Treatment Success Helps Normalize Bo's Life

As most of our reader's know from following Bo's peanut allergy research study updates over the past 3 years, we have always focused on the positives. There are plenty of other peanut allergy blogs that chronicle the very real day-to-day challenges we all share of living with a loved one affected by life threatening food allergies. So after a quick trip down memory lane, we want to focus this update on how the success of Bo's peanut allergy desensitization treatments at Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock are slowly bringing more normalcy to Bo's life.

Quick Recap of Bo's Peanut Allergy Treatment Journey

Bo is 8 now, but was 5 years old back in June 2007 when he started the "double blind" peanut allergy treatment study in which a small percentage of participants get a placebo instead of actual treatment but neither Drs. nor participants know who. At that point, he was so allergic to peanuts that his initial daily dosage amount that he was eating was so miniscule it looked like a few grains of sand in a cup. But over the course of the year as the doseage levels were slowly increased, Bo had worked up to eating the equivalent of about nine peanut kernals per day... or so we thought.

On his one year anniversary of participating in the "double blind" peanut allergy desensitization study he failed his food challenge and we learned Bo had been one of the kids randomly selected to receive a placebo in year one of the study. So in June 2008 after one year of 900 mile roundtrips every other week from South Louisiana to Little Rock, we regrouped and started the the process all over again, taking comfort in knowing that he would be getting real peanut for his daily doses from then on. By May of 2009 Bo had graduated to the maximum daily dose and switched from peanut flour to eating more than 30 peanut butter M&Ms every day! In October 2009 Bo passed his food challenge and has continued eating his peanut butter M&Ms every day since to maintain his peanut allergy desensitization!

Treatment Success Helps Normalize Bo's Life

Keep in mind that even though Bo is now able to eat more than 30 peanut butter M&Ms every day without an allergic reaction and we no longer have to worry about cross-contamination level risks, he is still allergic to peanuts. Therefore, we still avoid food with peanuts in the ingredients and Bo always has his Epipens with him wherever he goes.

Below is a list of the ways our life has changed for the better and things we have learned because of Bo's participation in the peanut allergy treatment study for the past few years.

  1. Less stress now over the food being served at birthday parties and holiday meals
  2. Now able to eat in more restaurants (convenient and fun)
  3. Now able to eat some of the foods labeled "may contain" or "assembled in a facility that processes nuts"
  4. Now allow Bo to spend the night out with friends and relatives
  5. Now able to travel more
  6. Are so appreciative for Disney's wonderful food allergy friendly parks
  7. Enjoy receiving wonderful e-mails and comments to our blog about the hope that Bo's story has brought to so many families around the world dealing with life threatening food allergies.
  8. Understand how even in your lowest moments, there is always someone dealing with more life burdens than you.

We pray that this holiday season and 2010 will be a time of good health, happiness and prosperity for all. And, as we do every night, we pray for world peace, for the military to come home soon safe to their families and give thanks for the many blessings in our life!

May God bless you and your families.


Bo's parents

Peanut Safe Fun in CA: Disneyland, Legoland & San Diego

Bo completed his great California adventure in early June and we wanted to provide an update on how his ongoing peanut allergy desensitization treatment made such a difference on this vacation.

But first a quick update on Bo's daily peanut allergy treatment at Arkansas Children's Hospital. Bo, is still eating 34 peanut butter M&Ms every day as his daily peanut desensitization dosage. He has adjusted well from the peanut flour routine and actually likes the taste of peanut butter M&Ms now, though he would prefer not to have to eat so many at one sitting.

If your new to Bo's peanut allergy treatment blog please be sure to read About Us.

San Diego, LEGOLAND, Disneyland, Oh My!

We started out in San Diego staying at the beautiful Hilton San Diego Resort & Spa on Mission Bay. This hotel is simply awesome and in a great location very close to Sea World, parks, and down town San Diego. For breakfast each day, Bo ate different varieties of huge pancakes (his favorite was banana) with bacon. He was so excited that each day he sent his compliments to the Hilton chef!

While we were in San Diego for a few days we went to a San Diego Padres game at beautiful PETCO Park where he ate a hamburger and fries. Highlights of the game included the fact that though there was a man eating a very large bag of peanuts during the game, maybe 5 feet away from Bo, we didn't feel the need to leave because of his peanut desensitization treatment. Bo_running_bases_padres_PETCO_park_06_09Here is a picture of Bo running the bases on PETCO Park field after the Padres game while wearing his LSU baseball jersey. Pretty cool considering LSU won their sixth NCAA College Baseball national championship on Wednesday, June 24!

