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Category Archives: food allergy

#HAWMC Day 26 Worry-free Pass

wego day 26

If the genie in a bottle was giving out worry-free day passes, what day would I chose? wow……let me think on that….WOW….one day, huh?….WOW

Only one day?  Prom, graduation, college, starting career, marriage, birth of my grandchild…..only one day?  Can’t do it…maybe I’m selfish, but I want all those days to be worry-free like they are for parents who don’t have kids with chronic health issues like food allergies or Type 1 diabetes.

But I’d settle for 4 years worry-free for each of my two wonderful children.  The four years of college….let them go to the school of their dreams, no matter how far from home that may be.  And let them be safe from harm.

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#HAWMC Day 21 Adversity

“The flower that blooms in adversity is the rarest and most beautiful of all.” – Mulan

Today’s challenge is whether we believe that the quote from Mulan above, is true or false.  My initial reaction was to consider my son and daughter, both of whom face adversity because of their food allergy and Type 1 diabetes, respectively.  But I also began to wonder which flowers bloom the best under adverse conditions.  So I did a quick google search and came up with the Crown of Thorns…..and I thought….wow, here it is a Sunday morning and the symbolism of “crown of thorns’ is even more impactful for its association with Jesus Christ.  And I just finished watching a Rick Steves’ program about Edinburgh that described the St. Giles Cathedral with its ornate spire designed to look like the crown of thorns.  Another example of Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon, which occurs when a person, after having learned some (usually obscure) fact, word, phrase, or other item for the first time, encounters that item again, perhaps several times, shortly after having learned it.  I was just telling another T1 parent about this phenomenon the other day, as an explanation for why we seem to learn of so many other Type 1 diabetics after our own child’s diagnosis.  And I just remembered that my son watched Mulan in 2 classes this week–weird, huh?

So here I am in this surreal loop this morning….and am reminded of when I taught a class on archetypes and symbolism to high school students.  They fought against the concept of symbolism:  “Mrs. C, can’t a tree just be a tree?  How do you know it means anything else?”  And my response would be that if the tree were merely mentioned in passing, then yes, it was just a tree.  But if the writer drew your attention to that tree over and over again, then the tree was symbolic and therefore, had greater meaning.  Today, the “crown of thorns”  appears to have meaning for me.

And yes, I truly believe that survival against adversity makes one more beautiful…makes the victories that much sweeter….

crown of thorns

Have a blessed Sunday!

#HAWMC Day 9 As a Caregiver for a Child With Type 1 diabetes, what am I doing right?

Wego day 9

What am I doing right as caregiver for a child with Type 1 and one with a food allergy? What am I doing right as a mother? Some days I have no idea if I am doing anything right.

But I do know what my goals are– both as a caregiver and a parent.

First: in the words of Leighann Calentie “kid first, diabetes second.” I will not let diabetes stand in the way of my daughter’s dreams and goals.  And I will not let food allergies stand in the way of my son’s dreams and goals.

Whatever issue any child is dealing with needs the same approach as parenting in general. Which leads to my second point:  I want to give my children the tools they need to be independent, self-reliant, and an asset to society.  All kids need the 3R’s–not reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmatic–but being Respectful, Responsible, and Resourceful.

Be respectful of others, of themselves, their own bodies, and the world.

Be responsible for themselves, their belongings, their mistakes.

Be resourceful–if they don’t know the answer to something, know where to go to find the answer.  If faced with a problem, solve it–don’t whine about it!

If my children take these lessons with them, then I have done something right!

#HAWMC Day 5 Aspirations for Activism

wego day 5

I have only one aspiration as a Health Activist….to be able to say….

“My son used to have food allergies and my daughter used to have Type 1 diabetes.”

Th—th—th—that’s all, folks!

#HAWMC Day 4 Sharing and Caring

wegoday4

I have written recently about some of the best blogs/on-line resources for Type 1 Diabetics  in my Navigating the D O C post.  I categorized the listings to make it easier to find blogs specific to where you are on the Type 1 Journey.  But I did forget  to mention that JDRF, American Diabetes Association, Tudiabetes, Juvenile Diabetes Cure Alliance, and Children With Diabetes also have valuable information.  And another great site is Integrated Diabetes–Gary Scheiner is the author of  Think Like A Pancreas and is part of Integrated Diabetes.  His pump/cgm comparisons are very helpful and the site also addresses many other needs.

I haven’t connected those of you looking for resources for food allergies.  So now is the time!  First, you need to check out FARE – the Food Allergy Research and Education foundation (formerly known as the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network.  The next stop should be Kids with Food Allergies (and check them out on Facebook).  These two sites will direct you to more resources that specifically address your food allergy.

My son’s allergy is to milk (specifically the proteins that are present in milk in all forms—cheese, butter, etc.).  A favorite blog of mine is Milk Allergy Mom–and I follow her on Facebook as well.

A new resource for me is Allergic Girl–great advice for dining out etc. She is another source I follow on Facebook.

One last resource, just for fun, is Chocolate Covered Katie–a healthy dessert blog.  She has vegan (dairy-free), gluten-free, nut-free, sugar-free options.  So indulge!

Got Milk? Keep it!

As I’ve mentioned before, not only are we battling Type 1 diabetes in our house, but also a food allergy. #1 son is allergic to milk (all milk by-products as well). Aren’t we the fun people to invite for dinner?

