Food allergies are scary. Food is supposed to be nourishment and a source of joy and even companionship when you eat with those you love. It’s personal. Continue reading
February 18th was the one year anniversary of my son finding freedom from his peanut allergy. He felt safe and secure. Gone was the anxiety ridden little boy who couldn’t imagine his own future. Then…it happened.
5. The number of years since my son’s peanut allergy diagnosis.
100. The maximum IGE (number that measures the body’s allergic response via blood test) the standard allergy test will show. His tests always read Peanut IGE >100.
2. The number of years since his anaphylactic reaction from peanut cross contamination in a grilled cheese sandwich from a restaurant.
Having a life-threatening food allergy can sometimes make the world seem very scary and dangerous…especially when you are a child and things like playing with a toy or eating a grilled cheese at a restaurant have proven to be unsafe. My son suffered reaction after reaction outside our home from peanut residue and cross-contamination in the strangest and unlikeliest of places. In turn, he withdrew and exhibited many behaviors that could have easily been misconstrued as spectrum traits.
For most, Halloween is a fun night of no-so-scary goblins and innocent fun as kids run up and down neighborhood streets asking for treats. For most, the only fear is what mom or dad is going to squirrel away while they sleep. Children with food allergies have many fears on Halloween , however:
Oh my hell. I cannot believe what I did today. As a mom who has navigated the murky waters of food allergies for a number of years, I made an unimaginable screw up. Here’s the background: My son no longer has to worry about his previously deadly peanut allergy and he consumes all other nuts safely. Due to his asthma, we eliminated dairy from his diet, which has seemed to help his symptoms. He misses yogurt deeply so after a little trial and error, he picked a blueberry almond milk yogurt as his favorite.
This is the part where I get to turn that pointing finger back on myself. Continue reading
If your child’s school has a ban on a food, whether it be peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, dairy, gluten, WHATEVER, and you send it anyway because you feel “It’s not my job to keep some XYZ allergy kid safe,” not only are you an asshole, but you are a danger to society and need major reform. By that logic, should my child get to bring a loaded gun to school? He knows how to use it, so that should make it safe for everyone else, right? To you, this may not be a true comparison, but to the parent of a child with a life threatening food allergy, it’s exactly the same. Both are just as lethal to our child.
I know, I know, it’s hard to wrap your mind around. After that white coat comes off, there’s a real human under there. They have families, lives, political beliefs and mother in laws. So, when they put that white coat on and walk into that exam room, do all prejudices fall away and they only analyze the situation at hand with knowledge from past patients and medical books?
Before we began this journey I read Facebook groups and blogs, emailed and called mothers who had children in oral immunotherapy and I asked lots of questions. I knew there would be rules to follow as far as being calm after dosing and eating beforehand in order to reduce the chance of a reaction. I saw what can happen when people didn’t always follow the doctor’s advice and I vowed that any side effects would be caused by my son’s deep intolerance of peanuts and not my own mistakes.
What no warned me of was that my son’s shy, reserved demeanor would fade away; that I would get to see a big, bright smile in pictures that had disappeared years ago when he started ducking as the flash went off.
Last week I was getting my hair done when the hair stylist said something profound. She said, “Wow, he’s depended on you his whole life to keep him safe. That’s going to be a big adjustment now that he won’t have to worry about peanuts.
I had never actually thought about it, but she was entirely correct. Even if my husband or mom, neighbor or teacher read a label, my son always asked if his mommy had read it and made sure it was ok. He double checked with me before eating anything new I brought into the house. He won’t touch a thing at a restaurant without asking me if I have made sure it was safe first. I’ve been his lifeline.
© 2019 Amy Billington