I’m drowning. I don’t want to admit it because I’m strong and never want to be seen as anything else, but I am. While my son’s actual treatment didn’t cost us a lot of out pocket (especially compared to what he gained) there is fall out…months that I wasn’t working, among other things. Peanut butter is cheap but asthma medication is not. I think our insurance company is punishing us for 6 months worth of weekly doctor’s appointments. There are bills for an overnight trip to the hospital after my son, American Ninja Warrior style. swung off the couch, saw sparkles and got a concussion. I’ve tried to blog about it but it’s traumatic to think about so I don’t. I’m scared to death some random, normal, childhood fall will cause THAT again and my kids think I’m being a safety freak.

Real estate is a passion of mine but we need a more consistent income to fully recover and we definitely need better insurance. I have big dreams and need time to plan but, apparently, time is also one of those things that just doesn’t grow on trees. Our truck needs repairs. Epinephrine has all expired. School is starting for the kids. I’m working on strengthening my marriage. Trying to extricate myself from social media for awhile. I forgot my own mother’s birthday.
Can’t. Catch. My. Breath.

I’ve reached the point where I no longer look at the labels on packaged foods at the grocery store for an allergy warning. In fact, I don’t even remember that I’ve forgotten to check for peanuts. There were days I thought that habit was so ingrained it would never die, but it’s all a memory now. My everyday life is free of that worry because of OIT. Today my son informed me yet again he doesn’t want to go to college…wait, unless you need a college education to do robotics for work. Yes, you do, I told him. Those kinds of conversations are something I truly cannot ever anticipate taking for granted. For so many years he cried if anyone asked what he wanted to be when he grew up and eventually just started saying, “A space angry bird.” Getting married, having kids, any plans at all were resisted, ignored or caused a full meltdown. At a certain point in his treatment, he suddenly wanted things…to play professional football, to have a truck…a future. Each of these conversations about his plans remind me of the moment I realized he never thought he had a future and it always will. Unlike forgetting to read labels, I will never forget having a child who thought he would die before reaching adulthood.

No matter how far I slip under the surface, I’m pulled back up to breathe fresh air every time I remember that I have done hard things before and can again. I saved my child. I gave him freedom and hope. Sometimes I even give those things to others and I watch in pride as other families embark on their own journeys of freedom from food allergies based on, if even just the slightest bit, our story. Some days I feel like I’m drowning, other days I’m making pace and striding across the water, but all I ever need is a life vest. When I can’t make it on my own, it keeps me afloat until I regain my strength again…and I will. I always do.

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