I hate allergies

I HATE food allergies… It’s true I said it. I hate having to always worry if I have the Benadryl around… and of course the EPI pens. (Which I am so eternally thankful we’ve never had to use). I hate going to a restaurant and not being able to just order without a lengthy explanation to the waiter or waitress. I hate that almost every time it comes wrong and I can tell there is butter on the broccoli and we have to send it back. I hate assuming the worst when we eat out thinking there is a chance she will wind up needing Benadryl. I hate that at Pre-k I can’t always make my daughters snack identical to all the other kids and she has to feel different (not that she seems to care yet but I know one day she will and I will have to dry her tears). I hate that when we go to play dates I have to be the weird mom requesting strangers half bathe their children after eating a snack. I hate that lots of people don’t get it and just think we’re weird and picky. I hate that I went against my mom instinct on a “may contain milk” label tonight and she reacted and now she can’t have the dessert we made together that she was so excited about and had to have Benadryl instead (Not worry I did my best to make it up to her with allergen free ice cream but it was still so sad). I hate that I won’t sleep well tonight and may feel the need to put her in our bed because what if the reaction comes back. I HATE food allergies with everything I have.

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BUT I LOVE my daughter more than life itself and I would do absolutely anything to make sure she gets to feel as normal as she can and stay healthy. I will stay awake all night and watch her breathe if that’s what it takes to be sure I’m keeping her safe. When she wants a dessert or a food she sees on one of the baking videos she loves to watch so much, you bet I will research for hours if that’s what it takes until I can make something as close as humanly possible to what she wanted to make or have and we will make it. (She may just grow up to be the best dang egg, dairy, nut, and avocado free chef there ever was! Look out for her restaurant “Pickles” in about 18 years or so haha) its so hard being a mom of a child with food allergies. Unless you live it you just don’t really understand it. Allergies are very much an invisible problem… until they aren’t and your kid is covered in hives and scratching like crazy or even worse struggling to breathe. I just needed to vent today. Tomorrow I will put on my big girl pants again and I will redo the special dessert with 100% guaranteed safe chocolate that doesn’t have a “may contain” disclaimer and all will be right with the world, even if its just for a few minutes wile I get to watch my daughter enjoy her dessert without fear of a reaction.

2~Stephanie B

****Stephanie is a 26 year old mom to a 4 year old who has multiple food allergies. It used to be 12+ but they’re down to 6 (and may get to challenge out of two). It’s been hard but they’ve made it work. Stephanie also have allergies to fish and Brazil nuts so she knew a little bit about being careful, but it’s hard having some of the main things they used to eat be dangerous now.

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Apologies and thank yous!

To the parent with the perfectly healthy child, to the parent whose child does not have food allergies, to the parent who doesn’t watch your child like a hawk before, during, and after meals, to the parent who does not have to inconvenience others because of your child’s issues:

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 APOLOGY

I am sorry that my child’s medical needs inconvenience you.  I am sorry that you are limited in your choices for your child’s lunch.  I am sorry that our school constantly sends out reminders about which foods can and cannot be brought to school.  I am sorry that you are sometimes late for work due to the long lines at drop-off in the morning due to the school-enforced rule that everyone wash their hands.  And I’m sorry that I can often sound harsh and repetitive when talking to you over and over about my child’s allergies, the dangers surrounding him daily, and my expectations of you as a fellow parent.  I know you are bombarded with demands from your life.  I know that you may have your own unknown issues going on.  I know life may be difficult for you because of other issues, and I’m sorry.

I will continue to be an advocate for my child, working to bring awareness to this issue in order to protect him and many others facing this scary issue; however, I promise to work on my delivery.  I promise to respect your feelings and come at you in a better way than my renowned attack-dog-like method.  I ask for your respect and understanding as well and hope that we can find a way to collaborate and find a solution that works for everyone.

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THANK YOU

Thank you for checking in on me after my son’s hive breakout.  Thank you for the prayers sent our way each day.  Thank you for your quick actions when he reacts while in your care.  Thank you for calling/texting to ask what you can fix or bring to a party or class event.  Thank you for noticing the difficulties that come with having a child with food allergies even though your child does not.  Thank you for teaching your child kindness and respect when dealing with my child’s allergy.

