Food Allergy Awareness Week

Food Allergy Awareness Week is this week. I know it is a little off topic for me here but because allergies play such a huge part in my life I hope you’ll indulge me.

Seven years ago when my middle son was just 6 months old we began a journey that continues to this day. At such a young age his symptoms began with excema, hives, welts, vomiting, swelling and shortness of breath. I remember how much pain he was in every day and being so scared and so totally helpless. We didn’t know what was going on and it took many Dr’s and many skin pokes and blood draws to determine that what we were dealing with was food allergies. By this time my son was down to eating next to nothing and over time my fear of feeding him unfortuntely led to him being afraid of food himself. We went from formula to formula just trying to find something he would react to the least because he reacted to them all. It was impossible and the cost was astronomical.

If only I knew then what I know now. I made so many mistakes but I just didn’t know any better. My learning curve was huge…how to keep my son safe in a world that revolves around food. How to find food to feed my boy that didn’t contain gluten (wheat, rye, barley, etc), dairy, egg, soy, fish and nuts. I learned to order food from all over Canada and the US. The internet was my lifesaver….and my lifeline. I found an amazing support group at Kids with Food Allergies and the amazing parents there were like a life preserver to a drowning victim. I held on with everything I had. I was scared to death because one wrong bite could lead to the death of my little boy. It’s that serious and the margin for error is very, very tiny.

We’ve come a long way from those early days. My son now carries his Epi-pen wherever he goes in his little fanny pack as well as his Benadryl. We now have a wonderful selection of safe foods to choose from and I’ve even learned to bake things like safe cookies, muffins, cupcakes and ice cream. He hasn’t outgrown any of his allergies yet but each year when we get him tested we are very very hopeful. We are so thankful for a school and teachers that are supportive and accommodating making life just a tiny bit less stressful for us.

My son is a fun-loving sweet seven year old boy that loves to play soccer and lacrosse and is just the best big brother ever….who just happens to have food allergies.

We are blessed.

Filed under: My Life

Comments

25 Responses to Food Allergy Awareness Week

  1. 1
    Tracy says

    Laura, I understand. My son has food allergies, but not as many as your son. Both of my children have excema which I didn’t know were allergies back then.

    We found out the hard way that my son is allergic to shrimp. It was very scary but he is fine and now we have an epi-pen and benadryl. 2 life safers!!!

  2. 2
    ChupieandJ'smama says

    It is so frightening in the beginning and we all make mistakes. It’s hard to tell someone starting out that it will get easier because in some ways it does (finding foods etc) and in some ways it never will (fear of reaction). I pray every day that my son will outgrow some of this, if not all of it. And I pray for your son too.

  3. 3
    Beth/Mom2TwoVikings says

    Oh, Laura – I had no idea! How scary to have a newborn so sick! I can’t even grasp what it would be like – I can barely keep a food journal to keep track of what goes in MY mouth much less having to be so vigilant with that level of allergy in a child. You must be a very strong woman and (obviously) a kick-butt mom! Good for you for grabbin’ it by the horns and dealing with it!

  4. 4
    Jamie says

    We have food allergies here, too, and even though it’s gotten better with the information we’ve amassed over the past 8 years, the things we can’t control (accidental exposure at school, going out to eat, I don’t even want to think about when he’s old enough to go to college and is responsible for himself) are what scare me now.

  5. 5
    Susanne says

    What an incredibly scarey time that must have been for your family, Laura. I cannot even imagine.

    Aren’t you a smart mom researching a learning how to make treats for him in spite of it all. You’re the best!

  6. 6
    Leni says

    It’s a long journey, isn’t it? I’m glad you were able to figure out what your son needed. We have multiple allergies and sensativities. I’m on pins and needles with my dh and kids all the time, because we never know what they are going to react to.

    A couple of months ago, I let my 10 yo have a grape for the first time. Her brother had a sensativity to them, so I always just kept her away from them.

    Within minutes of eating two grapes she started itching (her mouth and all over her body) and her throat started swelling. Thankfully we did this little experiment in the allergist’s office, so treatment was immediate. So grapes and raisins. And red wine vinegar (think salad dressings…) And all those lovely natural juices that use grape juice instead of refined sugar…OY!

    But grapes were just one more to add to the list. It’s a way of life.

    It’s a long journey, to be sure.

  7. 7
    tAnYeTTa says

    this is a very serious subject. thank you for the post.

  8. 8
    Sheryl says

    Thanks for sharing this. It’s such an important topic!

  9. 9
    Pam says

    Thanks for your post. We are at the beginning of a lifelong journey with peanut/nut and other allergies. Thanks for letting us know about the Kids with food allergies website.

  10. 10
    Katrina says

    Thanks for sharing this, Laura. With Logan going through bloodwork, allergy tests, etc. right now, I can imagine how hard it was for you all. So far, Logan’s allergy tests have come back negative, but we’re still waiting on a few of them.

