If you have found your way to this site, I know someone close to you has probably been diagnosed with a life-threatening food allergy. My daughter, Maggie, was born with many food and environmental allergies, and this site is the culmination of my struggle to keep her safe, and my acceptance of her. If you are in a similar place, take heart that you are not alone. I will share with you, and hopefully you will share with me. Honestly, those of us whose kids have allergies are able to connect and support each other in ways other’s cannot. In my experience, it does not matter how much I’ve prepped my family and friends, I will still find peanuts on Maggie’s grandparent’s coffee table, pb&j sandwiches at a party, snicker bars in a goody bag, or a peanut-butter based craft at school.
Maggie is now seven years old and in the second grade. She has learned to live with her allergies, but she despises them nevertheless. She never admits to being itchy or having any kind of reaction. Once, a few years ago, she had a serious reaction to holding a puppy. Her entire face swelled up, with white welts covering her body. She insisted she was okay, and begged to stay with the dog. We did not have her emergency kit on us- no epi-pen or benedryl. We raced to the pharmacy and literally stole the benedryl in our rush to get it to her. It breaks my heart that she tries to hide her reactions. Maybe she just doesn’t want to be different. So this week, I’ve noticed that she has some fairly serious exema across the back of her neck. It’s enough to put blood on her collar. When I asked her, she denied it.
Later this week, Maggie is going on a field trip with her class… whale watching. So, I’m thinking about how to prepare her for that. I generally send her epi-pen and medicine in a “skate” pack (or fanny pack). That way, it is on her body. Packing safe food continues to be an issue. She has a tendency to share her food- which makes me nervous. I’m wondering if I should just tag along. This is an on-going struggle. How to empower Maggie to care for herself, while keeping her safe. I have a tendency to hover, but that’s not good for either of us. More later. -Kathy