I have been away from this board for several years. My

Posted on: Wed, 08/01/2018 - 10:35pm
GrownUpLaurenMom's picture
Joined: 07/17/2014 - 22:44

I have been away from this board for several years. My name is Andrea and I used to be known as LaurensMom. I couldn’t resurrect my old username so, now that Lauren is 18, I am now GrownUpLaurenMom (typo and all).

This board was a huge help to me when she was younger...before labeling laws changed...back when she was one of few with this allergy instead of one-of-many. And with it, we built our Wall-Of-Safety. This was how we managed our day-to-day life. It was all the people who ‘got it’. It was all the manufacturers we could trust. It was her position on the learning curve of how to manage the allergy herself. “The wall” was a living/breathing thing that stretched and move with us, as our needs changed. But after some time, it stabilized. We found a comfortable place to be and there just wasn’t need for it to change as much.

For some reason I felt the need to check back in. I’ve been reading so many posts and it has brought back so many memories,,,things I can’t even believe I forgot...of what it is like to have a little one and go through all this. I used to think “you guys” were lucky because you were following behind us as “we” paved the way. That is, she was one of two in her elementary school with this. Now, though she’s out, there are about 10 kids with this in the elementary school alone. I am disappointed with my misguided thought. None of us are lucky, even though I’m sure we have all thanked God that we are dealing with something somewhat manageable rather than something terminal.

So Lauren turned 18 in May. She is off to college in September at a school that happens to be very peanut-allergy-aware. A doctor on the medical staff has a PA daughter and is changing the world - trying to get legislation through to make allergy protocols a requirement on campus. She managed to change the entire culture at one school but changed jobs and is now at my daughter’s school. I love this woman.

I know when I needed to check in again. Roommates.

Lauren is in an honors program which has the benefit of her being in suite with 4 other girls. The suite has 2 bedrooms, one bath and a common room for just the 4 of them. The girls were hitting it off texting silly things about themselves. Then she told them about her peanut-allergy and asked if anyone thought it might be a problem. One said she’d ‘think about it.’ No one has texted her since.

Lauren said they were at work; then it’s late; then it’s early. She seems OK but my heart is breaking for her. She’s not shy but she is quiet. She hates drama. She didn’t have much interaction with high school kids because she couldn’t understand all their drama. She’d tell me of their stories and problems and tell me how they just didn’t realize how lucky they were or how spoiled or entitled they were. Or, “Mom, coach told them to run and they complained and whined! If they don’t want to run, then don’t play the sport. It is as simple as that.”

So now I’m panicked these girls are whining behind Lauren’s back...that they are all talking and trying to see if they can get her out of ‘their room.’

This is the first time I feel like we really handled things badly. It was my suggestion that she tell them too. I’m thinking we should have waited until they met her. I haven’t learned the lesson of just keeping out of her business. She’s 18, for cryin’ out loud. She can do this. It is just so hard not being involved.

By the time anyone responds, this could all be worked out. I get that. I just don’t like all the old memories that are resurfacing. My sister was telling me how much she enjoyed reliving her childhood through her children and asked me if I did as well. My response was, “My life was shadowed by so much fear it was kind of hard to be a child with them. I don’t remember much her childhood.” How sad is that! And now this very exciting time of college is here and I don’t want it to be shadowed here as well.

Posted on: Sat, 08/02/2014 - 1:28am
smithdcrk's picture
Joined: 03/13/2014 - 16:46

Andrea, my heart goes out to you. Navigating the the roomie assignment/interaction process is one the steepest part of the learning curve for freshman.
Sometimes, you have to give your kid a hug and send them into an uncomfortable situation. Other times you have retreat and regather behind the wall. A possible conflict with room mates is a time to retreat and regather, but since she is 18 now, she will need to emerge as the lead on this.
Your daughter should try one more time to contact each room mate individually. If that fails, most colleges offer mediation though their housing program. The college has as much invested in bringing good room matches together as the students do. Also, room reassignments after orientation may be difficult.
My older child, is a massive introvert. First we worried that he would have a difficult room mate. He was assigned a single! Then we worried that he would become one of those ghost students that silently travel to classes alone, retreating to his room like a hermit. But he remembered the skills he had learned along the way! He joined a school organization that fit his interests and hobbies. Hall neighbors would pop in for tech support, and stay, dragging him to meals with them. They were willing to invest time and effort to get to know him, even though he rarely initiated contact. Even the dining hall manager "adopted" him. He is looking forward to returning in the Fall. In fact if we could get him in there now he would go!
Good kids are out there. There are kids who are willing to invest in a friendship, not just feel entitled to friendship. There are even kids that are willing to abstain from peanuts because it is right thing to do, without a personal connection. Let Lauren try, then encourage her to contact the honors program for assistance if she is being shut out of the group. Finding room mates that support her allergy lifestyle is not just critical to a smooth adjustment to college life, but critical to her health.
Keep us posted. College is our next milestone for our PA daughter. She's been lucky that with summer programs at colleges she has either been assigned a PA/TNA roomie, or had a current friend share the room. At camp this week, no such luck. Her coach will be there, and I have my fingers crossed.