While there are many out there who complain and criticize our situation, you are there, supporting us, reminding us that there are still kind people in the world.  You encourage us not to bubble our child up and never let him out of the house, out of our sight.  You make my children and me feel welcome in your home. You give me hope for our lives.  I know because of people like you we can survive food allergies, cope with them, and hopefully one day over come them.

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~Lacey

The Depth of Food Allergies

As with many issues that people may not deal with, food allergies can be viewed as a simple diagnosis and treatment.  For those of us who have children with food allergies, it is far from simple.  I repeat, it is not simple.  There are many aspects to consider:  testing for all possible allergens (food and environmental), changing diets, changing routines, educating others, constant preparation, hawk-like observation of all events and outings, managing doctor’s appointments and medication costs…..The list goes on.  Even though we’ve been dealing with food allergies for almost two years, I know I cannot finish the list as everyday presents a new obstacle to add to the depth of the issue.

As an example, I suggest you take note of the fact that the two mothers running this blog have not had time to update lately.  The reason being, so many issues going on in life that we barely have time to hold ourselves together, let alone share it with the world.  But today, I need to release some of the anxiety smothering me.  Hope knows what I mean, as do many food allergy moms and dads (and parents of children with other medical issues).

 

My most recent issue started last Monday as we were traveling from NC to GA.  We had a relaxing and much needed weekend visit with my family.  As always, I kept a close eye on my son, DR’s diet.  Since my grandparents do not have sunbutter (our favorite peanut butter alternative), DR ate almond butter and jelly sandwiches.  My grandpa who is on a special diet still had to eat some peanut butter sandwiches during the day, but we took big precautions, and DR was able to avoid any contact.

Twelve hours after we returned home, DR had a small rash developing on his legs and belly.  We rubbed him down with his topical steroids like normal, and in the morning he was looking much better.  Then it happened.  Daycare called and he was covered head-to-foot in hives.  We followed our protocol for this type of reaction by dosing him with oral antihistamines and topical steroids, covering him in clothing to keep him from clawing his skin off, and watching him like a hawk praying for the best, but expecting the worst.  The next morning he seemed better.  The next 9 days included a cruel repeat of the events three more times.

The second event was after dinner at my mother-in-law’s house.  This time it started on his legs and arms.  He screamed in pain at the itching in his legs.  We repeated our protocol, and I slept (laid awake and stared at him) in bed with him that night.  When our power went out due to thunderstorms, I just surrounded the bed in flashlights. As I laid awake, I went over the possible triggers.  He was nowhere near peanuts or eggs, but he did have exposure at least two times to almonds.  Maybe that was the cause.

The third event occurred two days later at daycare right after naptime.  This time it started in his arms.  He had only eaten the food we had supplied for him, food that he had eaten before.  My sister-in-law drove to daycare and gave him his prescription meds.  My husband picked him up early from daycare, and by the time I got home at 6:30, he was out.  This boy, who normally  only sleeps for 8 to 9 hours, was out until 7am this morning (minus a delirious 4am sleepwalking/talking event).  At this point, I had hoped that he was just experiencing a biphasic reaction from the second event.

Then came the fourth event today, just one day after the third.  He had not had lunch yet and his class had only been outside for 3 minutes.  He immediately started turning red and the hives appeared.  The daycare reacted by giving him the prescription meds (which are now in the directors desk) and calling me.

I know many people will read this and think, why doesn’t she call the doctor.  That is a story in itself.  He was already scheduled with his allergist sometime late-August.  At his first reaction, I called and asked to move the appointment up; unfortunately, his doctor is on vacation until the first week of August, and they couldn’t test for anything anyway until he has been free of antihistamines for a week.  So we scheduled him for August 5th.  After the second reaction I called, but nothing could be changed.  The day of the third reaction, I called his pediatrician’s office.  For some reason, all of the doctor’s are out of the office (is July doctor vacation month???) and they scheduled him an appointment with a Nurse Practitioner who told me she was uncomfortable seeing for him an issue like this and thought he should see an allergist (well, duh!).   So with his fourth reaction today, I called the allergist office and demanded he be seen by a different doctor.  We now have an appointment for tomorrow afternoon and wonder if they will be able to do anything to help him.

