The above picture of peanuts scares me. As do pictures of cashews and pistachios. Seeing the real thing? Forget it, I break into a sweat and put them on the highest shelf possible. They give me butterflies in the stomach and send me back to the day that my daughter reacted to peanut butter and we had an ambulance escort to hospital. Seeing my sweet little girl who couldn’t exactly explain what was happening to her, itch, wheeze, drool and break out in angry red hives all over her body was enough to give me a panic attack but when she became lethargic and pale and sat flopped in my arms, I became frozen, petrified with fear. A whole heap of antihistamines and steroids later, we were smiling and joking again.
Rewind to a year and a half ago: Miss Mimi had a skin prick test done (at 18 months) after she reacted to cows milk protein at 10 months. She broke out in purple splotches after eating it for the first time and I knew straight away that we wouldn’t be having that again. That skin prick test uncovered allergies to CMP and cashews.
Fast forward to age 3: Miss Mimi had a bite of peanut butter and a few minutes later complained of an itchy throat. By the time she had her usual Zyrtec and ventolin for wheezing, I knew this allergy was on a whole different level to our previous reactions.
A few weeks later at our scheduled 3 year old skin prick test, what were Miss Mimi’s results? Cashew allergy reaction: doubled. Newfound allergies: peanut, pistachio and a few other “unconfirmed” nuts that may or may not be a problem. All bad news and a fine line between needing an EpiPen and not.
Good news? Cows milk protein has almost halved and we can now challenge her.
I think you know that your child has suffered through something awful when they seem more mature than their years about certain things. I have asked Miss Mimi regularly since finding out that we can challenge her if she would like to test her CMP allergy with some cheese. She simply shakes her head and says maybe she could try it when she is older. Yesterday when I asked again she wanted to know if she would need to go to hospital like when she ate the peanut butter. After assuring her that she wouldn’t and at worst she might get hives and an upset tummy, she decided it might be ok to try. She took 3 bites of a small bit of cheese and looked like she might burst into tears. I asked “Do you like it?” she answered “My don’t like it Mummy, it’s yuck” Then her anxiety set in and she said her lip was itchy. After making a few jokes she turned her attention to her regular lunch and had no ill effects from that challenge. It seems life with cheese is safe and she hates it for now. Oh well, at least I can stop worrying about that allergy.
To all of you amazing mothers who have children with allergies, EpiPens, asthma and social lives…how do you stop the panic arising within yourself when you are at a birthday party, a restaurant or when you leave them in the care of others? I have tried with vigour to educate Miss Mimi as much as I can but I still need to remember she is only 3.
She trusts other people so much so I have to be her voice right now, to educate the people around her somehow…all without sounding like a crazed, paranoid mother. Wish me luck!