Eight years ago today, we were suddenly and dramatically initiated into the world of food allergies. I wrote about the Big Peanut Kaboom a couple years ago if you want to read the whole story.
He hasn't had such a big reaction since, which is wonderful. He hasn't had a contact reaction in years. What's changed in the past couple of years is that I've noticed as he is taking more and more charge of his allergy (remembering and carrying his Epis everywhere, questioning waiters and menus, etc), I am becoming more lax. As the responsibility is shifting to Ryan, it's shifting away from me and his dad.
I'm not especially happy about this. We had a close call at a friend's house over salad dressing made with walnut oil--and I wasn't the one to think to double check the label. My friend did. Geez, I felt like an idiot. And one time at co-op, he interrupted me for the zillionth time and I made him wait (because he'd been interrupting me every 3 minutes for ridiculous things all day). And it turned out that he was scared he might have touched some peanuts. :( He hadn't, not really, but he was really worried. We developed a new interruption plan that day and all was well.
Part of me thinks it's right to hand over the reins slowly to him, and that has been our plan all along. But part of me is surprised at myself. I don't know--have any of you other food allergy parents experienced anything similar? Anyway, I'm having to remind myself to be just a bit more paranoid, when, eight years ago, I was having to chill myself out of being too paranoid. And so the pendulum swings.
And since it's Food Allergy Awareness Week again, always falling on this strange anniversary I feel compelled to mark every year, I'd like to take a minute to say THANK YOU to everyone who has shown concern for Ryan over the past year.
Thank you for helping us look out for this--wow, I was going to say "little boy" but then I realized he's not so little any more--boy in big and small ways.
Thank you to my friends who checked the walnut oil and thought to check it in the first place.
Thank you to family and friends who ask about labels and products and restaurants, and never complain that we go to the same restaurants over and over again.
Thank you for wondering what kind of ice cream is safe and for understanding why we can't go to ice cream places and not making a big deal of such trips in front of him so his feelings aren't hurt.
Thank you for carrying the spare set of Epis in your purse or bag when I've been gone.
Thank you for showing concern and understanding during the times he has been worried or sad (which are few and far between, thankfully).
Thank you for defending me and other food allergy families when you see crazy stuff being written about us on the internet.
Thank you for participating in food allergy walks with us in the past (we are hoping to do it again this year) and helping us raise money for research into treatments and cures.
Just thank you.