It has been three months since I began dosing for peanuts, starting at only 1mg which came in a vial with less than drop of liquid inside! For the first six weeks, I dosed at home, increasing the dose every week. By week six, I was dosing 36mg.
I then went into the clinic for an updose challenge of 80mg of peanut protein, and it ended up being one of the roughest challenges I have ever had in the past 3 years as a patient in TIP (read about it HERE). I got through it though, and proceeded to dose at home for another six weeks, this time starting at 70mg and ending at 170mg.
If you’re new to my blog, I am in a food allergy treatment program called the Tolerance Induction Program (TIP). You can read more about it HERE, or learn about it through my film, Risk At First Bite. To read my story about how I developed over a hundred life-threatening food allergies as a young adult, click HERE.
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After my 80mg peanut challenge at the clinic, I was very nervous to continue from that point on. I did not believe that my body was able to or ready to handle this amount of peanut, and I was honestly scared to continue. Just for reference, one peanut weighs approximately 900mg and contains about 300mg of protein. The dosing amounts I am referring to is the amount of peanut protein.
The clinic assured me that my at home dosing would be okay, as I was starting at a lower dose (70mg) than what I had challenged at the clinic (80mg), and I was instructed to bake the dose into a muffin rather than ingest it straight from the vial it came in.
The next 6 weeks went something like this:
70mg - Skipped the first night because I was too anxious. Had a couple of problems with some of the vials, so ended up skipping a couple of more days in the middle. Eventually dosed the amount for a full 7 days.
90mg (Cleared from cross contamination!!) - Had a panic attack before even starting the dose the first night. Reacted to the updose after one bite with an itchy throat and a bump on my lip. Although I knew there was no way I was actually reacting, since I tolerated 70mg and I had only taken one small bite of a muffin with 90mg, I stopped for safety reasons. The next night I ate the full muffin with 90mg and was fine from then on.
110mg - Freaked out about updosing again, but this time it went smoothly with no issues! No issues the rest of the week!
130mg - No issues!
150mg - Had to skip a dose because there was a wildfire where we live and my environmental allergies were acting up. The next day our apartment was filled with smoke and there were ashes outside - I couldn’t dose safely in these conditions. I didn’t want to skip anymore doses, so we went to Vegas for the weekend! I dosed much later than usual (3am instead of midnight) for a few days, without issues.
170mg - I was only able to dose for 4 days rather than a full 7 before it was time for my appointment. I had to skip one day because I had a giant hive on my arm, and we weren't sure if it was an allergic reaction to the dosing or a bug bite. It ended up being just a bug bite!
APPOINTMENT: Anxious was understatement. After what had happened at the 80mg challenge last time at the clinic, I was mentally preparing to have an allergic reaction.
I was here to challenge one and a half actual peanuts, but before I could even start the challenge, the nurse practitioner seeing me that day had to get approval from Dr. R that I could go ahead with the challenge since I had only dosed 170mg for four days instead of a full seven.
After getting the ok from Dr. R, the medical assistant asked me how I wanted my dose prepared. She informed me that typically during the one and a half peanut challenge, patients will eat one peanut M&M and half of a peanut.
Knowing my body though, along with the anxiety I was experiencing, I asked if instead they would be able to crush one and a half peanuts and mix it into melted chocolate. There are three main reasons I asked for it this way:
1. My anxiety can get to levels so severe that completely take over my mind. If the peanut is crushed and mixed in chocolate, I won’t see it, and mentally that helps me a lot.
2. I wanted the peanut to be coated in something - not only to help mask the taste, but mostly I have found that it helps with oral symptoms when I eat the food along with something else.
3. I am well aware of my body, and I know that if I eat something slower, there will be a less likely chance that I will react. Eating the peanut crushed in chocolate allowed me to ingest the dose bite by bite at my own pace. A peanut M&M would be eaten all at once, and I didn’t feel comfortable doing that.
I spent about 15-20 minutes eating the full peanut and a half. I had no symptoms at any point. Once I was finished, I was escorted to the exercise room to raise my heart rate as high as possible by running for five full minutes.
Besides being out of breath, I still had no symptoms after exercising. I had officially passed the one and a half peanut challenge!
For the next six weeks, I will be dosing peanuts at home, going from one peanut to four peanuts. I was told to use a specific brand of peanuts, and to make sure I don't buy cocktail peanuts. I was also given the ok to dose with peanut M&Ms if I choose to! They instructed me to avoid any weird shaped M&Ms if I choose that route.
I am also doing something extra special at my next appointment, so stay tuned on Instagram for the big reveal! Can you guess what it is?
Hope you have been enjoying following along on my personal treatment journey <3
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