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Putting a Face on Food Allergies

Posted Jan 07 2009 6:11pm

As you now know, my middle child has severe food allergies. It has been an exhausting effort, at times, to keep up a positive outlook about these two little words.  Food Allergies.  How hard can it be?  All you need to do is avoid some food.  Not the worst sentence in the world.  But it is painful.  Limiting.  Isolating.  Devastating.

And for those who don't have to experience it on a daily basis, it is not a big deal. Because food shouldn't be a big deal.  Forget the fact that people are willing to purge themselves or binge on tempting eats.  Forget the fact that food is used in many cultures to celebrate special occasions and show love.  Forget the fact people are starving in the United States and in other countries because food and nutrition is scarce.  Food shouldn't be a big deal.   

I've often thought if MC had been diagnosed with a medical condition that sounded more impressive, it would be easier for people to feel compassion.  

Don't get me wrong. 

Most people are kind and do understand. And are blessings, true blessings.

It's just those times, when I hear grumblings from parents who are ticked off their child can't eat their favorite snack in school or bring in birthday cupcakes to the classroom because of those kids with food allergies. Or when I see the flash of annoyance streak across a person's face when I ask about the ingredients in a food or inquire about cross-contamination. Or when people who know about my child's severe food allergies get upset with me because I don't go to their homes. 

What they don't get, even though I explain it to them, is I don't go to their homes because they always have every dangerous food allergen in every possible form cooking, baking, frying all around my child. My child ends up needing medication to relieve the itchiness, hives and asthma.

All these little actions, even though I know aren't meant to be malicious in anyway, render me weak and anxious, hopeless of a normal life for my child. And when I think about a post I read last year, I am sickened. I weep for the difficulty my child may experience as she grows older. To think this is all because of FOOD!

You know I'm all about self-confidence, and right now, my incredible child is a tower of strength. There is no doubt in my mind that MC will be tested over the years and need all her courage and strength to overcome negative attitudes.

I urge you to take five minutes to watch these sweet children talk about their food allergies. Watch their beautiful faces. Look in their eyes. Listen to what they have to say. Please. Put a face on food allergies.  Don't these children deserve our respect?  

© 2007 - 2008 Vivian Lee Mahoney - All Rights Reserved.
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