Emotional Rollercoaster

52 replies [Last post]
By JosieK on Sat, 03-13-99, 18:29

We're into week 2 of dealing with this allergy and while at first I was pretty matter-of-fact about it I'm having like an emotional delayed reaction now. It feels like tears could pop out at any moment, and Kelsey hasn't even had a serious reaction. But just knowing that she could, and that it is going to be difficult to keep her from having a reaction is sometimes all I can think about. I'm trying, like someone else has said, not to worry too much about the future (birthday parties, rebellious teenage years) but it is hard! I look at her sweet little face and just wish she didn't have the stupid allergy. I've read there are stages that people go through when grieving or dealing with bad news and guess I'm going through the anger/sadness phase. Hopefully once I learn more about this I'll feel a little more in control. There is so much to learn! It helps to be able to "say" this to people who will understand.

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By on Sat, 03-13-99, 19:07

Hi Julia,

I can relate with what you are going through. I feel I can safely say we ALL know what you're dealing with. The "emotional rollercoaster" of this allergy sometimes feels worse than PMS, doesn't it?!! Remember one thing, Julia, some of us have been dealing with this for months, some for years, BUT, at one point in our life, we too were the "new kid on the block" so please know you are in good hands here and we know what it feels like and how upsetting it is. I, too, remember how I felt when this allergy came into our lives uninvited and how out of control I felt. (If you look up "control freak" in the dictionary, you'd see my picture under the definition)!! ha ha...you feel absolutely helpless. You are 100% right regarding education. The more you learn and research, the more in control you will feel and knowledge will take some of the "sting" out of the hurt. After 4 years of this, I am still learning from all of you!

All I can say is...WELCOME HOME!

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By M's Mom on Sat, 03-13-99, 19:12

What you are feeling is perfectly normal and it will pass. I remember the first year after I discovered the allergy I was in the mode where I felt so sorry for my son and I thought every piece of food was going to kill him. It has been about 3 years since his initial reaction and I have become quite stoic about it now. It is just part of our lives now and I don't get teary-eyed nor do I get the "why me's" anymore. It is true, this is a lot like dealing with a major illness. Shortly after my son was born and a few months prior to the peanut discovery, I was diagnosed with thyroid cancer (cured thank goodness) and I went through the very same type of emotional roller coaster. Fear is behind all of it.
Christine

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By shelly on Sat, 03-13-99, 19:33

Julia, I have this fatal allergy to peanuts since I was a young child- now my husband (also allergic to nuts) have a one year old who will be getting tested soon. Having this is devastating, it does change your life- it definately could be much worse- walk through any hospital. Allergy can be controlled. Since I was in grade 7 I have been able to avoid any reaction ( I have travelled, been to parties, gone out for dinner, I really didn't miss out on much). Infact in high school I went on an exchange for a month to Japan- and brought all my food with me- All I ate from Japan was fruit and water. All thier labels were in Japanese so I brought crackers, Chef-boyardee, pudding, etc). My mom made things easier by saying There's nothing I could eat that would be risk my life- And would make me anything I wanted at anytime so I never felt I was missing out on much, and even if I was hungry I knew my mom would have something for me when I got home. My advice to you is be careful to which friends and family you trust. Be weary of everyone until you watch if the actions follow their words. My aunt thought this was a terrible thing, and vowed she would never have peanut oil in her house, but then I found a big bowl of peanuts on her table at Christmas. Also check out the book section on this web site for your child and at and [url="http://fan@worldweb.net/"]http://fan@worldweb.net/[/url] so your child can understand and not feel alone as much as possible. My advice would be don't be afraid of offending people. At parties, holidays, school- ther's lots that needs to be check out. It's a fine line between getting your point across and being offensive and alienating you and your child. I know this allergy seems like the worst thing in the world- so much so check and watch out for - it's mindboggling. I know if my child turns out to be allergic- it will rock my world. It gets better and seems normal after a while- you'll forget what it used to be like! Best of Luck!

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By scott on Sat, 03-13-99, 20:12

Hi Julia, things will not be so overwhelming once you have learned how to cope but just as the other postings have said, it takes time to get there. I have a four year old son, Troy, and an adult brother, David, who are allergic to nuts and peanuts. Knowing that David made it to adulthood and has coped well helps me believe that Troy will too. Some advice: 1. Try to find a support group by using this board or by calling the allergy or lung associations in your area. Your local library may also have some information about support groups. 2. Dive right in and start telephoning food manufacturers to check ingredients. It really helps and it lets the manufacturers know that we all need this information. 3. Stay in touch and use the bulletin boards here. This is a remarkable resource that helps you organize yourself [i.e. what do I need to ask/know?] prior to allergist appointments, restaurant visits, making travel plans etc. and hopefully soothes your nerves/worries. 4. Try to find an e-mail pen pal or local support group friend for one on one personal day to day support as that kind of contact can be reassuring. 5. When reading and researching it is easy to be overwhelmed by the negativity of some of the information. When this happens to me I stop for awhile until I am stronger and resume my research then. 6. Finally, be aware that if your child is hospitalized you will need to be vigilant about food trays even if they note on the wristband and food tray that the allergy exists. I was horrified to see Cheerios with a may contain nuts warning on Troy's tray once and a granola bar with nuts another time. I have learned that the dieticians are knowledgeable, the kitchen staff who pack the trays may not be. One hospital told one of my support group colleagues that she should bring food from home for her daughter when she was hospitalized. [By the way, the hospitalizations were not for allergy related problems.]

