Category Archives: Our personal journey

Making the Most of It

The other evening, we put together a very impromptu get together with some neighbor friends.  What was a bad experience, turned into a great one!

Earlier that day we were at a family gathering for a graduation party.  These kind of get togethers are always a little nerve racking for me because of Little R’s food allergies.  As you can imagine, there is always a lot of food around with so many people to feed.  My family has gotten pretty good at thinking and planning ahead so that Little R can have a safe visit, but this visit turned ugly!

There were a lot of kids visiting at this gathering, so one of my uncles had planned for a fun activity for them.  The first red flag, or what should have been for me, was when he gathered the kids and had them go search for pine cones.  Yeah, you know where this is going.  I was busy socializing with other relatives, having my own fun, so I was not paying much attention.  The next thing I know, Little R came up to me with a very frightened look on his face and told me that all the kids were playing in PEANUT BUTTER!  You can imagine the skipped beat that my heart experienced at that moment!

I couldn’t believe my eyes!  Little R, with a very sad face, walked off to the other side of the yard and told me he would just play alone until they were done.  BUT, that was NOT good enough!  Peanut butter is not easy to clean up!  I knew that no matter how much effort was placed in hand washing, there would still be peanut butter lingering.  This party was no longer safe for Little R.

I very quickly decided that we HAD to leave.  What was worse was that Little C was covered in said peanut butter!  I had my mom take him inside to wash up as best as she could until we could get home for a real shower and change of clothes.  Little R was NOT happy about my decision to leave.  So, I very quickly came up with a change in plans… our own backyard bon-fire!

I quickly called my hubby to send him out for a fire-pit.  I then called some of our friends in the neighborhood.  We ended up having a GREAT time that night roasting marshmallows and making S’mores.  In spite of the horrific experience earlier in the day, it just goes to show what a positive attitude can do.  (And, no, my attitude was not positive at first, I must confess…)

I am sorry for the long post, but I had to get all of that off my chest!  You are probably wondering why I am sharing so many details.  I think it is important for our friends and family members to get a clear picture of what it is like living with these horrible food allergies.  Thanks for listening.

Little R enjoying one very yummy S'more! Little R enjoying one very yummy S’more!

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Food Allergies in the Social World

I know, the title is a bit strange.  I just need to write about something that has been on my mind. 

I have written previously that my son with the life threatening food allergies started kindergarten this year.  I have been amazed at how wonderful his teacher has been about following our guidelines in regards to keeping him safe.  She has called me several times with questions when she wasn’t sure about something.  I think this is great.  It makes me feel like she is really on top of things.

It is not really anything to do with the school that bothers me.  It is that meeting new people with children at the school who are new to the world of food allergies. 

I didn’t realize until recently that I have been living in a “safe” world of friendship for quite awhile now.  A few years ago when we moved into our new house, I went through the exhausting task of teaching our new friends in the neighborhood about little R’s food allergies and explaining to them how his life can be truly threatened in a matter of minutes.  They have all come to truly understand the situation and are very supportive.

Just recently, through school, we have started making new friends.  They are wonderful people.  I really enjoy the company of these moms, and my son likes playing with their children.  I have found, though, that I have had a hard time making it clear that little R’s food allergies are pretty severe.  There are many other children at the school who have peanut allergies and they do fine there.  I think that it is too easy to get lumped in a group in which it seems easy to assume that we are all the same.  As a food allergy mom I know that each child’s situation is different, though.  What may work for these other children may not work for us.  It is hard to explain that to someone on the outside.

I have made the final decision to homeschool starting next year.  Though the food allergies play a part in my decision, there are many other reasons as well.  The point is that I have made the decision known, and I think some of these other moms may fell I am being overprotective.  I am sure that looking in from the outside, it may appear to look that way.  But, when it comes to my dear chlidren, I feel that my ultimate job as a parent… before anything else… is to keep them safe.

I know that parents in the food allergy world will understand where I am coming from.  I guess that is why I needed to write this post.  I sometimes feel very alone in this world of food allergies, and right now I could use some words of encouragement.

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Yes, Kindergartners Do Listen

In the previous post I mentioned that I provided some training for my son’s kindergarten teacher before school actually got started.  Not only did it give me peace of mind, but I think it helped calm her fears as well.  I also mentioned that I gave her a dvd (Alexander the Elephant Goes to School), and she made a point to play it the first day of class.  The dvd is only about ten minutes long- perfect for wiggly little 5 year olds.  After the dvd there was a little time for discussion and for Little R to show his medic alert bracelet.

School has been in session now for a little over one week, and so far there have already been two birthday sesons where treats were sent in.  I provided a little bin of safe treats for Little R so he could choose something on these particular days.  Mrs. M told me that just the other day while they were all enjoying some cookies that were sent in, one of the children said, “Hey, why does he get a box of Nerds to eat???”  Little R quickly replied, “I picked them out of my bin.”  Another little child, a girl I think, chimed in, “Remember the Elephant?”  I can picture them now 🙂  I am glad Mrs. M was there to witness it.