Throughout all of this, I also have to coordinate and care for everyday issues:  our 1 year old is teething, previous doctor bills are due, work schedules, vacation schedules, bosses who get mad for you changing the work schedule, family visits, household chores, other doctor appointments, meal planning, not crying in public when I see the daycare’s phone number, only to name a few.

And emotionally, I feel like I’m being buried further and further from a solution, from peace-of-mind, from sanity.  But I have to hide it, because if I break down, who will handle this?  My husband probably, but he’s currently dealing with same stressors and more.  So if you ever think that food allergy parents are overly-dramatic, overly-sensitive, or overly-complicate situations, first think about with which we deal.  Your judgement only adds to the depth of our problems, but your support (especially the emotional support) can help digs us out of the pits of despair.

~ Lacey

https://fromsouptonutsallergyfree.wordpress.com/2016/07/20/the-depth-of-food-allergies

The 5 stages of food allergy grief: a child’s emotional reaction

DR was originally diagnosed with an egg allergy at 18 months old, at which time it was easier to limit his exposure as he only ate what we gave him.  A couple months after his 2nd birthday, we discovered his peanut allergy.  It was a little more difficult to avoid this allergen as peanut butter was one of his favorite foods.  We quickly replaced all of the peanut products in our house and finally found a suitable alternative to peanut butter.  Now that he is older and is learning to eat things for pleasure/taste he starting to go through his own stages of food allergy grief, making the exposure more difficult to avoid.  As a parent, only able to watch from the sidelines, his reactions can either add to the stress or help with the overall learning process.

Denial:  To keep him from feeling left out or isolated from other children, we tried to find as many alternatives to normal foods that looked or tasted similar.  For a while, we thought we had it made.  However, in the instances that we cannot predict when food will be brought to school for surprise parties, special events, or impromptu outings, it is difficult to have equivalent alternatives.  For example, one day last week, a child in DR’s class had a birthday.  Up to this point, no parents had brought in treats for other birthdays.  On this particular day, the other child’s parents decided to bring in special cookies.  Of course DR could not have one.  The cookies looked just like allergy-free cookies I had made before, so he could not understand why he couldn’t have them.  This led to a meltdown.  At 3 years old, he cannot understand why some items have eggs and others do not, and while I try to explain it to him, I am at a loss right now.

Anger:  Before his first reaction to peanuts I would allow DR to pick out a candy treat when he was good in the grocery store.  Due to having to read all ingredients for his egg allergy, grocery trips could be 2-3 hours and his compliance was key.  After his peanut allergy was discovered, this reward system disappeared.  Even though I offered him other rewards like stickers or books, he still wanted his candy.  One day, as we were checking out after a long grocery trip, he grabbed some candy off the shelf (of course it had to be Reese Cups), and tried to open them with his teeth.  As I wrestled them away from him, he was screaming and crying angrily at me, “I WANT THEM!!!”  I tried to explain from the store to the car, on the ride home, and even after carrying all the groceries into our kitchen, but his poor little 2 year old mind could not understand why this had changed.  He was used to not getting his candy when he misbehaved, but he had been perfect during this trip (except for the angry tantrum).  Since then, I try to avoid food as a reward, giving him other options at the beginning of our trips, so food is not an option in the end. 

Bargaining:  Bargaining has a very literal meaning here.  Despite all of my preparation,  extra snacks, and explanations to DR and others, I still have to keep a close eye on DR as he eats.  I have caught him in many instances swapping food with other kids, sharing his special snacks.  When he realizes he is caught, he claims that he is sharing. I have to start my explanations all over again.  Then there are the times he sneaks foods that he KNOWS he cannot have.   A couple weeks ago, we caught him eating his dad, Justin’s donuts.  As we panicked looking for the first sign of a reaction, DR kept saying “I fine.  I not itchy.”  Unfortunately, within minutes the rash started, and again we had to explain the dangers to him. 