As I said, stay in touch and if you want to please feel free to e-mail me. I and the others here have walked in your shoes and you'll find that we want to help.

Take care.

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By becca on Sat, 03-13-99, 22:41

I would have to agree with everyone. The emotional ride is one I wish I had never had to deal with in my life. I take one day at a time and Thank God that my son can lead a healthy normal life and that there are alot of people out there that have there own emotional rides with things that they are not able to monitor closely so there children can lead normal childhoods. I have to look to the positive.
This message board is a great source of strength for me. Thanks everyone [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By nutfreegourmet on Sun, 03-14-99, 01:11

I, too wish I didn't have to deal with this horrible allergy; however, just two weeks ago I watched a good friend lose her two year old son to complications of leukemia, just five days after he was diagnosed. After this, I realize how fortunate I am to only have to deal with this allergy. We can all look around and see people who are far less fortunate than ourselves. Stay Safe and God bless.

Debbie

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By on Sun, 03-14-99, 02:40

Debbie, you are so right! Some days I take too much for granted and other days I cry why me God? What is scary about this allergy is we too could lose someone within a matter of minutes!! Often it is my sense of humor that gets me through. Sometimes it seems like I don't take this seriously, but I do! I remember all too well the initial reaction my son had at 10 months. His little face was so swollen, his cheeks were almost the same height as his nose. He looked like something out of "Alien." His eyes were swollen shut and he was clawing at his face due to intense itching. All of this within a matter of minutes!

I'm so sorry to hear about your friend who lost her son to leukemia and so quickly he was gone. WOW! How horrible! My husband lost a brother to leukemia years ago.

Sometimes I feel like I am "overcompensating" for my son. Does anyone else feel this way? My daughter has said more than once, "why does Cam get all the attention?" I get very overprotective of him and I need to realize I have more than one child.

Okay, I'm getting off track here and rambling on and on. Sorry!

Stay safe!

P.S. Christine, I'm glad to know you are okay!

[This message has been edited by Connie (edited March 13, 1999).]

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By ali2 on Sun, 03-14-99, 03:23

Hi Julia,

It won't always feel so overwhelming. We have been dealing with it, with our son for 6 1/2 years now. He has almost died once, but he pulled through it and now he is more diligent than we are sometimes. He remembers what it was like to feel his airway constricting and doesn't ever want to go through that again. It just gets to be a way of life, reading and re-reading labels (I read them at the store and again at home). Talking to cooks at restaurants. Preparing the schools (our son is in first grade). Always having at least 2 of the correct strenght epi-pen with the child at all times and benedryl too. What some others said, about it could be worse, is true. After hearing about others in our food allergy group, I was grateful our son only has one allergy. Some kids have multiple allergies and can't eat anything. We also have a 16 month old with hydrocephalus and she is missing part of her left ventricle in her brain. She has a shunt and we are waiting for the day it will have to be replaced. She has some brain damage and we are diligently trying to teach her to crawl so she can eventually walk. Birth defects really have a way of putting this peanut allergy into perspective, at least for us. Good luck, and remember your child can live a normal life. We also know 2 adults with the peanut allergy and they made it this far. It will feel easier after awhile.

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Mary Kay

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By Blackfly on Sun, 03-14-99, 12:20

Thank you for sharing your story Mary Kay. Your daughter's condition reminds us all that there are many problems in this world that we all have to contend with. Although having a peanut allergy is very serious and we all worry about our children, stories like yours remind us that things could be worse. We are thankful that our son is only allergic to peanuts. He has no other known allergies and he is otherwise healthy. I have read many posts on these message boards from parents of children with multiple food allergies. Having allergies to milk and eggs would be more much more difficult to deal with than just peanuts in my view. I have a nephew who was diagnosed at 4 with leukemia and he and his Mom and Dad and older brother went through three years of grueling treatment, hospital stays and many, many painful intrusive tests. He is now a healthy normal little 7 year old, thank goodness. Your story has reminded us all that we have to put this peanut allergy into perspective and realize that we can't change what happened. (What happened can happen to any of us-it's how we deal with it that counts.) We have to learn how to effectively manage the risk and raise our children to lead as normal of a life as possible given their condition. Given the choice, I would take a peanut allergy over any major illness or physical impairment any day.

