So, I’m celebrating today. Wanna know why? Because I taught a Sunday school class last week, in which pretzels fell all over the table. All over the kids. All over the lesson’s paperwork. And I didn’t have a reaction.
Thank You, God!
When you’re severely allergic, it’s the little things that count.
You might take it for granted when you go to a restaurant or an ice cream shop or communal eating place of absolutely any kind – we can’t. Those are some of the most dangerous places we can be, along with eating at a friend or family member’s house. And on that note . . .
I often feel like an imposition.
Anywhere where I have to explain my allergy in order to protect myself, I feel rude. Like an imposition. Those are not emotions you want to relate to severe allergies. Of course, many times, people will “get it” or at least try to, but other times, they won’t – they’ll think you’re exaggerating, or they’ll be offended. That’s not only extremely uncomfortable for the person who’s allergic, it also increases our risk in that situation.
When I started this blog, I was in a pretty low place.
News Flash – I started writing on this blog about thriving with food allergies . . . when I didn’t really feel like I had done so.
And that’s okay. Because stepping out and talking about my allergy – the last thing in the world I really wanted to do – gave me the courage to keep talking, to be rid of anxiety (still workin’ on that), and to raise awareness. I didn’t want to. But somewhere along the way, I had to. Because the threat was consuming me, to the point where I didn’t take any risk, no matter how manageable, no matter how small.
I believe there are food allergic teens out there who are handling it pretty badly.
No offense. I’m not talking about hiding in a shell out of fear – I get that. I’ve been there. I’m talking about ignoring the allergy out of the notion of comfort. Many people with Celiac have not been diagnosed until later in life, years after the first damage is done, and in some cases, their body never fully heals.
It is wrong and it is dangerous to ignore a food allergy. Yes, it’s difficult to change a diet so drastically. But every day you ignore the allergy, you’re damaging your body, setting yourself up for permanent problems, and risking anaphylaxis, as many allergies start with other symptoms before the person experiences anaphylaxis.
All right, time to take this one step further. Ready?
I believe service dogs are an incredible opportunity for those of us with severe allergies.
There. Said it. Severe food allergies are just as much a disability as anything else. But an allergen detection service dog is a dog that has been trained to detect cross-contamination, alert to the presence of the allergen, and respond in the event of a medical emergency such as anaphylaxis.
Some of you may know I’m planning to become a service dog trainer. I’d like to specialize in allergen detection dogs. Part of that is going to include raising awareness for food allergies and making sure people are aware of the need for this type of service dog – for another invisible disability.
Also, May’s newsletter is coming up in a couple of days, and you don’t want to miss this one. So sign up before you go! 🙂
Talk to me. What has been your experience with food allergies, in yourself or someone you know? What victories do you celebrate? Let’s chat in the comments!