Allergy Adventures - What I'm learning

So, it's been about a month since we first found out that Olivia had allergies. Serious allergies. When the pediatrician called and said "It's bad, really bad," my heart sank. A week later when we got the "official" word from the allergist about what exactly we were dealing it I sort of panicked. And ... well, let's just say I'm still processing it.

I am still unable to fully comprehend HOW this happened. Olivia has never experienced an adverse reaction to peanuts or sesame. And yet, she cannot eat anything made/processed with peanuts, tree nuts, or sesame.

Yes, I've shed some tears over this.
Yes, I feel like I'm navigating this on my own (with Kevin, of course).

And yes, I have become THAT mom.

You know...the mom who now reads every label at the grocery store and then calls my husband to say "well, I found ONE MORE THING Olivia can't eat." I'm the mom who told the "classroom mom" yesterday that I'm coming to the Halloween party in two weeks so I can "monitor" what Olivia is eating. (This other mom was GREAT about it..she's even making Olivia a special snack for the party). I'm the mom who emailed Arby's and asked WHY they didn't list sesame as an allergen in their food products.

(I received a great response from their head food safety guy - it's a legal thing...apparently Arby's legal team only allows EIGHT allergens to be listed. Sesame is #9. Stupid, right?)

Yep, I'm a mom of a kid with food allergies.

A few weeks ago at the allergist's office, as we were waiting the 20 minutes after her shots, some punk teenager decides to EAT A PACKAGE OF PEANUTS....IN THE WAITING ROOM. Let's just say I was suddenly a mama grizzly, protecting my "cub." What did I do? Well, I reported him to the nurses. While Olivia CAN be around people eating nuts ... who in their right mind would EAT THEM in the waiting room of an allergy doctor where people with food allergies could be sitting? Apparently, stupid was on special that day.

It can just be so overwhelming.

There are so many things Liv can't/shouldn't have anymore: anything with sesame seeds (bun, bagels), Chinese food, regular M&Ms, most candy bars, granola bars, "break and bake" cookies, bagged chocolate chips, some cereals, doughnuts, anything from the grocery store bakery, some ice cream (including no more trips to Cold Stone - just in case of "cross contamination"). And, I make sure I check out the allergens that could appear at restaurants.

We have found a great source of "allergen free foods" - Enjoy Life foods ... and, Olivia loves their chocolate chip cookies (and their bagged chocolate chips). She seems rather unfazed by all of this ... I think because a lot of what she can't have she never really ate (peanut butter, candy with peanuts, sesame seeds, etc.). And, while Halloween will be a challenge...I'm going to make sure Olivia has her "own" nut-free candy and we will have fun!

And now, I must prepare myself for the grocery store.
More labels to read, ya know.


  1. Been there, lived it. First, are you a member of FAAN? Great resource for information and support. I found with my DD (peanuts and tree nuts) education for her was the key. What she can and cannot eat. When she doesn't know, say no. If she's in a class and everyone is eating treats and she's left out, get her something safe after school. As long as she knows you will go out of her way to compensate (or overcompensate, as I have many times), she'll feel empowered to make the right choices. Hang in there!

  2. Thank you! I have looked at FAAN...but haven't joined yet (I don't think I joined. LOL). Thankfully DD's teacher is great about birthday snacks at school...she tells Liv to say "pass" and then gives her Smarties instead. :) She's learning...so that's a good thing!

  3. My daughter has tons of food allergies too (wheat/gluten, dairy, egg, peanut, & soy). She was first diagnosed around 3 and I remember how hard it was when we first found out. You might be feeling helpless now, but you will get used to it before you know it. It's even become second nature to my daughter (now 9) who will read labels herself now! You will adjust to it and your daughter will be healthier in the end!