Friday, September 9, 2011

Going Allergy Free

Food allergies are not foreign to me.  I may not have any, but I deal with them on a daily basis and they are real, severe and sometimes life threatening.  When my son, Connor, was a baby and I was trying to switch him over to whole milk from being breastfed is when I had my first food allergy experience.  I tried mixing half breast milk and half whole milk in his bottle at around 10 months old.  He was starting to wean himself so I knew the time was right.  He didn't want the bottle at first, but then eventually drank the whole thing.  He became lethargic and had a very runny nose.  It was pouring and he was rubbing his face like crazy.  I was still very naive about food allergies, so I really didn't put the two together, until the next time I tried to give him a bottle with real "cow's" milk in it.  He absolutely refused it!  Some had dribbled down his chin and on his neck...a little drop had even flicked up into his eye.  Well, he immediately got hives wherever the milk touched and his eye swelled up.  I knew then that it was something he was allergic to.  We took him to the doctor who sent him to an allergist to be tested for food allergies at 12 months old.  (In the meantime we had made the switch from breast milk to soy milk just fine).  At the allergist he tested positive for Milk, Eggs, and Peanuts.  I was still learning all about food allergies those first couple of years, and just how serious they can be!

Connor had his first anaphylactic reaction when he was 2 years old.  Scary...definitely!  I won't go into detail about the story, so lets just say that watching your child go limp in your arms is nothing that I ever want to experience again.  I have a better handle on food allergies now, but it seems like there is something new to learn all the time. 

My husband, Evan, has been struggling with EE (Eosinophilic Esophagitis) for the past couple of years, and only now has finally gotten a definite diagnosis.  So now...not only with keeping my son safe from Milk, Eggs and Peanuts....we are adding a whole new list of foods that my husband is allergic to.  His food allergies include: Milk, Chocolate, Barley, Corn, Wheat, Cashews, Sunflowers, and Sesame!  I thought cooking food for the whole family that was free of just milk, eggs, and peanuts was hard.....I really have my work cut out for me now! 

If anyone has any tried and true Gluten, Dairy, Egg, Corn free recipes....let me know! 

The ones with food allergies in the family:
~My husband, Evan, and son Connor~

Did You Know?

Peanuts are everywhere....I never really thought about it before my son was allergic...but we can't take him into any restaurant that has the open bags of peanuts for people to eat while waiting for their food.  Roadhouse Grill, Texas Roadhouse, Five Guys, and Mojo's are just some of the places we know to have the peanuts out and about.  With shells on the floor, on the tables and chairs...he just can't be safe at a place like that.  Connor has contact allergies as well as the ingested allergies.  If he just sits his arm in a drop of milk...he will get a hive!  Crazy!

This is a cute shirt for a child with food allergies.  When my son was younger, his grandma had a tag made for him that said "Connor - Food Allergies - Don't Feed Me".  It was bright orange and had a clip on the top of it.  I would clip it on his shirt where ever he went.  Especially if he was going to be away from me and taken care of by someone in the nursery at church.  He got to where he would ask for his "tag" before we dropped him off to make sure he had it. 

My husband is 36, and after being able to eat what he wanted his whole's going to be a bit of a struggle to get into that mind set of NOT being able to have some of his favorite foods!

Connor is in Kindergarten this year, and for the first time in his away from me every day of the week.  I want to keep him safe and healthy during his school years.  This year, after talking to his teacher, I made up a container of "safe foods" that when they have a party at school Connor will be able to participate with getting a treat also.  He is only going to half day K-5, but there is always food involved in someway during the school year. 

I am thinking about getting him a bracelet of some kind.  I saw this one and thought it was really neat!  It's called The Allerbling Bracelet!  I think it would be perfect for a child Connor's age.  He can talk about his food allergies, but can't quite read label's and understand all of the words in the label that he is allergic to just yet. 

Food allergies are life long....unless you outgrow them, and Connor's haven't gotten better yet.  So we deal with them on a day to day basis and try to stay as safe as possible.  Connor's Epi-pen is always close by...I don't want him to be one of those children who felt that they were cautious enough NOT to carry their epi-pen with them at all times...then have an accidental run-in with their food allergy and NOT be prepared.  Every minute counts when you are having an allergic reaction!


Pidg said...

Ohmygoodness that is so scary. My youngest daughter is a diabetic and I know what you mean about keeping them safe. At first I just thought, "Oh that's cool. I can just go where ever you go." Haha! I cannot imagine having to change your husband's eating habits...good luck with all of it. I'm allergic to shellfish and have a contact allergy I developed also. Doctor told me I will most likely die with the next reaction...when I have a bad day I tell my husband I want some shrimp. He doesn't think it's funny...but for some reason it cracks me up!

When you talked about his seriously made me well up with tears. I feel that worry your have for him. :)


I'm so glad i came by your blog. my son also has allergies but to air borne allergens. I need to have him tested again, he seems to be getting worse. Your boys are precious. Lets follow each other.

Lisa x

Justine said...

My son has Coeliac Disease and I am forever thankful that it does not cause an anaphylactic reaction. This however has not stopped the stress. People are becoming more aware of food allergies re Wheat/gluten but have found with other I know with egg and milk allergies people just don't get why the person with the allergy can not have that piece of cake, UMMMMMM, does it have egg? Milk?, yes, that is why, OH,. They just don't seem to get it. And I am sure you have found that it is hidden in so many foods. Australia is good for the declaration on the food labeling but I still read it and double, triple check. My son is 6 but also has speech delay so wires can get crossed when telling others and his full understanding of what he can and can not eat, it is getting better but I am sure I will always be a stress bucket when it comes to his diet.

Mrs. T said...

Those food allergy bracelets are such a great idea!!

Nancy said...

Wow, that is such a tough thing to go through as a mother and a wife. You are a strong woman and I love the idea of allergy bracelet. I think those are so important to have. My cousin is currently going through something with her daughter and she thinks her daughter has inherited in her husband's food allergies. I'm going to have her come read your blog about this.

highheels2flipflops said...

I can relate to you but not quite on your level. My daughter Sadie is SEVERELY allergic to peanuts! She first tested positive to all tree nuts and peanuts but last year only tested positive to peanuts. I don't care what they say. I am keeping her away from ALL nuts no matter what! Good luck with planning your new food regimens. You are amazing and so good to take care of them both so well! xoxo