By : Anne Marie Holloway
We have heard two words before and we survived. I sincerely can think of many other words that could be much worse. And besides, it will take more than a couple of words to discourage me…. right?
Nonetheless, these two words have changed the way we look at food. These particular two words forced us to read all labels and approach most food items with caution, ever since that fateful day seven years ago. I will never forget how I watched in terror as my sweet two year old’s face quickly broke out in hives and his eye simultaneously turned into something only seen in a science fiction film. I remember frantically trying to determine what my curious rascal had gotten into, only to realize that he had just moments before touched the plate his big sister had placed on the counter, a plate sprinkled with the remnants of her peanut butter toast.
Two words: Peanut Allergy.
Thus began our battle against peanuts, tree nuts, and anything processed in, near or around them.
I remember sitting in the allergist’s office as he placed me and my son in a very small and dusty room to watch a horrific video on anaphylactic shock and how to administer an EpiPen. It was a terrible experience. No list of foods to avoid, no words of comfort. I just sat in terror clutching my toddler as I watched what could happen if he ingested this designated “allergen.”
We have come a long way since then. Many kids have food allergies now, so information, resources, and references are abundant (unlike when we first went through it all). Yep, we have had our fair share of fun with this food allergy.
I’ll be honest, we have mourned the loss of eating shelled peanuts at baseball games and mixed nuts at Christmas. We have steered clear of all baked goods that were covered in walnuts, cashews or almonds. But, selfishly, I have to admit that I do still miss pistachios… sigh..
We keep a stash of Benadryl and allergy medication in every car, pocketbook, and travel bag. We have had our EpiPen trainings and have recently switched to the “talking” EpiPen. (If you have not seen this yet, it is really cool and even better – it is idiot proof!)
We have helped others who live without food allergies to understand our world without having to upturn the applecart for those who live freely without such restrictions. It has been challenging and at times slightly infuriating, but all in all, manageable for the most part.
So what’s the problem now? How have two words just about turned our world upside down once again, you ask? I’m not sure yet, but they have presented another huge lifestyle change for my little family.
These two words: Celiac Disease.
Yep, two more words to navigate through. This disease has definitely wreaked some havoc on a few members in my little family. I am still in the process of learning about it and what it means for us, which has been an overwhelming task. Celiac disease does not mean we have just another food allergy. It is an auto-immune disorder with some fairly serious complications if not taken seriously.
The good news is that cutting out foods that contain wheat and moving to a gluten free diet is making a difference. And, like I said, it will take more than a couple of words to knock us down. Besides, pistachios and fresh sour dough bread are totally over-rated….right?