MD For Moms Radio, Every Wednesday 1pm (ET) on The BBM Global Network, TuneIn and iHeartRadio or as a podcast on iTunes.
This week on MD for Moms, I interview Dr. Eva Cesnek, Family Physician and writer, about pediatric food allergies. Having a baby or toddler with significant food allergies can be difficult and very isolating. Parents rarely get an answer right away as to why their little one is suffering, and even once a diagnosis is made, the next steps can feel daunting and overwhelming.
When Dr. Eva Cesnek’s child developed severe food allergies she decided to learn all she could about the topic and then literally wrote a book about it for other parents. The FPIES Handbook is dedicated to educating parents about this disorder and empowering them to support their child’s health.
On this week’s show, we explore the different types of food allergies, how and when kids typically present and steps to get your child accurately diagnosed. We review what it means if a child has IgE or non-IgE mediated food allergies and why figuring this out matters in the short and long term. Dr. Cesnek also discusses ways to minimize symptoms and how to make safe eating a way of life. This is a topic near and dear to my heart as one of my kids has severe food allergies. Hopefully this show will help others understand what may be happening for their kiddo suffering from food allergies, so no one needs to feel as scared or lost as I did before my daughter’s diagnosis.
Have a question for Dr. Eva Cesnek about pediatric food allergies?
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Learn more about my guest, Dr. Eva Cesnek:
Who am I? I am a board certified family physician with years of experience and advanced masters level training in both epidemiology and biostatistics. (Yes, family physicians see children, too!) More importantly, I am one of you!
By the time that you finish reading our book, you should be at least somewhat acquainted with me. I hope! It uses my writing style. Within the book, I give you personal tidbits because you deserve them. Yes, you! FPIES is something bigger than either of us, and neither of us needs to conquer it alone.
Do you want to know a little more about how the book was written? Due to a crazy set of circumstances, I read 400+ journal articles and wrote the entire 270+ page book in a little over a month. Yep, about 30 days! 270+ pages! On a subject that I did not yet know that I could write THIS much about! What?
The words just flowed, and it wasn’t of my own doing. No way! I was too busy taking care of my daughter during the day! The words and the research were mostly done at night while everyone was sleeping. How? My coauthor Joy Vines was amazing. Heather Martin helped with my nutrition questions! Plus, the workgroup who created the “International consensus guidelines for the diagnosis and management of food protein-induced enterocolitis syndrome” provided so much clarity; I loved reading their various research articles. Then there were you – other parents of children with FPIES! You know who you are even if many of you have wanted to stay anonymous! We all shared a common goal – to create something that would provide hope to those new to FPIES.
Knowledge about a rare medical disorder leads to a feeling of control. In the face of fear and helplessness, under circumstances where many primary care providers have never heard of FPIES and specialist visits can be months away, people need hope! They need to replace fear and helpless with action plans, knowledge, and that feeling of, “I got this… at least a little!”
I have no idea how any of you will respond to the final book but writing it has reminded me of something very important. I love the famous quote, “Never doubt that a group of children with rare disorders and their loving parents or caregivers can change things for the better.” With this book, I hope that you have proof that we certainly can!
Head over to www.evacesnek.com for book updates and other information. If you want to spread knowledge about FPIES to others, share this book. Go on the websites of organizations that advocate for FPIES. Most importantly, don’t doubt yourself! You can do this! You can take the difficulties of FPIES and figure out how, in spite of them, you can be braver and stronger! For extra credit, perhaps you can turn those difficulties into something that will make the FPIES world a little bit of a better place!
One more thing, I am currently NOT seeing patients in any of the offices where you may find me online, and I am currently NOT planning to be anyone’s allergist. I am in the trenches with many of you, and none of us is alone.