Question, Challenge, and Question Some More.

Guest post by Desiree Rose

What ingredients does your family avoid?
Eggs, Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Fish and more.

How did you first learn about your family's allergies?
The first time we learned about food allergies was when my husband and I started dating.. He is the first allergy person in our family.. I guess I thought in the great scheme of things it could skip the kids but atlas no... Our first son avoided peanuts and chocolate til he was 3 but then we slowly started in a controlled environment and we passed YEA!! When our second son David came along we thought maybe we would be lucky again... NOT SO MUCH! He started out struggling with weight issues and nursing which should have been the first clue but it took til he was 15 months and failure to thrive for them to do allergy testing.. Ironically we were using Almond M&M's as calorie boosters during the test and found out that day that he was MOST allergic to ALMONDS!! Nice.. Talk about not earning Mother of the Year award here!!

What's the worst part of having food allergies in your family? Is there more than one? FEAR! I guess since I have two that we avoid nuts with it has become so common to NOT have them around that when they do come around they make my panic level raise.. I can be out without the allergic members of my family and still feel my insecurities rise when people eat it around me.. But the part that scares me the most is that we have identified all of my 4 year old's allergies.. Allergies evolve every 6 months some times and that can be scary all to itself.. We have found allergens in all the wrong ways.. Like for example his OT suggested we try Quinoa as a replacement for wheat since it is SO healthy and has protein... This ended in an ambulance ride and the SCARE of a lifetime for us with the ambulance staff saying that was really really scary we have never seen that type of BLACK TONGUE swelling reaction!! Thanks for educating us.. If only we were not the guinea pigs!

For us, food allergies has lead to many unexpected joys. Can you share one positive thing that you've learned or something good that's happened because of food allergies? Awareness is key! I have to say that I feel more confident in standing up for my child's health care. I do not take what the doctors say as the gospel. I question, challenge and question some more when I do not feel they are on the right track. Also it has educated my children on diversity of people. We are all created unique and God gives us each special qualities to make us loved differently!

If you could travel back in time, to when you first learned about your child's food allergies, what advice would you give yourself? Trust your instinct... So many new mom's feel like they have to believe everything the doctors are tell them. This is not the case. You are your own child's advocate. Sometimes the gut feeling we have that things are just not right can often help you discover health care issues that need to be known. You do not have to avoid birthday parties, school events or other places you can educate teachers, staff and cafeteria workers to make the environment safe for everyone.. And as hard as it is to stand up to that mom that says her child ONLY eats peanut butter crackers for snack well you can do it because YOUR child or you should not be bullied by unaware people to this tragedy of Food Allergies!!!!

Do you have any additional comments or questions you'd like to see posted?
Just today I encountered a woman in Chickfila that was feeding her child a peanut butter sandwich in the play area!! Since we were just wasting time I choose to leave the area not saying anything other than "Come on David I see PB so let's go!" The woman spoke to my son not me and said "Well maybe your mama shouldn't bring you to Chickfila since they cook everything in Peanuts!" My response was collected to say well ma'am actually it is refined peanut oil that does not contain fragments so therefore safe for some children with allergies.. (But thanks for passing judgement on me!! is what I was thinking) This just goes to show that there are so many people out there that DO NOT understand what food allergies mean.. There is no generic pattern that every child follows.. Food Allergies is not a one size fits all avoid here type of disease!! Awareness is KEY! Thanks for giving me this chance to share, it was most healthy!!

Our son does not just have food allergies, he has eosinophilic esophagitis a rare and new disease that is hard to diagnosis with out biopsies being taken.. Our son had biopsies taken every three months for the first 3 years of his life to make sure his disease has not progressed! It has been a long road but an educational road! I feel more confident in being an advocate for my children not just a parent!