    Food allergies are such a major and important issue these days — it seems they are becoming more and more common, and more of us need to be aware, whether it’s to help our own children or protect others. Thanks.

  11. 11
    Chel says

    Both of our kids have food allergies, so I can relate to the stresses. Like you, we’ve managed to get to a point where our kids are just normal kids for whom allergies are just one part of who they are.

    And as a side note, at work, I’m the girl with the Epi. A much younger co-worker with allergies much like those my kids have has said that if she ever has anything happen at work, her last words will be “Find Chel.” I’ve handed out more than one Benadryl. :)

  12. 12
    Barb says

    I never really understood how scary it is until one week ago when Cameron was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. I’ve never given a single thought to what we let him eat. Today, for the first time, when he came to stay with me, I had to be extremely aware of what he could and couldn’t have.

    So now I understand. And it’s so encouraging to me that your seven year old carries around his epi pen and knows how to use it. I look forward to the day Cameron totally understands his situation and can care for himself.

  13. 13
    Anna says

    When I was five or six, my parents found out that I was allergic to wheat, dairy, chicken, apples, soy, and peanuts… I think that’s about it. Needless to say, that was a huge challenge for them that I don’t even realize the extent of to this day. I eventually outgrew my allergies (by about age 10, I think), but in the meantime, I ate rabbit, things made with spelt flour instead of wheat, cashew butter instead of peanuts, etc. It was quite the journey… blessings on yours. :)

  14. 14
    Once Upon a Dream... says

    Oh Laura, how frightening to have a little baby sick. I’m so glad he’s a success story in the fact that he survived and is doing well!!

    Thank you for sharing. Everytime I give Olyvia a new food, I worry about what kind of food allergies she might have.

    Eden

    Oh, I have a new look and title for my blog, but the url is the same.

  15. 15
    Maria says

    we also deal with food allergies – not in the immediate family — but with my BIL and niece (he had a peanut allergy that doesn’t go away with age and she is still to young for conclusive tests) I have also dealt with it in the classroom as a teacher. It is tough issue and you must be hypervigulant

  16. 16
    Sue says

    Great post Laura. I remember being so overwhelmed when my oldest was diagnosed and she is “only” allergic to dairy. All we can do is the best we can to avoid mistakes and teach others about food allergies so maybe it will be a little easier for someone else.

  17. 17
    Alina says

    Hi,

    I am 28 years old and until last year I didn’t have any allergy problems. All of the sudden I had a food allergy and I was rushed to the hospital with huge hives all over my body. I thought, back then, that this is just a minor incident and it is nothing important. Then 2 months later I had another allergy, this time the hives were even bigger. In 2 months I think I had 4-5 allergies and I remember one of them was really severe as my tongue was starting to swollen.
    I have been to an allergist doctor and he ran the basic tests,and it turned out to be that I am allergic to shrimp, crap and dust. Now the thing is that I have never eaten seafood the day I got the allergies.

    I do not know what to do since I have been advised to be very careful of what I eat. I made a list with all the food I had every time I had an allergy and it seems nothing matches, every time I had different food.

    Recently I have been advised to try a natural medicine called Quarcetin.
    I don’t know how to stop the allergies and it is really stressful that the doctors can’t give me a better answer other than be careful what I eat.

    If someone could please give me an advice, I will appreciate that.

    Thank you,
    A

  18. 18
    Cara says

    I just hopped over here from your link on Menu Plan Monday today to read your son’s story. It all sounds SO familiar! When me son was a few months old, he had weeping ezcema all over his face, head, and legs, in addition to hives and all that other stuff. It took us a while to figure out that is was food allergies, and just like you, we went through several different formulas trying to find one that worked. My son (now 2 1/2) outgrew his dairy allergy, but we’re still avoiding eggs.

    I agree 100% with your mention of the Kids With Food Allergies website. The forums and recipes there are amazing, and worth every single penny (I think there is an annual membership fee of $25). I knew no one else in person that was dealing with food allergies, and I spent LOTS of time there reading, learning, and discussing with other moms. A fantastic resource!!

  19. 19
    Jana says

    We had a similar beginning with my daughter when she was a baby (bleeding eczema, hives, vomiting). SO SCARY. After much frustration with traditional medicine we treated her allergies with something called NAET (http://www.naet.com/) Here are some links which also have information/explanation from a Christian perspective for those concerned with some of the spiritual aspects of some western medicine. (http://www.fitnessforoneandall.com/difficulties/article/naet/intro.htm) His explanation and opinion of the treatment was reassuring. I didn’t want to pursue anything new-agey or pagan. We haven’t found this to be the case with our practitioner. One treatment per allergy item and we haven’t had her have a reaction since!! I know I sound like an infomercial but we were so relived to finally find something that worked and was a permanent solution without elimination diets!

Comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *