We just passed the one year anniversary of my son’s graduation from peanut OIT. That means it’s time for another update! But before I tell you how things are going, I just want to dump out my stream-of-consciousness because, well, I really need to. I’ve been too quiet for too long.
If you’re the parent of a child with food allergies, particularly nut allergies, I don’t need to tell you that it’s a scary time. So many spices, seasonings, bread products, and many other items are being recalled for cross-contamination with both peanut and tree nut products. It seems we can’t escape it at the moment and I think it’s safe to say that the full extent of it is still likely unknown.
I mean, we already know that making our own food from scratch is (more often than not) the best way to go to know exactly what’s in it, but sometimes…sigh…it’s nice to have a little convenience, too. Right? I know. I really do.
And sometimes, like right now, even cooking from scratch with trusted brands isn’t always safe either.
I don’t know if this truly adds to any heightened anxiety about the general situation overall. Plenty of manufacturers do not label for cross-contamination because they’re not required to do so by law. Generally speaking, the most basic act of eating is a risk if you aren’t familiar with a manufacturers labeling practices. It’s a very scary way to live. My son and I have both suffered from some officially diagnosed elements of PTSD because of it. Constant fight or flight. Constant vigilance. Constant fear of unknown. Isolation for safety.
I have not forgotten any of this, but we have both moved on. My son? He can’t really conjure up what it feels like to be in that place anymore. He just isn’t there. He isn’t afraid. He’s funny. He tells really great, witty jokes. He rarely gets angry anymore. The only pressure he has now is self-inflicted due to his Type A-ness and deep desire to do well academically.
And now that we’re seeing all of these recalls, I will say that I’m very grateful that my son can eat any of the peanut cross-contaminated items and nothing will happen. Nothing. That’s where the rubber meets the road for me and OIT. It’s not about eating peanuts all day, all the time, whenever. It’s peace of mind my family can’t find anywhere else.
Peace. Psalm 34 has been huge for me in dealing with this, by the way. For heaven’s sake, don’t assume it’s the only one, though. I’m more than familiar with most of these. I have to say that I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life striving to have peace and believing the promises of God for it. Really and truly believing without any doubt. Perhaps surprisingly, that’s not terribly hard for me. God hasn’t always answered my prayers exactly the way I want, but He has answered them. I don’t know. I’m just profoundly blessed. I don’t know what else to say about that, really. I would be here all day. I’m very grateful. It makes me cry.
I don’t know where that comes from exactly, but I think it has something to do with the fact that I didn’t have peace as a child. My father had cancer off-and-on for as long as I can remember. From the time I was a little girl. Constant flux. Constant emotional turmoil. Instability. My mother had a few heart attacks when I was in high school. I was certain that I would be an orphan by the time I graduated. I was very afraid of that.
In my life, as a result, I have avoided any unstable situation like the plague. Stable. Stable. Stable. Peace. Peace. Peace. It may as well be my mantra, even today, because those events absolutely shaped the person I’ve become. It’s also one piece of the puzzle that drives me to always believe there is a solution to most every problem. Problems = instability. Must. find. solutions. Including food allergies. It’s part of what led us to OIT. So, all of this to say that it’s a small part of what got us to the place we are today. Just a piece. Peace.
And in a somewhat similar vein (stream of consciousness and all), when I started my blog years ago, I planned to only post nut-free recipes. For the most part, I’ve adhered to this. There are very few instances where I did not and I don’t feel good about that, to tell you the truth. That’s why I’ve decided to get back to sharing only recipes that are nut-free. After all, they’re what I make most even though my son went through OIT for his peanut allergy. I’ve just never been a big fan of nuts (except hazelnuts, that is), so they’re really not a part of my daily, weekly or even monthly cooking. So, among the other things I mentioned, this has been on my mind a lot in the last few months.
During my recent move-induced hiatus, I had a chance to take a look, from a distance, at our blog. What it has become. What it was supposed to be. Where it’s going. In that hard look, I can safely say that part of me has felt very disconnected from it. Since my son finished peanut OIT and that cloud was lifted, things changed. Considerably. And so did much of this blog…like the inclusion of non-nut-free recipes. I mean, the blog title alone, while multi-faceted in my case, is largely about my son and his allergies and how they’ve impacted our lives. They still do, but the peanut allergy is more like background noise versus a blaring megaphone of possible impending doom. There is a balance somewhere in all of this and I’m certain I’ll find it….since I’m solution oriented and all. In the meantime, expect only nut-free…except me. I’m the only nut allowed on this blog.
As for my son, he takes his daily dose of 8 peanuts in the form of peanut butter with some chocolate chips and that’s it. If he doesn’t eat enough before his dose or he’s getting sick, has a particularly stressful day or his seasonal allergies aren’t well controlled, etc. he’ll have some mild symptoms – sneezing, nose/lip itching, sometimes coughing, and we give Benadryl. I don’t have to do that nearly as often as I did before. I thank God for that. It’s quite stressful, too, in its own way.
Also, now that he’s something of an OIT expert, he is enjoying talking with other kids who are considering OIT and scared about what might happen. He is enjoying helping people. Yep, you know what THAT does for THIS Momma. It’s everything – the cornerstone of who I try to be.
So there. That’s my update, yes, in a nutshell. It is one of my favorite dumb puns after all.