Mark

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By erik on Sun, 03-14-99, 22:22

I am sure all of at least one time or another have reminded ourselves that we could have it alot worse than the pn allergy.

I can get really bummed out sometimes thinking how I'll never be able to buy my kid an icecream cone or a chocolate easter bunny, that she'll have to bring her own little treat to b'day parties, or that I won't be able ever leave her to go on a vacation or bring her on one. That's when I remind myself those are just small things in the whole scheme of life and things could be alot worse like the poor kids who suffer from cancer, genetic disease, needing organ transplants, etc....

I find it reassuring reading the messages from the allergic adults that have lived with this allergy--its puts it into perspective that we can definately deal and live with this. I also remind myself that it isn't a life time condition because there will be a cure for it in my kid's lifetime (maybe not in 5 years but realistically in 10-20 years).

__________________

*Addicted*

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By JosieK on Sun, 03-14-99, 22:49

It helps to know that other people have felt this way. The suggestions on how to cope with these feelings will be very helpful too. I also find it reassuring to hear from the allergic adults and to hope for a cure. Those of you who shared other more serious health problems that you or your friends are dealing with - I appreciate how gently you reminded me that Kelsey could be facing much more difficult health problems. Thanks!!! Julia M

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By MONTANNA on Mon, 03-15-99, 00:19

I agree with everyone above. I am so glad to have everyone here as a sounding board (no pun intended).
To Brenda, I can relate to the feelings of sadness you expressed about chocolate Easter Bunnies, birthday parties, etc. I think of those things, too. He hasn't realized all of those things missing...yet! But about vacations, going on them without her or bringing her. I hope you can find someone to trust to leave her with. It is important for you mental well-being to be able to have some adult time with your husband, too. I know I am fortunate that my parents are willing to keep my kids a couple of times a year for get-aways and we take our children on trips with us too. At least in this country it doesn't seem too much harder than at home. We had planned on going to France last summer with another family, but when it came down to it we knew we couldn't since we didn't speak the language and it didn't seem feasible to bring all that he needed. He has multiple food allergies. I just think we all need time away and as close to a normal life and childhood for our kids (the nonallergic ones, too!)as possible. Take care! Lisa M

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By nutfreegourmet on Mon, 03-15-99, 01:16

Hi all,

I hope I am not being too optimistic, but I truly believe there is so much hope in the area of research and pnt allergy. I was just reading where the Japanese had found a way to genertically alter the composition of rice (hope I am being scientifically correct in my wording) for the rice allergic in that country, so surely our great USA researchers can do the same for the peanut. I think we just all need to stay behind the cause, and keep it at the forefront!

Good luck to all and stay safe.

Debbie

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By TLSMOM on Mon, 03-15-99, 06:13

"emotional rollercoaster" is a very appropriate title! Just last night I was reading through several boards, and I went to bed quite upset, afraid and well, you know. This morning I felt much better, and realized how lucky we are that we have not had a severe reaction; even though I know my son is still a baby, at least this way we're learning quickly how to change our lifestyle, and he won't have to go and miss out on a lot of things he's already enjoyed. There are times when reading posts from others who have had frightening experiences depress and scare me, and there are times when I see they've made it through those experiences alive and healthy in all other respects and I feel okay. I watched part of Schindler's List on t.v. tonight and turned it off when they took the children away in trucks - I felt so lucky to hold my teething, wakeful son who happens to have a peanut allergy to live with, as at least we know what we're dealing with now. If we hadn't found out due to a couple of hives, who knows how we would have found out? We got through another day with great joy!
I wish I could feel so lucky each and every minute.

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By pratt on Mon, 03-15-99, 14:44

It is comforting and yet sad to know that I am not alone. Since Sean's anaphylactic reaction to peanuts and eggs, I have been on an emotional roller coaster. I can't seem to get across the importance of checking everything that is fed to him. Since discovering these two life threatening allergies through an anaphylatic reaction....My husband has caused one nut reaction by feeding him honey bunches of oats with almonds (he thought it was just peanut butter)and my husband and my daughter have caused 2 with eggs. These last three were not like the first reaction Thank God. I don't know if I can mentally handle him slipping into unconsciousness again. I have been on pins and needles since. I have ordered some materianl from FAN in hopes of raising the awareness in my family. Sean has 3 older siblings. My 10 year old son can not understand why he can't have pb&j (his favorite for the past 9 years) or recees pb cups. He is having difficulty accepting his brother's allergy. My other two children were here when he had his anaphylactic reaction and fully understand. I also ordered the Epi-Pen trainer to make sure that everyone who comes in contact with him knows how to use it. I think the only answer is to be extremely careful and pray. Thanks for being here to listen.

