For us, there have been ups and downs as we deal with his food allergies. I usually focus on the positives --- and there have been many. We have an abundance of delicious foods we can eat. He has safely gone on sleepovers and to an overnight field trip. Our friends and family have gone above and beyond to keep him well-fed, safe, and included. He has passed some food challenges.
That said, it's not all sunshine and rainbows. Life with food allergies is complicated for him and for me.
I was reminded of this last week.
Last week I went to a phenomenal vegan event where local vendors sold everything from skin care to jewelry to food. The food options were really awesome. I ended up deciding on vegan tamales and gluten-free caramel brownies to bring home for dinner. Of course, I asked both vendors about allergens. The answers were reassuring.
I fed my family this fun dinner that evening. When my son was going to bed, he was covered with hives. They were all over his arms and legs. He didn't have any digestive issues (in the past he has always thrown up as one of his symptoms of allergy exposure) and his mouth didn't itch or feel weird. His only symptom was this rash/hives.
Per our allergy action plan, I gave him Benadryl and kept an eye on him.
And I started to beat myself up. I felt terrible that I had done this to him. I questioned whether I had really asked enough questions. I chastised myself for thinking that he could or should eat food that I bought from a vendor fair. I was devastated.
The next morning his hives seemed to be almost gone, so I gave him some more Benadryl and he went to school.
That night, they were back worse than before.
When we went to the doctor the next day, I confessed what I had done. Our doctor looked him over and ordered a strep test. It came back positive. His hives were caused by the strep. He did not have an allergic reaction at all.
I'm telling you this story, because I think it's important. Whether he had an allergic reaction or not -- AND HE DID NOT -- I went through the same mix of emotions that I have so many times in the past. Fear, self-blame and sadness. They are, unfortunately, the allergic parent's companion.
So, the next time you have a scare, I want you to remember that you're not alone. I can't help you to feel better, but I can let you know that there are many of us who are in the same boat. If that helps a little bit, then I am glad.
My new book, Ancient Grains: A Guide to Cooking with Power-Packed Millet, Oats, Spelt, Farro, Sorghum & Teff (Superfoods for Life), is available for pre-order now. Super Seeds, is available now! You can also find tasty recipes in Welcoming Kitchen: 200 Delicious Allergen- & Gluten-Free Vegan Recipes.