Tuesday

A Little Understanding... Kids with Life-Threatening Allergies

by (Guest Contributor) Lisita

I live in fear of someone hurting my child.  I’ve seen this someone hurt my child right before my eyes.  It doesn’t matter where we are, we are constantly followed.  It’s unnerving.  Once we were threatened at a park.  I swooped her up and ran for our car.  As I drove away, tears streamed down my face that my child couldn’t even play safely at one of our favorite parks.  Another time we were in danger at the zoo and again I escorted her quickly away as I tried to stay calm.  Let’s go see the penguins, I encouraged with a smile as we fled away from the danger by the gorilla exhibit.  On a different day she was in danger at church, the next day at the grocery store, the next at the library.  So day-to-day I’m on the lookout.  I’m a lifeguard who can never let her guard down but although it feels like I’m on the lookout for someone I’m really on the lookout for something.

I’m on duty 24/7 because my precious daughter has life-threatening allergies to peanuts and tree nuts.  She’s proven to be sensitive to those who eat peanuts or tree nuts around her.  I often think of her trip in an ambulance to the ER and thank heaven that my child survived. Believe me, if I could have stopped what was happening or traded places with her, I would have in a heartbeat. Now I am constantly on the lookout.
 
picture of my daughter MG just one hour before she went into anaphylactic shock from a tiny bite of a peanut butter sandwich
So when I dramatically flee from an unsafe area with my daughter, I don’t always have time to give you a polite explanation why.  I don’t have time to stand there and chat it over.  While you are wondering what in the world is wrong with eating a peanut butter sandwich or trail mix, I’m having a flashback of the day peanuts almost killed my child after one tiny bite of a similar sandwich.  I know many think I overreact, but it is up to me to keep my daughter safe. It’s my life’s goal and I work hard at it. I fervently hope that she never goes into Anaphylactic Shock again.  Some say it’s inevitable and I say they are wrong.  I will do everything in my power to try and avoid that nightmarish experience

We have been able to create one safe haven where we can relax our fears—our home.  I’m not suggesting that the world stop eating peanuts and tree nuts.  If I didn’t live with this issue I’d still be eating them (just not around those who are allergic).  I simply pray for a cure and hope for a little more understanding from perplexed friends and strangers. Yes, I was that stranger who inquired what you were eating at the park yesterday. 
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To read more about what it’s like to have a child with life-threatening allergies you can find Lisita’s blog at www.allergylog.blogspot.com.  Questions welcomed
  Picture of MG at the age she was when she went into Anaphylactic Shock at 20 months old, she is currently 4 ½ years old.  

editor's note:  I have a family member with life-threatening allergies (also to peanuts).  Although we still eat peanuts and tree nuts at home, I really try to avoid taking trail mix and pb sandwiches to public places, and when my child gets to bring treats to class, I try to remember to make it as allergy-friendly as possible... because there is always that one child, or two children who don't get to have the class treat.  Imagine being that child and living in fear of something you don't quite understand... I think we all could be a little more understanding.  Thanks Lisita!

13 comments:

Jen said...

This is a great reminder to me. Even though my child does not have serious allergies I should be more mindful of others who do. Thanks for some great insight!

Surf Goddess said...

so important to raise awareness out there of these hidden dangers!! thanks lisita!

Rachel said...

Great post, Lisita! Thanks for reminding us of this very prevalent issue! I have a nephew with peanut allergies and I know his mom appreciates it so much when people are sensitive to the situation.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend whose daughter has allergies to peanuts (among other things). I will definitely be more mindful of their situation from now on.

Renae said...

When I first freaked out about my youngest son's allergies, a dear friend sent me to you. For that I will be forever thankful. I live and walk every step with you each day in this world of people who are uneducated about allergies. I'm viewed as paranoid, over reactive, and crazy. But you know the truth and that makes all the difference! Great post!

Megan said...

Thank you for sharing your story. It is really important that we are all understanding of kids with allergies and their parents. I'm so glad you're spreading the word about this. I think hearing a personal story or knowing someone with allergies is the only way people will remember the importance of keeping everyone safe.

Miryam (mama o' the matrices) said...

Thanks for a great post, Lisita - it's easy for folks to overlook a statistic, but it's hard to pretend that a real person isn't there, or doesn't need our understanding.

Thanks for making it real...

AMB said...

Great post, Lisita!!!

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

My son has the same serious allergy, and we don't even keep peanuts or other nuts in the house. It's just not worth the risk. I've made sure everyone who knows him knows about his allergy and how severe it is, and now that he's old enough to speak up for himself (he's 6), he knows to ask about every food he's ever handed or served.

Briana said...

I just sent this to a good friend of mine who's daughter has life threatening allergies to eggs and nuts. She cried her way through it! I try very hard to be aware but I realize that I will never fully understand how scary it is for her and how difficult it is. Thanks for this post!

Lisita said...

I've loved reading your comments. Thanks for all the love and support!!

Minwimm said...

This is a little late but just wanted to let you know I am all in favor of acting a little crazy to keep the ones we love safe!

Anonymous said...

Lisita,
I was that child who had severe life-threatening allergies, though mine involved dairy products. My mom was that mom: inquiring how others prepared their meals, asking chefs to list the ingredients used in their kitchens, bringing me custom class treats so I wouldn't feel left out. When I think of everything she did for me, I feel even more grateful for her, and know that I am lucky to have had such a fantastic mom (which I always tell her)! Anyways, I just wanted to thank you (and all moms of allergy-stricken kids) for all the extra effort you put into ensuring our safety and happiness!

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