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.
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