How do I get past this?

Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2004 - 7:00am
sebastian's picture
Joined: 05/26/2003 - 09:00

I am just wondering how you get past this constant feeling of anxiety regarding your child's PA? I have gotten much better about it but start freaking out when I start thinking about upcoming scenarios that could mean disaster.
Yesterday DD started swim lessons and there were tons of kids there, I couldn't help but freak out wondering how many had eaten peanuts and all the residue everywhere.
I couldn't even sit off to the side of the pool like the other parents because I was too scared to leave her alone.

And I know I shouldn't worry about the future, but when I think about her in school or camp or whatever I just panic, I don't think I could let her be by herself! I am that paranoid!.. But I want her life to be as normal as possible...I am so trying not to be this super hyper worried parent about PA but it's so hard.

I must tell you that we pray every night about her PA, she is so cute! She asks Jesus to protect her from peanuts!
I really feel that trusting God with her allergy is the only thing that keeps me somewhat sane.

I would really like some advice how you all deal with the anxiety or fear or how you got past it? Or is it never ending?


Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2004 - 7:46am
KarenT's picture
Joined: 10/30/1999 - 09:00

It does get better. I remember going to all the birthday parties when she was 4, then sitting in the car outside the house of the Birthday girl, then just taking all her food and demonstrating the epi-pen and now my DD does some but not all of the checking on the safety of events. (She is now 14)

Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2004 - 10:42am
mistey's picture
Joined: 01/18/2004 - 09:00

I can understand your anxiety. I am a therapist and I recently spoke with my physician telling him I think I have an anxiety disorder since finding out my ds is PA. He laughed at me and then we both laughed. But in truth, it is a very stressful situation. But I agree that it does get better with time. And I have found that the more that you educate people, the more they are willing to help. For instance, my cousin is having a seperate small birthday party for her daughter so it can 'be a more controlled enviornment against peanuts' so I don't have to worry. But the beginning is really rough. Email me if you would like to do so.

Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2004 - 11:24am
Galette's picture
Joined: 05/26/2004 - 09:00

Dear Sebastian,
You must divert your fear to your daughters education of the allergy.
I'm sorry I don't know your daughter's age or how long you've known. Feel free to write back and tell me.
But I just want you to know that I do feel these feelings too, most of us do. (obviously I cannot speak for every allergic childs parent/s)
I will not let myself get lax or let any one talk me into a situation or food I am not as sure of that I could possibly be.
I stick with only big companies. I teach my daughter all I know. When she was 3 I explained what contamination was and by God she understands that it could get in her nose, mouth or eye and cause a reaction. She knows Mommy has to call the company, She knows that we read every box each and every time bought. If I buy 2 boxes of the same product I read both. She is hearing and seeing me over and over and she does know every thing I know.
Granted she is only 6 come July. Honestly I have my fears sometimes with her personality. It was very hard for me to teach her not to kiss. As that is all she wanted to do to every child and family member (very loving child) Finally she "got it" and doesn't any more, now she hugs with her face to the side.
We even do skits with different scenerios.
A wrapper on the floor the teacher asks you to pick it up for her (or anyone) skit. She wont pick it up because it could be contaminated.
Another child is eating candy and wants to know if you want some-you say no thank you-
then the Mom comes in, her daughter tells her Mom she won't eat the candy. So my daughter explains to the Mother she's allergic to all nuts. The Mother reads the candy and say's you can have it there are no nuts in this. But we still say no thank you I don't eat anything thats not from home.
It's fun and we kinda go crazy with this stuff. She's real proud of herself when something similar happens in the real world.
I am very frightened myself Sebastian. I am filled with the anxiety you are going threw right now in my life. Educate her. Don't get lax. Stick to your guns. Definetely teach her to keep her hands away from her face. In fact I have shown my daughter how to open doors with her shirt or sleeve and how to scratch an itch with the back of her wrist or arm.
It's hard, I look at my beautiful angel every night and say a prayer for God to always keep her healthy and safe.
It sounds like you are not alone in this. consider that one plus. I have been and I do have H. It's been very hard.
Remember something Sebastian your health is very important and if anything should happen to you what would happen to your little angel. Don't get yourself sick. Nerves are funny. They can just creep in.
When I first found out she was 2 1/2. At the supermarket I would wipe down what she would touch on the cart. Now I don't, sometimes she sits in the back. We keep hands away from face wipes in the car. Wash every time we walk in that front door.
Have some faith. How is your family with this?
My daughter since I found out she was allergic to P&tree nuts has had one incident I know was related to peanut cookies being eaten at the park. Another I don't know the culprit. It might have been high pollen count and running with other children. Severe coughing. I actually was able to get her to control the coughing by teaching her to think about how she lays in the bath floating and swaying her arms and legs. I was able to give her benadryl on the side of the road. She is tought to stay calm in any emergency especially if she thinks it might be from nuts.
She was holding back her coughs not to lose the bendryl she put her head back in the car seat and she actually started moving her arms like she does in the bath. I commended her for days. She never threw up the benadryl. The b kicked in and she was much better. Within 15 min. it was like nothing happened except for me after she went to sleep I cried like a baby.
Children are amazing. Teach your child everything you learn even with the big words
like contamination, just talk to her like you were telling the sitter how to care for her.
You are a caring and worried parent and the only thing that is going to help you is your education and hers and time.
Did she have a reaction at the pool? If not remember that. Maybe, next time you could sit on the bottom row right in front of the opening for you to run if needed. I don't know what this place is like so you just stay where you feel it is best for her and yourself too.
I feel awful for you because I really do know how you are feeling. I will say a special prayer for you. I am not very religious but I do have my own kind of relationship with him. Do you have a religion? If so talk to your God at night as you are going to sleep. It helps me.
Stay strong,