Depression:  Halloween was a rough time for us this past year. I was extremely vigilant in keeping him away from candies.  I purchased allergy-free snacks to switch out when he went trick-or-treating.  I donated allergy-free options to local trunk-or-treats.  I literally prepared a month in advanced for this event.  In our town, Halloween and Fall festivals spanned several weeks, so we had a good pattern going.  Unfortunately, by the time Halloween actually arrived, DR was so burnt out from all of our special treats, activities, and precautions that he didn’t want to go trick-or-treating.  It was then that I learned that there should be limits to how concerned or scared we adults appear to children with allergies.  He was beginning to mimic my depression, and this was what I had been hoping to avoid

Acceptance:  I am amazed at how quickly DR can grasp this concept.  I think because his allergies developed at such a young age, we are avoiding some of the worse emotional reactions.  I love that at 3 years old he asks if food that is presented to him has eggs or peanuts.  And most of the time he loves his special foods.  I wish that my own acceptance of the issue could come as easily.

I am very much aware that as he ages DR will repeat the cycle of food-allergy grief, but I feel hopeful that he remain the spunky, wild, vivacious boy that I love.

~Lacey

 

 

 

The sister-hood of mother-hood

As we have repeated throughout several of our posts, living with a food allergy is mentally and emotionally trying, difficult, and draining.   The main point of this blog, though, is to connect and create companionship for any mother having to deal with a child’s food allergy.

Meal-planning, grocery-shopping, budgeting are all chores that some adult member of the household must do, so that the family can eat.  These are often not events that you think to invite your friends along, especially if you are a food-allergy mom.  This part of dealing with food allergies can be very time consuming and very lonely.

It doesn’t have to be.  All those hours you pour over recipes and meal plans to come up with just one weeks worth of ideas, those 3+ hours spent in the grocery store scanning every ingredient list two or three times, and the countless recalculations of your budget to ensure you can afford all the peanut, tree nut, egg, milk, soy, and corn-free alternatives without having to take out a second mortgage, do not have to be done alone.  In fact, if we moms come together and share our meal plans, recipes, grocery lists, and budgeting saving secrets, then life with food allergies would be much more bearable.

If it wasn’t for my rapport with Hope – our text message successes when we find a new budget-friendly alternative, pinterest recipe, or just a kind stranger with sympathy for our struggle –  then I’m not sure how I could make it. The countless support groups available to moms both in person and online are amazing and something to be celebrated, especially in a world that is so accessible yet isolating in social media.

The issue of food allergies should never make anyone feel alone.  It is such a common occurrence nowadays, that everyone should have someone to talk to.  If you ever feel like you are alone, then please, know you’re not.  Hope and I are here for you, if no one else is. We would love the opportunity to add you to our umbrella of moms.  After all, mother-hood is only an extension of the sister-hood of life.

~Lacey

Perfection

As a mom I have, at times, striven for perfection.  Especially in today’s society where our lives are broadcast on social media, and judgement abounds around every mishap.  The past month, I have seen as the world has sought to “crucify” parents who have made unintentional mistakes (the gorilla and alligator incidents):  critics call them careless and avoidable.  Of course these situations can be deemed avoidable now.  As it’s always said “hindsight is 20/20.”

I have experienced several of these moments in my own three years as a mom.  Many of these experiences were due to my son, DR’s food allergies.

Since I found out, he had these allergies I have blamed myself for plenty, even things that are beyond my control.  First, I blamed myself for the fact that he even had allergies.  I am allergic to tree nuts as well as other environmental elements, so I assumed that my genetic make-up was the cause of his allergic tendencies.  It took me a very long time to realize that I had no control over this.  I could not have predicted in a million years that he would develop his peanut and egg allergies because of my biology.

Then came the guilt when he would break out for no known reason.  I would scour ingredient lists and pour over food diaries to find the culprit, only to be disappointed when it was something I had missed earlier that caused the reaction.  I would beat myself up for days after he had healed, determined to overcome my own stupid, fallible, human nature.

Finally, I felt less than human when he would catch me eating something he couldn’t have.  I was lowly, unworthy of his love because I expected him to go without when I couldn’t.  I would vow not to give into the cravings.

So as you can see, I alone have placed this blame; unfortunately, this is not the end of it.  I have been on the receiving end of unsolicited and cruel comments about my parenting by many others.  When we had to rush him to the Urgent Care because of a reaction to peanut butter months before his diagnosis, the doctor basically accused us of feeding him an egg product to which we knew he was allergic.  When he breaks out it his eczema rash, people constantly comment like we aren’t trying to fix the situation, like we are the reason he has this issue.  When he ended up in the hospital (non-allergy related), a close friend called to inquire that perhaps his illness was a punishment for the fact that his father and I lived together before marriage.  All of these comments were unnecessary and unwanted.  They did not help us.  In fact, they caused more issues.  They made me doubt myself as a parent, made me work harder toward an image of perfection I could never reach.

