Watch the personal story told by Lane’s mother, Caitlyn, about the successful treatment of Lane’s peanut allergy through Dr. Chacko’s Oral Immunotherapy (OIT).
Oral Immunotherapy Successfully Treats Peanut Allergies
Join Caitlyn with daughters Lane and her sister as they explain the OIT process, how they discovered Lane’s allergies, how they found Dr. Chacko – and the positive changes brought to Lane’s life thanks to OIT treatment.
Peanut Allergies, OIT and Dr. Chacko
Follow along using the video transcription below to learn more about peanut allergies, oral immunotherapy treatments and Dr. Chacko.
My name is Caitlyn Felps. This is Lane Felps and Brynn Felps. This is our journey of kind of learning about allergies and being able to overcome them.
What Is Oral Immunotherapy?
Oral immunotherapy is kind of the idea of taking a very small dose, a super small dose of whatever the allergen is and letting the body accommodate to it, and then building it up over time. So, Lane, before this journey started, if she had eaten a whole peanut, that would have been gone for the races. But these are such a small dosage and move up once her body can accommodate it as they move forward.
For me, I said from the early beginning, I was like, “We are going very slow. We are going very slow. We are doing this. We are going the slowest possible.” Lane was on board with that. They were so accommodating for me. I was the one that was nervous about it but we worked up. We started with little peanut capsules that we mixed in the pudding and she would eat those. Then, it became pieces and parts of peanuts, and now she does this with peanut M&Ms. She gets to eat 5 peanut M&Ms every morning and that is with breakfast. She is like, “This is great!”
How Did You Start Learning About Lane’s Allergies?
So, Lane was born. We brought her home from the hospital. I remembered we got to do that first bath, and we were just so excited, and she just had hives head to toe. The hives just did not go away. So, we thought she is just probably really a sensitive kid. She cried all the time her first year. I think we could not find a time that she was not crying her first year. We thought she was a colicky baby with sensitive skin but it was not clearing.
So, we first went for allergy testing right around when Lane was a year old and realized that she had a whole host of allergies — peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, oh and dogs. They were the ones that kind of came back. We were just dumbfounded. You know, like, “Oh my gosh! What do we do? Where do we kind of go from here?”
We went to multiple doctors just to kind of see if we could find a way to help her because as a mom, you do not like your kid to suffer. We went to several allergists and everyone just kind of said, “Man, that really stinks. Benadryl! You can just treat it with Benadryl.” And we were like, “Man!” I think as a mom that is the thing that is the worse is hearing that someone, they do not have a way to treat your kid and watching her suffer.
I remember the first time she sat up and we were just so proud of her and so excited that here she was sitting and we were like, “Yehey!” And then, we would watch her rub her ankles on the carpet because she was just in so — she was so uncomfortable and itchy in her skin that she just could not handle it. I knew then that I was not going to stop until we kind of had some answers or found a way to make life better for her.
What Made You Decide to Try Allergy Therapy?
I heard about Dr. Chacko and about OIT and I thought, “Oh my gosh! This is it! This is the ticket.” But being the nervous Nellie that I am, I still had to do a ton of research. So, for probably 6-8 months, I researched. I was on blogs. I was on Facebook. I read medical journals. I talked to people who had gone through OIT. I picked people’s brains. I kind of did all this research and really the conclusion came to — we did not see any potential issues with it. It could only help her. So we thought, “Okay. This is it. We are going to do it.” She was getting ready to start kindergarten at that point and she was touch-sensitive to peanuts. I thought of hand railings, doorknobs. It is just so hard, especially in a kindergarten classroom that was really scary for me.
So, we started her OIT journey in December, right before she started kindergarten. We were kind of off to the races from there. We started with peanut because for Lane, like I said she was touch-sensitive to that and that was the one that was the scariest for me thinking about sending her off to school by herself so that was what we started with. We had just really been blessed by this office from the get-go. They kind of reserved one day for OIT for appointments and that way they have the staff and everyone there should there be questions and that kind of thing. We are in a hybrid homeschool program, so we are in school part of the day and at home part of the day, and that day just did not work for us. The office was just so accommodating and wonderful. They worked with us. They would answer our 80 million questions and kind of held our hands through this whole process.
The day that Lane graduated to maintenance for peanuts, I cried. I cried multiple times in the journey. Just how freeing it is. This was a child who one time had a major reaction in her preschool. There was a Sunday school class in the day before someone had eaten a peanut butter snack and colored with a crayon. The next day, Lane picked up the crayon, colored with it, and had a reaction just from that little bit of peanut butter potentially left on it over 24 hours later. I was just a bundle of nerves. Then, you know, the fact that she eats 5 peanuts a day now is just like so life-changing. I do not worry about her going to friends’ houses. I do not stress about her opening doorknobs wondering what the person before her had had peanuts it could cause a reaction. It has just been life-changing. I do not stress the way that I used to about it. Just seeing her pick up her little peanut M&Ms to eat every morning just gets me choked up every single day. I mean, it is truly and honestly a miracle. The day she graduated to maintenance with peanut OIT, I went out and bought all the candy bars that she could not have before — Kit Kat and Twix. All these things I came home and put it all on the counter. My husband was like, “What are you doing?” I was like, “She has been denied this for 6 years. She gets to eat it all!” So, that has been a very cool thing to be able to give her but then also to not have to stress about it anymore.
Like I said, we did peanuts. We did it very slow because I was very nervous about that and we kind of had had COVID in the middle of it. I mean, COVID happened to the world in the middle of this. We have checked off peanuts off of our list. We took a pause once we reached maintenance for a little bit and finished up kindergarten which was exciting.
Then, we went ahead and did dog allergy shots. So, Lane was extremely allergic to dogs as well. All our family has dogs. That was always really hard to not be able to go visit them or you have to use an inhaler and an ER visit and all the things being around that. So we were able to graduate from dog allergy shots.
Lane: And now we have a little dog named Minnie that is a Yorky-Maltese mix.
Caitlyn: Yes, we have a dog. We never thought we would say these words. Like that is also just bananas. I mean, she would hug someone who had a dog, just been around a dog, and she would break out with hives on her neck. So, the fact that we are able to go to friends’ houses who have dogs, to have a dog of our own, I mean it just surpasses our wildest — what we ever thought would happen. So, it is very, very exciting.
How Would You Describe OIT Impact on Lane’s Everyday Life?
Man, I am going to cry. A blessing, life-changing, and it makes me feel really safe. It helps me to keep her safe and it makes me feel safer to be able to send her out into the world and know that she is protected a little bit. So, it just truly has been the biggest blessing for us. We are ready to power through the last two. So, we are really protected.
Learn More About Treating Peanut Allergies with OIT When You Visit Chacko Allergy
Are you or your child suffering from a peanut allergy or other food allergies? Dr. Chacko and the team at Chacko Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center can diagnose and treat all types of food allergies. Make an appointment today at one of our locations in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Duluth and Johns Creek by calling (678) 668-4688 or requesting help online.