My worst nightmare realized, Part 2

Posted on: May 21, 2014

When we discovered our oldest son was suffering from life threatening allergies, I knew things would never be the same again.  My heart filled with worry.  My mind  began to be consumed by thoughts of something happening to “G”.  What if someone ate nuts around him and then touched him or kissed him?  What if someone offered him food with one of his allergens in it and he took it?  What do we do at restaurants?  What happens when we go to someone’s house for dinner?  He’s only 3 years old, he can’t manage his allergy…The worry in my soul grew more and more each day until it started to overtake over me.  I knew I couldn’t live in a constant state of fear and worry, but that’s exactly what I was doing.  I spent our entire Christmas holiday consumed with fear as we went house to house visiting family and each house had food with nuts, sesame, and shellfish.  I couldn’t enjoy one moment of it because I was so worried “G” would eat something with an allergen in it and have an attack.  Then, a few months later, it came time for “RJ” to start eating solid foods.  As you can imagine, since his older brother has food allergies, I became worried “RJ” would have them too.  It seemed all I was doing was walking around in a cloud of worry and constantly praying for God’s protection over my boys and that they wouldn’t go into anaphylaxis.

allergy picI came up with a plan of attack.  I started checking EVERY label religiously when grocery shopping.  EVERY label, EVERY time.  It meant grocery trips would get longer, but it’ was a necessity.  I downloaded multiple food allergy apps on my phone to help decipher food labels.  I looked up information on the internet and, I started bringing food for “G” wherever we would go.  Anytime we went to a birthday party, I brought his own snacks and special nut free cupcake.  If we went on a play date or out to eat I would do the same thing.  I made sure to inform all our family and friends of “G”‘s dietary needs and asking them to avoid any foods with allergens when we went to their house.  I did this knowing I had to but feeling like a burden on them.  I hated asking them to check all the ingredients of everything and putting the offending foods away, but I didn’t want to risk my son’s life over something that could be avoided.  Doing all of this is necessary but still made me so anxious and worried so I wanted some support; the support of others who’ve been there.  I joined a food allergy support group on Facebook.  I shouldn’t have What I thought would make things better only made them worse.  I read story after story about these moms and their kids who had multiple anaphylaxis attacks; some as young as my baby.  All it did was scare me and make me even more paranoid.  It was all I could think of 24/7.  I left the group.  I knew if I wanted to regain any kind of sanity, it was what I needed to do.

Feeling worried, anxious, burdensome, and like I couldn’t handle anymore, I did the one thing I hadn’t done yet; I called my best friend.  THANK GOD FOR HER!  She was able to talk me down off a ledge.  I laid it all out there for her; told her everything I was feeling and thinking.  I told her the story of a woman I used to work with who had a child with a life threatening allergy and how every time she asked for precautions to be taken to ensure her child’s safety, people would talk about her like she was crazy.  I told my best friend I didn’t want to be the crazy mom.  You know what she told me?  She said, “It’s ok to be that mom.”  It’s ok to be the mom who brings food for her child to parties and restaurants and play dates.  It’s ok to be that mom who asks people not to have that food around when we’re over their house.  She said, IT’S OK.”   Two simple words.  Two words that calmed me down and made me feel better.  Two words that put things into perspective for me because, you know what?  SHE’S RIGHT.  I realized then that it was silly of me to feel guilty to ask people to help protect my son’s life.  It’s his life at stake!  I have every right to ask them to keep allergen foods away;  I have every right to bring my own food to a party or restaurant or wherever we go.  It’s my right to protect my son and that’s exactly what I’m doing.

Do I still get scared and anxious at times?  Of course.  But I don’t let it consume me anymore; I don’t let the fear run my life.  I just remember her words and I pray God’s protection over my children each day and now I have peace.



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