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Off to School!

Sending your little food allergy child off to school, especially for the first time is one of the most scary things for their parents.  At least, this is how I feel!

Many of you know that for the past year or so we have been planning to home school due to food allergies.  As this school year approached, I started feeling compelled to look into our school.  It was one of those things where you just have a feeling about something and have to explore it.

Little R was due to start kindergarten, and I had about three weeks to make up my mind.  I have to say that I spent tons of time and quite a bit of money planning on homeschooling.  I grew quite fond of the idea as I got deeper into it.  As the deadline approached, however, I decided to make a visit to our local school just to explore the idea.  I mainly wanted to see how they handle the situation of food allergies.

I have to say that I was almost unable to believe how wonderful the school was from the start!  From the first phone call I made to the principal, to the personal call I recieved from Little R’s teacher yesterday regarding a food allergy situation, the school seems to be 100% on top of the situation. 

So, yes, off he goes…….

Since he is with his teacher, who I will call Mrs. M, the entire time he is at school, the majority of the weight falls on her shoulders.  I wish I could post a picture of her here and offer her more official praise, but I am sure you understand the annonymity we wish to keep. 

The first day of school Mrs. M set aside time for the class to watch a dvd, Alexander the Elephant Goes to School, followed by a question answer time.  Little R then got to show everyone his Medic Alertbracelet.  He had expressed concern to me a few days before school started about what the other kids would think of his bracelet.  He felt great about watching the dvd and having the teacher talk about it in class.

Mrs. M carries both of his Epi-Pens around her waist in a carrier I provided.  I even took in some expired Epi-Pens a few days before school started for her to practice. 

Probably the biggest tear jerker of all is that when his teacher found out I was going to a food allergy meeting with FAAST concerning back to school, she asked if she could attend with me!  Now that is going above the call of duty as far as I am concerned.

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A Long Break!

First and foremost, I have to apologize for my long absence.  We have had a long and busy summer.  I will not go into details here as it has nothing to do with food allergies.  If you are not new to my blog, you have probably figured out that I have made some changes.  I felt like my blog address should match up with my blog title.  I was also unhappy with some of how I had everything organizes.  Hopefully my food allergy blog will feel “cleaned up” so to speak.

I look forward to getting back in the game.  I sometimes get overwhelmed with things while I am reading about food allergies.  Those of you living this life know exactly what I am talking about.

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Happy New Year!

2007 was filled with many things, but my focus here is on our food allergy journey. I wish to thank ALL of you for taking the time to read our blog and occassionally leave your comments. You have no idea how much it means to us!

The number one goal of this blog is to help communicate allergy news with our friends and family, mainly to help keep Randy and Carson* safe from the deadly food allergy reactions that are possible in the event of contact or ingestion of their food allergens. If it helps to educated a few others on the way; an added bonus!

I also want to make it clear that your communication with us through this blog is huge in the way of comfort and support. It allows me to see who is reading, and lets me know if the information I am posting is of your interest to you. In addition I also get a sense that you do care about our situation by the way you are taking the time to learn with us. I often go through boughts of loneliness while on this journey. The food allergies sometimes cause us to be left out of certain events because they would otherwise not be safe for us to attend. (I say us because while the children are still so young, it does effect us.)

*Carson has not been confirmed. His body does get covered in hives when he eats egg, though. We have made it a point to avoid all of Randy’s food allergens because food allergies tend to run in families. Studies show that strict avoidance to possible food allergens tends to lean in the direction of not developing those food allergies because the delay in the introduction of the food allergen gives the immune system time to strengthen and develop. We do plan on having Carson tested sometime in the future, though the only real test is eating a potential food allergen and watching to see if anything happens (I know, scary!)

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What About Red Dye?

I am a little late in writing this post. This past Sunday night my husband and I feel we have made a new discovery. After dinner we let the boys have some homeade ice cream. We had some sprinkles in the pantry in which they must have when they eat ice cream. Anyway, to make a long story short, immediately after eating their desert, Randy started bouncing off the walls!

This event immediately got my wheels turning. I had just recently read a thread on KWFA about food dyes and how they can cause reactions. Reactions from food dyes can cause different things like GI distress, skin problems (eczema), and even anaphylaxis! But, red dye in particular seems to cause hyperactivity in some individuals. This is what we think it does to Randy!

We started reminiscing on times like when he ate some fruit snacks and he had the same crazy behavior. I got online to look up ingredients, and low and behold, the common denominator: Red dye #40!

Now, I realize that it is probably a bit early to start jumping to conclusions. We will just have to keep our eyes and minds open to what he is eating and what his behavior is. But, my gut instinct is saying it is the dye!

I would love to hear what you know about this topic.

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