You know how sometimes you walk into a moment, fully expecting one thing, thinking you are one prepared-and-ready-to-handle-it-all-bad-ass-muthah when suddenly *WHAM* life throws you a curve ball to the temple and knocks your ass flat?
Yeah, happened last week.
The Beans has had his fair share of medical excitement, from the purple-and-grey-birth followed by his Homer Simpson homage, to choking and turning blue with so much regularity I am sure I can perform emergency choking procedures on a baby in my sleep. So when I finally talked our primary care physician into an allergist referral following at least a year of miserable sinus congestion, coughing, sneezing, ear pulling and snot-vomiting, I walked in braced for the your-kid-is-allergic-to-everything-that-grows-outside talk. Instead? Well instead they poked the poo out of that little bitty back and told me:
Your kid cannot come anywhere near milk, eggs, or any nut. Ever. Oh and wheat isn't a good idea overall either.
Then we discussed Epinephrine and the doctor dropped phrases like "potentially life threatening."
The milk, I knew. We have been mostly dairy free due to his milk reactions via my breast milk for a loooong time now. I occasionally will make something with milk in it and taste it, but for the most part I am avoiding it still because I am one of those hippie moms who hasn't cut the kid off the boob yet at eighteen months old. While this is mainly due to his digestive insanity and nutrient needs, it is highly inconvenient yet we knew necessary. So this one diagnoses was no surprise, though I will admit that the optimistic unicorn that resides in my head was hopeful they'd be all "oh wow he totally outgrew that!"
Eggs? Well that one I didn't see coming. But nuts? All nuts, both the tree and ground growing varieties? Talk about left field and scary.
I had students back in my teaching days with nut allergies. Kids seriously stressed me out. Not because there was anything wrong with the kids -- on the contrary I am hard pressed to remember one of them who had any pain in the rear tendencies. No, their mere presence stressed me out because I know, with acute clarity, what it is like to live with a life threatening allergy. Living with one has made me hyper vigilant to all the random items in this world that contain my allergen, that no one else would ever be aware of. But nut allergies ... well I wasn't aware of them. I learned what I needed to, a minor crash course if you will, and diligently emailed their parents whenever I had a question. They were the experts. I felt so much more sure of myself when one of those moms or dads gave me a green light. Surely they knew what they were talking about, the safety of their little precious cupcake depended on their obsessive research, label-reading and company-calling.
But now I am one of those parents.
And that scares me.
It also breaks my heart. I don't think there are words adequate enough to impart how frustrating living with a life threatening allergy can be. None that I know, for sure. In a society that is all about empowerment and strength, to be felled by something as innocuous and stupid as a nut or a balloon (my allergy is to latex) ... well it throws you for a loop. To always wonder when or where you may be accidentally exposed. To always have to listen to and deal with the naysayers and theorists -- who generally have no allergies themselves but have hypothesized the millions of reasons why others do. It is tiring. Frightening.
And now my baby may have to live with it too.
Milk and egg allergies come with a roughly 80% chance of out-growth. Fingers crossed. Nut allergies come with about a 20% chance. Well gee, the odds be not in our favor completely there.
So this past week has been a blur of cabinet clean out and library trips trying to discover what I can still feed my family. All told, our list of things we are either sensitive to, reactive to, allergic to or intolerant of is staggering. Ultimately, for a gal like me who isn't exactly all knowing and knowledgeable in the kitchen to begin with to try to whip up safe yet yummy food has become and overwhelming task that I know I will get used to. I have done it before with the removal of meat and then dairy from our diets, so I can do it again. It just ... sigh.
Imma outta words.
Anyhoo, things should be up to normal chaos round here soon enough. Sorry, and thanks for hanging with me!