My intro

Posted on: Wed, 07/11/2001 - 10:59am
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

I've been frantically reading every post on this site since finding out last week that my 13-month old son had a PA, so I thought it was past time to introduce myself. My name is Amanda and I am a stay-at-home mom in Nashville, TN. I live with my husband, my 3-yr old non-allergic son and my pa son. I'm sure you can all relate to the anxiety, confusion and depression I've felt. It's so hard to know where to draw the line on what he can and cannot eat. I would never let him eat anything that said "may contain" but what about a product that doesn't have that? Can I trust that it was on a dedicated line or do I call? Do I need to find out what brands of ingredients they use? What if it's made in a nut-free plant but the ingredients were contaminated? You can really drive yourself crazy with the "what ifs". I really haven't found my confort zone yet. He had a mild reaction (hives) to a Sam's Choice pop-tart yesterday. I had read these were safe, so was it the flour they used? Or did the company give out false info? I can also tell that most everyone I mention this to (with a few great exceptions) blow it off with a "I'm sure he'll outgrow it" or "at least he's too young to eat peanuts anyway." At least our family is taking it serious. I wonder how serious they'll take it during the holidays? It is so scary. I would love to hear how the rest of handle the "what ifs."

Posted on: Wed, 07/11/2001 - 9:26pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Welcome MacAllister'sMom.
I think you hit the nail on the head--comfort zone. That's what you'll have to find. Sometimes I call the company if I question a particular product, sometimes I rely on the responses of people posting here, and sometimes I rely on what products have never caused us any problems.
Always remember one thing about holidays. I doubt any relative can know what you are going through, although they may be extremely understanding and helpful. Little things you do that you feel are important may seem to have no rationale to extended family members. That's okay, they don't have to live with it--we do. Expect people to underestimate the severity of a peanut allergy to reduce your disappointment of their actions. It's not intentional on their part, it's just ignorance of the allergy. And no matter how much you educate them, they still may never comprehend our worries, fears, and actions. You know, the holiday season is fast approaching. Our circumstances may be different than yours, but we always make sure we have our big meal at home first. This way, when we go to the grandparents house, they are well fed and don't seem hungry. Dessert time can be a nightmare if you don't plan for it. Expect to watch over your "safe" desserts like a hawk and bring your own utensils and make sure they never are shared. I always handle the cutting and serving of things I bring. My son always gets first slice. (There are pro's to this PA thing, too!) Expect people to say, "Well, I made this apple pie and it's safe for him." It's the little things people don't understand. They don't understand that if a commercial pie crust was used, it's probably not safe. Cross-contamination never seems to cross their minds. People don't understand why sometimes we won't touch a generic brand or avoid seemingly safe foods. I never expect them to understand, they sometimes look at me as if I'm crazy, but I simply smile at them, convey my message, and go my merry way. I don't mean to sound pessimistic, quite the contrary. But in expecting the negatives, I have found the positives. If I expected complete understanding, I know I'd be disappointed. With this attitude, I can cope much better.
I don't know if this helps you any, but the first year of unknowns and firsts always seems to be the hardest. It does get better.
Good luck!

Posted on: Mon, 07/16/2001 - 9:20am
Liamsmom's picture
Joined: 02/21/2001 - 09:00

Yes, welcome, MacAllister's Mom! My husband and I have been living with PA since our son had his first reaction back in February, at 14 1/2 months. It's taking quite a while to adjust to our new reality -- but armed with a stash of Epi-Pens & Benadryl, and having read everything I could get my hands on, I'm feeling somewhat calmer and more optimistic these days. Please keep reading the boards, and post any questions that occur to you, however odd they may seem. Chances are that someone here has encountered the very same issues. The "search" feature on this site is very useful -- it gets you to your topic of concern quickly, without getting distracted (and hysterical) about threads that don't apply to your situation.
I'm still haven't determined the boundaries of my "comfort zone". At this point, with so little reaction history to go on, my husband and I take a very conservative stand regarding the packaged foods we'll allow Liam to eat. Personally, I've discovered that from both a practical and emotional perspective, it's often better to cook and bake from scratch rather than relying on manufactured products. By the time I've squinted my way through dozens of labels at the grocery store, and spent further time calling or emailing manufacturers regarding "natural ingredients" or allergen warnings, I've wasted collosal amounts of time, and am feeling VERY dis-empowered and angry. Never do I feel more cheated on Liam's behalf than I do after such an experience.
When I cook from scratch, I still need to exercise care in selecting safe raw ingredients (no bulk foods, for instance). But I can make nearly any recipe in original or modified form. The grocery shopping goes far more quickly and enjoyably (and I can do much of it at a wonderful local produce market). When I get home, I don't have to get on the phone -- I just start cooking! And, barring culinary disaster, the final product is always much tastier and more nutritious than its packaged equivalent. Whenever there are leftovers, I freeze them in ice-cube trays, then empty the trays into labeled freezer bags. This system has worked really well so far -- I can defrost serving-size portions of the homemade foods in the microwave in just a minute or two.
I am a working mom, and certainly understand the difficulty of finding time for home-cooking. But as I've said, I'm not sure that it really takes any more time to prepare
a good, simple meal from scratch than it does to navigate all those food labels and customer service hotlines -- and for me, there's less worry and more satisfaction with the former approach. Good luck!

