The Allergic Boy
I took the boy for allergy tests a few weeks after his honeydew incident, and the allergist suggested only testing for the honeydew, cantaloupe and strawberries. He had no reaction to any of the fruit, but I wanted a second opinion. I made an appointment with another pediatric allergist, and she re-did those tests, but also tested for peanuts, tree nuts and other allergens. He was all clear for the fruit and peanuts, but it appears as though he is allergic to tree nuts, as he had a slight reaction from the skin test. So what does this mean? Since he’s never been exposed to an actual tree-nut (cashew, pistachio, almond etc…), we have to go back in a year, re-test, and also stay away from them until then.
Everyone handles “bad news” differently, but for some reason I was not surprised by this. I was told that given the family history, he has a significantly higher chance of developing an allergy. I have been carrying an Epipen Jr. and a bottle of Benadryl since the fruit incident. The only thing that is hard to handle is the fact that I now have this additional responsibility towards the boy that most parents don’t have. I recognize the impact an allergy can have on day-to-day life, and until I have the all-clear, I plan to live life as though he is allergic. For me, this is not a transition because this is how I live my own life. For parents with no history of allergies I can imagine the difficulty assosciated in managing this. The responsibility of becoming a parent is overwhelming enough, but to be told that your child has an allergy can make life scary. For us, in the meantime, while waiting to determine if he is in fact allergic, I will bring his own cupcake to birthday parties, brown bag his lunch at play dates, and like his mom he won’t be able to eat at Ben and Jerry’s or Baskin & Robbins. I’ll have to teach him that sharing food is a no, and that he can’t go around kissing the girls in his class! My mother and mother in law both keep peanut/nut free homes as it is, so the educational piece for family members is simple.
I always try to keep things in perspective, and in the grand scheme of things this is not so terrible. On another note, since the all-clear on strawberries, honeydew and cantaloupe the boy is loooving his new fruit choices!