It’s been 100 days since my son took his first peanut solution. 100 days of purposefully giving him his allergen under a doctor’s carefully researched protocol in order to build his body’s tolerance. There have been a few bumps along the way, but nothing has derailed us. In fact, the bumps serve as reminders why we are on the road to begin with and we begin to focus steadfastly on the destination ahead. Mostly.
I have written and deleted this 100 Days post three times now. Each time it said something entirely different. There is so much I want to convey but it’s all emotional and not at all informational about the process. I should tell you how we are at 85% of a peanut and how, thank goodness, he loves the flavor. How I smell his breath like a weirdo because it’s surreal that my contact allergic child smells like his allergen. I now share with him how tasty Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups are instead of continuing to lie because I know he will be able to eat one some day. Even though I don’t approve of the sugar content or ingredients, I’ll give it to him anyway just to watch his face light up and because I never before thought it possible.
I should write a whole post about how crazy this last month has been, with Thanksgiving and my husband visiting, red ears, upset tummies, great days, homesick days, how hard it is to house hunt long distance, but my mind always reverts back to the moment I thought we would get set back in this treatment and I totally lost it. In the middle of a million good things, I latched on to the negative and spiraled out of control. Even now, I’m elated at our progress and I’m thinking back and beating myself up about those few hours where I wallowed in self pity. I should own up to my defects and move on, but it’s easier to be mad at myself for my obvious character flaw.
This time of healing my son’s body has also become a period self reflection. Thinking on how since his diagnosis he and I have fallen down a rabbit hole that he is emerging from and that I still catch myself putting on the brakes when someone is trying to lift me up out of it. I’ve been protecting him for so long, I’ve put off self care. I have spent thousands on doctors to help me feel like I should, like I used to, but I can see now what it’s really about. As I watch his confidence grow, it reminds me of when he became so withdrawn…and I know that is when I stopped eating, sleeping and exercising and being mindful of my limitations. It’s when I decided only I could do things in order to get them done correctly and safely. And then, at some point, Pinterest came on the scene and my do-it-yourself perfection neurosis finished me off.
Now I’m feeling self conscious because this post became about me. This isn’t just about me. It isn’t just about my son or the stupid peanut or OIT. It’s about how all-consuming a life threatening food allergy can be for an entire family. No one goes untouched. Even the family dog was gently informed that he is allergic to peanuts and would not be consuming them.
While it may seem life changing to move to another state to seek treatment for our son, our lives were already changed. We are trying to recapture normalcy. I look forward to the day I grab food off the shelf at a grocery store and don’t scan the back label and call the company before making a purchase. I can’t wait to say no to the Costco sample because it’s filled with high fructose corn syrup instead of explaining to the vendor that despite the item not containing peanuts, the label clearly states it was produced in a facility with them and that makes it dangerous to us.
All of this will happen. It will happen soon. We are halfway to our brand new, normal life.