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September 15, 2008 - Kylie Saari
I was happy to see Megan's article on Dr. Alper in the paper on Saturday. Not only is it nice to see Fairmont finally has an allergist, but that he specializes in food allergies -- something I am a bit of a specialist in myself.
Not only do I suffer from food allergies myself (soy, milk, peanut), but so does my daughter (tree nut, lentil, possibly garden pea, chickpea).
In my world, food isn't carefree or easy. Each bite has a potential to bring unpleasant side effects, even death. Fear and food are as connected in my life as pleasure and food are connected in others. I carry two Epi-pens, one for myself and one for my child everywhere I go. I am never without them, because I just don't know when she will be offered candy at a store and forget to ask if it is safe, or another child eating trail mix might touch her and trigger anaphalaxis.
Before I leave my daughter with anyone, he or she gets a complete run down of emergency procedures. Usually, the person seems to understands, smiles, nods knowingly and at first I thought that meant understanding. Until the day the babysitter let my son play with my daughter's Epi-pen and he injected himself in the thumb - a potentially life threatening activity. The sitter couldn't explain why she was allowing this - she seemed to understand the Epi-pen was medication when we talked to her about it. Needless to say she no longer sits for us, but I wonder how often people don't understand what on earth I am saying when I clearly say "CERTAIN FOODS HAVE BEEN PROVEN TO PUT MY AND MY DAUGHTER'S LIFE AT RISK."
People don't get it. My mother-in-law doesn't even take it seriously, a reason we have had to limit contact with them - doctor's orders. I am not exaggerating. Nuts and some other foods are poison to us. I break out in hives even when the farmers start harvesting soybeans because the machines throw it in the air.
These allergies are real and affect people in this area. My daughter and I aren't the only ones. I have met several families in the area affected by life-threatening and non-life-threatening food allergies, and every one of the them say the same thing. People don't understand.
Hopefully people read Megan's article and have a least that much more understanding of what food allergies are and the seriousness of the diagnosis.
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