Having a kid with severe food allergies has been one of the most stressful experiences I have ever experienced in my life, thus far. It’s constantly on my mind.
The idea that something as harmless as a cracker or a piece of bread could potentially end my daughter’s life is beyond unsettling. At times, it can even be difficult to wrap my mind around.
“How the F is this even possible?”
This is the question that I often ask myself whenever I think about it.
It has now gotten to point where even when I’m eating wheat outside of our house, like at a coffee shop or at my desk at work, I sometimes become riddled with anxiety. It has shaken me to the core, and it has shaped our entire lives. No matter what we do, or where we go, we always have to consider my daughter’s safety.
We recently went to my daughter’s allergist for her semi-annual check-up and discovered that her sensitivity to wheat had increased more than 33% since her last visit. When we first discovered that she was allergic to wheat, we were told that she could potententially outgrow her allergies by age 3. Now, here we are over 2 years later and her allergies have gotten worse. We’ve even added a few new ones to the list! This discovery was beyond disappointing.
I remember feeling sick when I read the results of her blood test. My vision felt like it had been reduced to the size of a pea and dread showered over my body like Carrie. Not until we had I received the results did I realize that I had foolishly gotten my hopes up. I was hoping things would be different this time, for her benefit and ours.
I honestly don’t care anymore about not being able to eat in restaurants or even having wheat back in our house. I’m over it, but what I do care about is the world being so hazardous to my daughter. Nourishment aside, food plays such an important role in society. It assists in facilitating peace treaties between adversarial nations, and it brings families closer together at dinner tables every night.
Don’t get me wrong. There are so many beautiful things about my daughter’s life, and I cherish each and every one of them. There is just always this dark cloud looming over her and I hate to say this, but it just doesn’t seem fair. I acknowledge that there are people who have it far worse, so I count our blessings. But, I implore anyone who knows someone who has a family member or friend with a child that has food allergies to be empathetic. Be understanding when that friend can’t come to your house or can’t meet you out for dinner.
Things that I once took for granted can now put my daughter’s life in danger, and I refuse to do that. We never expect anyone to make special accommodations for our daughter, because in reality, it’s just not possible. My daughter’s allergies are to foods that are so common and found in nearly everyone’s house. Wheat, dairy, rye, barely, tree nuts and dogs.
All I can ask on behalf of our family and other families who have children with allergies like my daughter, is to just be understanding. We wish that we could be there with you going out to dinner, cutting a cake, cracking open a beer, and letting our kids run wild with a bag of Annie’s bunny crackers, but we just can’t.
It’s just too dangerous.