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By wendy12 on Mon, 03-15-99, 19:33

Our peanut allergic son has two older peanut loving sisters. They accepted the fact a long time ago that there will never be peanut butter in our house. His need is greater than theirs. However, a trip to Eat N'Park for a PB sandwich without him or ordering PB & J at school fills their needs, too. It just can't be at our house. I was concerned that if they never were able to have PB, they might "sneak" it into the house. So I made sure they were able to have it somewhere where it would not affect him. It works for us.

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By CindyBarnes on Mon, 03-15-99, 19:54

Julia,

When I first found out, I too went on an emotional rollercoaster-- it was awful. Then one day I just "snapped out of it!" I think it was the day I learned there was hope... that researchers are working on a vaccine. I called the Food Allergy Network to ask about it and they said the research is very promising, that optimistically (but not realistically) the vaccine could be available in 5 years... FAN is predicting 10 years. (Call them yourself and ask... it may make you feel better.) The good news is the researchers have identified the offending proteins and I've heard they've either started or will soon be starting clinical trials with mice. I'm attending the FAN patient conference in Baltimore in April and hope to learn more; there is a session regarding the latest food allergy research. For me, understanding the allergy and what researchers are doing has helped tremendously.

I'd like to echo the other advice on this thread -- don't let these postings overwhelm you. This is a very emotional medium and you have to take everything with a grain of salt... everyone's emotions are very real and valid, but it's so easy to get caught up in something that wouldn't normally bother you.

Also, another thing that helped me. One of the members here, Christine, told me that avoiding peanuts at home is EASY, that she's not had a problem at all doing that. (Thanks for your support, Christine.) So until I feel stronger about taking my son to a restaurant, we are only feeding him food made from scratch at home. I feel good knowing he's safe, that I have some control while I learn more, and so I've started to feel more confident that we can handle the allergy... we'll cross the various bridges when we come to them. We just took my son to a party the other day where there was tons of food and both my husband and I were very calm and casual about not letting him eat anything. I didn't freak out or feel bad, I just dealt with it. This is in marked contrast to how I deal with it in the beginning.

--Tracy

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By M's Mom on Tue, 03-16-99, 14:28

Lynda & Mary Catherine--I commend you both for being so good about not letting the offending foods in your house. That takes a lot of hard work. I just want people to know the other side of the story--which is me, the parent who lets the other child and family members have peanut products in the home. I first want to emphasize that both my husband and daughter are VERY conscious about the allergy; however my husband packs peanut butter and jelly sandwiches a few times per week for his lunch (he doesn't have refrigeration at work, so what he can bring is limited). Occasionally, my daughter will ask for some peanut butter to dip her apple in. I will usually forbid this to be served in the presence of my son. We wait until he goes to bed or we send my daughter to another area of the house to eat the dreaded peanut butter. So far this has worked for us. My son also has an egg allergy and we certainly cannot avoid eggs--it is almost impossible. My son and daughter have separate treats and he knows why he cannot eat hers and he is very accepting of this. I am amazed with him. He is also not an impulsive child who will grab things so I feel very safe in that aspect. I know many people will disagree with my views but I do believe that the rest of the family should not be denied a food because my son has an allergy. If my daughter wants a Reese's and we have them, then she eats it. The key is using caution and being clean. She can only eat that stuff at the table (not all over the house or in the car) and we clean up very well after her. My view does NOT carry over to schools/daycare centers etc where I know the staff are NOT careful. That is an entirely different situation. I feel that my approach has helped my son to learn that he is, indeed, different and that he must accept that and know there will be things that everyone else can do, but not him.
Christine

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By aaronboczkowski on Tue, 03-16-99, 17:00

I can appreciate your feelings about other family members....but they should know this. In the past when I was asked to put together presentations about peanut allergy for primary school children it was brought to their attention that a kiss from a person eating peanut butter in the last 24 hours can trigger anaphylaxis. Further I used an example for the children where an allergic child drank from a cup or straw already used by a friend that had consumed peanut butter earlier. These have also triggered anaphylaxis. I can understand your feelings of not wanting the older kids to miss one of their favorites. I used to let one of my two older daughters have peanut butter at a sleepover. When this information was brought to my attention I explained it to her (5 then) and her sister (10 then). They chose to never go near peanuts again and they seem to feel a part of protecting their family. Also when I checked with the department head of Food Chemistry at Guelph University about cleaning agents that could remove all traces of the peanut protein from a table or desk top(ie alter the actual protein so that it can no longer fit into the mast cell and trigger a reaction) he told me that varsol or bleach are the only type of products that could achieve SAFE results. The protein itself is altered and can no longer act as a key in this reaction. You may want to consider this in cleaning up.

[This message has been edited by Coco (edited March 16, 1999).]

