Friday, July 25, 2008

Why I Hate Food Allergies
OK guys....this one is a may not want to read it but I'm venting...

As you guys all know, our family struggles daily with food allergies. I'm not sure if anyone who doesn't deal with this on a day to day basis understands what this is really like. We coast along and seem to be doing fine and then out of the blue a reaction sends us into panic mode and back to the ER.

Basically there are few restaurants that we can enjoy together as a family and that Noah can safely eat there. We met with friends last Saturday night at a place where Noah has eaten many times before after we have spoken to managers, wait staff, etc, and he's always had a good, safe experience. Basically, after eating food that should otherwise be safe for Noah, he starts to climb in my lap and tell me that his throat feels funny and he wants to go home. This immediately makes my Mommy instinct kick in that somthing is not right. I take him to the bathroom to talk to him calmly about how he's feeling. He tells me that his throat and tongue feels funny (for those of you who don't know what a life-threatening allergic reaction does it basically can cut off your airway completely) and that his belly hurts. I then escort him back to our table to get his Daddy when he starts to projectile vomit. At this point his little body is flooding itself with fluid trying to rid itself of the offending allergen so he is vomiting what appears to be clear water. He is then paniced. (Adults with life threatening food allergies describe feelings of panic and doom that accompany an anaphylactic reaction)

At this point his Daddy runs with him in his arms to take him outside to administer his epi-pen (an emergency injection of epinephrine that we carry EVERYWHERE we go). Basically he is in too serious of a condition for us to make it outside and we have to stop in the lobby of the restaurant to give him shot. Noah is so scared that he is screaming and crying and in a total panic. We manage to get him his shot and we immediatly load him in the car and drive as fast as we can to the hospital. (Normally we would have called an ambulance, but he were in closer driving distance.) Thankfully, epinephrine works for Noah's reactions and he has always been treated in a timely manner and his reactions are controlled with epi and a round of steroids. We then have to monitor him for 2 days because you can actually have a reoccurance of the reaction several hours after the initial reaction. And at this point we thank God that we are one of the lucky ones because every year people die from this same type of reaction.

So I guess I'm venting to all of my friends who are mothers out there whom I love and depend on. I know that when people hear the word "allergy" they think sniffles and sneezes, but in my family it can mean so much more. Also, Noah's reaction was not caused by actually consuming any food with his known allergen. Apparently, he got a trace amount of an allergen onto his mouth and somehow that is enough to send his supersensitive little body into fight or flight mode. His immune system then attacks a harmless substance (trace amounts of a food protein that we suspect was egg) and treats it like a dangerous invader.

I then spend the next two days watching my four year old be afraid to eat anything, even food that he knows is safe for him because he's afraid of having another reaction. I stay up nearly all night Saturday night watching him sleep and wondering how many more times my baby is going to have to go through this in his lifetime. I wonder if I'm ever going to be able to take him to a ball game, on an airplane, or even to get an ice cream without being afraid that he's going to come into contact with something that could endanger his life.

I try to be optimistic and be hopeful that one day there will be a cure for this condition, and until that day comes we just have to do the best we can. However, even my best outlooks are hard to come by when Noah asks me if he can have a bite of whatever someone else is eating or he asks us why he can't have the same birthday cake or treat as all his friends are having.


Alicia Jane said...

It breaks my heart to know you guys have to go through this. I know it has to be tremendously hard on you as the caring mommy and of course to Noah who doesn't fully understand why. Until I learned about Noah I never really understood what a food allergy consisted of and now I am fully aware that it is as serious as any disorder or illness out there. I know this has to effect your daily life and if you are anything like me (worry wort) you worry about it all the time. Thanks for sharing. It opened my eyes to how truly hard it must be on you guys. I can tell you are an amazing mom to Noah and Lilly! They are lucky to have such an attentive mommy!

Carol said...

I'm sorry Jess! I know that it stinks to have to watch his every move! You do so great at it though. You are a great mommy!

The Butlers said...

I do know about severe food allergies but I still can't imagine having a child with a severe food allergy. I know it has to be hard on you. I have went through them with Andy...scared to death and asking him every couple of minutes if he was still breathing...trying to drive him to get help and worried I wouldn't be fast enough. I am so thankful for the epi pens. When we first got married he didn't have them and his doctor as a kid had told him all that he could do was make himself throw up what had caused the attack and get to a hospital. I only hope for you all that since they have made such an advancement in Andy's lifetime (with epi pens and food allergy awareness)that they will soon have a cure.

Sherri said...

I had no idea that Noah suffered so severely from this condition. My heart breaks for him and for you as his mommy. I can only imagine how you worry and how hard it is on your family. As you may or may not know, Jodi was diagnosed as a type 1 diabetic at the age of 6 and I know all too well how an illness such as this can effect an entire family. I pray for a cure for diabetes as well. Hang in there are an awesome Mommy!

Wanda May said...

Jessica, for what it is worth, I hate it that you all have to go thru this. But God surely thought you and Travis was special people to put little Noah in your life. I can't imagine going thru such an ordeal, but I am thankful he has you and Travis to help him. I have seen you with Noah and you are a very wonderful Momma. Noah is a cutie pie, and he is very blessed to have you guys as paretns.

The Stice's said...

Jess, you are the greatest Mommy! While we don't have food allergies, we do have other ones and I know how stressful ours can be so I can not imagine what you go through every day!! Noah is such a brave little man!

Mark and Audrey said...

I cannot imagine what it must be like living with a fear of him getting the wrong foods, you and Travis do such a super job watching over him, your a supermom in my book. ;-)

Erica Simpson said...

Oh Jess!
Poor little Noah! AND YOU GUYS!
I hate that so much for him.
I will pray that he will eventually grow out of it!

Brittany said...

oh! my heart aches for noah.....i can only imagine the panic that you both were in - my prayers are with you.

i don't know if you remember me or not....i came to a feast meeting in may with my little boy layton. we have since seen the dr. and he tested positive for egg and milk!! it has been a whirlwind experience so far.....just researching and researching. i'm trying to learn all i can.
email me...we need to catch up!!

Kimberly said...

Bless his heart. You are such a good and brave mommy. As hard as it is, let me assure you that he can have a normal, productive life even with severe medical adversity. You know I know what I'm talking about. And Noah is strong enough and smart enough to overcome this challenge. That's obvious already. Hang in there.