Posted on: Tue, 06/15/2004 - 1:32pm
Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)

Galette, welcome! [img][/img]
I found your post extremely powerful. [img][/img] It was just like, wow! [img][/img]
sebastian, my son is now 8-1/2. We have known about his PA since he was 18 months old.
I can't tell you it gets any easier. Situations change. It is a journey, just like life.
Sometimes there are a lot of PA related things that cause me stress. Other times, no. Just depends on the situation.
Personally, I have found great solace in simply posting here and getting responses from other members; how they handle different situations that I've thinking of doing, stuff like that. Great solace.
I honestly believe there is nothing like sharing whatever you're feeling with another PA parent who understands and may have experienced the same feelings you are having right now.
Does it get any easier? Perhaps in some ways, I don't know. It hasn't been my experience. My experience has been that the situations that I have been presented with have changed and even how I deal with perhaps the same difficult school situation has changed from year to year.
Every morning when I walk my children to school, I kiss both of them good-bye and I certainly say I love you to both of them, but to my PA son, I also add "be safe" meaning regarding his allergy. Not that I don't want my daughter to "be safe" too, but they both know I'm speaking about Jess' PA.
My son is in his fifth year of school (finishing next week) and still when the phone rings and it's the school, my heart thumps and I immediately ask "what's wrong?".
It's almost like I don't want them to call them unless there is something PA related because they do scare the bejesus out of me momentarily.
We just do, as a family, everything that we can do to keep things safe and also lead a *normal* life. I also have the sh** happens clause in my head because sometimes it just does. Like my son's anaphylactic reaction at school last year. Just happened. Contact reaction. Anaphylactic.
But he was right back in school either the next day or the day after.
You will be okay. So will your child. Post whatever you're feeling and let everyone here help you get through the difficult times (Chrikey, if you look Off Topic, you can see what I posted about to-day, which was semi PA related).
A couple of years ago, under Living with PA, I started a thread called How Did PA Affect Your Day To-Day? It's a highly under-used thread, IMHO. But what I had always hoped would happen with that thread is if something really minor happened that people didn't feel needed a separate thread started, they could just go in and say, hey, you know, I was doing this to-day and this happened and it was PA related and I'm really angry and I just had to share it.
I've really found (and I do use that thread probably the most and a lot as well) that simply posting about stuff that bugs me (even really trivial stuff) helps me to deal with any stress/anxiety I may have re PA.
There is also another thread re how many PA parents are on anti-depressant/anti-anxiety medication and I'm not clear (I did start it) if reading that thread may help you or not.
Also, the thread about PA parents having nightmares re PA.
It is a journey, but the great thing about you being here is that you don't have to do it alone and you can journey along with people that will most often understand better than family and friends. We all have that one common thing and we will get through this just fine, as will our PA children. [img][/img]
Best wishes! [img][/img]

Posted on: Wed, 06/16/2004 - 1:31am
Kathryn's picture
Joined: 02/17/1999 - 09:00

You never absolutely get past it but you learn how to deal with it. This past weekend at a church retreat someone who did not know better brought peanut butter cookies for the kids. The organizer intercepted them and hid them in her luggage to dispose of later. She forgot, her kids found them during a break from a spontaneous football game the group was having, shared them and all of a sudden the evening went from calm to extremely upsetting for me and my son.
However, the cookies were intercepted, all 20 of the children aged 5 to 13 were lined up at the sink and shown how to thoroughly scrub their hands and observed as they did. The football was scrubbed.
My son retreated to our cabin for a bit until he was able to see that his friends and the adults around him took the necessary actions to protect him and that they were concerned about his health not mad because they could not eat the cookies. The game resumed, my son watched for awhile and then went running onto the field to participate again.
We talked about our feelings later and he saw that this was a situation that could be handled appropriately by speaking up and by asking others to care and take action to fix the problem. An important life lesson.
The organizer was beside herself with guilt but my message to her was that situations like this one are valuable as life lessons as my son saw that speaking up about the cookies to a responsible adult and asking his friends not to eat them and to stop the game and wash was accepted easily. I told the organizer and I told my son that if we never had these situations to deal with then he would never learn how to handle them.
Anxiety is reduced by knowledge and preparation and acknowledgement that all activities can have hidden risks--even riding in the car as there can be an accident suddenly.
I hope this helps. I have worried about my brother for 40 years and will likely not stop but the anxiety is lessened by the knowledge that he takes all the precautions that he can. I worry about my son with each new experience but the anxiety is lessened because I know that I am teaching him how to handle the exceptional circumstances that will arise and because he does carry epipens at his waist.

