Amy Billington

Fueled by coffee and a passion for helping families living with food allergies.

Tag: oral immunotherapy (page 1 of 2)

No News is GREAT News In The Food Allergy World

As often happens to families after OIT, life moves on and you don’t update as much as you initially intended.

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My Kid Has a Food Allergy. What Do I Do Now?

Welcome to the club where nobody wants the free membership card. First, take a deep breath and know you aren’t alone.

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When Food Is Dangerous

Last month I was asked by our OIT doctor to give an interview with a staff writer at Healthy Utah Magazine. I’m pleased with how the journalist really seemed to understand the stress and anxiety food allergies can cause a family. Quality of life was one of the largest reasons we chose OIT vs strict avoidance of peanuts…oh yeah, that and avoidance doesn’t always work. I love sharing our experience so that others can determine if oral immunotherapy for food allergies is right for their family.

 

Damn Nuts | When Anxiety Returns

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.

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Oral Immunotherapy Changed My Son Forever

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.

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Doctors Are Human

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?
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OIT Side Effects I Was Never Warned About

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.

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I Depend On You, You Depend On Me, You’re My Sweet Boy

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.
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Afraid to Speak

I’m afraid to talk about how well it’s going because it might change. I’m afraid to think about what happens when we are done and we have no home waiting for us in Arizona. I’m afraid to tell everyone the changes in my family and in myself since we got here, lest they think we might abandon them back home in favor of staying in Utah.

A side effect of OIT for my son has been increased self confidence, becoming more social and lessened anxiety. My heart has leapt with joy over watching him acclimate to his surroundings more times than I care to admit because…those things didn’t happen at home. They didn’t happen in Arizona and he knows it. He begs every day not to go back. He says his friends will visit him and that will be fine.

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Coasting

What do you do when everything is going smoothly? You relax, but stay aware. You revel in your peacefulness while knowing it can change and even if it does, it really will be ok. Tomorrow, my husband visits for three days. It will be the first time we have seen him since August and we won’t see him again until mid-November. While he has been away working, we carry on with our new normal.

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