Relationships with PA adults..

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Hi,

I couldn't find any similar posts around here.. so excuse me for starting a new thread.. I hope you don't mind.

This may sound really dumb.. but I've just met an incredibly cool woman in her mid-twenties who suffers anaphylactic shock from ingesting peanuts (and has less severe reactions to tree nuts).. she also has mild asthma. I don't have any such reactions myself.

I'm just wanting to know how much this sort of thing affects the *partners* of PA people. To what extent do *you* have to watch what you eat because your partner is PA? Is eating out just too traumatic to bother with? Do I now have to totally give up Thai food, for example, and how scary do you find it to live with someone who *may* through no fault of their own be near-death within hours because of some random contact with a nut.

And am I building this up too much in my mind? You know when you get to the point with someone when you're scared to let them go out on their own in case they get run over or something.. it seems like that.

Anyway.. would really appreciate hearing about you or your partners experiences of this sort of thing.. thanks.

tobe London

On Nov 25, 1999

Hi

I'm Gwen, and although I'm not in your position, my boyfriend is. Actually, I should get him to post - he's just as neuroitc about the pa as you are! Maybe my experience will help you though.

Unfortunatley, you will have to give up eating Thai food. You won't be able to eat anything with nuts in it either. I know that it sounds daunting, but you'll get used to it. I've had a few boyfriends over the years, and all of them have become used to not eating nuts without any hassle, and as you love her so much, I doubt it will be a problem for you either. Believe me, you too will find yourself reading the labels just to make sure that you won't be endangering her life, and it isn't that hard to find foods you like that don't contain nuts.

As for worrying about her when you're not around, you just have to bear in mind that she has lived (successfuly!) without you for all of her life. I'm not trying to be nasty about it, just realistic. Your worring won't do any good, so you just have to be practical about the situation.

As you are well aware, this is a life threatening allergy, but you just have to learn what to do in an emergency - like learning how to use the epi-pen (or ana-pen as we would call it), and not be afraid to use it if the situation should warrant it.

Really, this shouldn't stand in the way of your relationship if you like her that much, and it sounds as if you do. Get as much info as you can (this site is a big help there), and you'll feel much better about it. I know it's much more frightening for someone who doesn't have the allergy, but in time you will be able to let her out of your sight without worrying too much.

Take care.

Gwen

On Nov 29, 1999

Hi Tobe,

I've been dating a Kate (my girlfriend) for over four years now. She is fatally allergic to any type of nut and its derivations, and she also has moderate asthma.

Since I am fairly healthy and don't suffer from any sort of allergies, it was hard at first to understand her predicament. Before meeting Kate, the only allergic reactions that I had ever know about was my brother's allergy to mangoes; and his was only a slight irritation on the lips when he ate mangoes.

I didn't really take her allergy all that seriously at first. I didn't believe that a person could die from eating foods. But as time went on, I began to realize that Kate's allergies were a major part of her life and it wasn't something just in her head. I've been fortunate enough that she hasn't had any severe reactions while we have been together. There have been a couple of cases where she has eaten walnuts and pine nuts and had to take her Benadryl to calm the allergic reaction. But all these incidents were not so sever that would warrant the need of an epi-pen. However, going through those times are still scary none the less.

Here is a list of things that I think may change if you are to date a person with fatal allergies to nuts:

You will get used to reading the ingredients of everything you buy.

You won't be able to use one knife for the peanut butter jar and the jelly jar when making P&J sandwiches.

Dining out may be somewhat inconvenienced because you have to make sure the restaurant will list ALL ingredients in their food. If they don't list the ingredients, you will have to make sure the dishes she eats DOES NOT contain anything that my set off her allergy.

Of course you can still eat nuts in your meal (as long as the smell doesn't bother her), but you will not be able to kiss her after you eat (Kiss of Death). And remember, be careful that you don't mix any foods that have nuts with her food (especially, don't eat her food with the utensils you just ate a food with nuts in it).

You will not be able to share that "delicious ******" with her if that food has nuts.

You have to be alert at all times when eating. If she has a reaction you will have to keep calm and know what to do and just be prepared. (surf the peanutallergy.com site for more info)

You will have to consider the consequences for your children if you two plan to have a family.

My life hasn't really changed all that much since dating Kate. Since I was indifferent to nuts, I didn't really care if I totally removed them from my diet. Basically, I have not regrets in the past four years we have shared.

It is rather scary to know that you may someday get a call from the hospital because she ate a nut, but this is an aspect of your relationship you will come to accept. Like Gwen said in her response "she has live all this time without you, and has managed well".

Best of luck,

William

On Nov 30, 1999

My mother read an article 2 years ago in a magazine (Madmoiselle?) The article was about a women who had unprotected sex with a man who had eaten nuts that day. The article stated that she went into shock due to the nut protein that came through his system into his semen. If this can happen it is something women should be aware of. Good luck with your relationship.

