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The "AAA"s of life: Anaphylaxis, Asthma, Anxiety

12:37 PM

What does it mean to have a life-threatening food allergy?  It means being different, being aware, being strong.  Speaking up for yourself and asking questions both at home, and abroad.  It means years of introspection and moments of frustration.  And, for me, it means a deep connection to the natural world.

What does it mean to have a child with a suspected life-threatening food allergy?  It means lost sleep, and terror.  It means guilt, and pity, and feeling completely out of control.

Even as someone who has *thrived* with food allergies, having 2 children whom I suspected MUST have similar issues was enough to induce panic attacks and severe anxiety.

I feel for the parents of children with food allergies.  Especially those with young children who've been newly diagnosed.   It is a terrifying prospect.  But I also ask you to refer to my first paragraph:  "What does it mean to have a life-threatening food allergy".    They WILL be ok, and, once they learn to read and identify allergens on labels/ feel comfortable ASKING to see those labels when they're out and about, you will be ok, too.

After a Summer of food challenges, we found that both of my girls (ages 3 and 1.5) are indeed NOT allergic to any known food.  And what a blessing.
But the process was heart-stopping at times.  I have to say that I watched my daughter in abject horror the first time she eat icecream...  she just beamed and slurped it down.  I could almost feel my throat closing in... oh wait... no, it was closing in... that was my anxiety-induced asthma...

Here is a poem that I wrote while we were doing out food challenges this summer:

Ani's favorite is wolfing down dairy.
My throat itches for her. 
My gag reflex. 
My panic.  
My fear.
All are mine.

And she is her.
And she is beautiful
and fierce.
And loves icecream.

She smiles her child's Buddha smile. 
And her Aqua eyes laugh.
And she IS NOT me.

I cannot protect her or control her.
I gestated and gave birth to her.  
Then, at that moment, that first breath
she became HER.
Not. Me.

And I will panic
and scrape for control.
A control that was never mine to have.

And I love her.

Quinn is not me either.
As she busts her lip open.
Shrieks with pain
and with laughter.
All hers.

And she eats cookies at the buffet
that I can't save her from.

And she grins.
Her eyes sparkle.
My heart swells
and shatters
and loves.

And she is not me.
--Robyn 2013

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  1. Thank you for posting this. It was like you were reading my mind! <3


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