Tuesday, October 27, 2015

I Didn't Want to be a Nut Mom

I have several friends whose kids have the anaphylactic nut allergy and when they posted about their kids diagnoses I felt horrible for them. It isn't just an "avoid nuts if you can" issue, it is a "a cookie could kill my child issue". It uproots your lifestyle and forces you to stop your busy world and learn about the specific allergy your kid has. Whenever Huff Post or some other news outlet posts articles about Kids passing away from food allergies I read them. I am a worrisome person and I can't fathom what this fear must be like. Another article here. And here. And here. And here.  

Amelie had horrible eczema last winter and several friends commented on my Instagram picture that maybe she has food allergies. Other friends messaged me separately saying not to worry, it is probably just the winter weather.

Well...

Amelie attended a birthday party at Ben and Jerry's where they make homemade Ice Cream. Raw eggs are included in the recipe. Max gave her a tiny tiny bite and she broke into hives. We dosed her with Benadryl and she was fine. My pediatrician referred me to an allergist to do a full panel of tests just to make sure.

It was the Thursday before the Alzheimer's Walk in Charlotte. I had just taken care of my Mom for a few days and was emotionally wiped out from being her caregiver. (Which is pathetic because my Dad takes care of her EVERY DAY). But that is another topic. We also had a very (for lack of a better word) messy summer regarding some of our other family (which I will never elaborate on and am only mentioning it so I don't seem like such a woe-as-me type) so I walked into this appointment with a heavy heart and fried mind.

Amelie handled it like a trooper as they stuck her arm. First Eggs then Walnuts, Pecans, Hazelnuts...etc all started turning red. The peanut spot was down near her wrist so they retested that one on the other arm. For 15 minutes I stared at her arm. Please don't do this to me Lord. I cannot handle anymore. I am already at my breaking point. 

And then peanuts started turning red....

By the time the friendly allergist came in and confirmed that Amelie was indeed allergic to Eggs, Peanuts and Tree Nuts I was sobbing. I had to explain myself (and my emotional baggage) and she said crying is a very common reaction. She walked me through all the information (Asian restaurants are a no-no, buffets are bad, pasta has eggs) and taught me how to use the Auvi-q. I pretty much got a Dr's note to be a Helicopter Mom. 


I got in my car and first called my Dad and lost it. I know it isn't cancer, and I pray that she will live a long and wonderful life, but a peanut allergy is scary. It is a huge learning curve for us and one I'm still way behind on. We will be doing a baked egg challenge in December where we sit in the Allergist's office for 3 hours (oh boy) and slowly feed her a muffin with a baked egg in it. I am praying we pass this as somehow eggs are in EVERYTHING! 

My friend Julia at Pawleys Island Posh just happened to publish a post the exact moment I was at the doctor of egg, dairy and nut-free snacks. This has been my go-to list when I am at the store. I have become very close of a friend of a friend whose son has a peanut allergy (that's you Kathryn V) and one of my sorority sisters is an expert on this field. Ford's best friend (who has a rockstar Mom) at School has a nut allergy. His "girl-friend" Avery (who also has a rockstar Mom) had the egg allergy but grew out of it. Our babysitter's boyfriend has a nut allergy. I am not alone.

I just didn't want to be a nut Mom. I'm already an obnoxious Alzheimer's advocate, I didn't want to have a multi-tiered medical worry podium. 

This Halloween please consider leaving out a non-candy treat or one that does not have allergy implications. We will have a bowl of Spider rings as part of the Teal Pumpkin project. The Teal Pumpkin project aims to have allergy friendly items at each house so kids, such as Amelie, don't feel left out on Halloween.

Take part in FARE’s Teal Pumpkin Project™:
  • Join 100,000 households pledging to participate in the Teal Pumpkin Project™. Take the Pledge>
  • Provide non-food treats for trick-or-treaters and paint a pumpkin teal to place in front of your home, along with a free printable sign from FARE, to indicate you have non-food treats available. Download a Sign>
  • Make a gift to FARE to support research, education, advocacy and awareness programs that make a difference for the 15 million Americans living with food allergies. Make a Gift>



4 comments:

Maggie said...

So sorry to hear of your daughter's allergies. On the research front, my daughter-in-law is a post doc on a National Institute of Health project that is doing immunological work on severe allergies in childhood. This research has a clinical component (her boss is an MD AND PhD!), so let's hope that a remedy isn't too far off.

Nat said...

Girl you just cannot catch a break these days!!! I want to just come bring you a huge bottle of wine and a big hug! I have quite a few friends who's kids have nut allergies and it does get easier after the initial shock wears off and you find out that while you feel like everything has nuts in it you can actually find a lot of stuff that doesn't. All of my friends whose kids had an egg allergy have grown out of it so fingers crossed she grows out of that one and can eat cooked eggs. Hang in there!!

Dina said...

Don't lose hope, I was in your same spot when my son was 11 months old and we tried to transition to whole milk-Ped had us do the entire panel, when they called they said not only is he allergic to milk, but to eggs and peanuts too! I was a shaken lunatic mess! Fast forward to now, he's 2.5, and he's totally outgrown peanuts and eggs and can have milk as long as it's heated! You didn't ask but I'm giving my 2 cents-get with a reputable pediatric allergist who tests patients (skin and blood) every 6 months, start the daily Culturelle packets which help boost the immune system and I credit it for his excema being gone and allergies too, and if her blood numbers are low enough, try giving her food with baked egg and nuts every couple of days-my allergist said it helped him outgrow his. Feel free to email anytime! (On a side note, I too have a 5 year old and 2.5 year old and just lost my mom after a horrible 10.5 week battle with melanoma, it was tragic, sudden, unexpected, and your posts about your mom always hit home. I am so so sorry, this is not the club we chose to be in.).

Joanna said...

I teared up reading this. I'm so sorry and hope she grows out of it.