Just because…

“Just because your child has allergies…” She wrote it to me with venom.

Just because my child has food allergies, she can’t enjoy foods that your child can enjoy. Not without me being creative. Not without many experimental recipe flops.

Just because my child has food allergies, she can’t enjoy any food without me or her father holding our breath and watching for signs of an allergic reaction. Every time she’s had a reaction, life-threatening or not, she’s been reacting to something we thought was safe.

Just because my child has food allergies, when my husband and I say “safe”, we mean “won’t potentially kill our food-allergic child in the matter of minutes.”

Just because my child has food allergies, she’s had more needles under her skin than most adults.

Just because my child has food allergies, she’s had more medical appointments than most 6 year olds. She turned two less than two weeks ago.

Just because my child has food allergies, when we go to the doctor our lives change. Not for a day. Not for the course of an anti-biotic. Our lives change permanently.

Just because my child has food allergies, I have – on several occasions – held my daughter while she received 11 shots in her back. One. By. One. The first. Then the second. Then the third. Then the fourth. Then the fifth. Then the sixth. Then the seventh. Then the eighth. Then the ninth. Then the tenth. Then the eleventh.

Just because my child has food allergies, I held my tears in while my heart sobbed. While it felt like someone was squeezing it. While it felt like my blood stopped pumping. Just because I didn’t want her to see my sadness and my fear. Just because my child has food allergies.

Just because my child has food allergies, my second child will have food allergy testing when she’s 4-6 months old. If we get positive news that means we start exposing her to things that could, at best, make my first daughter very sick.

Just because my child has food allergies, my husband has needed to take an action to save her life. Just because my child has food allergies I had to hold her down while he injected a needle of life-saving medication into her thigh. We’re not nurses. I’ve never wanted to put a needle under anyone’s skin, it’s a choice I don’t have.

Just because my child has food allergies, my entire family – and everyone who may ever be alone with my child – needs to know and does know how to recognize an allergic reaction and administer life-saving medication to a two-year-old who they love.

Just because my child has food allergies, I have to carry epinephrine everywhere my daughter goes. Just because my child has food allergies, I never know when or if she will have an anaphylactic reaction.

Just because my child has food allergies, I’ve witnessed more allergic reactions than I can keep track of and thought: “Is it going to progress? Will we need the epi? Will we go to the hospital? Will her heart stop? Will she go into a coma? Will my baby die today?”

Just because my child has food allergies, there’s a real possibility that I feed her something delicious that will kill her. Just because my child has food allergies.

Just because my child has food allergies, I have an image of my baby’s blue lips in my memory. I have an image of her covered in hives in my memory. I have an image of her eyes swollen shut. Just because my child has food allergies.

Just because my child has food allergies, I read comments on food-allergy  news articles because the good ones give me strength and hope. I read the bad ones too.

Just because my child has food allergies, I’ve read someone call me a “faggot”. My husband a faggot. My mother, my aunts, my friends, and everyone who participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project a faggot. My daughter a faggot. He called everyone who has food-allergies a faggot. A word that has hurt people, killed people, and oppressed people. He used that word just because my child has food allergies.

Just because my child has food allergies, I worry about the people who don’t know – or don’t care – about food allergies and what that could do physically and mentally to my daughter.

Just because my child has food allergies, I worry about the day she goes to pre-school. Not like every mom, but like a food allergy mom. I worry if she’ll come back.

Just because my child has food allergies, I worry every time we leave the house. I worry before parties. I worry because I have little control over what people are eating. I worry about people touching her and invisible food particles getting on her hands or near her mouth.

Just because my child has food allergies, I worry every day because she has to eat every day. I worry less now than when I knew nothing, but I never, ever stop thinking about it.

It’s not all bad.

Just because my child has food allergies, I’ve joined the food allergy community. It’s a hugely supportive and understanding community. I’ve connected with wonderful people who helped me begin to navigate this world with food allergies and I’ve helped people new to food allergies begin their own journey.

Just because my child has food allergies, she’ll eat more fruits and vegetables than the average kid. We can find them everywhere and they’re always safe, unless they’ve already been cut up or prepared.

Just because my child has food allergies, I can’t make red sauce with garlic anymore. Yea, it’s sort of a negative, but my finger tips never smell like garlic and I don’t have to buy the hand soap that claims to eliminate the smell of garlic but never really does. I’m pretty sure my pores used to excrete garlic.

Just because my child has food allergies, almost everyone I connect with regularly not only knows how to recognize an allergic reaction, but also how to save a life. That is pretty freaking awesome.

Just because my child has food allergies, every time I’m in public, I have medication with in my reach that could save someone who has never had an allergic reaction and begins having one. This is a real possibilty, and until better stock epi laws are passed, you all have to depend on someone around you being prepared. I am.

Just because my child has food allergies, she will know more about nutrition – and earlier in her life – than most children. She will know how to prepare her own (safe) food.

Just because my child has food allergies, she will be assertive, independent, and confident.

Just because my child has food allergies, I will never let someone invalidate my feelings, fear, anxiety, and need to control my environment and schedule.

There is no “just because” when someone is dealing with any life-altering medical diagnosis. There just isn’t.

2 thoughts on “Just because…

  1. I read this through my tears, as I usually do. Cece is truly blessed to have the parents that she does. I hope that your posts do help to bring awareness to others about the difficulties, fear, and dangers that your family and many others are faced with ever day. I love you always.

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  2. I too read this through tears, once again. Your words are so powerful and so is your love and devotion to Cece. Despite all of her difficulties, Cecelia is a very lucky girl to have the most intelligent and dedicated parents possible. I just think of how mentally tough that little girl will be having to deal not only with her food allergies but with the shallow, ignorant, and selfish fears and prejudices that would cause a human being to write the words “just because your child has food allergies…” As Cece channeling Taylor Swift would advise, “The haters gonna’ hate, hate, hate, hate, hate….the fakers gonna’ fake, fake, fake, fake, fake…..I’m just gonna’ shake, shake, shake, shake, shake, shake. Shake it off, shake it off!” Whoever the pathetic person is who would say that to you should be very thankful that they don’t get what “your child has food allergies” truly means. Love you, so much Krista! Thank you for being the best wife and partner to our son and mother to our precious Cece that we could ever imagine.

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