On Nov 30, 1999

I am PA and my boyfriend and I have done pretty well in dealing with the allergy. Basically, he knows that if he eats ANY peanut products there will be absolutley no smooching that day - no matter how well he brushes his teeth! Also, my home is peanut free, but his is not and he loves PB&J, so in a compromise he uses only certain knives and has a special sponge to clean those knives so that there is less chance of the peanut protein being spread accidentaly to his other dishes, glasses, utensils, etc. It has worked very well. Of course we live in different cities, so its easy for him to get his peanut fix during the week. We eat out - he makes sure not to eat anytthing with nuts in it if he want to smooch. Pretty basic.

I don't think that a non PA person should have to give up certain foods, but they do have to avoid them when with their PA partner.

Hope this helps a bit.

Also, if anyone knows anything about KarenT's post, I would be interested to know more. Isn't it possible that that woman's reaction was caused b/c she kissed the man who had eaten nuts rather than from his semen? I have no idea.

On Nov 30, 1999

Iwould love to get my hands on the article that I am talking about. I know it did say that the doctors said that the women reaction was from the semen. I would love to know more. My daughter is still young but some day this could affect her.

On Nov 30, 1999

You are a very conscientious person to even be posting about this here. Good for you, and that cool woman.

My kid is 7. It can be nerve wracking living with his allergy. I have learned to go by the motto "If I don't KNOW anything is wrong, then it isn't" in other words, I cannot worry, it is boring and I got sick of it sometime back.

All 5 of us are peanut free. We got over that a long time ago too. We just do it.

I have also read and heard about the fact that by adulthood, some people with this allergy have excellent senses, that is, they can smell a nut a mile away and protect themselves that way. Sometimes they don't even know how they know, they just do.

I am married to a guy who climbs very high to trim our trees, goes up on the roof when it is raining, and does strange things with electrical repairs. Now that is something to worry about!

On Dec 1, 1999

I think it's great that you started this discussion. My husband is PA and has been since a infant. His reaction have gotten worse as an adult. In our home we have choosen the rule "if dad can't eat it, then we don't have it in the house. I myself have seen my husband go through a lot because of his allergy. I choose not to eat anything that he couldn't eat. His allergy is so serious that the doctor's have told me to be careful of what I eat not to expose him. So I just don't eat the items he can't, it's easier that way. After awhile it's really no big deal. It's the way we live.

I don't in anyway or do my children in anyway feel like were missing out. My kids have seen their Dad on life support, because of an exposure and for them they would rather have their Dad around than take any chance's.

There is so much I could say on this subject, but for now I will watch the thread for other input.

Mel

On Dec 1, 1999

I am the pa one in our marriage, but shortly after we started dating, my DH gave up peanut brittle and beer nuts (no smooching)without even a twitch.

Then when I found out that all legumes affect me and I eliminated them from my diet, he gave up split pea soup and chili (with beans) and baked beans. He even reads labels more carefully than I do (I admit, I get careless).

I have had about 5 exposures in the 16 years we've been together, all scary enough to him that he had rather be paranoid than lose me.

Can't say anything about the article - he'd quit eating problem foods by the time we got round to that .

My main point is that if you set up housekeeping together, that relaxed attitude toward pb&J (like even having it in the house) will probably have to go. We have tried coexisting with pb eaters in the same kitchen and eventually the stuff ends up in the wrong place.

Same thing goes for nuts. All you need is one extra helper in the kitchen and you're in trouble. My MIL just doesn't get it, and never will, so she can't do more in my kitchen than make tea.

'Nuff said

Liz

On Sep 14, 2000

Hi There! I'm PA and my boyfriend is in your situation. He has basically given up peanuts unless we are away from each other for a long period of time. (We are in college and he is from Wisconsin and I'm from Texas.) He also is a little more paranoid and protective about the allergy than I am. He even told his dad that he couldn't eat a candy bar because I was in the car. But basically, it's not too much of a lifestyle change. No you won't be eating Thai or much Korean food when you are with her, but my guy says that it's really no big deal. He can even satisfy his peanut brittle craving by eating a seseme seed bar (I think it's an Italian or Mexican import.). So, good luck and have fun.

Kim

On Sep 15, 2000

My boyfriends of the past were always VERY considerate, and very very respectful about keeping ANY nuts away from me. However, my allergy shouldn't change their life, and some of them LOVED peanut butter. They were just extra cautious, and cleaned, and brushed well. However....if your relationship is more serious, and more sexual...we discussed in another thread that the "protein" can pass through other body fluids. In any event....your consideration is probably VERY appreciated....at the same time, don't sacrifice all of your favorite tastes....maybe just enjoy them at other times without the honey! =)

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