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By M's Mom on Tue, 03-16-99, 18:08

Connie,

Thanks for clean-up tips. I didn't know that you needed varsol or bleach, but fortunately I am already using Clorox Bleach to clean my kitchen table (I have a white laminate table). I am also aware of the kissing issue and refrain from kissing my son when I eat peanut products (very rare). My daughter and son would NEVER think of kissing each other at this point in their lives!!! I think what this all boils down to is how much risk you are comfortable with in relation to how sensitive you think your child is.
Christine

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By pratt on Tue, 03-16-99, 19:58

Thanks for the clean up tips. I still would not be comfortable having the nuts or eggs in the house. This might lessen in time but right now the nightmare of Sean's anaphylactic episode are too fresh in my mind. The thought of him slipping into unconsciousness again and possibly never waking up are devastating. I still shutter when I remember that day. I also don't want to let fear rule our lives either.
Hopefully, in time, I will be able to relax and not be so uptight about this.

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By pratt on Tue, 03-16-99, 19:59

[img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by Lynda (edited March 16, 1999).]

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By aaronboczkowski on Wed, 03-17-99, 00:18

Lynda, Please don't misunderstand me. There is no form of peanut in my home either and I am not suggesting that there ought to be. My son used to be allergic to egg as well as peanut. He tested negative to egg at age four and is now able to eat them...but still is not fond of them. He says he likes that he is allowed to have them. Did you have to have mmr shot administered in allergists office due to the egg allergy? One funny thing, after Charles tested negative to egg it took me nearly a year to come around to buying them. It just seemed so wrong...crazy huh?

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By sinnat on Tue, 03-23-99, 04:30

Lynda,
I can really understand the stress and emotion you sound like you are feeling after your son's scary reaction. I have the peanut allergy and my sister is dangerously allergic to tree nuts. Just a couple of years ago when she was 20 she had an anaphylactic reaction and stopped breathing in my arms. I administered 2 epi pens to save her and called 911. Fortunately the paramedics got there in time to get her breathing again, but the terror and emotional trauma of that night really effected me for a long time. I had night mares and "day-mares" and a lot of what I guess you could call "post-traumatic stress" from the experience. (not to mention the stress my little sister experienced!) I think there may be nothing more frightening in the world than seeing a loved one in such a perilous situation, and if you are feeling that way I think you are very normal. Time helps, but I think, like most of the others here, that education helps most of all.
Take care. -- Elizabeth
PS -- I'm 31, and have been peanut allergic since I was 2. It is always something to think about, but I am fine and it has been 10 years since I have had a serious reaction... just some good news that your children too can live with this difficult allergy and grow up to have a normal adulthood. :-)

------------------

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By pratt on Tue, 03-23-99, 12:52

Coco & Elizabeth: I too am hoping Sean will grow out of the Egg Allergy but I know that he will always have the Peanut Allergy. He is going to the allergist April 9th to get his MMR shot. I am also anxious to ask the Allergist about the Peanut Allergy. I don't only think he is allergic to Peanut's because my husband accidently gave him Honey Bunches of Oats with Almonds and he reacted. Is Almonds=Peanuts? Just so many questions! Thanks for sharing your experience Elizabeth and understanding my feeling of here today, gone tommorow. "Post Traumatic Stress" may be exactly what I have been feeling. I purchased "It only takes one bite" video from FAN for my family to view and I also bought the Epi-Pen Trainer so that they all know how to use it. It is great to have these message boards to keep in contact with the many wonderful people on them. Lynda [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By JosieK on Wed, 03-24-99, 01:41

Lynda:

My husband tends to take a "they will be fine" attitude whenever something is wrong with the kids and I tend to worry more and be more careful with them. He is taking the peanut allergy very seriously, though. I think it helped that he was there when she was tested and saw the welt from the skin prick test. He also heard from the doctor's mouth that a reaction could be life threatening.

I'm still having ups and downs. This weekend Kelsey had some hives on her legs, but we think it was the strawberries she had for the first time. Not knowing for sure is hard to deal with! The doctor said it might also be a reaction to some peas that she had, although she's had peas before. No more strawberries, watch the peas!

Julia M

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By TLSMOM on Wed, 03-24-99, 04:29

Julia,
I too continue to have my "ups and downs" and I'm not sure that's going to go away. I have a question now, since your little one got hives maybe from peas or strawberries: how on earth are we supposed to know that the hives are from something else, and not from accidental peanut product or crumb or kiss or furniture/playground equipment? It's easy for me to know if we're at home, as we have nothing with peanut nor do my husband or I ever consume peanut now, but what if we're not at home? If it's due to something else, we wouldn't do the epipen thing, would we, but how are we supposed to know? (the only reaction my son has had to peanut is hives from contact, as he's never ingested peanut anything, ever) I'm feeling confused and this question kept me awake a bit the other night, until I worried myself to sleep. (see? a "down", just when I thought I had a handle on things! Keeps me on my toes, I guess) Take care.

