Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

I went back a few months to find this picture--but its perfect. No words needed at all :)

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Why I feel alone in this ordeal....

Since next week is Easter, our family has decided to go for a buffet style dinner at a local restaurant on that day. Which to normal people makes perfect sense. No problem. Good food and no clean up.

Not in our world of peanut allergy. In fact, of anyone with ANY food allergy knows to stay far FAR away from any buffet. Its a huge no-no. The chance of cross contamination is probably doubled with each person that walks near the buffet let alone gets food off it. It seems to me the common thought is "So there are only a few items on the buffet that contains nuts(or whatever allergy applies), so you just don't get those items, right?"

I wish it was that simple, believe me. People drop food off their plate onto the buffet all the time. A peanut can fall off their plate and bury itself in the green beans. Or someone uses the serving spoon from the sweet potatoes that has peanuts in it and puts it in the mashed potatoes. Not even a whole peanut needs to be there to cause a person to go into anaphylactic shock. Between 1/200-1/1000 of a piece of a peanut is enough to put a person with a peanut allergy in anaphylactic shock.  I think the below article describes it quite well.

Making this long story even longer--the family just doesn't understand why we can't come to the Easter buffet. It's not like we are making it difficult on purpose. Its not like we are not coming to ruin it for everyone else. I am just so tired of hearing "I can't imagine there would be peanuts on the buffet" "I am pretty sure she would be just fine" and "Just don't get anything with peanuts"...its just NOT that simple. I am not willing to risk my child's life on "pretty sure". I have tried on several times to educate--and its just not getting through. I feel like everyone thinks I am over protective and taking things too far with her allergy. My daughter almost died from 1 peanut...I expect strangers not to understand. But family? I feel frustrated and alone in this.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Easter candy, chocolate, and Epi-pens oh my!

As a parent of a PA(peanut allergy) child, we always feel like there are peanuts lurking behind every door and around every corner on a daily basis. Its SO much worse around holidays--because it seems every holiday must be celebrated with some sort of sweet candy or chocolate. I can't count how many packages of chocolate/candy I have picked up just to sit right back down because they were "unsafe" due to possible cross contamination. I really don't even bother looking anymore--I just tell her they all have peanuts. I am happy that she accepts this at this age--I am sure she will be having me check every label as she gets older though LOL

Even walking past the holiday displays, I feel the need to double check that we always have our epi pen within arms reach and that they are kept correctly/not expired. Its almost a compulsion at this point(which is probably not a bad thing but a tad obsessive admittedly)

I think that we are lucky in the fact that Hannah has never had a basket full of chocolate goodies to miss now that she is diagnosed with her peanut allergy. We don't need to try to change traditions on her midway through her childhood. We are able to start our own traditions free of chocolate and candies.

Ive been thinking of ideas for non food items for her Easter basket. Yes I am a bit behind this year but it snuck up on me. I have come up with quite a few ideas between myself and some helpful friends from facebook. Some of these would be good ideas when a parent needs to take peanut free treats(or any food allergy) to a classroom party. 

Here they are in no specific order. Thanks to everyone on facebook for your ideas. If you can think of anything else, feel free to add a comment:)

Sidewalk chalk, jump rope, stickers, hair ties, new sippy cups, silly putty, play doh, sunglasses, small craft items, new markers/crayons, puzzles, coloring books, pinwheels, bubbles, match box cars, bakugan, lego sets, books, soft football/baseball, DVD, stuffed animals, flip flops, and the list could go on and on. Another friend suggested for an older child, perhaps putting change/money into plastic eggs as well. Last year an Easter themed Mr Potato Head was a huge hit at our house.

However if your child DOES have a sweet tooth--there ARE peanut free options for Easter(and other holidays/day to day) available. Check out these really great companies that cater to the allergic child and family! Also, a cool thing, on the allerneeds website--you can actually search by specific allergy(not just peanut/tree nut)

I am always trying to look on the bright side--since most of the "unsafe" foods out there for Hannah are not exactly healthy. So if there HAS to be a bright side, she has a very healthy diet :)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Its been 1 year

It's been nearly 1 year since we found out Hannah had a severe peanut allergy. The hard way. It still gives me goose bumps just thinking about it let alone sharing it out loud. I know that I have felt quite alone in this whole process, felt like no one understands the specific dangers. Certainly its peanuts themselves--but most important its cross contamination. That's the part where, I feel, people start not understanding or they feel that the the parent is being "too paranoid" if the child is young. Cross contamination is explained on several sites but I particularly like this one as its large print, easy to read, and has clear examples.

Like any parent, I was starving for information after her anaphylactic shock and hospital stay. This was completely new to us as we had no experience with food allergies. I googled "peanut allergy" that night and came up with a plethora of information that scared me to death. So I had to read the basics and take a step back from the "scary stuff". If your child has just been diagnosed, that is what I suggest. Learn the basics from a reputable source. I recommend the FAAN website. It is the Food Allergy Anaphylaxis network.

I am learning new things all the time, and unfortunately still have issues with some family members about the peanut allergy. Some people just don't get it. I still hear "I wouldn't think there would be peanuts in it" and "I am sure it would probably be ok". That is NOT good enough when it comes to my child. She can die from anaphalactic shock. Probably and don't think are not acceptable in our world. I have explained on several occasions but it doesn't seem to be understood.