Non-believers

Posted on: Fri, 02/13/2009 - 1:55pm
Rachel-G's picture
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 20:35

I've known for a very long time that I am allergic to peanuts. I can remember back to being 2 or 3, and just the smell of peanut butter would make me gag. I was lucky enough to have a very observant, and over protective Mom that caught on immediately, but unfortunately things happen that you just can't control. My first actual reaction was when I was just 3. We were visiting family, and all the kids decided they wanted PB&J, I, of course just have J. Most people, unfortunately spread the butter on first and then stick the same knife into the jelly (without cleaning it, or replacing it) within seconds of biting into my jelly sandwich, my throat began to swell, and my lips blew up like a baloon. I am 41 yrs old, so this was before the epipen, so my Mother's only choice was to poor water down my throat until the peanut washed out, then of course it ends up in my stomach, where things start to get really painful.
Living this way my whole life has been very difficult. It's such a hassle to disect every label before I can buy or eat anything, and forget about trying new resteraunts.
The sad part about my life is that besides my immediate family, and really close friends, most people I deal with (in-laws) think I'm lying just to get attention. On many occasions they've, in not so many words, told me that. Now when my husband and I are at a resteraunt with them, they acknowledge in a way that seems like, OK lets humor Rachel and talk to the cook about what they use in the kitchen. It makes me feel quite stupid. My Dad has even told them about my allergy, and they still seem to roll their eyes.
Anyway, I hope that none of you ever get treated like this, but I was wondering if anyone has ever had the same experience as me.
Rachel

Posted on: Sat, 02/14/2009 - 3:39am
berniepappas's picture
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Joined: 02/02/2009 - 11:59

Hi there. I am pretty new to this but it seems like there is still some work to do in the general public in terms of education on what a peanut allergy is. I have noticed that some people take it really seriously but others kind of shrug it off and don't realize that it can be deadly. I am still trying to get my hands around why. If you have any other medical disease or condition people are very sympathetic yet there seems to be groups of people out there that get annoyed by it. I have heard of stories of people complaining on planes because they can't have peanuts because someone on the plane has a sever peanut allergy. Am I off on this?

Posted on: Mon, 02/16/2009 - 2:35am
ElizabethY's picture
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Joined: 12/18/2008 - 05:36

Yeah, I think that's the way it goes. I've been told if you don't live with it, you don't get it, which is really true. My first eye-opening experience was when peanut cookies were brought to my (peanut allergic) son's daycare provider's Christmas party. We stayed because we didn't want to be rude (mistake), but a bunch of kids running around with peanuts on their hands was terrifying. Shortly thereafter, I drafted a letter to the other parents explaining how important it is to keep our son away from peanuts altogether. The response from our provider? The letter was "harsh, over-the-top, and accusatory." And I thought she cared. People really don't get it.

Posted on: Wed, 02/18/2009 - 2:37pm
Rachel-G's picture
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Joined: 02/13/2009 - 20:35

Your right, they really don't get it at all. My in-laws just kind of shrug and roll their eyes, even after showing them my arm, after being tested, which by the way measured 110mmx52mm, but that means nothing to them. I've even had a Dr.Henderson in Boca Raton before I moved tell me, Oh you can't be allergic to peanuts. He was an Allergy specialists. He figured out very soon after that I was.
I feel for the parents. It must be sooo terrifying for you. My parents must have been constantly worried.
The Dr. I go to now is wonderful. She thinks that peanuts should be outlawed. She says the allergy is that serious.

Posted on: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 3:43am
marg's picture
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Joined: 08/25/2009 - 09:36

Rachel, I developed a nut allergy two year ago, I too have inlaws that just don't get it. They have seen me choking and coughing so hard that I am vomiting and peeing myself because I can not breathe. YET they insist on having nuts at every family get together and I am told well just don't eat anything then.. I have had so much anxiety and stress when there is and upcoming family function that I have to go because .I fear that I will end up in the hospital. This has caused a wedge to form between me and my husband. He sides with his family.
Recently my daughter has had a mild reaction to shell fish. Her lips got itchy and she developed hives around her lips. This has happened on 4 separate occasions while around shell fish. She had this reaction without eating it. My inlaws ignore it and prepare muscles over pasta and tell me to give her benadryl and she will be fine. Last weekend we were there and they made her a burger. I asked them to wash there hands really good before handling her food and I tried to get her plate together so there wouldnt be any cross contamination. Would you believe after all of that she still had a reaction. I think the muscles were all over everyones hands, table, door knobs faucets etc. This is just as bad as actually eating it. I will not longer attend any events where there will be nuts or shellfish. I have come to the point that my husband and his family are not worth the risk I am putting my daughter and myself into every time we have to go there.

Posted on: Tue, 08/25/2009 - 10:20am
MICHAELS MOM's picture
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Joined: 09/23/2006 - 09:00

there must be some universal in-law thing. My son was just diagnosed last month after licking a bit of PB off a spoon. He had hives and his tounge and lips were swollen...he's too young to verbalize other symptoms. My MIL visited shortly after and was acting like I was paranoid (This woman doesn't believe in SIDS!). We go there over labor day and this will be the first time we are in an "uncontrolled" environment. I plan on bringing "safe" food and plenty of epipens!