We have done a pretty good job of helping #1 son avoid exposure to milk over the last 16 years. We recognized early in his life that he and milk just didn’t get along! At three months, he was in misery after ingesting regular baby formula (he had been on breast milk only up to that time and did seem to have a lot of stomach discomfort even on breast milk–probably because he was being exposed to dairy through me). Switched him to soy formula supplementing breast milk until he was 6 months old at which time he refused to nurse any more. By 9 months, it was time to introduce yogurt–immediately, he had a reaction that included hives and vomiting. Conventional wisdom at the time was that children under 3 could not have allergies, so we were told to try dairy every couple of months or so. And….yep….every test had the same result. In fact he was so sensitive to dairy that if we ate pizza and kissed him, he would get hives in the spot where he had been kissed.

The first two years were rough as we learned through trial and error that many foods you wouldn’t expect to have milk in them actually do. For example, chicken nuggets and hot dogs have been known to include whey (a milk by-product). But by the age of 3, #1 son was able, without prompting, to refuse food people offered unless he checked with me first. And apart from one incident, age 4, when he was accidentally given milk instead of soy milk requring the use of the epi-pen, he has been milk-free for 12 years. Until last Sunday.

We picked up subs from Firehouse Subs, a chain we have frequented before with great success. #1 son always gets a turkey, bacon, mayo sub PLAIN. The same sub he orders at any sub shop.

We brought the subs home and noticed that KC’s sub, ham and cheese only also ordered PLAIN, was not ham and cheese only but loaded with lettuce etc. I was also worried that her BG was joining up after drinking her diet Dr. Pepper from the fancy multi-drink machine, which made me fear that it wasn’t sugar-free at all. So we took her drink away, pulled the lettuce etc. off her sandwich and settled down. #1 son checked his sandwich to make sure there was no cheese on it. And that was that….

1 hour later he came downstairs and at first glance I knew something was wrong. His face was beat red and his eyelids were getting puffy. I went in search of our epi-pens and realized I was wasting valuable time. Gave him benadryl and sent hubby and son off to the ER. They were there in 10 minutes. According to the ER docs, it was a mild to moderate reaction. They did not give him a shot of epi, but instead IV steroids and antihistamines.

In talking to #1 son later, we discovered that he thought the sandwich tasted different, but couldn’t put his finger on it. We believe the worker put peppercorn ranch dressing on the sandwich instead of mayo. #1 son wouldn’t recognize the taste as he had never had ranch dressing before so it just tasted like bad may. KC, who has had ranch dressing, confirmed that her sandwich had ranch dressing on it. #1 son also told me that his first symptoms were 1. that he felt very tired , 2. he started having a hard time breathing so he got down on the floor, and then 3. felt his face and knew something was wrong.

This experience reminded us that we must be vigilant when we eat out. And to keep the Epi-pen where we can find it (and yes, I did find it but glad they headed straight to the ER and giving the Benadryl was the right thing to do)

So here we are 4 days later. #1 son is going on a school trip that will take him out of town for 2 1/2 days….6 meals…..in restaurants. I am sending him with a cooler filled with drinks, turky, almond milk, and mayo packets. His suitcase is stuffed with snack foods, microwave meals, rolls, etc. I know that he is worried and I fear him not eating during the day because he is too afraid, so we’ve discussed that he should pack himself sandwiches.

 

Sending him off is scary…but I know he will be extra-cautious because of this past experience.

 

So a reminder to all:    Food allergies are serious business….people who say they have food allergies are not doing so because they are picky eaters.

This post is dedicated to the memory of Cameron Groezinger-Fitzpatrick , a young man who died from a peanut allergy a little over a week ago.

As If Grocery Shopping isn’t hard enough….

If you’ve got a teenage boy, you know how much they eat! #1 son is eating me out of house and home! Hit the grocery store for the 3rd time this week only to be blindsided by a product change.

As I’ve mentioned before, #1 son has a milk-allergy. Not lactose intolerance but a real-live anaphylaxis-causing milk allergy. We are extremely careful and because of his diligence he has only needed 2 epi-pen shots in his life…the last one at age 4.

But living dairy-free is challenging and you learn which things he can have and which he can’t. Grocery shopping is dictated by which stores carry with dairy-free items. Today KC and I were shopping at KROGER and I asked her to go get wheat bread. She knows which brand we buy,–KROGER BRAND–but double checked the ingredients out of habit. Luckily, she did. It turns out that KROGER decided to change bakeries to SARA LEE, a company which puts milk in just about everything. So because some purchasing pinhead (apologies to non-pinhead purchasing people) decided to save a few pennies, KROGER will have less of my business. When you buy 3 loaves of bread a week, and you are on a budget, you don’t buy expensive bread–and since most expensive bread contains milk then options are even more limited even if my budget wasn’t. A Publix just opened near me and another is scheduled to open in a couple of months…guess Publix will get most of my business since if I’m running in to buy bread, then I may as well buy_________fill in the blank.

Arggh!

Duncan Hines changed their cake mix formula from “milk-free” to “contains milk” about 7 years ago…..I called them and complained.  Then at some point they switched back to the original formula–I guess I wasn’t the only one to complain!