BLOG: Making Friends with Mr. Peanut: by Jen and Leah

There are over 50 OIT family blogs published in our Research & Learn library. They contain the journey of that family in OIT–some are in clinical trials, and others are in private practice with board-certified allergists. All the blogs are fascinating to read, full of wisdom and knowledge unique to that family’s journey. When you do OIT you go on a lot of road trips. When you graduate you look back on the trips as wonderful memory-making events.


Now that we are coming down the home stretch for Leah and soon heading into the “maintenance phase” of OIT,  I have been reflecting on our journey and all that we did to get to this point. Since we began this therapy back in February, we have logged the following stats:

7 hotel stays

11 trips down and back from VA Beach

12 up doses

8 days of Kindergarten missed

4887 miles driven

One brave 6 year old girl

Had I done the math prior to our start of OIT,  I might have been overwhelmed by those numbers. Now that we are approaching the end of our bi-weekly travel for up doses and have the majority of the journey behind us, I can honestly say that it has all been worth it.  Yes, it was a lot for all of us. There were many hours spent in the car, days missed from school, a financial hit from the cost of OIT and travel expenses, anxiety, exhaustion, FREAKIN TRAFFIC. But the benefits of this therapy far outweigh the time and effort that we had to put in to get to this point.

For example, yesterday Leah and I, with her brothers in tow, did a round-trip VA Beach up dose trip, down and back, in one day.  On the way to the office, I spotted a familiar ice cream shop that was my favorite when I was growing up on Long Island.  (They don’t have them where we are in NoVa, and we had actually been discussing this very place over the weekend, so it was crazy that we found one down in VA Beach!) When we were done with her appointment and heading back home, we decided to stop for a quick treat.  I got each of us a junior cone, and made sure to take some pictures of Leah to capture the moment she had a Carvel ice cream cone for the very first time.  Actually it was the first time ever that we had walked into an ice cream shop and bought her a cone.  Just like that.  Something we could’ve never safely done before OIT.  Prior to this therapy, I would’ve done research online before visiting this shop and would’ve found that they serve peanut butter/peanut products.  Which would’ve automatically disqualified this place as a shop that Leah could safely visit.  Yesterday I walked in, saw all the signs for Reese’s flavored items and it didn’t phase me a bit.  Because I know she is safe now. If that woman behind the counter didn’t wash her hands after prepping a Reese’s cone for the customer before us, we are still safe.  Cross contamination cannot hurt my girl anymore.

Yesterday Leah up dosed to 2 peanut m&m’s.  She will stay at 2 until we return for our last up dose visit in a few weeks when she will go to 3.  At that point we will stay at 3 for six months.  We will not need to travel to VA Beach again until next winter when she will challenge a higher dose of peanut protein to see if she can tolerate it.  Her up dose to 2 went great.  No reaction, a completely uneventful visit which is what we always pray for.

We unfortunately spent a lot of time in the car yesterday, sitting in traffic on the way home.  The boys talked about how long it would take if we were to fly to VA Beach instead of driving.  Helicopters and private jets were discussed.  If only we had it in the budget, I would gladly have flown down and back for appointments over the last 6  months!  Until we win the lottery or I publish my best seller, we will not be flying on our private jet anytime soon but at least the distance we needed to travel for OIT therapy has been manageable.  Many don’t have a doctor’s office as close as we do who participates in this therapy, so for that, I am grateful. Plus we wouldn’t have as much time in the car to play games together and have meaningful conversations.  (I find that having them trapped in the car with me has led to some deep, insightful discussions that we might not have had, had we not been together, sitting in a car for 4 or 5 hours at a stretch!) Silver lining!

In three weeks (our schedule is complicated next month!) we will travel back down for Leah’s final up dose appointment. It’s amazing to think about how far we’ve come!

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