comfort zones.....................again.

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 3:20am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Are the phrases "Comfort Zone" and "Quality of Life" concepts that are based on the same premise with regards to PA?

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 3:26am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Not to me. Our "comfort zone" with regards to PA is how we deal with handling dd's diet and our diets, shopping and eating activities in order to maximize the prevention of a reaction.
Our "quality of life" with regards to PA is excellent, and hassle free because of the care we take with our comfort zone. So one helps us attain and maintain the other, but that accomplished the PA then does not compromise our quality of life.
Does that make sense? The allergy does dictate comfort zone, but not quality of life for us. becca

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 3:31am
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Sorry to reply so soon..............
why are comfort zones different? Would that indicate some are right and others are wrong (if comfort zones differ?) What about same allergy, same degree, same situation, different "comfort zone"?

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 3:38am
Nicole1401's picture
Joined: 12/27/2002 - 09:00

As I read everyone's posts, I have often wondered if a comfort zone is affected by whether or not a child has had an anaphylactic reaction. It might be interesting to do a survey along those lines if there was just some objective way to describe a comfort zone.
But to answer Momma Bear's original question, I agree with Becca. I have been working hard these past few months to gather all of the information I can about PA so we can develop our comfort zone, adjust our lifestyle to it, and then get on with living life in the way we now have to.

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 5:02am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

The issue is subjective to some degree and also according to reaction history, education on the allergy, medical advice given, etc... Comfort zones are what we decide are or are not the calcualted risks we are willing to take or must take in order to function in life with the PA. Some choose to home school while others put their kids into school with simply a peanut free lunch table. Reactions and sensetivities ar different, however all are unpredictable. Comfort zones will be different.
As well, qualtiy of life is subjective. I could feel limited because I had to spend the whole day making safe treats for a birthday invitation this evening, and for our upcoming Valentine school party, robbing me of time to spend with my family before dh heads out of town for a week. Or, I can be glad that PA has actually given me the excuse to carve out time to persue my crafty and cooking/baking hobbies and be thankful I have a dh who gives me the time and takes care of many other things. It is all in how you look at it.
Now, there are more objective quality of life concerns, like airborne sensetivity where people react at church, in school, grocery shopping, etc... Of course a tight comfort zone would be needed, and quality of life would be compromised. However, is it the comfort zone resulting in poor quality of life, or is it the reactions? The comfort zone enables the fullest life experience, with minimization of reactions.
The *reactions* IMO, are what compromise the qualtiy of life. becca

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 10:51am
Peg541's picture
Joined: 12/29/2002 - 09:00

My son's quality of life and comfort zones go hand in hand. He avoids some things and particpates in a wide range of things.
In all of my years there are hundreds of things I've never done and never will do. I fill those spaces in with the things I want to and can do. I expect my son's life will be much the same. Can't do everything, even non allergic people can't do everything.
If he cannot go to ball games or certain restaurants he has replaced that with tons of things he can do. There are many other places he stays away from but his life is full and a good one. He's learning to live with this disability and so will lots of other kids.

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 11:51am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I believe that the comfort zone is very individualized and also relates to a person's past reactions, but I also think their comfort zones are affected by the support and information/training they have recieved. An example would be how my comfort zone was compared to what it is today....I had no education other than the 20 mins. the Dr. gave me: heres a list of things to avoid, here's a prescription for the epi-pens...I didn't even get his epi pen filled until a year ago (3 years after his first reaction), after I came here and got the education I wish I'd had in the beginning, it's a wonder he didn't have many more reaction as a result of my unawareness. The support issue is a factor too, I had no support from anyone, everyone assumed sniffles and watery eyes. Therefore, no support made me feel I was over reacting, therefore, I lessened my comfort zone.
Now that I have the education and support of other people, I have tightened my comfort zone, although I'm still not as tight as alot of people here.
Quality of life issues, IMO, can be the outlook of the allergy...Pestimistic outlooks are going to have a less quality of life than that of a person with optimistic outlooks. If you always look negatively about the allergy, it's going to ultimately affect your quality of life, but if you have some posivtive outlooks such as being thankful it's not celiberal palsy or leukeima, than your quality of life will ultimately have more quality. Please note I'm not making light of the allergy...I hate this allergy, my outlook is somewhat a pestimistic one, with the occaisonal positive thinking of thank God it's only an allergy, and that he's not wheel chair bound, or blind.
But I do agree totally with the fact that type of reaction triggers would definately play a major role in this. If a person does react to smell/inhalation, then they are very limited to the quality of life they can have.
But in the end, every person and comfort zone is different, in regards to PA and non PA situations.
Keep safe,

