Wow! What an honour! I was touched today to receive this award from The Food Allergy Chronicles, a blog sharing “One Family’s Journey on the Road to Surviving and Thriving with Food Allergies.” I love this for two reasons:
1. Who doesn’t like to win an award?!! Woot! Woot!
2. This is a great and frankly ingenious way to encourage collaboration and sharing amongst the mom bloggers!
Now for some reason, they ask you to write 7 things about yourself when you accept this award. Talk about myself? Who me? Aw yeah! lol For some reason most of my points below are confessions….
So here you go:
1. I eat “unsafe” foods.
It’s true. It’s my dirty little secret. When I go to parties, don’t even bother trying to talk to me because I’m standing at the cheese tray jamming as many dairy filled delicacies and nuts into my face as I can! If for some reason I am away from my children eating out at a restaurant I take every opportunity I can to indulge in nuts. It’s bizarre..how can a food that is completely harmless to me wreak such havoc on my little one? I remember a fellow allergy advocate and I were out for coffee and she was shocked when I ordered a muffin with nuts in it. She said that witnessing her child’s reaction to nuts was enough to make her never want to eat one again. And I felt weird about it…was I a bad mom for eating these foods when away from my allergic child? I thought about it and decided that I’m cool with it. In fact, talking to my doctor she told me that while there is a propensity to allergies if there is a family history, it is to allergies in general -not to specific allergens. That means that while allergies may be hereditary, the actual allergens are not -meaning you can have one kid with a milk allergy and then other will be allergic to soy…. So the way I see it is that different people have different allergies and banning one food from the world (i.e., nuts) doesn’t help the people who are allergic to sesame. Now we can’t ban all the allergenic foods or there would be nothing left to eat so we have to have avoidance in other ways. And that is through REASONABLE RISK REDUCTION measures to prevent cross-contamination and accidental exposure. For me personally this means that I do not enjoy allergens that are unsafe for my daughter in our shared space (our home) but that I do indulge when away from her. This gets tricky when you are in larger shared spaces like a school. It doesn’t make sense to ban something from the whole school if nobody in that school is allergic to that allergen and then to have people consuming tons of dairy -pizza days, milk days etc when there are chil
dren with life-threatening dairy allergies in the room. This is something I have really struggled with and could write pages on… to sum it up, my basic suggestion would be to get food out of the classroom. In our schools, children eat in their classrooms throughout the day -2 snacks and lunch. Ideally, if children didn’t eat in their classrooms this would mean the classroom environment would not be a risk for students with food allergies. What do you think? Comment below and let me know!
2. Sometimes I disappear from the Allergy Community
Every once in a while I get upset by all of the information and check out for a bit. It causes anxiety and depression to read about the risks and the realities of a life-threatening allergy and sometimes I just need a break from it all. This doesn’t mean I let down my guard at home or anything like that -it just means I get off the internet and take a break from all the media and information for a bit. I do this when needed and then hop back in… it’s my passion to advocate and educate but everyone needs a mental health day from time to time! When I am not advocating for allergies and anaphylaxis, I take some time for me – usually in the form of yoga. Self-care is really important for all of you allergy caregivers out there. We need to take care of ourselves to make us better able to care for others.
3. I have used the word “burden” to describe having a child with allergies
I’m hesitant to share that with you. What an awful thing to say but it’s the truth. I feel sometimes that it is a burden and just wish I didn’t have to deal with this!!! I feel a HUGE BURDEN OF RESPONSIBILITY to keep my child alive and I fear that if I let my guard down or make a mistake, something could happen to her and I would never forgive myself. Isn’t that a horrible weight to carry? And we all do. Being an allergy mom can be isolating and stressful and frankly really challenging. Flying with my daughter over the holidays, she had her head on my lap asleep and I felt very worried if she was breathing ok as the smell of cheese and eggs wafted through the cabin -she is highly anaphylactic to dairy, egg, peanuts and tree nuts and they were heating cheese omelettes and passing out almonds to the first class travelers. I felt extremely anxious and worried whether she was going to be ok. I thought to myself, no mom should have to feel like this! I should be relaxing and enjoying a movie and instead I’m a bundle of nerves worrying if my daughter is going to make it home safely! So yes, from time to time I play the self-pity card.
4. I am so proud of my kids.
My son is amazing -he is only 8 years old and so responsible and caring about his sister with her anaphylactic food allergies. Sometimes I look at him and think no kid should have to worry about protecting his younger sibling from danger but he does and I’m amazed that someone his age could be so caring and responsible and nurturing (aren’t they supposed to be egocentric at this stage?)…melts my heart.
My daughter is a fierce little thing and despite her small size she is mighty! She is 6 and plays hockey with the boys and totally holds her own! She is responsible about her allergies and is so gracious about eating out in public or watching others indulge in things that she can’t have and it makes me so proud of her every day. I can’t imagine a child that age having to think about being safe or avoiding foods or any of that. Kids shouldn’t have to worry about that kind of stuff but she handles it all so well and is a vivacious, amazing kid!
5. When I was a kid I used to lie to neighbours and say I was allergic to milk and peanut butter because I didn’t like them.
Isn’t that crazy? So what is this? Karma or something? Or perhaps maybe my body didn’t like those things for a reason and maybe somehow I was telling the truth? I was allergic to eggs and had a lot of seasonal allergies as a kid so maybe in fact my body didn’t like those things and that’s why I made up lies so I wouldn’t have to eat it! Interesting……
6. I am so touched by all of the people I have met on this journey!
There have been some silver linings to this journey and one in particular has been the amazing people that I have connected with over the years. When I first created the website and wrote out my big long story of how I became an allergy mom, my husband asked who on earth would read that?! lol Well it turns out a lot of people! And I am so grateful for those who take the time to share their stories with me and to connect in any way…. So keep ’em coming! I love hearing from you!
7. My first experience with anaphylaxis occurred when I was in grade 5.
It was summer holidays and I was at home with my mom. She was gardening and got stung by a bee. She started to feel ill and went to lay down. Then she asked me to go to the store to get her some medicine as she felt just awful. I rode my bike to the corner variety store and when I got back my mom was gone! My neighbour had taken her to the hospital! It was a very frightening experience. After that, my mom had a syringe and vial of epinephrine in a kit in the fridge and we were very afraid of bees! Ironically, my name means honey bee…. I digress… 🙂
Thank you again for this award. It was very touching to be recognized in this way. I created this website to help others going through all of the same things that I go through on a daily basis. It means a lot to know it is meeting that goal.
Original Post Date: March 8, 2013. Last Updated: May 4, 2017.