I couldn’t bear it anymore, so I stopped.  I stopped striving for perfection, and instead focused on those things I could do to protect my son.  I spent less time listening to others and more following my intuition.  Had I continued listening to and caring about these comments, I would have lost everything:  my self-confidence, my mind, and my relationship with my amazing son, but by accepting my imperfections, I now have everything.

~Lacey

The 5 Stages of Food Allergy Grief

Just as with any major change or loss in life, we all go through the stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.  The development and discovery of food allergies can be a big blow to any lifestyle and diet.  When we began our adventures with food allergy avoidance, our journey was not smooth, but learning to identify the stage we were in and overcoming the grief was as important as identifying the allergy itself.

Denial: The day we learned of DR’s egg allergy, my stomach dropped.  How could he be allergic to eggs?  I had never heard of this as an allergen.  No one else in our family had this allergy.  He had been eating egg products for months.   He loved cheesy scrambled eggs.  Besides, our pediatrician said his eczema was due to environmental factors like trees, grass, weather, etc.  They only reluctantly referred us to the allergen because they did not believe he had a food allergy.  I was so confused and just could not believe that this was happening to him, to us, to ME!  I loved eggs and could not imagine a world without them.   I was pretty much stuck in the stage for a while.  Even now I find myself sliding back into the denial mindset at times when all I want to do is order an omelet or a waffle.  I am at times tempted to just slip him some benadryl and hand him a cupcake anyway.  Once his reaction begins, though, I know without a doubt that this is real.  This is his life, our life, MY life.

Anger: Once I realize that this is our life, this anger swells up inside.  Why is this happening to my child?  Why is this happening to ME?  What did I do to deserve this?  At times I get trapped in this stage and find myself ranting.  I get angry at the world for not being more understanding, angry at family and friends for not being as angry as I am, angry at myself for not being able to end this.  The anger eats at me, tearing away any resolve I may have had in order to combat the food allergy.  Anger sometimes causes me to make mistakes.  For instance, I was so wrapped up in a comment made by a friend about how much my child inconveniences get-togethers, that I was careless in packing my son’s lunch.  Had it not been for the careful eye of his teachers my child could have eaten a food item he isn’t allowed.  That was a huge wake-up call for me.

Bargaining: As I learn to cope with DR’s food allergies, I find myself slacking at times.  During these periods of time, I am over the amount of time that goes into preparing for meals.  Typically, a grocery store trip takes me 2-3 hours due to having to read all ingredient list several times.  When I’m feeling pressed for time, I sometimes skip reading items I have seen before or getting items that say “May be processed on equipment with peanuts and eggs.”  I got lazy and stopped reading the ingredients of some of DR’s favorite Kroger brand fruit bars.  I figured this was worth the gamble.  It nearly cost us DR.  Within a month’s time the company started using eggs in their bars.  We were lucky his reaction was only hives, but I have since learned that there is no easy way out of this mess.

Depression:  This is probably the most difficult stage for me.  I have tangled with this stage many times.  I catch myself thinking that this may very well be how our lives are forever:  constantly worrying that something will happen, that someone will be careless.  In these moments, I want to hug my son closer, never let him go, and stay locked up at home away from everyone.   This is craziness, I know, but the dangers lurking around every corner are enough to drive anyone to tears.

Acceptance:  This stage has been more difficult for me to grasp. As you will probably learn from other blog posts, I am a fighter and a pusher.  I believe in advocating for anyone who cannot do it for himself.  I work to protect my son by calling ahead to any restaurant, event, or party we may go to in order to see what options are available.  I learned to cook (somewhat) and bake in order to know what he is eating.  I prepare all friends, family, teachers, and sitters for what he needs and what responsibilities they have.  However, the other stages can bog me down, and I forget everything I’ve already learned.  What I have found is that taking care of myself and finding practical strategies to cope will not only help me, but my son as well in the long run.  I recently came across an amazing blog post detailing the Top 4 Tips* for coping with food allergy stress.  These are simple strategies and take very little time or effort.

