for answering all of our questions – regardless of the day and time, even one time calling us back from India in what was the middle of the night just to answer a question. Thanks for supporting us and guiding us on this journey. And thanks for truly caring about our daughter. We could not have done this without you!
OIT is not a quick fix, it truly is a journey. But, for us – the choice was the right one for us, and the OIT journey has been worth it. We are celebrating sunsetting our fears and the sun rising to a new day. If you (or your kid) has allergies, consider discussing OIT as a possible option with your allergist. "
- Jenny M.
Carolyn with Dr. Gadde