”Your daughter is extremely allergic to peanuts & nuts”, ”life threatening anaphylaxis”, ”will need to carry epi pens’, ”avoid any foods with nut or peanut traces.”…
The Consultant is still talking and I’m trying to comprehend the words he is saying, they register but I’m in shock. Glancing over at my beautiful girl, only 11, I try to take in all he is saying to us, trying to be brave, realising her life has changed and not for the better.
“Are there any questions?” Yes of course I have questions, hundreds of them but of course I can’t get half of them out…a quick run down over what nuts to avoid, a description on how to use the epiPen..and that’s it, sent away with a prescription for four auto injector pens and a “see you in three years time.”
Fast forward nearly four years and here I am, a mother of a child with life threatening food allergies, still with questions, however I have lived the life of a ”nutty” parent now. Having walked in the shoes of my child, read every food label twice over to make sure it is safe, explained patiently to family and friends over and over again that their granddaughter, niece, cousin or friend is ‘different’ and cannot eat the same as the other children. That they will always need them to be vigilant when looking after her and the importance of reading food labels… the list goes on.
The fear that my daughter could inadvertently consume her deadly allergen has never left. I have just learnt to live with it in the way my role model, my gorgeous girl has done so well; taking it in her stride and not showing her hurt at exclusion even though we know at times there is hurt, she’s just accepting her lot.
My daughters plight and the way that her allergies have shaped her life now and in the future has spurred me into what some may call an ‘obsession’ with food allergy laws. Labeling issues, bad supermarket and restaurant practice, challenges to prescription issuing.
Sometimes, Life is a little too nutty!