As with anything else, life with food allergies is fluid and always changing.  Remembering to take care of yourself is important and be the factor you need to turn everything around.

~Lacey

*Permission granted by Emma W. to link to “Feeling Stressed?  Top 4 Tips :)”

 

 

 

Allergy Friendly Homemade Cheezits

image.jpegThese are buttery, soft and chewy with crispy edges. They are zesty cheesy and my five young kiddos absolutely adored them. They are egg free and nut free and can be made gluten free with just a few substitutions. As an allergy mom myself I know we are the QUEENS of substituting and swapping out ingredients! These take 30 minutes total time from start to finish and they will be gone by the end of the day! 😉

So, without anything further, I give you the recipe for:

Allergy Friendly Homemade Cheezits!

2 cups cheddar cheese ( I used mild but sharp or white would also be yummy! )

1 cup of all purpose flour

5 Tbs softened salted butter

1/2 tsp salt ( I use pink Himalayan salt )

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder ( optional )

1/2 tsp paprika ( optional )

2 Tbs milk

1/4 tsp of salt to dust the tops before putting into oven

Directions:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil. I used a large cookie sheet plus a small round pan lined with aluminum foil. Use whatever you have. If you use aluminum foil, spray with non-stick spray.

image.jpegNow to start your dough: Add cheese, flour, butter and spices to a food processor and pulse until well blended. Add milk and pulse until a ball of dough forms. Like this:

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Then turn out dough onto a well floured surface and roll out with your rolling pin until 1/8 inch thick. Cut edges with a pizza cutter to form a large rectangle. Put all edges into a pile to the side. Cut large rectangle into 1 inch squares. Mine were more rectangular but I wasn’t striving for perfection 😉 I’m a mom of five…I was striving for get-it-done-super-fast. Now, gently transfer each square onto your lined cookie sheet. Use a thin spatula if needed. After you have all of the squares on your sheet, re-flour your surface and roll out the dough you sat aside. Repeat the process above until all of those squares are also on your baking sheet. Take the dull end of a skewer and poke a hole in the middle of each square. This keeps them from becoming too puffed up. Take a couple pinches of salt and add a very light dusting to the top of the crackers before putting into the pre-heated oven. Bake for about 15 minutes or until edges start becoming brown. Take them out, let them cool and enjoy!!

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I call them rustic 😉 Either way, they taste AMAZING.

