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.
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.
It has never been my nature to play defense. I find solutions and get things done. Therefore, this notion that my son will have to constantly work around a peanut allergy and restrict his life due to a food allergy, did not sit well with me. Especially since the anaphylactic reaction in late July of 2013, I have been seeking out ways to make his life better and his allergy less of an influence on our life…which really led to the exact opposite. It’s been on the forefront of our minds in an attempt to keep him safe while looking for answers.
Unfortunately for my son, the stress of feeling of his body going into anaphylaxis and the shot of epinephrine has caused him a great deal of anxiety. When your little boy continues to ask you, “Am I going to die, Mommy?” with his little lip quivering any time he gets an itchy eye or a little hive, well, you develop anxiety, as well.
I’ve said this to the tv screen in a fit of self pity and despair with my middle finger straight up (no, my kids were not in the room). I realize I have no right to feel pity or despair for my son simply due to a food allergy. I know that things could be so much worse and trust me, I thank God every day for our good health. This is simply an inconvenience, but since it is a life-threatening inconvenience, it does dictate a lot about our lives that I wish I didn’t.