Posted on: Wed, 06/16/2004 - 2:22am
California Mom's picture
Joined: 07/14/2000 - 09:00

Well, I've posted about this before but I will do it again in case it helps anyone.
There was a point - when my dd was 6 1/2 - when I realized that I was [b]so[/b] anxious about my dd's pa that it was unhealthy for me and was not helping her. I had four nights in a row where I did not sleep at all. This was right before my dd was going to start at a day camp where she would be around other kids eating pb & j sandwiches for the first time in her entire life. I was [b]so[/b] stressed out.
I had been seeing a threrapist, at that time, for several months prior. I went in to see her after not sleeping for four nights and I honestly felt that I was on the brink of a mental break down. She got me in as an emergency patient with a psychiatrist in her office who assessed my situation and prescribed sleeping pills that had both an anti-anxiety and sedative component. He felt strongly that it was very important that I get proper sleep.
This was a turning point for me.
After I got some good nights of sleep he saw me again and I decided I really wanted to take an anti-anxiety/anti-depressant medication. I am still taking it now, 3 years later. I am so much more relaxed and happy.
I now realize that I had had problems with anxiety and depression for a long time. Now that I am *better* I can see how hard life used to be for me. This absolutely may not be anyone else's situation. But, in case anyone recognizes themself in what I am saying at least you know you are not alone and there [b]is[/b] help available.
I am still a caring and protective mom and I take all the right precautions (IMHO) for my dd's pa and tna. However, I am no longer consumed and overcome by anxiety.
So, in my opinion: things CAN get easier.
Take care,
p.s. With the help of medication or not: every time we get through a new situation successfully, it makes it that much easier to go through it again. I have also discovered that there are caring people out there who understand the situation and do look out for my daughter.
When I was so stressed out before that day camp experience there was a little 15 year old CIT (counselor in training) who reassuringly told me "don't worry; I will [b]personally[/b] make sure that all the children who have eaten pb sit separately and wash their hands right after they eat." I practically get tears in my eyes just thinking about it, even now. It meant the world to me that a scrawny little 15 year old with braces could show such compassion for my little girl and for me, and could make such a difference.
It [b]does[/b] take a village...

Posted on: Wed, 06/16/2004 - 4:58am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Sometimes I get anxious about upcoming events, etc. too. The way I have dealt with it is to plan aheady as much as possible. For swim lessons, either my husband or I always stay (obviously) and have Scott's epipen pouch hooked to our belt loop - know where it is if we need it. When he is registered I always have them note the allergy next to his name and on the first day of lessons, I introduce Scott personally to the instructor as being Scott with the peanut allergy and I'm his mother and I'll be sitting over there if you have any questions.
For upcoming school events or social outings I always check on absolutely everthing beforehand. I also discuss with Scott everytime, what he needs to do etc. to stay safe.
We can't ever guarantee that everything is going to turn out okay, but planning ahead and educating your child is the best approach.
Don't be scared - just be cautious!

Posted on: Fri, 06/18/2004 - 11:31am
SpudBerry's picture
Joined: 07/23/2002 - 09:00

This is it! This thread is why I come to PA.Com. It fills my heart with warmth to read about other people's fears and anxieties. To hear that we all have the same fears, then we all fear that we are being overly fearful. That we want *normal* lives for our PA children, but most of all we have to keep them alive. That we have nightmares about it, and lose sleep over it, we pray to God about it, we deal with it each and every day of our lives. Some times it wears on us - but we keep at it.
We just keep at it. Luckily it does ease the stress to come here and communicate with others that are also keeping at it.
Mom to 4 year old twins Ben & Mike - one PA & the other not.
Stay Informed And Peanut Free!

Posted on: Sat, 06/19/2004 - 7:23am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Hi Sebastian, you did not say how old your child is, but it sounds like she is fairly young. I just wanted to say that it really gets easier with age. I remember feeling the same way when my dd started swimming clases around age 5 or 6. But as far as day camp, when they get older they really learn how to protect themselves. My dd is now 9, and this year her 504 in school was violated more times than I can count. But she did what she had to do. She asked her friends to wash their hands when necessary. She found crumbs where she was supposed to eat lunch, and asked someone to clean it. She asked her friends not to eat the Snickers that the teacher "forgot" she was not supposed to pass out. Last summer at age 8 she went to a day camp out in the middle of nowhere. Everyone was sharing a canteen of water, and even though she is obviously not allergic to water, she did not drink from it because of other kids having eaten pb and drunk from it. I never could imagined her being this responsible to these fine points a few years ago. But it really does happen. I do still worry, but not as much. It gets better once you know they will tell their friends not to eat something or to wash their hands.


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