Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Life With A Peanut Allergy

SEVERE NUT ALLERGY
BRYCE
Please don't feed me without asking my Mom or my teacher!
Back when Bryce was 12 months we offered him peanut butter on toast. Never in a million years could I predict what would happen next. For the first time ever Bryce didn't want to eat (he knew). At that age he was a human garbage disposal. He had taken about 2 bites and began sobbing. He played with the toast in his fingers and rubbed his eyes. He instantly started swelling, his face became puffy, he looked like the elephant man, SCARY! No anaphylaxis this time, we were lucky.

So our journey with a peanut allergy began. We LOVED peanut butter, Blair and Brady use to eat it out of the jar. Not anymore! We became a nut free household.

We took Bryce to the pediatric allergist. He was tested for all nuts. The scoring is on a 1-4 scale, 4 being the worst. That day Bryce was given a 4 ++ for peanuts, and a 2 for cashews. It was about as scary as it gets. In that moment we started to realize just how serious it was and just how lucky we were that he didn't experience anaphylaxis the first time he had peanut butter. Our lives changed, everything has changed.

We carry 2 Epipen Jr.'s wherever we go along with Benadryl. It is so scary. You would not believe how many things contain nut ingredients. Strawberry supreme cake mix, peanuts, plain M&M's, peanuts, Boo Berry cereal, peanuts. And these are items that CONTAIN peanuts. So many other items may contain, or are manufactured with. We are really limited in what he can eat. Halloween, a nightmare! School a NIGHTMARE! Birthday parties, family and friend get togethers, pot lucks, showers, weddings, all a huge nightmare. We can't attend. Many people think that if an actual nut isn't in the ingredient list he is safe. NOT true. The only brand of chocolate he can have is plain Hershey's. All other brands have traces of nuts. The only cookies he can eat are homemade by me. It's been a struggle.

Above is the poster I made for his school. They have become a nut free room. His teacher is amazing. We are so thankful for her and the MANY precautions that she has taken to keep Bryce safe. Popularity with the other parents isn't the greatest. Holidays are done differently. I feel bad. But this is life or death. In school his Epipen goes with him everywhere. I'm nervous for the day he has a substitute teacher. Bryce is very aware of his allergy. He knows to ask, "does that have peanuts?" My fear is that someday he eats something given to him by a trusted adult who forgets or doesn't know better, he would STOP breathing. Life or death. Next year is going to be even WORSE. He will be in Kindergarten and eating lunch at school. The cafeteria and all the PB&J's. Not sure what we will do.

We have taken many precautions. The epipen is always wherever he is. He wears a Peanut Allergy wrist band and he has a Nut Allergy shirt for all those scary outings. Family and friends have been great. But to be honest he hasn't been left with many people. I've been able to control his environment. Scary!

If your child is in a classroom with a child with Nut allergies please try to be tolerant and understanding. This can happen to anyone. There are many allergies out there but few of them are life threatening. Bryce will be allergy tested again in the next couple years. The chance of him outgrowing this is almost zero. We are just hoping and praying the severity decreases.

Yep, a day in the life of a peanut allergy, all I can say is read labels. And be so careful.

5 comments:

  1. That allergy is so scary to me!! I feel so badly for anyone that has to deal with it. It seems to be more common these days. When we lived in TX, the school my kids attended actually had a "peanut free" table to sit at. No one could have PB & J sandwiches there. My husband actually had an inmate die at the jail he worked at because someone he ate the wrong cookie (don't know if it was intentional or not.) I am sorry you have to deal with this but you are an amazing mom and will protect him and teach him and those around him the very best you can. After that, it is all in God's hands!!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 2 out of 3 of the young 5's/kdg rooms in my school are peanut/tree nut free...my class included. The allergy in my room is not as severe but the child is still going through testing. In another room, the child is a lot like your son's allergies. No snacks come in or out of the room from outside hands. A snack donation fund was taken at the beginning of the year and the child's mom or teacher buys all snacks with that money. His bag is carried with him everywhere in the building and the teacher's sub notes are extensive to protect this little guy. I know you're nervous about next year and lunches...have you talked to the school. I know of school's in our district that are completely peanut free...the entire building. I personally like the idea. Every year I have children with food allergies. Even yesterday, I had to send home 2 bags of unopen nutter butter cookies (not the healthiest snack anyways..). Trust in the teacher's to keep your little guy safe ---trust me, we read all the labels :) You are an amazing mom! ~Kris

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh my goodness, that was always such a HUGE fear of mine. I was so worried the first time I gave Samantha a pb&j sandwich. Luckily we had no problems and it continues to be a staple food in our household, but I do really, really feel for the families that have to go through this and can't imagine what life must be like for you. I'm glad Bryce is aware of his condition and can help with the screening.

    ReplyDelete
  4. oh, that would be so scary. I sure hope it lessens as he gets older. Is he the only one that's affected so far?

    ReplyDelete
  5. so far! crossing our fingers!

    ReplyDelete