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Thursday, October 18, 2007

Living with Food Allergies

If you're a regular reader, you know my middle child has severe food allergies. It has been an exhausting effort, at times, to keep up a positive outlook on this. I often think if she had been diagnosed with a medical condition that sounded more impressive, it would be easier for people to feel compassion.

Don't get me wrong. Most people are kind and do understand. It's just those times, when I hear grumblings from parents who are ticked off their child can't eat their favorite snack in school or bring in birthday cupcakes to the classroom because of those kids with food allergies. Or when I see the flash of annoyance streak across a person's face when I ask about the ingredients in a food or inquire about cross-contamination. Or when people who know about my child's severe food allergies get upset with me because I don't go to their homes. What they don't get, even though I explain it to them, is I don't go to their homes because they always have every dangerous food allergen in every possible form cooking, baking, frying all around my child. My child ends up needing medication to relieve the itchiness, hives and asthma.

All these little actions, even though I know aren't meant to be malicious in anyway, render me weak and anxious, hopeless of a normal life for my child. And when I think about a post I read back in April, I am sickened. I weep for the difficulty and bullying my child may experience as she grows older. To think this is all because of FOOD!

You know I'm all about self-confidence, and right now, my incredible child is a tower of strength. There is no doubt in my mind that she will be tested over the years and need all her courage and strength to overcome negative attitudes.

I urge you to take five minutes to watch these sweet children talk about their food allergies. Watch their beautiful faces. Look in their eyes. Listen to what they have to say. Please. It would mean the world to me. Thank you.

20 comments:

Nowheymama said...

I am crying.

Thank you.

m. thompson said...

OMG. This is powerful. I never realized.

theresa said...

Roz sent me over here--glad she did. I hear you loud and clear--come visit and you'll see just how much we have in common.
;-)
We have to start a snowflake auction for a cure of our own.

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

HWM: There was a person's blog I stopped reading after her really snotty post about overprotection of children with peanut allergies. She said, "I've never heard such a preposterous notion," and the readers chimed in with their moral outrage as well. I posted something about a friend of mine who's son had to have the fire department called after he injested peanuts because (get this) he was having trouble breathing. I've had a number of heated conversations with grownups of a generation older than myself, too, who grumble about the "overprotection" of kids. I've explained to them, "This is not about my child breaking out in a rash on her cheeks and bottom after she has citrus. This is about children who could actually die if they eat peanuts."

While I admit I do get irked when people who have willingly chosen to partake of a different food lifestyle than mine act ungracious in my home (including the aversion to anything green that grew from the ground), I would never, ever be resentful or impatient with people who had food intolerances or allergies. I expect other people to display the same kind of tolerance and compassion that they'd want for themselves and their children.

Fiercely yours,
Alkelda the Gleeful

Alkelda the Gleeful said...

P.S. Change "who's" to "whose." I should always take care to proofread, especially when I'm incensed.

HipWriterMama said...

nowheymama-
That video made me cry buckets. Last night I was looking on YouTube to see what I can find about food allergies. When I saw this video, I knew I had to share it with everyone.

M. Thompson -
Thank you. I'm so glad you took the time to watch this. Thank you again.

Theresa -
I just checked out your blog and will be visiting again. Here's to a cure.

Alkelda -
I love the fiercely yours. I swear, one of these days, I will meet you. Your support does wonders. Thank you.

Sarah Amick said...

As a mother of someone who has allergy induced asthma, this left me wondering how my daughter would feel if she were asked these questions?
Aren't children just beautiful creatures? I am always taken back by the wisdom of their years. They mull things over more than we know!

HipWriterMama said...

Sarah,
I wish the best for your daughter. I know how tough it can be.

I agree with you. Children are simply incredible.

Jen Barney said...

Thank you so much for this...

My six year old has severe peanut/nut allergies-allergy induced asthma & sports induced asthma. He is such a trooper about it- always asking before he eats it, even if it is his Mommy or Daddy giving it to him. Makes me want to cry!

Now that he is in school- lunch time is always in the back of my mind- Gym days are nerve racking for me. I am blessed that my husband is a teacher there. He checks to make sure everything is o.k. each day.

