Food allergies were not part of our world in 1999. That is when our baby developed hives after eating mixed cereal. The pediatrician said, “Maybe he’s allergic to the wheat in the cereal. Give him Benedryl and stay away from wheat for a while." Naively I said "ok" and hung up the phone. We didn't know that "allergic to wheat" was serious or that wheat was in almost everything in our pantry. From BBQ sauce to taco mix. Rootbeer, pringles, captain crunch, cheerios, oreos, kit kats, crunch bars, hand cream, shampoo and sunblock. The early reactions were “just hives.” There was no thought of converting our kitchen or segregating him at school. The anaphylactic reaction came at age 4. The ER doctors explained cross contamination. We were told to read all food labels and always carry epi pens. At age 16 Matthew cautiously sits at the school lunch table with his friends, goes to ball games, overnight camp and select restaurants. We continue to be vigilant. One crumb of wheat in his mouth would lead us to the ER. I am hopeful that somewhere in the universe there is a brilliant doctor or scientist who will someday find a cure for this life threatening and life-altering allergy.*
* update October 2014
Somehow our prayers were answered. When I first wrote the bio for this blog- I was not at all confident that "somewhere in the universe there is a brilliant doctor or scientist who will someday find a cure for this life threatening and life altering allergy." As any young mother of three little kids knows the days are very hectic. Keeping Matthew safe from cross contamination was the first thing I thought of upon waking in the morning and the last thing I thought of as I somehow drifted to sleep.
For the young parent of a food allergic child- it is not an easy road. So many breakthroughs have been made in the food allergy world thanks to doctors willing to think out of the box. Make sure to check the FARE website for frequent links and updates to the world of food allergy trials. Matthew is living proof that a cure in in site- for your child as well!