Posted on: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 4:30am
jenniferbfab's picture
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Joined: 05/04/2008 - 12:43

Every year, we visit family out of state, and they don't entirely "get it", so I bring food, buy safe food at the local store, make it myself. For me, it is a lot less stressful to take charge of the food than try to bring distant relatives up to speed.
Jennifer B
www.foodallergybuzz.com

Posted on: Wed, 08/26/2009 - 6:57am
marg's picture
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Joined: 08/25/2009 - 09:36

My family lives 5 minutes away and we get together often. I have had numerous arguments with them, They realy dont care there responce to us is well then don't eat anything. My concern is more with things being cross contaminated. We have had allergic reactions without eating any thing they have prepared. I think it is deliberate and unfortunately my husband will not speak up to his family. I have reached the point where I do not want to go there if they are going to serve the items we are allergic to. I know it will cause a big argument with hubby but I feel that since we keep having reactions everytime we go there it is not worth the risk. I would rather hurt feelings than end up in the hospital. It just makes me soo angry and I need to vent. I wish there was a support group in my area that I could go to. It is nice to know that my inlaws arent the only selfish family members out there. I find strangers and friends have been more understanding.

Posted on: Fri, 09/04/2009 - 7:55am
lakeswimr's picture
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Joined: 02/01/2007 - 09:00

Marg,
I am sorry you are dealing with that. I wonder if you have tried to educate them. My family used to not all be supportive but I educated them via printing out articles (esp tragedies) and showing them. Eventually it really worked. But with some there is no educating. They are not going to change.
I want you to know that your daughter's reactions to shellfish do not sound the least bit minor. If she isn't even eating it and reacting that way that's quite serious. Really, even if one gets *just* minor hives after eating a food due to an IgE food allergy reaction that means potential anaphylaxis. You should consider your daughter to have a potentially life threatening food allergy and get her to an allergist if you have not already, get epi pens and get a clear, written emergency plan for her. We would have to epi our son for the symptoms you described if we thought it was from a food reaction. Reactions can go from minor to severe quickly.

Posted on: Sat, 09/05/2009 - 8:31am
artoflife's picture
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Joined: 09/05/2009 - 15:14

I too have dealt with many non-believers in my life. I've been told to my face that I'm lying because there would be no way I could still be alive with a severe peanut allergy. My family has become very supportive over the years but I too still have some issues with the in-laws. My allergies seem to be mild to the observer, I almost never get hives or external swelling, but I receive many internal reactions. It starts as a weird oil in my mouth or a distinct type of headache, if I do not leave a situation it will progress very rapidly.
I have learned to deal with the in-laws by being proactive, some are elderly and forget or don't understand. My husband's grandma always brings a pea and peanut salad bowl to gatherings. She knows i am allergic but yet she'll tell my husband to take a bite and I don't have to eat it. My response lately has been (in front of all present family members) "honey, you know how much I love you and love kissing you, but if you eat it you will not be recieving any kisses from me so please don't". I think it sends a very direct message. And if I didn't my husband would probably try to eat it anyway. He's been a real butt about it lately. Sneaking peanut butter to work and then later asking me to buy it for him. He just doesn't understand. So being in your situation my advice is to be very proactive and direct. Control which situations you can. But most of all be direct. I often have to give people the analogy of russian roullette. I may not have an anaphaletic attack from peanuts today but you do not know what my body will be dealing with tommorrow, (I may be dealing with an illness, other allergies, seasonal etc) it is best to not draw the gun toward your body at all. Another issue I run into is people ask if I have an epipen, and then act like it's ok to bring out the nuts anyway. I have to kindly inform them that in the case I have to use the epi-pen I will need to make it to a hospital within one half hour or I may still potentially die. I find that with non-beleivers it is best to be forward, kind, respecting, direct, and not take their beliefs into account, my safety is first. And to control what I can. If they roll their eyes at you doing what you need to protect your life, then how much stock do you really need to put into their imposing of their beliefs. I would look my inlaws directly in the eyes and very cally but directly thank them for waiting for me to talk to the kitchen and that it was much appreciated. People who do not tak eyou into account are often shaken a little by a kind but direct person. It may not be so hard next time. but ten again I'm still dealing with my husband!

Posted on: Sat, 09/05/2009 - 9:05am
Bobbi's picture
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Joined: 03/19/2009 - 09:00

I'm sorry, marg and artoflife, but your husbands both s*ck. How DARE they not only let their families put your lives and the lives of your child in danger, but do it themselves? Personally, if I were you, I wouldn't give a d*mn if it caused friction in the marriage to refuse to go to the inlaws because the friction your spouses are causing is far greater than that.
I apologize that this post isn't kinder and more supportive in a nice way but I am just absolutely FURIOUS at those people right now and I don't even know them, which is probably a good thing.
Stick to your guns and keep your lives and the life of your child safe. Who the heck cares about hurt feelings? I wonder what their feelings would be if they lost one of you due to their utter lack of concern for your well being.
UGH! I am just SOOOOOOOOO mad right now I can't see straight!!!!

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