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2001 - 6:38am
mschleimer's picture
Joined: 07/17/2001 - 09:00

Welcome. I'm new to the site as well and have gotten alot of insight on the PA. I've had a year to deal with this and I still have quite found my comfort zone. With respect to shopping, you'll find that when you find products that are PA free you will always tend to stick with them. It might take awhile, but don't forget to always, always read labels.
As far as for holidays and other events, my family and friends know not to serve food with peanuts and that has worked for me. Although it is alittle more difficult when going to house parties. I usually get my husband to let the hostess know of our concerns and most people are very understanding.
Anyways, best of luck.

Posted on: Tue, 07/17/2001 - 10:41am
andy's picture
Joined: 04/26/2001 - 09:00

Hi Amanda. I am glad you found us. This site is extremely informative and you will find out more here than I ever learned in 48 years any place else. The one thing I want to emphasize is you and your child can live a normal life with PA. I do. I eat out, travel and do everything else people do, except I am careful to avoid peanuts, peanut butter or peanut oil. This is a problem that can be dealt with by educating yourself. You have the power to deal with this. PA is no big deal in my life and has never been and I am 48. Learn, be careful, and always keep an epi pen handy just in case. It will get easier with time. Andy

Posted on: Thu, 07/19/2001 - 12:03pm
anonymous's picture
Joined: 05/28/2009 - 16:42

Thanks everyone who has replied. It really helps to know other people understand what I'm going through. I'm still in that high-anxiety phase about it right now. In the three weeks since finding out about the pa, we've had 3 minor reactions from eating 3 totally different foods that (according to the label) had no nut products in them??? I don't know if I'm terribly unlucky as far as the cross-contamination issues go or if he has another allergy. I'm saving the label from the rotisserie chicken he ate today so I can cross reference the ingredients the next time we have a reaction. We know he's not allergic to wheat, soy or milk, which leads me to suspect cross contamination. Is it really that common? If so I think I'm going to move to a farm and grow my own food. On the brighter side, it is comforting to know that so many people have been able to keep themselves and their children reaction-free for extended periods of time.
Thanks for your support & best of luck to everyone.

Posted on: Tue, 08/06/2002 - 11:19pm
river's picture
Joined: 07/15/1999 - 09:00

Welcome Gracie! It can be very overwhelming at first. Suddenly so many freedoms you took for granted are now no longer options. Also there are no real experts out there to tell us exactly what to do, so we are all just learning as we go along. It does get easier, but I remember just how difficult it was when I first learned my baby was PA. This site is great for support and emotional release.

Posted on: Mon, 09/28/2009 - 10:17pm
LulaRu's picture
Joined: 09/27/2009 - 06:25

Welcome! My daughter (11 mo) was just found to have a peanut allergy as well. Hope we can both learn something from this forum.
One question I have (since I know very little about allergies so far): why did your allergist do both a skin and a blood test? My daughter's allergist just did the skin test and I'm unfamiliar with 'levels' of blood test results.

Posted on: Tue, 09/29/2009 - 1:25am
BestAllergySites's picture
Joined: 03/15/2009 - 21:46

Welcome mom to Natalie and LulaRu, I too hope you are able to learn from the boards here.
LulaRu-Many allergists just do 1 test ie skin or blood and many do both. There is a chance of a false pos or neg with either. The gold standard in testing is "history of reaction". Without that one can never know whether a test result is true or not.
Many will have a skin prick and blood done as 2 pos. indicate a more likely chance of an allergy in absence of any reaction.
If you've had a pos reaction and a pos test-skin or blood-chances are the allergy is pos/true.
Skin levels are determined by how large the welt is from the prick. Blood levels are determined by antibody, IGE levels in relation to the allergen.
One key thing to remember is that a level or number is no indication of how severe a reaction can or might be. People with low numbers have had severe reactions.
Hope that clears some things up.

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