I hope others understand our little ones world.
Again- thank you!

HipWriterMama said...

Jen,
You're lucky your husband can check in on your son. That must be such a relief.

It sounds like you've taught your son well--he's careful and confident enough to check his food. It is heartbreaking, but also empowering.

Best of luck.

Liz in Ink said...

Man, this really packs a wallop. This is going DIRECTLY to four friends whose kids have severe allergies. Thanks, Vivian, and somehow I have the feeling that your daughter is going to have all the voice and ooomph she needs if people get snarky on her. With love xxxx

FrecklesandDeb said...

This was a powerful piece. Wouldn't it be wonderful if kids didn't have to feel excluded because they can't eat what everyone else does.

At the school where I work, a guest from a museum carrying a suitcase of items from the Native American department brought nuts into our school as part of the native foods exhibit. Before we realized what was happening, three kids reacted from touching the items that had touched the nuts. Reactions ranged from a rash to major breathing difficulties. The other students got a huge lesson in what their friends had been living with. I haven't seen a peanut butter sandwich at school since!

HipWriterMama said...

Liz,
You are awesome. Thank you.

Freckles and Deb,
That is scary! I hope the children were okay. Thank you for sharing this experience.

Rational Jenn said...

Thanks--I am crying, too. I'm sending this to everyone I know, including my own parents, who still don't get it.

By the way, if you'd like to submit this post to our new Living With Food Allergies Blog Carnival, this would be a great addition. You can email me at (remove spaces and fix) rationaljenn AT gmail DOT com.

ChupieandJ'smama said...

This video brings me to tears to my eyes every time I see it. Yes, my son has food allergies, but first and foremost, before I'm an allergy mom, I'm a MOTHER. And as a mother I don't understand why other mothers (or fathers) wouldn't want to help keep our children safe by protecting our children from one thing that can kill them...FOOD. As mother, I would do anything in my power to protect another child. Thank you for sharing your very heart felt post.

HipWriterMama said...

Rational Jenn and Chupieandj'smama-Dealing with food allergies is tough, isn't it? Here's to hope and health to all the children and families who are touched by this illness. Peace.

daphne grab said...

i'm completely horrified by that situation in conn and all the responses. what is wrong with people? my kids go a a nut-free school and i never thought twice about it- we just have out nuts at home, and never before school in case any got on their clothes. i know a bunch of public schools here in nyc are peanut free, including where my husband teaches, and i've never heard of anyone who resented it. that article really turns my stomach so thank you for the beautiful video to move me past it!

Camille said...

A week ago, the Food Channel had an excellent program on the whole issue of food allergies and highlighted the problems families face while trying to protect their kids.

It was an excellent program. I am familiar with many of the challenges you all face but this program opened my eyes even more.

Cloudscome said...

Those children are truly beautiful. I am celiac (can't tolerate any wheat, rye or barley) and live with the difficulty of not eating anything that doesn't have a label, as one boy said. It makes me sad to think about all the kids that have to be that careful about everything, everywhere they go. It's so scary! and hard to watch other kids eating stuff they can't have - I know that as a grown up and I wish no child had to feel that. The way so many kids nowadays are allergic to so much makes me think it must be environmental. It ought to be a wake up call to all of us. Thanks for posting this video.

Anonymous said...

Here is another perspective to "chew on". In the history of our family NO one had any allergies to anything (not even "hay fever") until after we moved to US three decades ago then anything went including my nephew's anaphylactic allergy to peanuts which we noticed when he was less than 2 years old. Could this be due to the mouth full of mercury amalgams that his mother had been "shoved down her throat" when she was a kid in the US by her "friendly" dentist (perhaps explaining his noticeable Parkinson's for the last 10 years), and let's not forget the "over-educated" pediatrician who was generous in vaccinating the innocent baby numerous times before his first birthday. All of those accumulating toxic affects most likely caused the innocent baby to develop numerous allergies which is too long to list on this blog space.

How is it that in China and Africa there is almost NO incidence of peanut allergy where the kids "play" in the dirt and reap the fruits of their hard physical labor in the fields. Is it because they do not have the economic means nor the people to intoxicate everyone with toxic vaccines and amalgams for the genuine concern of "public health".