Happy Birthday, Maddy!

When Maddy turned seven, our family celebrated by beginning a new chapter that was be life changing, helped to raise awareness for those suffering from food allergy, and helped educate people about OIT. Now, as Maddy turns 8, and will begin the 3rd grade, so many possibilities are open to her as a child that doesn't have food allergies standing in her way!

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Check out my other blog, The Best Medicine, about my husband's battle against cancer.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Every Mommy Has Her Moment

Our families’ journey with food allergy truly began over five years ago. In the moments of this realization it was clear our lives would be altered; test results confirmed this. Our lives did change, but no matter what, Maddy has always lived her life to the fullest.

Upon the advice of our pediatrician, and really the advice of the allergy world at the time, we planned to wait to give our daughter any nuts until she was at least 2 years old, or more. Just after 2, however, Maddy had peanuts at a church function with a family member - the deal had been made. Shortly after that, a bit of Chex Mix cereal made her hurl. Suspicious? Yes, but easily chalked up to illness, even if she returned to normal quickly. The final straw was the next month or so when she wanted to “help” Momma make a cake for a dear family friend’s birthday. A delicious peanut butter cake filled with ooey-gooey peanut butter was in the works in our kitchen. She dipped her fingers in thejar to feed Mommy. Within minutes, bright, red hives began to form up and down her hands, arms, and face. She didn’t even eat the stuff.  The pediatrician was called the next day.

The conversation with the nurse at this first allergist’s office is one I will never forget. Her “numbers are very high,” she said. My nephew has a tree nut & peanut allergy and I understood how much it had changed their lives. And I remember years before talking with a co-worker about her daughter, now an adult, the devastating affects her peanut allergy has had on her life – many near death experiences. This call came when I was at work, sitting in my classroom alone, and I cried. I cried because I couldn’t imagine how this would affect her, us, or the people taking care of her. I couldn’t fathom how we could keep her safe. How would my baby make it through this?

Maybe I was being dramatic. Quite possibly, but hey, I have never let anybody in on that until just now. Every mommy has her moment. Every mommy has to take one for her child and then they can stand back up, shake it off, and fight. And that is just what I did. Have done. The next 5 years have been devoted to standing up and fighting for her. Fighting for her to never being left out, to being allowed in the classroom for snack time, party time, lunch time, to being a part of any and all parts of childhood no matter what – a food allergy is no reason to stand down, in fact it is every reason to speak up. To never allowing her peanut allergy to be considered a handicap or to live life in a bubble. To live life to the fullest. 
Before beginning OIT - Summer 2012.

As we begin this next step in our lives, desensitization, we hope to share our story. As we work with our new allergist, Dr. Mayer (http://oitcenter.com/) , we hope to spread the word about desensitization and food allergy in general. This is a new and exciting adventure. One we are proud to be a part of. One we are glad to stand up and fight for.