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In honor of Food Allergy Awareness Week this year, I wanted to re-share my original post on our son’s food allergies. Unfortunately, food allergies are on the rise and I truly believe that much of this is due to the artificial everything and chemicals that we are surrounded by. It is not fair for our children to have to grow up in a world that is contaminated with toxins in everything they touch and the air they breathe.
This journey of green began for our family on the day that we realized our son has severe food allergies. He was so little (two years old) and I am and always will be incredibly grateful that on the day that I sent him to the playroom with his toys, and he begged me to come play with him….that I did. I put down whatever it was that “seemed important” at that moment to go play with my child. On that day, our lives changed. I sat down with a train in hand, ready to chug when I realized my little boy’s lips were swelling up like balloons and he was experiencing anaphylaxis.
I yelled to my daughter to run to the car and thankfully since we live about 60 seconds from our hospital, he was quickly rushed into the ER to be treated. He was fine. I was not. Sure, I was SO THANKFUL but I was also now forced to face the reality that this would be forever etched into my memory, my heart and my worries every single day for the rest of my life. It is a scary feeling. I am so thankful that I was there. The what-ifs have haunted me because I feel that in order to constantly protect him, I must always be ahead of the what-if’s. What if I would have laid him down for a nap – would he have gotten up at two years of age to tell me his mouth felt funny? What if I would not have went to the playroom to be with him – would he have known to come and get me? What if he would have been at a babysitter’s, at a neighbor’s or anywhere but this exact position with me…near the hospital?
Ugh, the agony.
I realize now though that we cannot live our lives with the what-if’s or we will go crazy. I have learned to rely on my faith in God more and more with every day I am blessed with my husband and children and my own life. I have to remind myself to allow him to live outside of the bubble I want around him. I want to give him the gift of normalcy, the gift of being a regular kid, the freedom to live and the security in knowing he can have a wonderful full life without mommy holding his hand every step of the way.
It is hard. These are the thoughts I have daily. We have officially made it through Kindergarten though (well, in another three weeks) and I am so thrilled to say that I survived! The worry was at times daunting but his school has been amazingly supportive. The lunch lady once used her personal cell phone to call me during his lunch hour just to double check on something that was in his lunch. His teacher reminds me when his allergy-free brownies are running low in the freezer for Bday parties and his little 5 and 6 year old buddies beg their mama’s NOT to pack peanut butter just so they can sit with him at his table. I am blessed.
I encourage all of you who are going through this to make communication a priority! Talk with administration, make appointments to meet with the nurse and other staff around your child, volunteer, go on field trips and get to know everyone who knows your child.
An allergy-free life does not mean a “different” life or a life of worry and no goodies to enjoy – it becomes who you are…who your family is. For one thing – it has totally opened our eyes on reading labels, understanding ingredients and re-evaluating what all of us eat! Now on to our story….
p.s. please feel free to email me with any questions thoughts or concerns you may have. We “food allergy parents” should stick together! You have my hand to hold!
I swear, our kids belong on Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. No kidding…these two can put down some serious grub. They eat and eat and eat all day long and for the life of me…I cannot figure out where the heck it all goes!
They could so out-do David Copperfield. A’ hem.
The most amazing thing about all of this though, is that less than a year ago, our little guy “E” was deprived of all foods beyond chicken, peas and rice. No this was not some fancy vegetarian diet…it was Eczema and food allergies as well as food intolerances. Yep, I said it. I dropped the “F” bomb.
For the record, food issues stink.
Let just start this off with some pretty blow me out of the water startling statistics as stated from The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network www.foodallergy.org
-More than 12 million Americans have food allergies
(Our son is one of them)
-Eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.
(Smiling Green Son’s BANNED foods list = milk, eggs, peanuts, melon, sunflower)
-Even trace amounts of a food allergen can cause a reaction.
(E began breaking out as a baby continuing until age three. He was so bad; he would bleed through his pajamas and bed sheets. We had to bandage his arms and tape his clothes to his wrists and ankles so we could not scratch)
-Most people who’ve had an allergic reaction to something they ate thought that it was safe.
(You just never know. Labels can be confusing and words like milk actually can be called by many terms. Our son ate a bite of melon and an hour later he ate some sunflower butter that we thought was okay. He ended up in the ER with an anaphylaxis reaction to one of which we may never ultimately know but will forever avoid both).
-Early administration of epinephrine (adrenaline) is crucial to successfully treating anaphylactic reactions. Epinephrine is available by prescription in a self-injectable device (EpiPen® or Twinject®).
(We carry and have scared and threatened talked to everyone about carrying E’s Epipen every single place he goes. It is always with him. Always. No exceptions).
-Food allergies are life-altering for everyone involved and require constant vigilance.
(I could write a whole book on this one. Summary: It has changed our entire family’s life)!
Now if this wouldn’t make Ripley’s Believe It Or Not….then so help me. I may be small, but this mom knows an amazing story when she sees lives it!
What? You want proof?
Before Vidazorb Probiotics
After Vidazorb Probiotics
(yes, he is wearing the same pajama top a year later thank you very much)
No need to adjust your lenses folks, this is the real deal. E is four years old now and can eat all kinds of foods with minimal Eczema left anywhere on his body! Our miracle? We have Vidazorb chewable probiotics! After a probiotic helped my parent’s Golden Retriever with his allergies, we knew we had to try it. It has been incredible!
Please note: we still avoid his actual allergens but they helped with his skin and intolerances to certain foods!
Vidazorb children’s chewables are not only adorable kid-friendly bumblebee shapes, but they are “super yummy” too according to both of our kids. They love them like candy, often times reminding me that they need to take their Zorbee!
Mommy likes them not only because they have helped change our life so much, but they are convenient too! No need for refrigeration (what mom doesn’t love to make life a little easier)? Their flavors are 100% natural and safe for those with lactose intolerance and address the young needs of children’s digestion and immune system. According to the manufacturer they are “clinically substantiated Bifidobacterium BB12 and S. thermophilus TH-4 and are especially kid-friendly and work together to support the wellness needs of little ones.”
My top Five Favs on why you should not live without these?
5. 100% NATURAL flavorings
4. Free of dairy, wheat, corn and gluten
3. Does not contain animal by-products
2. Convenient! Do not need refrigerated.
…and the number one reason you must’nt live another day without them?
1. They work and they are yumm-a-licious (and because I said to).
Vidazorb is graciously offering 5 SGM readers a FREE bottle of Belly Boost AND an adorable plush tummy for your little one!! The tummy makes a great prop for talking with your child about issues they may be having with gastrointestinal stuff fo-sho!
1. leave me a comment telling me why you might like to try these! (leave me your email please!)
This contest will run for two weeks (May 13th – May 27th, 2011). Winners will be drawn via random.org
Full Disclosure: I did not receive ANY PRODUCT in exchange for this review/giveaway. This is a personal story that I wanted to share on my own. All opinions are mine alone!