Over the years I have been involved in the allergy world in a variety of ways. I have been a community host for a national forum, co-leader for a local group, and been to many in-person support group meetings and events. I have loved reaching out to people in all these ways, which is why I continue to do them.
It’s become increasingly common that I have noticed there seems to be a competition going on amongst some allergy parents. From using words like “severe” or “life-threatening” (which always confuses me, as the past reactions someone has does not indicate what the next potential exposure may bring), to ever-increasingly long lists of multiple allergies and health conditions. We are a family with multiple allergies and health issues, and while there can be kindred spirit among the crowd, I almost feel like it’s a competition. Who has the longer list? Who uses more descriptive words for the “degree” of a potential reaction? Who has this or that associated issue? It can be dizzying at times trying to keep up with these lists.
The truth is that we all need to stick together. We all have issues within our home that make a fundamental activity of life (eating) potentially hazardous. While we may have to meal plan differently, we all have to alter our actions daily to manage life with allergies, EOE, diabetes, Celiac disease, and on and on. While someone’s list may include “less,” they still need to make the phone calls, go to the specialist, pay more for food and prescriptions. Finding a safe food for one of our kids should be celebrated by our community, not shot down because it’s not safe for the others. All our victories are huge for one of our kids, and we need to be happy about that!
We only have so much time in our days. We are all working so hard to make our lives the best they can possibly be. Why do we need to fight about it? We do not have to agree with what everyone out there is doing. We don’t have to agree on plans, “safe” foods or potential treatment options. We each have to follow OUR doctor’s plan for OUR child’s medical management. We need to do the best for our kids, whether it’s in school, sports, or medically oriented. We also need not agree with what the others are doing, but we do need to respect the decisions they have made. We get enough grief from the rest of the world, to hear it from within allergy land really can hurt when you’re having a bad day.
Are there times when we do feel our list is more daunting, like our options aren’t as grand, stuck in a rut of X, Y, and Z? Yes. But so does every parent out there. Food-related issues or not, we are all trying the best we can. We all need to celebrate the small accomplishments and get over the hurdles. We need to support each and every person regardless of age, allergy, or medical condition. Respect. Love. Do the best we can and above all, be kind.
I hope the New Year finds you well. Sorry we’ve been MIA for a bit on the blog. We had a “minor” surgery, and the holidays happen. Also, this is our busy time of year, as we start sending out applications for the 2017 lighting season. Please let us know if you have any suggestions! We have a great lineup going so far, and want to spread more awareness this year! You can make your suggestion here.