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Yes, I do cry sometimes

Posted on July 13th, 2008 by Alison Read 7 Comments - Add Your Own »

People say to me “Wow, that must hard” when I tell them about my daughter ‘s food allergies. “Eh,” I say with a shrug, “you just do what you have to do.” And I almost never cry about it. (You can read about the last time I cried).

But last night, I read an article about a 30 year old guy who collapsed in anaphylactic shock and died after taking a bite out of a cookie that contained peanuts. He had 2 previous reactions in his life, according to the article: when he was 3 months old, he had a rash and blistering after peanut oil got on his skin, and when he was a little older, he had blistering in his mouth after eating a chocolate. Then, 29 years later, a fatal reaction.

After reading the article I suddenly felt sick to my stomach and my whole body tensed up. I went to talk to my father, a retired pediatrician, about the article (I was visiting my parents) and as I spoke, I began to cry. I’m not sure why this particular story affected me so much, but I think it was because of what Gina at Allergy Moms said about this story: “This is a tragic reminder that past reactions cannot predict the severity of future reactions…”

When my daughter was tested for cashews, her scratch test indicated she was allergic, but according to the allergist, the test is not a reliable indicator of the severity of the allergy. Then, her lips swelled one time after kissing someone who ate cashews. I asked the allergist about the need for an epi-pen, and he thought that I was being overly cautious. He didn’t think it was necessary because since she hadn’t had a systemic reaction, meaning that her blood pressure didn’t drop the first time, then she most likely is not at risk for anaphylactic shock. Most likely. Well, unless that doctor could tell me that there was a 100% certainty that my daughter is not at risk, I was getting that epi-pen prescription. My father and my daughter’s pediatrician agreed with me. Why not carry one? Plus, I don’t know what would happen if she actually ate a cashew. So I am erring (in the allergist’s mind I guess) on the side of caution.

One of the things that I uttered to my father through my my tears was “I feel like I’ve done everything that I can do for her, but then it’s out of my control.” There is a feeling of powerlessness that parents of food-allergic children have. We can control our immediate environment, but beyond that we have to hope that our children really understand the seriousness of their allergies, we have to rely on other people to remember the dangers, we have to trust that schools are prepared for an emergency, we have to have faith in grandparents and friends that they will not take it lightly, and then, after all that, we just have to pray that everything is going to be all right. (Breathe.)

I think we are allowed a little cry now and then, don’t you?

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  1. absolutely. crying is cleansing.
    you are such an amazing mother.

  2. Bless your heart honey. I know exactly where you are coming from – my daughter is nine and was diagnosed in January 07.

    Every once in a while I will let myself rage at the unfairness of it all, and I wonder if I’m crying for myself as much as I am for her. Then I get a grip and remind myself that she’s a normal, active, healthy kid who just has to eat differently. It could have been blindness, a malformity, or leukemia. It could have been a thousand other illnesses or deformities that could have had an entirely different effect on her lifestyle. Instead it was something a dietary change can resolve, doesn’t require any expensive medicine or procedures, and came at a time when even my local grocery and health food stores are carrying food options for her.
    It’s tough on her sometimes: when we have to make special arrangements for birthday parties, or eating out, or have to have her pack her lunch at school every day. But she can see, run, jump, play, and sing like other girls her age and by God, that’s more important.
    I cry too, sometimes. But I give myself five minutes to get over it and get on with my day.

  3. I get blindsided by my daughter’s allergy every few months. I’ll be doing fine and then POW! the tears come. I don’t think you’d be human if you didn’t cry it out every once in a while.

    p.s. The Laptop system came on Friday – Bella loves it! I’ll be blogging about it this week. Thanks again!

  4. I think you made the absolute right choice to demand an EpiPen. You can never predict what the next reaction will be. Two weeks ago my son had never reacted to peanuts, only had a skin and blood test to prove his allergy. Then the blood work came back with no allergy so the allergist gave him peanut butter. She ended up calling 911. That was his first reaction!!

    I’m glad to know I’m not the only one that cries every now and then. I think its just our mom instincts kicking into high gear.

  5. Your last paragraph was beautifully stated….Now I am crying too!

  6. I feel so relieved that others feel overwhelmed and worried about an anaphylactic reaction!! After I read your post, I started crying too. I agree with Sue (July 14th post) when she says that she just tells herself it could be alot worse…something like cancer or blindness. That is how I get through the self-pity episodes. Just tell myself “It could be alot worse…” We have a healthy, vibrant, 4-year old who just needs extra precautions. Thanks for the validation….I think we all need it now and then!!

  7. Thanks everyone for your comments! I do think of how lucky I am too… my family is happy and healthy!

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