I'm sharing this story because you never know what someone has been through. My experience isn't the same as everyone else, but I bet we have a lot of similarities. Food allergies are often seen as a "special diet" or a "special accommodation" + often looked to as a burden. But, every family I know that lives with allergies would erase them in a heartbeat if they could.
These photos of my sweet little 15 month old Bowan have sat on my camera's memory card for two years + haven't seen the light of day. I took these photos because I thought I might want to remind myself that it wasn't in a horrible dream, that this indeed was reality. But, I didn't want to go back + revisit this hospital stay. Part of me has wanted to erase this experience. That isn't possible. Instead, I'm going to share about my experience to help myself heal a little more + to hopefully help the new + old allergy families out there.
In April of 2015, I took my tiny little 19 pound, 15 month old to have his blood drawn for IgE allergy testing. He had a reaction to a tiny amount of peanut butter + I wanted to confirm the allergy. Additional foods were included in the labs, like avocado, as he had gotten whole body hives from his first taste of this infamous superfood. I was shaking the entire way to the hospital, dreading this experience. I really didn't want to face the situation, but I knew I had to. Bowan sat calmly in my lap, he didn't even flinch during the poke or blood draw. He never even shed a tear. He was so strong. I tried to be as strong as he was, but I didn't want to be.
Later that week, I got a call from our pediatrician's office that the blood work results were in. The blood work confirmed an anaphylactic allergy to peanuts + eggs. He was also high to avocado, cat + dog. Deep down I absolutely knew Bowan had a serious allergy to peanuts, but my heart actually broke confirming this. I could actually feel my heart break. I can't describe it, but I can still feel it.
There were some really unfortunate things about this phone call. The most concerning was that our pediatrician delivered the news of the food allergies but did not call in a prescription for an EpiPen to our pharmacy. They told me to make an appointment with an allergist + they would prescribe an EpiPen. I was a wreck wondering what I'd need to do if an emergency were to happen in the seven days leading up to our appointment.
I was still nursing Bowan, so what I ate impacted him. He would eat very little solid food on his own + nursing was his primary source of nutrition. After this phone call, I put so much pressure on myself to learn what foods were safe for him. I was so discouraged to see that all of our gluten-free flour in our pantry was labeled "made on equipment with tree nuts." I felt like nothing was safe + I had so much learning to do. The allergist's office made it clear that Bowan needed to be free from anti-histamines for a week prior to our visit for the skin testing to be valid. So, I would have to be extra careful with what I would feed him + with what I would eat. If he had a reaction, it would push back our allergy testing.