Posted on: Sat, 08/02/2014 - 12:52pm
GrownUpLaurenMom's picture
Joined: 07/17/2014 - 22:44

Thank you so very much for your words. It felt good to vent and even more to be supported.
Problems are arising with the roommates. I can't blame them. They are 18, young and, as teenagers tend to be, self-centered (no insult intended - mine included - just a fact of growth/maturity).
I have a letter drafted to the school psychologist, who's child is PA and who is the one setting up the protocol, and the 504 coordinator.
I would prefer to NOT post the letter online but I would appreciate someone from 'our world' reading it for a second set of eyes. Would you mind if I sent it to you via message and return message any comments you may have?

Posted on: Sat, 08/02/2014 - 9:56pm
smithdcrk's picture
Joined: 03/13/2014 - 16:46

Sent a message. Look forwarding to hearing from you :-)

Posted on: Mon, 08/04/2014 - 3:51am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I found your old account here: http://www.peanutallergy.com/users/laurensmom.
Were you simply unable to find the account or were you unable get a new password emailed to you?
Please let me know - we want to make sure that this forum works properly.

Posted on: Tue, 09/02/2014 - 10:43am
calmom's picture
Joined: 10/14/2010 - 08:16

I too was unable to resurrect my original account. I think it was cvbinca, which led a lot of people to think I was Canadian instead of in California. I am fine with this one now.
Anyway, same story, pretty worried on college visits, etc. On our various visit tours I did ask, and tried to meet with people at the school who had PA. On his housing application(s) we put down that he was PA and could not have peanuts in the room or food.
His college choice had a "random" roommate assignment procedure. As soon as we filled the box on "other", we got an almost immediate email from the "Campus Office of Disability Services". I got a form, names, email contacts, etc. and they also gave us food service contact emails and phone numbers. This was from them just in response to contacting "housing- other".
I filled out a very general form from that office. His doctor had to cross sign and I requested a separate letter also (I wrote up a draft). I had to have a doctor say it was a permanent condition, no peanuts in common suite areas, etc. I was also concerned I would have to pay for a meal contract for food he could not eat!
The main thing I wanted was the roommate(s) to know beforehand and let them be the ones to move if it was a problem. The doctor sat on it a bit. She had written and signed a lot of letters for day care, schools, but never for a college. Apparently it was a subject of discussion in her office as my son is no longer a minor and they were worried about some legalities. Eventually she signed a modified letter and the form.
Surprise- the "random" roommate assignment process at his university assigned a PA person to a PA/NA roommate. Both sets of parents relieved. No education required as the roommates definitely "get it" as far as food is concerned. No snack food conflicts. Whether they are a match otherwise time will tell.
Years ago I had hopes my kid would be an academic standout and get into Stanford and be in their peanut free dorm floor. Really unrealistic plan.
But so far, I am pleased the "random" process was subverted by some sort of intervention. These two young men have one less thing to worry about transitioning to college.
What is interesting is that the R.A. on the floor was not informed that these boys both would have epi's in the room and had anaphylactic allergic medical conditions. So it had been set up so they would be safer in a very confidential way.
If her college has a disability service office, I would urge her to contact them. At my son's school this office handles everything- learning, physical, mental, etc. issues that need some accommodation.
If her suite isn't going to work out, it is possible they can set her up with another arrangement before she has to go through a lot of heartache or unnecessary allergic reactions. She needs to be safe in her living arrangements at a minimum, even if she ends up moved to single. There are PA people at colleges already and more are coming. Quite a few schools are more proactive on the subject than I expected.

Posted on: Tue, 10/14/2014 - 5:07am
DonnaReed's picture
Joined: 02/20/2009 - 11:16

LaurensMom -- many of the old & most knowledgable and prolific posters and members were banned some years ago.
Google some of the old, familiar usernames and see if you can find their new home.

Posted on: Tue, 11/18/2014 - 12:03pm
Jodi's picture
Joined: 10/28/2000 - 09:00

Hi Andrea! I don't know if you remember me but we use to chat quite often about PA. My son is Austin. Like you, I have been away from the boards for a few years. For some reason I decided to take a look at it and out if the blue there you were! Just wanted to say Hi. Hope Lauren is settling in at college. I will be dealing with that next year.

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