It’s the end of Food Allergy Awareness Week 2013. Food allergies seem to be all around us and actively in a lot of communications, not just in our house, but with others. But for those of us managing the lives of our anaphylactic children, food allergies touch every part of our lifestyle. Food allergies permeate and dictate every moment, from the time we wake up to the time we go to sleep. Recently, we were able to re-introduce SOY (see blog post here) at our Allergist’s office at the Mt. Sinai Jaffe Food Allergy Institute.
A friend recently wrote and suggested our teenager would be a good camp counselor for a day-camp for kids who have food allergies (Camp TAG, a daycamp in New Jersey). And she would – she’d be fabulous. What would it require from us? We, the parents, or one of us, would need to take a week off from work, rent an apartment or a hotel room with a kitchen near the camp, so that we could make her food. We can’t take the time off – it would be wonderful if the Camp could provide housing and food for their counselors (hint!). Also, our child has been wooed by many summer college programs. Again, it would require the same thing. It has hindered her ability to move freely in the world, yet, at the same time, she moves freely and somewhat effortlessly in it.
She knows I’m a “Food Allergy Mom”, which, actually she will make fun of me from time to time, so when yesterday she said:
“Mom, I want to share a story with you…” I was all ears.
She told me that a young woman at her school offered her some Doritos during lunch.
Teenager responded with a polite, “No thank you.” The usual response for her.
To which the young woman replied, “You’re crazy…”
Teenager piped up and said “I’m Lack Toast and Tolerant” (seriously look it up, it’s a phrase now to refer to lactose intolerance).
At this point I paused.
Then, teenager said ,
“Seriously, though, I’m dairy allergic, it’s different.”
Another young woman standing amongst them chimed in:
“I’m allergic to Dairy, too! And Wheat, Nuts, and just found out I’m allergic to Soy.”
Teenager, “I just learned that I can eat Soy last week – and now it’s all I eat!”
The other young woman responded,
“My mom doesn’t know what to give me now, she’s only feeding me omlettes and avocados.”
Teenager, “Well, you can have anything rice: rice milk – it’s by the milk – rice bread and rice…”
I smiled to myself, and at her, and told her I loved her story. I went to bed last night thankful that all of these years of being a food allergy advocate and helping others was paying off, in my teenager, who is helping others and finding that when she speaks up about her food allergies, amazing things can happen. Like you can find another person, like yourself, who has food allergies, and maybe help them out a little.
This seemed like a great way to end Food Allergy Awareness Week 2013.