I admit it, I feel bad, guilty even when a mum has gone to extra efforts to include my son when they make birthday treats for the whole class or when they offer to make him something special at a party. I feel bad because nine times out of ten I still have to say, “no, he cannot have that”. I say sorry (a lot) I feel totally neurotic and over bearing but honestly more than I feel bad, I feel terrified that my worst fears will be confirmed; that these well-meaning, kind people really do not understand the precautions needed. They do not understand that I cannot give him the crackers wrapped up so beautifully especially for him because I did not see the original packaging to know if they are ok for him to eat, they just don’t get it. Recently a well-meaning mother made plain cupcakes for the class and said to the teacher “it’s ok they don’t have chocolate in, just butter”. Now I do not want to sound mean but I do question whether she either did not realise my son had a milk allergy (amongst the others) or (more worryingly) if she was unaware that butter comes from milk comes from a cow….. ahem.
I have had a person offer my son pasta from a bowl of “pasta and cheese” insisting that “that bit doesn’t have any cheese on it”. I have kindly said thankyou but no thankyou to a very lovely friend who offered to make special cakes for a party for Levi and then also tell me that the birthday cake is her daughters favourite chocolate hazelnut cake, my thoughts on this is that if the yummy sounding hazelnut cake is being made in the same kitchen by the same cook it kind of falls into the “may contain” category quite heavily.
I know people will think I am over the top and over protective about things but it is how it is. People often don’t believe in illnesses that are not constantly visible to the eye, I have Crohn’s I know the score. But when you witness your child swell, wheeze, vomit and become covered in nasty hives or worse instantly after coming in to contact with an allergen almost before you eyes it convinces you this type of precaution is needed.
On the other side of this I feel bad that my son can sometimes not be included. I am considering writing a list of brand treats my son can have and giving to parents asking them kindly to either use one of those or let me know when a birthday is coming so I can try to replicate as closely as possible the treats they are making. My son notices now when he is not getting what everyone else is. It is not nice to feel like “mean old mummy” and see his little face fall when I have to say “no you can’t eat that”. Life as an allergy mum is hard I tell you. It doesn’t get easier either you have to be constantly on alert wherever you go if food is present.
One way I try to get the message across to people is by taking photos of reactions when they occur. For one thing it is useful to show the allergists at appointments as it helps them understand in some way the severity of his reactions to various things. It also gives a little “shock factor” to carry the message home a little better. I have a whole album on my Facebook page of these pictures so feel free to look and send me your pictures if you would like to contribute. It can also help people to understand what reactions can look like if perhaps they suspect they or their child is having them.
On the subject of Levi; he had an allergy appointment recently with skin prick tests and IgE blood tests. He has not outgrown any of his existing allergies sadly, we had hoped soya was gone as the skin prick was negative but he is still reacting in his blood so he must still avoid for now. He can also add beans and peas to his allergy list.
Here is a pic of the skin prick test;
white fish (cod)
RIGHT top to bottom;