~Hope

10 phrases allergy moms “love” to hear

  1. How allergic is your child?  When I tell someone my child has a food allergy, I’m telling them so that my child can avoid the allergen.  It doesn’t matter “how” allergic he is.  He doesn’t need the food, and we don’t need the agony of an allergic reaction.
  2. Is he really allergic or do you just not want him to have sweets? Of course I don’t want to constantly shove sweets down my child’s throat, but just because he can’t have certain foods does not mean I don’t let him have sweets.  Besides, why would you ask a mother (whether or not she has a child with food allergies) if you can give her child sweets?  Why can’t you offer my child an apple or even better a non-food item like stickers?
  3. I feel bad that he can’t have the same food as other kids.  I don’t want him to feel left out.  Most moms of children with food allergies come prepared with alternative options for their children.  While the children may feel a little left out from not getting to eat certain foods it is far better than the alternative of them eating the foods and having a reaction.
  4. Ugh…my life is so inconvenienced by your child’s food allergy.  Why do daycares, schools, airplanes and public buildings have to be peanut free?  First, if you seriously can’t wait until you get home to eat your peanut items, then maybe you have a bit of an issue?  Second, the severity of some allergies like peanuts differ from person to person.  Some people react just by touching an item that someone who had peanuts earlier touched.  It’s like with the flu.  If you have the flu virus you shouldn’t be bringing it out into public where it can hurt others.  Just keep your peanuts and your flu at home and to yourself.
  5. How long has it been since your child has tried this food? Maybe he’s built up a tolerance.  Yes, some people may grow out of their food allergies, but some of them may get worse.  Currently, there is no way to know either way.   There are some research efforts underway to see if there is a cure for food allergies.  No, we will not test his tolerance right now in a non-medical environment without his doctor’s consent just because you want to see if he reacts.  I can tell you that I am probably losing my tolerance for you.
  6. You must have eaten too much of that food during your pregnancy or while you were breastfeeding! You must be ignorant. Thank you for blaming me for my child’s medical condition though. Bless your heart. Do your own research and know that we blame ourselves enough for our children’s reactions without others trying to blame us too.
  7. Giving them a little bite won’t hurt. Right, and neither will letting them hold a rattlesnake. To allergy moms those two things are equal. Both could kill our child. Let me say that again to make it clear: ONE BITE COULD KILL MY CHILD. I’m not willing to take that chance. You shouldn’t be either. Killing people is frowned upon last time I checked.
  8. Oh, they’ll grow out of it. We actually want this. We desperately want our child to grow out of their food allergies. For them and for us. Unfortunately we don’t know if that will happen. Neither does my child’s allergist. I’m so glad you know though.
  9. It was processed in a plant/on a conveyor belt/on a counter top with the allergen, but it doesn’t have the allergen in it.  It should be safe. If it wasn’t potentially dangerous, then why do the products have to tell you they were processed near the allergen?  What if your favorite food item said processed by someone who had the flu or TB?  Would you feel comfortable chancing contamination?
  10. This one we will never hear said to our face. We’ve heard others say it about other allergy moms when they don’t realize we are listening or don’t realize we are also allergy moms. They’re just doing it for attention, I doubt their child even HAS a food allergy. Don’t be this person. This person is not a nice person to be. Please know that we are not seeking attention. Most of us HATE having to ask what ingredients are in everything when we are at a restaurant, a person’s house, on vacation, etc. I don’t like inconveniencing people. I hate it. I’m a southern girl to my core and I love making people feel at ease. I’m way out of my comfort zone when I have to seek people out to ask questions. I will do it for my child’s safety EVERY SINGLE TIME no matter how uncomfortable it makes me. I can assure you if I could take it away from them I would in a heartbeat.

This post is not intended for people who genuinely care about our children’s safety. If you are asking us questions that are intended to really help our child or if you are wanting to know details so that you can make them or give them a safe treat we welcome that. We always know your intentions as soon as you speak though. We can tell when you are a caring person and when you’re just trying to be a busybody or a tush.

~Hope & Lacey~

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Just when you think you’re winning

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DR’s egg allergy was diagnosed in October of 2014.  While we were devastated, we were also motivated to cut out all egg products immediately.  It was very much a learning process as so many products we do not think about contain eggs.

About 3 weeks into our egg-free diet, we had a scary reaction.  I was baffled, as I was sure he did not have any egg products.  I called my husband, Justin on the way to the pediatrician’s office to ask if he knew of anything they could have added to chicken salad that would cause this reaction.  There was a pause on the other end, and then Justin calmly said “Well, mayonnaise is made out of eggs.  Everyone knows that.”  No, not everyone knows that, and even those who do, don’t always think of it as an egg product.  I had never made mayonnaise in my life, and I hardly ever used it except in potato, tuna, and chicken salads.  The day before I had fed him tuna salad.  Couple that with the school lunch of chicken salad, and his poor immune system was under attack.

For weeks I beat myself up over this incident, but I learned to be even more vigilant.  We scoured every ingredient list we could find.  We researched every food item that could possibly contain eggs.  We were prepared for any food question.  We were prepared!

Or so we thought.  When you think of food allergies, most people only think of food products.  We were in that mindset, until one day when I went to pick up DR from school and he was covered in hives.  We looked over the food list that day, and as we were doing so, a new teacher from one of the older kid classes approached me.  During recess, one of her students had passed pieces of chalk to DR.  As a one year old, his initial thought was to put it in his mouth.  The teachers caught him half-way through the piece of chalk, and washed it out of his mouth.  No one thought to check the ingredients, though, until he started breaking out.  Believe it or not, the non-toxic chalk being used in the school was made out of eggs.  This prompted us to look at other non-food objects like crayons.

Another random incident with packing peanuts, brought us to the realization that these bio-degradable items could also be made from eggs.  As the list continues to grow, I become less comfortable with the world around us.   I have become a hover-mom, never letting him out of my site, constantly checking to see if he’s chewing on something.  I feel that even with all our hard work, we will never win.

~Lacey