Wednesday, May 14, 2014

LIFE-THREATENING ALLERGY

I almost titled this post "DAMN PEANUTS," but the truth is, I don't really feel that way.

While I was at the gas station about to use the bathroom in the middle of our girls' getaway to Memphis, I got the call.  Violet is severely allergic to peanuts.

This all started a couple of months ago.  The kids were all eating lunch, and Lily informed me that she had given Violet a tiny bite of her sandwich.  Her peanut butter and Nutella sandwich - a lunch staple around these parts.  I admonished Lily not to feed the babies without asking, while also thanking her for being so kind.  It's a fine line to walk - the "don't squash the kind enthusiasm, but please don't harm your sibling" line.  I kept my eye on Violet, and her face started to turn a bit red, and her eyes swelled a bit.

I gave her some Benadryl and noted that she *may* be allergic to peanuts.  Major bummer.  After that, I noticed that anytime she was touched with a washcloth that had also been in contact with peanut butter, she would break out.  At their one year check up, I had her tested, which was its own form of torture, because they had to draw blood from her arms, and she was not having it.

When I got the call, I can't say that I was surprised after all the build up.  It just made me sad.  I also learned that if she had a mild/moderate allergy that she could have qualified for a desensitization study at our local Children's hospital, but we are far beyond that.  We are in the severe category.  It is possible that she will grow out of it, because she is still so little.  We don't know whether or not William is allergic, and I think I will try to get him tested on our next visit just to know.  The doctor's office recommended that we go totally peanut free at our house and practice complete avoidance for William as well as Violet.

Now we have epi-pens everywhere, and we have used the trainers that are included to fake stick our own thighs after taking off the blue safety.  Good times.  After having a bit of time to process, I had to grieve several things.  First - the girls LOVE peanut butter.  We eat it almost everyday, and that is a major loss.  Second - I LOVE peanut candy and treats.  Peanut M'ms, Peanut Butter M'ms, Reeces and Puppy Chow are all things I love to eat.  The third and biggest thing that really hit me was that there is something waiting around that could kill Violet.  If we don't take the necessary precautions, and she ate peanut something without an epi-pen around, she could go into anaphylactic shock and die.  That's an awful mental image, and I did allow myself some tears over it.

Yesterday, I was at a meeting sitting next to a funeral director.  He joked that "We are all in the same line, we just don't know what order we will go in."  It was a good reminder that God has numbered our days, and this does not come as a surprise to him.  We will certainly go peanut free at our house and take the necessary precautions, but I don't need to live in abject fear about a peanut allergy.  God knows what will happen in Violet's life and loves her more than I do.  I'm so thankful to serve a God like that.

I got a text yesterday morning after getting out of the shower.  It said, "Hey sweet friend.  A little something on your front porch."  When I went out there, I found a cute gift bag with Sun Butter inside.  (This friend's daughter has a severe peanut allergy.)

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And you know what - it's pretty tasty.  It's not peanut butter - I guess only peanut butter really could be peanut butter, but it is a great substitute, and the girls love it.  We also plan on trying almond butter.  We have quite a road ahead of us.  I never imagined us being the family with the peanut allergy and the asthma and the swallow dysfunction and the hyper sensitized reactions to bug bites and the therapy four times a week.  But we are, and I wouldn't trade any of it.

8 comments:

Lindsey @ A Dollop of My Life said...

oh man. I'm so sorry! My neighbor has a son who also has peanut allergy. He's also allergic to soy (he also has asthma during spring to pollen). He's pretty severe with peanuts and it freaks me out whenever we take care of him. Praying that you can find a new normal. You're such a good momma to those babies-- all four of them!

Aubrey Williams said...

We have an "all nuts" allergy in our house, but I do the whole prepackaged Uncrustables for my peanut butter loving kid. He eats them at school, away from our allergy boy, and said boy is in a "nut free" school. We found out at about the same time...the one year benchmark, but now that he's 8, he knows to ask and avoid nuts like the plague. He can, however, eat things cooked in peanut oil without an issue. He's been extremely cognizant since he was 4-5, asking everyone (for reaction purposes, I'm sure), "Does that have nuts it it? 'cause if it does, I'll diiiiiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeeeee!" Obviously, there is no flair for the dramatic running rampant in our household. Still, I'm glad it was a manageable discovery instead of a chaotic and frantic rush to the emergency room!

Stacy Brown Anderson said...

Last year Abbott tested positive for a peanut and tree nut sensitivity. We had to treat like an allergy, but the reactions weren't quite so severe...just tummy issues. He just was retested yesterday and it was negative...yeah! All that said, we were peanut & tree nut free for a year...it was a bit difficult at first, but we got used to it quickly. We used the Sunbutter and love Biscoff Spread.

Sara Brown said...

How scary! Does CFA still use peanut oil for cooking?

Carol Spenst said...

It is no fun at all. CFA does use peanut oil to cook all the chicken - the fries are cooked in canola oil. Because the peanut oil is so highly refined, with the allergens removed, Violet does not have a reaction to our products, which I am so thankful for.

Carol Spenst said...

Thanks for the Biscoff spread tip - I will definitely be checking it out!

Carol Spenst said...

Wow - Aubrey, that is wild. All nuts. Bless all of your hearts. I am so thankful that we discovered it in such a calm way. We have quite the road ahead of us. Fortunately, the big girls already understand that Violet cannot have peanuts and are watching out for her.

Carol Spenst said...

Yes - Violet seems to have quite a gamut of allergies, which I am working hard to get used to. It is certainly no fun, but, as I have had to remind myself, there are plenty of things that could/would be worse. I'm hoping that she might grow out of it - they said that was a real possibility, so we shall see!