At D’s school, the kindergartners have a snack period every afternoon. Each day a different student is assigned to bring snacks.
Today during my daily chat with D about her day at school, I asked her what she had had for snack at school today. She said, “We had marshmallows and pretzels, but guess what I didn’t eat.” If you know D, you now that what she liked yesterday, she probably doesn’t like today and what she likes today, she will not like tomorrow. So I guessed that she didn’t eat the marshmallows. “No mom. I didn’t eat the pretzels. They were processed in a plant that also processes peanuts.” Whoa – did those words just come out of my five year old’s mouth? Yes, they did. I know it’s not typically something you hear from your typical 5 year old but your typical 5 year old doesn’t have multiple life threatening allergies.
When D was a year old, she started breaking out after eating. We went to the doctor but were told that we could not test her until she was at least 2 years old, but it would be wise to keep her away from all high allergy foods. I personally could have lived off of high allergy foods, but to make sure to avoid any reactions, I cut those foods out of both of our diets at least until she could be tested and we knew what we were dealing with.
A week before we were scheduled to be tested, D had a pretty severe topical reaction to peanuts. She stuck her hand in a cup of boiled peanuts and immediately started with hives. They started from her hand and gradually spread out to the rest of her body. We immediately gave her Benadryl and washed her but I knew then that we would be dealing with a peanut allergy, just no idea if there were any other allergies we would need to accept.
The next week D tested positive for a peanut allergy. Since that first test, we have now added a complete tree nut allergy and a seafood allergy (Bryan also suffers from a severe seafood allergy). From the moment she tested positive, I began teaching her to ask what was in foods, especially those she had never had before; to tell people that peanuts made her “sick,” and that we always needed to carry her epi-pen. My sweet girl has amazed me from the start with how thorough she is when it comes to her food allergies. I sure hope this lays the foundation for a healthy future and hopefully never having to use those epi-pens.