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 12:43pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Just came across this in a link I was reading, I know it's lengthy, but thought it was pretty neat I came across it tonite.
The impact of peanut allergy on children and adults
-At a poster session during the Annual Meeting of the AAAA&I Feb 26-March 3, 1999 in Orlando, MN Primeau, RS Kagan, C. Dufresne, Y. St-Pierre, H. Lim, and A. Clarke presented their evaluation of the impairment in quality of life and family relations experienced by individuals with a confirmed diagnosis of peanut allergy (PA) based on history and skin test or RAST , compared with the impairment experienced by patients with a chronic musculoskeletal disease (MSD). Impairment of quality of life was assessed by the vertical visual analogue scale (VVAS) [anchored from 0 (no disruption of daily activities) to 100 (most disruption imaginable) and the Impact on Family Questionnaire [0 (no impact) to 24 (maximum impact)]. One hundred and thirty eight PA children with disease duration of 4 years were compared with 61 MSD children and 37 PA adults and 41 MSD adults. . . Peanut allergic children compared to MSD children with little physical disability have much more impairment in their quality of life and family relations. More importantly, even when compared with MSD children overall, the impairment of peanut-allergic children is greater, attesting to the substantial impact of peanut allergy.
-A second element of this aspect was to evaluate which factors were involved. Their conclusions were: Younger age of the children, closeness to the first reaction, past history of anaphylactic reaction and presence of other atopic conditions were all associated with increased impairment of quality of life or family relations. Age at the first allergic reaction, severity of the first allergic reaction, presence of asthma and presence of other food allergies were not associated with the severity of impairment of quality of life and family relations. (posted March 13th, 1999)

Posted on: Sat, 02/01/2003 - 11:44pm
MommaBear's picture
Joined: 09/23/2002 - 09:00

Cam's Mom:
You Posted:
"Impairment of quality of life was assessed by the vertical visual analogue scale (VVAS) [anchored from 0 (no disruption of daily activities) to 100 (most disruption imaginable) and the Impact on Family Questionnaire [0 (no impact) to 24 (maximum impact)]."
Could one say that "Ineffective Coping" might have something to do with the results? Ie: is "Quality of Life" something that one can adjust with changes, or is "Quality of Life" dependent upon the disease process itself? (Although I personally do not consider PA a "disease", per se)
You also posted:
"If a person does react to smell/inhalation, then they are very limited to the quality of life they can have."
In our case, you are wrong. My son is smell/inhalation allergic. He has a great life. Wonderful quality of life. When we are asked, we even perceive ourselves (PA child and family) to have good "Quality of Life". Even relative to "non-allergic" and "non-asthmatic" children. Our son will possibly tell you he could use more action figures and I really would like to be able to take more vacations (finances).......Hubby would like more fishing time. He is 7 and involved in school, church, his friends, out of school activities, and very very involved with his family [img][/img] (I hope that never changes). He is also very matter of fact about his relationship with God. Love that.
My husband and I both are have vocations in the healthcare field: nursing and emergency medicine. We have a VERY CLEAR [img][/img] picture of what can happen if we or our son miscalculates or misjudges a situation regarding PA (oh, heck, regarding a whole lot of stuff!!) I've seen the "full meal deal" and can't stand the thought of it happening to my child. One may easily see, that if we allowed it to, our anxiety could shoot through the roof and some crazy behavior could result. (Thinking about our backyard full of surveillance cameras now) Therefore, when we educate our son about PA, (and he has taught us some things) we are carefull to sift out the fear and anxiety and impart the knowledge. I feel there is enough naturally occuring fear and anxiety without adding more. Not that some "good, healthy distrust" is not necessary, eh?
As far as chronic musculoskeletal disease? Specifics?
Is this arthritis, low back pain, tennis elbow? I am unsure how to view the study since muscular dystrophy is usually classified as a "neuromuscular disease". I would have to see specific diagnoses to better understand the study. My cousin died before his 18th birthday from Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Survival rate is not often beyond the late twenties. Age group(s)? Death would prohibit one from taking part of a "Quality of Life" study. When looking at a study it is also helpful to know the sample population and method of determining this sample population. As with every study I examine, I also consider the possiblity of bias.