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By pratt on Wed, 03-24-99, 04:43

Julia and Carolynn: I too have my ups and downs. Today it was encouraging to see an article in our local paper NJ Newark Star Ledger regarding a family in scotch plains who successfully battled the school system. I hope more people become educated for our children's sake. Sean doesn't go to school yet and I know my emotions will run wild at that time. Thanks for the replys! [img]http://client.ibboards.com/peanutallergy/smile.gif[/img]

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By JosieK on Wed, 03-24-99, 17:39

Carolyn:

Thats EXACTLY what I mean. Our instructions are to administer the epipen if Kelsey injests a peanut product. This weekend I wasn't sure WHAT had caused the reaction. She's only ever gotten hives and a rash before (thank goodness) but not having the experience I hope I will recognize the beginnings of a serious reaction when I see it. I do have the FAN information on warning signs as a guide. From what I'm reading a reaction usually starts within an hour of exposure. Does anyone have an experience that says otherwise? So maybe I don't give Kelsey any food 1.5 hours before bedtime, so I'll be sure to see a bad reaction if it starts. There's a fine line between paranoia and appropriate caution, isn't there?

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By nutfreegourmet on Thu, 03-25-99, 01:17

I am so glad that the subject of unknown reactions has come up. This weekend my son was outside and came in with a swollen, itchy eye and there were hives around it. I can only assume it is the dog we have outside, since he tested 2+ to dogs. However, he is outside all the time with the dog, and this is the only the third time he has had this minor reaction after being ouside. I, too always worry that he has accidental contact with peanuts or peanut products, although we don't have any known peanut products in our house. I gave him benadryl and a bath, and he went down for his nap, but I felt that I needed to watch him through the entire nap for a more major reaction. I hope I will be able to recognize a major reaction and administer the epipen at that time.

Stay Safe, Debbie

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By rlsperform on Thu, 03-25-99, 03:39

Debbie - could your son react only when your dog ***licks** him, and that is why you usually don't have any problems. I observed my peanut allergic son being licked by a dog, and within minutes the side of his face where he had been licked was swollen, his one eye swelled, and was itchy, and he had hives. I took a picture of it and he looks quite comical (though it certainly wasn't at the time). He has been around dogs before and after that episode with no problem, but I'm very careful that a dog doesn't lick him. He subsequently skin tested negative for dog. Just a thought, Nancy

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By sophiesmom on Thu, 03-25-99, 15:07

I also have a problem with my 3 year old having multiple allergies. My allergist doesn't want to test her till shes older but did state that she does seem to have other allergies. I am trying to not over react to every hive either. That is why on the post "when to use Benadryl" I stated that my allergist told me to use Benadryl at a few hives. Now don't get me wrong if I thought she had been exposed to peanuts I wouldn't hesitate to use an epipen (although I never have). But you guys just mentioned strawberries. She just had a reaction the other day to a Nutrigrain bar (strawberry filled)) that I bought because I knew they were safe from peanuts (see my Kelloggs post). I was at the bus stop and had to administer Benadryl because her bottom lip area was covered with hives. Now I can be pretty sure that it was the bar she was eating in the car, but you do start to wonder did she touch something, how do I really know? That is why it gets really complicated when you have multiple allergies. I can't administer the epipen at the site of every hive or she would be afraid of the epi pen and also it wouldn't warrant such an extreme reaction. It does start do drive you crazy though, because you start to worry about cross contamination. That is why we have to work on better labelling laws.

Debbie, As far as being outside that could have been a number of things (doesn't it drive you crazy) A bug bite perhaps, or some type of ivy he touched. I don't know but it sounds like you played it safe.

Patti

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By MichelleR on Fri, 03-26-99, 00:55

Debbie,
My son has had similar reactions to a friend's dog. He buried his face in the dog giving him a hug. He then broke out in hives on that side of his face and his eye swelled 1/2 shut. The dog probably had just licked himself in that area. He also breaks out in hives any time a dog or cat licks him. He skin tested negative the first time. Now a year and a half later he tests positive.It does make it very difficult to determine sometimes why they have hives. That is why we made the hard decision to get rid of our cat. I didn't want him to have hives all the time and not know for sure what caused them. Good luck, I know what you're going through.

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By twobapro on Fri, 03-26-99, 03:00

Our 7 year old son was diagnosed at 5 with this allergy. Several months later, we made a decision to move to Malaysia, which is practically the peanut capital of the world. We try to keep his life as normal as the next child, but it IS different. He never eats in any restaurant other than MacDonald's. This makes it difficult to go away but not impossible.
He brings all his own food to school and birthday parties. Most Malaysians have never even heard of this allergy. The school has been very good, but a recent reaction has him eating separately from the main crowd. Two friends eat with him on a weekly rotation. The parents get a note the week before saying its their child's turn to eat with Wheaton and to make peanut free lunches and snacks. The teacher checks the food every day.
We had a baby girl over here who is now 10 months old. I wonder EVERY day whether she is also allergic.
This web site has provided me with a great deal of strength and information. I sign on every day. It certainly helps knowing that there are more parents like myself.

__________________

Tristan's Dad

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By nutfreegourmet on Fri, 03-26-99, 04:46

Hi all,

It is such a great comfort to know that there is so many of us in this together. With multiple allergies, it is so hard to govern the major versus the minor reaction. I praise God for this vast support group. This is something that no allergist or pediatrician can hope to provide.

Stay Safe, Debbie

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By CindyBarnes on Fri, 03-26-99, 06:42

Hilary and others,

I've been thinking about this for awhile, but Hilary's message has prompted me to ask... why, if Malaysia and other Asian countries use peanuts so much as part of their diets, is there not more cases of peanut allergies there?

I went to an Asian food market today and there were peanuts EVERYWHERE... in the shells, raw (big HUGE bags), etc. etc. I like to make Thai and Chinese food (without peanuts now, of course).

Anyway, peanuts are used so often in many Asian dishes that you would think they'd have a high rate of the allergy too... or do Americans eat more peanuts than Asians? Americans eat a lot of peanut butter, and we eat peanuts as a snack at sporting events and bars, but we don't really use peanuts in many other dishes.

Just curious...

--Tracy

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By M's Mom on Fri, 03-26-99, 13:28

Tracy,

Good question. In Asia they do have many dishes that use peanuts; however, are these dishes JUST the ones that are more commonly served in our restaurants and the "locals" don't really eat them that much?? I still believe that the American's have the highest rate of peanut consumption--mostly in the form of peanut butter and in snacks. I have read that other countries, especially Asia, have higher rates of soy allergy and rice allergy (yes, rice!) than we do. I think that you will find that both soy (in the form of tofu) and rice are staples of the Asian diet more so than peanuts. Peanut butter has just about become a staple for our children. If you look at any allergy in any region of the country or world, the allergic reactions develop most frequently to whatever proliferates in that area--this is true of food and inhalant allergies.
Christine

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By JosieK on Fri, 03-26-99, 17:32

This messages bring up a question about the nature of allergies. I don't understand that increased exposure to something would increase the incidence of allergy to it BUT that one of the possible treatements for an allergy is to get allergy shots which expose the person to the allergenic substance to get them desensitized. I suppose that what is happening biologically with these two exposures might be different?

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By pratt on Mon, 03-29-99, 17:07

Hi everyone! I just need to scream. This weekend was another scary ride on the roller coaster. We visited my father-in-laws for dinner. For some reason, none which would every make sense to me, my husband and my brother-in-law thought it would be okay to give our 3 year old a recees pb cup since he is not peanut allergic. To compensate the 16 month old they gave him a sweet tart. They never washed their hands or the hands and face of my 3 year old. Needless to say, my 16 month old began coughing uncontrollably. I immediately gave him Benadryl. After about 15 minutes, his coughing stopped. They could not believe that this could happen. I don't know how many times or ways to explain the seriousness of not even having one crumb in the same room as Sean. Thanks for letting me vent. Lynda

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By JosieK on Mon, 03-29-99, 22:21

Lynda:

I'm so glad that Sean is okay! Kelsey is about that age too. Do you think that your husband will be more careful now that he has seen what can happen? Sending positive thoughts your way.....Julia M.

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By pratt on Wed, 03-31-99, 19:23

Julia....Let's hope so....If he wants to survive me! I read him the riot act as you probably already know. Lynda

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By shawneevt on Fri, 04-02-99, 23:27

I have a daughter Lindsay who is anaphalactic. My parents, AND in-laws both just don't get it. They think my daughter simply doesn't like peanuts any suggestions on how to convince them other-wise preferably WITHOUT risking Lindsay's life?

All reply's appriciated.

Pricilla Osbornette

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By nutfreegourmet on Sat, 04-03-99, 01:30

Hi Priscilla,

My in-laws didn't take it seriously at first either. I printed as much info off the net as possible (I included some tragedies also) and sent it to them to read. About that time, a television program was aired about pnt allergy, which they happened upon and watched. With all this info, they finally came around and removed all pnt products from their home. Good luck to you. I know family support is such an important part of living with this allergy.

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By shawneevt on Sat, 04-03-99, 13:34

Thanks so much. I took them to allergist instead. It worked wonders. Both have gone pb free. Thanks again

Priscilla O

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By dkk on Sat, 05-22-99, 03:34

To everyone,
Thank you for the site. I just found out I have a peanut allergy at 26 years old. I first didn't mind, but after my first trip to the supermarket I burst into tears. I can't eat anything. Right now it seems any food I eat besides a bland oatmeal, banana, orange apple, cinnamon, and salad with vinegar only or chicken cooked plain, gives me a reaction. I love sugar, jelly beans, all chocolate etc. Even though I am a fat free fanatic, when I want to go get some fat free frozen yogurt I can't because my hands swell and my eyes too. I feel like everyone thinks I am crazy because I am checking all labels. I ate pretzels and reacted. Is there peanut in pretzels? red pepper? beer?
Please help me I am falling apart!

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By janeliz on Sat, 05-22-99, 13:46

Amraff1 - I have read a couple of your responses and I can feel your pain! It sounds very much like mine did a couple of months ago when I realized how serious this was for my one year old. A couple of tips that have really helped our family are:

1. You and those closest to you should begin reading the posts on this web site. For our family that meant me and my husband and printing off copies for the grandparents and day care provider. We are also in the process of educating the other parents in the day care.

2. Make sure you have the right "equipment." For us this means that every car has epi meds, along with my purse, day care and the grandparents. I have benadryl in my briefcase (which I always carry), at home and at everyones house. Even the neighbor has benadryl. Also, make sure you have a medical alert braclet. Spencer wears his proudly (because that is how we welcomed it - we refused to let him feel bad about it). I, too, wear one for my asthma and it gives me piece of mind.

3. Start talking! Any opportunity I get to educate those I work with, other parents at the park or those just out and about I do. The more people that hear the message the better. This may take a letter from your school to your parents about not having peanut products in your classroom.

4. Start cooking! I recommend the FAN cookbook. It has been a big help because I was a non-cooker. Breakfast always was our problem time because Spencer is also allergic to eggs but now things are fine.

It takes time to adjust, accept and relax. I have a real problem with the relax part but I am working on it. I owe it to my son to do everything I can to keep him safe while giving him a normal childhood. Not an easy task with an allergy like this!

Good luck!

------------------
Kelly M
Another Mom in Michigan

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By chanfam on Sat, 05-22-99, 16:40

Hi...I am too on the "roller coaster" with this peanut allergy. This is week three of knowing that my 2 year old is allergic. Last week, I could have cried at any second, even thinking about it made tears pop up. Holding the epi-pen for the first time was so scary! Brady is also allergic to milk, but not with such severe reactions as to peanuts. I feel bad for our 8 year old daughter, since Brady came along we have never gone out for pizza, and our trips to Baskin and Robbins have stopped. Now, we have to remove all Peanuts and peanut butter from the house too. Brady has asthma also, so our yearly ski trips are out also. Right now I stay at home with Brady...I can't even imagine what emotions I will have trying to send her to kindergarden!! I love this post..so glad I found it. It's not just about the physical aspects of the allergy..but about all the emotions that go with it. Thanks, Tammy

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By sugahh on Sun, 05-23-99, 21:53

For those with reactions to pet licking - could the hives and swelling be caused by peanut residue in the dog or cats mouth as opposed to the animal itself? I've read that a lot of pet foods contain peanuts or nuts for protein - just a thought that might help us keep our pets if we can find peanut and nut free pet foods.

------------------
Kristin

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By Michelle Arnott on Mon, 05-24-99, 16:07

My son also reacts to being licked by a dog but tested negative to dog prick

I read many dog food labels and found that a few contained soy products and a few contained guar gum. This was by no means an exhaustive search.
My sister has three dogs that all have the same diet, my son reacts differently to licks from each dog.
My son did not react to the dog prick test at the allergists.

Here is what the allergist had to say.
There are several different proteins on a dog that can cause a reaction. Saliva, urine, dander, mites... On the prick test the allergist has no way of knowing what specific protein was sent. So the test might have been for dander that my son isn't allergic to, but he is clearly allergic to dog saliva.

I feel for people who need to make a decision about keeping a pet. While we do not currently have any animals I have always had them in the past and desperately want to get another one. Both my sons allergist and dermatologist have recommended against bringing furry pets into our home. :-(

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By Delilah on Tue, 06-15-99, 00:48

I am a 41 year old male who has a life-threatening allergy to all tree nuts.

I had an episode over the weekend where I almost died. Luckily, 911 came in time to get me to the ER and I'm OK.

I have known about this problem since the age of 4, and have been extremely careful over the years. I am college educated, no genius,
but consider myself reasonably intelligient.

It boggles my mind that some of you with children would keep peanut butter in your home when you are well aware of the consequences of just one slip up.

Is it really worth it? Is that peanut butter sandwich for a non-allergic child worth the life of your allergic one? To me, the answer is readily apparent.

No one is perfect. That is a given in this life. All it takes is one slip up, and you risk the life of a loved one. For what?

A PBJ?

This is not an issue where arrogance or pride
should get in the way of common sense.

Jerry Y.

__________________

The smallest feline is a masterpiece. DaVinci

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