Six little, five little, four little allergies …

For four weeks now, Caleb has been eating a food that was previously off-limits: wheat. Blood tests done in the U.S. last year indicated that he was much less likely to develop a reaction to it. However, there was not enough time to follow those tests with a food challenge. Working through a new contact – and subsequent friend – here in Germany, Katherine made an appointment with an allergist at the children’s hospital run by the German Red Cross in nearby Siegen.

Based on the exam and a review of the test results, the allergist recommended that a food challenge be done. Early last month, the clinic applied a test that didn’t go so well. The poor lad had to drink quite a lot of two not-so-smoothies to get enough wheat (plus a control) into his system. At the end of the testing, he just couldn’t keep it all down.

First wheat cupcake!The doctor wasn’t convinced that this reaction was due to an allergy, and she suggested that Katherine give Caleb a little wheat here at home. So Katherine baked him some chocolate cupcakes that included some wheat flour. With little to no coercion, he tried them, liked them, and – more importantly – did not react. We waited one day, two days, and still saw no signs of his body rejecting the new food. The whole family gave up a cautious “Hallelujah!”

Over the next few weeks, Katherine tried additional wheat foods and increased the amount that our very happy boy was eating. There was still no reaction. With four weeks behind us, it seems that Caleb is in the clear!

First pretzel!Katherine discovered during this time that an area bakery, which is based within a very short walk of our home, keeps a thorough catalog of their products. It lists all of the ingredients for each item. If there’s a possibility that the product contains trace amounts of any of the common allergens, the catalog lists that, too. With that information in hand, Katherine got Caleb a treat – his first soft pretzel!

We are ecstatic that Caleb is free now from an allergy that put some of the most severe restrictions on his diet. Our thanks go to the LORD our God for hearing our prayers – and those of family and friends – over these many years. He has taken soy and wheat off of Caleb’s list now, with only milk, eggs, peanuts, and (most) tree nuts still out-of-bounds.

Praise God with us for this wonderful development! Please keep praying for our boy’s allergies and health, when you think of it. Who knows but that we may soon see more of these allergies fall by the wayside?

This old house … ugh

In Wycliffe, anytime one is in the process of getting a new assignment – whether it’s the first one or not – there are periods of slooow progress toward one’s goal. Now is one of those times for us.

Katherine and I groan inwardly and outwardly when we look around us at our house. There’s something to be said for those religious orders that renounce materialism and worldly possessions (just see Matthew 6:19-21). Stuff reproduces and multiplies faster than rabbits, and some of it attaches to human sentiment like tar. And we have to deal with all of it, in one way or another, before we can move.

Please, oh please, pray for God to put a fire in us to go through our home and separate our belongings:

  • Sell
  • Give away
  • Store
  • Take to Germany

Some of this sorting needs to happen so that I can get to work on putting down a new laminate floor in the dining area, family room, living room, and hallway. There’s lots of painting to do, as always, so all the pictures and shelves have to come down, too. (So pray that we’re able to keep the fumes from stirring up the boys’ asthma; pulling up the vinyl floor didn’t do any of us much good.)

Now that was a nice segue to the next prayer request. Katherine has looked at a local health insurance option in Germany and thinks that it may be a better fit for us there than the plan we’re on through Wycliffe. We’re still collecting information at this point, but we need to be wise and discerning in our final choice – health care is a big deal for just about everybody.

And yet, the Man said, “… do not worry ….” (Matthew 6:31-34) – so I guess we won’t!

One allergy down?

For the past few years, Caleb has had blood tests done to see if his sensitivity to any of his food allergies has subsided. This year, there was an indication that it would be a good time to test him directly on soy.

Yesterday, Katherine took him up to the allergist’s office, where he was given a little soy milk to drink under the observation of the doctor. After several small drinks of the stuff – which, amusingly enough, he disliked – and a few hours’ time, he had not reacted. By bedtime, there was still no reaction. This morning, Caleb had no signs of his usual symptoms. If he’s clear tomorrow, after the 48-hour mark, then he can start trying measures of soy foods on a regular basis.

What an answer to prayer this would be! It’s difficult enough for Katherine to accommodate his allergies here in the U.S., but it will take research and special language study to ensure that we can provide for his diet in Germany. Don’t stop praying!