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 12:00am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Very interesting question, MommaBear. In our case, I feel that comfort zone has a large impact on quality of life. My CZ is much looser than a lot of the other active posters here. Leah (age 8) can eat food at friends' houses, treats that classmates bring in; she even buys treats at bake sales. She gets ice cream out, we order Chinese food in. She eats at a regular lunch table with no restrictions placed on others. This is not due to a lack of education on my part. I am actually extremely well informed about pa. I read just about everything here and I've been a member of FAAN for over 7 years. I figure that we take calculated risks in order for Leah to live day to day in the least restrictive environment possible. Always in my mind is the idea that if she should have a reaction we will tighten up big time. And of course, we are always prepared for any emergency.
I think the idea that reaction history can influence CZ is very true. In our case: Leah has had one reaction which would qualify as anaphylactic, but did not require the epi-pen. This was over three years ago, and was not a result of our comfort zone. We had been living much the way we do now before that, as Leah had eaten pb several times without reaction - then *only* got a few hives around her mouth on her 3rd or 4th exposure. I freaked out majorly after her *big* reaction - was really on high alert for about the next two years. Then I began to settle in again, and notice that Leah was doing just fine.
I feel that we are actually very careful with the decisions we make and allow Leah to make. That is probably not coming across well in this post, since I've shared what we allow Leah to do without going into the precautions we take. I hope you can all trust me that with all the education and information I have I am not behaving like an ignoramous. The fact remains that Leah is doing great. She obviously has restrictions in her life because of her pa and tna, but she is living life rather fully.
If she had a history of contact reactions, etc. Or, if I had witnessed her nearly die one or more times, I'm sure I would have a totally different perspective. In that case quality of life would probably mean that Leah was healthy, able to breathe safely, and not at risk of anaphylaxis. A much tighter comfort zone would ensure a higher quality of life. In our case it is rather the opposite, at this point. I feel that a tighter comfort zone would unnecessarily restrict her, and would lessen the quality of life.
Hope that makes sense and that you all aren't ready to throw hand grenades at me. [img][/img] Miriam
p.s. I am quite supportive of the restrictions others require. I never feel that my way is the *right* way. I do think each situation calls for careful consideration of all factors. Reasonable, intelligent people can come up with different comfort zones; all based on reasonable, intelligent information. IMHO [img][/img] [img][/img] Miriam

Posted on: Sun, 02/02/2003 - 1:10am
erik's picture
Joined: 05/15/2001 - 09:00

Hi Miriam,
I am sure no one will throw hand grenades at you. Everyone has their own way to live life and finds their own comfort zones that work for them.
As you know, it's been a long time since I was a kid, and back then no one knew as much about PA and the epi pen didn't even exist.
Here was my comfort zone:
- no restrictions at school, peanuts/peanut butter allowed in classroom/school
- we used to keep a jar of peanuts (in the shell) in a tin at our cottage, and I would feed the chipmunks peanuts from MY HANDS to eat
- we had gerbils at home and the gerbil food contained peanuts
- we had a bird feeder which I filled and the bird food contained peanuts
- no special precautions for school field trips
- in high school I worked at a Laura Secord shop where I scooped mixed nuts into bags for customers (contained peanuts) and I scooped ice cream for customers (including peanut scotch flavour)
- of course I always thoroughly washed my hands after any time I had been near peanuts
- and of course, I never carried an epi-pen in any of the above examples since there was no such thing as an epi pen in those days
So Miriam.. as you can see my comfort zone when I was younger was very open. It is because I believed the only risk was if I actually ATE a peanut product. I did have several reactions when I was at that age, due to marzipan on a cake (at relatives house), a chocolate bar with no warning on it (we were out driving with parents), and a danish pastry (on vacation in Europe).
But I never had any reaction at school, or at work, or at home.
These days my comfort zone is much tighter as we all know more about peanuts, cross contaimination, etc. Plus I have started to have airborne reactions if there is a high concentration of peanuts in the vicinity (ie: Montanas restaurant with barrels of peanuts and peanut shells all over the floor).
So it is tightened up a lot from what it was when I was younger.
Anyway, thought it would be interesting to hear I survived my youth with peanuts in the area.



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