San Diego was a blast and we thoroughly enjoyed the Midway Aircraft Carrier Museum and exploring Coronado Island. Bo is really developing an appreciation for our military and the freedom that their service and sacrifices provide us all. God bless our troops!

Next we headed to LEGOLAND in Carlsbad for two days where he really had a lot of fun. Our family even won the fire truck competition putting out the fire in our building first before the other teams! The LEGOLAND site provides food allergy safe dining info to help plan your trip and they are helpful at the park. Bo enjoyed his lunch at Castle Burgers and Pizza Mania at LEGOLAND. FYI, in our opinion, the rides and attractions at LEGOLAND will primarily appeal to kids under the age of 9 and we found the time of each actual ride/attraction to be a little short. So if there is a long wait, you may be dissappointed with how fast the ride ends once you get on. There is enough to do at LEGOLAND, including their new Sea Life aquarium, to keep everyone entertained for a day or maybe a day and a half.

While staying at a great new Marriott Residence Inn in Oceanside, Bo ate the do-it yourself waffles and bacon for breakfast each day.

We wrapped up our vacation with a few days at Disneyland Resort and Disney's California Adventure Park in Annaheim. Our first visit to the California version of Disney was a lot of fun and we enjoyed the new to us rides, as well as, our favorites. We had a great meal, including Bo's spaghetti, from the Trattoria restaurant in California Adventures. However, the Disneyland California web site is really lacking in information on food allergy dining compared to the Disney World Florida site. That being said they were very helpful while planning our trip and in the park.

Some final comments on peanut safe dining while in San Diego, LEGOLAND, Disneyland and California Adventure parks. All of these parks were accommodating to guests with food allergies both during planning and in the parks. We had no problem bringing in a small backpack/cooler with Bo's EpiPens and peanut safe snacks.

FYI, while in California, Bo ate peanut safe at the following fast food places:

Bo_redrobin_09May all of our food allergic loved ones stay safe and please continue your prayers that we can realize the peanut allergy and other food allergy desensitization treatment successes with everyone sooner vs. later!

God bless.

Bo's parents

Eating at Chick-fil-A Despite My Peanut Allergy

UPDATE:  6/29/09 This update is provided in response to some comments about our original Chick-fil-A post. Bo has eaten numerous times at Chick-fil-A's in many different cities both before being diagnosed with a peanut allergy and since his diagnosis, without having a peanut allergy reaction. For the record, he has been tested twice within the last two years and both times had a RAST score of over 100.

Prior to being diagnosed with a peanut allergy, I loved to eat and play at Chick-fil-A. However, we had stopped eating there immediately after I was diagnosed with a severe peanut allergy. One of the reasons my dad had trouble coming to grips with my peanut allergy diagnosis early on, was because he knew that I had never gotten sick after eating at Chick-fil-A even though they use peanut oil. The Chick-fil-A web site allergen info states that "all breaded chicken products and Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato Fries are cooked in 100% pure peanut oil.

Then last month, while talking with several other parents of peanut allergic children participating in the peanut allergy treatment research study at Arkansas Children's Hospital, we learned that their peanut allergic kids were eating at Chick-fil-A without having allergic reactions. What we learned about Chick-fil-A after talking to the doctors and nurses at Arkansas Children's Hospital and to a manager of a Chick-fil-A, is that they, like many restaurants, use "pure, hot extracted peanut oil", which for most people is non-allergenic. However, "cold pressed/gourmet" peanut oils often do cause allergic reactions.

Mom was very nervous about me trying to eat at Chick-fil-A again so the head nurse of the study agreed to go with us to eat lunch there while we were in Little Rock. We all went to Chick-fil-A and I ate the chicken nuggets and waffle fries without having an allergic reaction or any other problems! Being able to eat and play again at Chick-fil-A is awesome because it helps me and my family feel like life is getting to be a little bit more normal again and it gives us another safe option for eating out when we are traveling!

This experience is just one of the many reasons we thank God every day for helping us to get into the peanut allergy treatment research study and for bringing Nurse Karen and Dr. Stacie Jones at Arkansas Children's Hospital into our lives.

Below are some other articles and comments about peanut allergy and peanut oil.
"Pure peanut oil is generally non-allergenic, but cold pressed peanut oil or oil contaminated with peanut protein through cooking may be dangerous."
"Studies show that most allergic individuals can safely eat peanut oil (not cold pressed, expelled, or extruded peanut oil - sometimes represented as gourmet oils). If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether or not you should avoid peanut oil."

Whether or not to eat foods prepared in pure, hot pressed peanut oil is an individual decision that individuals with peanut allergies should make on an individual, case-by-case basis after consulting with their doctor, reading the nutrition information, questioning the food preparers/restaurant managers, and taking all necessary precautions to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction.