Six Months…

…That’s how long it’s been since Noah’s anaphylactic reaction to tasting peanut butter. Six months since I became a crazy allergy mom. Six months since the scariest day of my life.

Our lives have been forever changed from that moment. Lots of highs, and many many lows over the last few months. I want to share some of what I’ve learned since starting this chapter of our lives. Hopefully it will help new allergy moms, and well as remind experienced allergy moms that they are not alone.
First and foremost, I’ve realized that life is all about perspective. I could sit and cry all day every day over Noah’s allergies. His life, and our family is SO altered by all of this. He will never get to experience many of the things that non-allergy kids get to enjoy. But, we have tried our damnedest to find positives in all of this. We appreciate each and every day more than some families I think. And I realize how lucky I am that my son is alive, and well (and crazy). We are SO blessed by this son of ours. Yes, we have scary moments on what seem to be a daily basis. But, we are not dealing with cancer, or a heart issue, like so many families. And that, is something to be thankful for.

food allergies

Secondly, I get to educate other families and people about the world of food allergies, and that is something I love. I openly share our story, and our struggles because I want to bring attention to the topic of food allergies. Those without this struggle often times down play the severity, and don’t realize just how hard or scary it is. They don’t realize how prevalent it is becoming. So, when I can share tidbits with non-allergy families, I am happy to do so. I’m sure others get sick of hearing me talk about it, but the more I can reinforce in people’s mind the world of food allergies, the more aware they are bound to become.

I have also learned how much allergy free baking sucks. It’s terrible. But, I continue to do it because I want Noah to enjoy all the yummy things- cupcakes, cinnamon rolls, etc. I actually shed tears over cinnamon rolls last weekend. It was the first time I made them, and the dough was not what I was expecting. Now maybe it was because Noah got up too early, he was soo whiny, and I was frustrated from baking, or the combination of all three, but I had to excuse myself and cry for a minute. Thankfully my amazing sister in law stepped in and salvaged the dough, and we finished the “rolls”. It ended up more like pull apart monkey bread than actual rolls, but they tasted delicious. Everything I bake is just…different. The consistency is “off”. And it’s frustrating. I am sure with more experience it will get better- but right now it’s tough. And nothing crushes my soul more than working so hard on baking something and Noah not enjoying it. it is totally acceptable to cry when baking allergy free.

On the flip side, I’ve learned that allergy free cooking isn’t so bad!! It’s all about alternatives- using rice milk, vegan butter, etc. I’ve been living off of Cybele Pascal’s “Allergy Free and Easy Cooking” cookbook and seriously everything has been easy and delicious. I am still able to cook amazing meals for my whole family, just with making easy substitutions!

But, I quickly learned how expensive living totally allergy free can be. We easily spend over $100 in milk a month. Gasp! Everything is more expensive- yogurt is twice as much, pasta is four times as expensive, and the list goes on. But, we are eating much healthier, and more naturally. And knowing that I am feeding my baby boy safe foods is worth every penny!
The last six months have truly tested my anxiety and stress. I’ve had more panic attacks in the last 6 months than I have in the last six years. I stress daily about Noah’s allergies and well-being at daycare. I turn into a crazy person when I feed him anything. I’ve learned I have a very difficult time trusting people. I don’t think anyone will watch him closely enough, or consider every ingredient that goes into my son, and that’s difficult. But, I always remind myself that as he gets older things will get better. Once he can advocate for himself, it will (hopefully) take away some of the stress. Even though I know there will be different types of stress that come along with age.

And while the last six months have been so incredibly challenging, and a huge learning experience, it hasn’t all be bad. I realized the importance of connecting with other “allergy moms.” ┬áVery few people can fully understand the life and stress of an allergy mom. But, finding a support group to connect with other like-minded people is SO helpful and cathartic. Throughout all of this, our family as a whole is so much stronger. David and I rely on each other so incredibly much to deal with all of this and we support each other with every decision. Also, my faith has grown stronger than ever these last six months. I’ve reminded myself that God gave me this child and this difficulty for a reason. We are able to financially support his allergies, and being so Type A, I am hyper aware to everything allergy related. God entrusted me to care for him, and that is so incredibly comforting.Having a child with life threatening allergies makes you focus on what’s important in life. I think David and I both are so much more patient with Noah and we don’t stress the small stuff nearly as much. We have much bigger fish to fry. ┬áLife is all about what you make it. So, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And rock awesome shades.

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