FAST's Candid Stories from Kids with Allergies
I'm writing this on behalf of my sons, age 3 and 1 1/2. Although Ben (3
year old) will be doing the talking - I must do the typing for him! Ben
is allergic to all milk product and Joe (1 1/2 year old) is allergic to
milk, soy, eggs, wheat, peanuts and fish. My comments to Ben's
commentary are in parenthesis. I hope this helps parents of the younger
kids. It's been a drastic change in our lives, but we are thankful to
have healthy, happy kids now!
It's okay that some things hurt my tummy. My mom makes me treats that
Joe (my brother) can't eat and that's fun for me to tease him. My mom
says that's not nice. I cannot have chocolate or milk, and I have a
special butter just for me. I can drink chocolate milk in the small
boxes with the straws - those are cool (Rice Dream Chocolate Drink). My
cousins are all nice to me, but sometimes they forget. It's okay - I
sometimes forget too but if I eat something that hurts my tummy, I have
to get a shot or go to the hospital. I don't like that.
Joe's tummy hurts for a lot of things. He was so sick when he was born.
I didn't even see him until he was almost 3 months old. He had to stay
with the doctors. But then, he just cried - all day and all night. I
would tell my mom "someone go get him" because he would wake me up, but
mom and dad cried a lot too. We were all so sad. Then, last night (two
months ago), mom took Joe to a new doctor after his legs turned good (his
eczema finally cleared up after the stomach flu). Mom said it was
something in Joe's tummy. The doctor said that too. So, now Joe and I
drink the same milk in a box. We like it. And we have special Cheerios
that are just for us.
We have our own ice cream - it is good. My grandpa takes us fishing for
our special treat when our cousins go to the ice cream store. I like
fishing better and no one else gets to go as much as me. I even have my
own jacket (life jacket).
If your mommy pays attention, and you bring your own bread, you can go
anywhere. We can even eat at McDonald's and get the toy (hamburger Happy
Ben (and Joe - with help from mom)
In January this year, before school started again (I live in Australia, and our school year starts in January), my mum took me to see a specialist, who is also a family friend, because she was so frustrated with me being constantly sick. "It's your final year at school and you can't afford to sick all the time," she told me. I constantly had a cold or a flu, a runny nose . . . something . . . anything. I was always sick.
I thought I just had a low immune system and that I was more prone to illness. However, Pat, my specialist, told me otherwise. She said that I had 'argravated allergies' to wheat and dairy products and that I should eliminate these from my diet. That hit home hard, because my diet consisted of wheat and diary!!! I loved milo, pasta, toast, cheese, crackers, and all that stuff, and suddenly I couldn't eat them anymore.
My mum was pretty supportive. She gave me money, and I went down to the local supermarket to grab things like a bread I could eat. Luckily, the shop acually had an isle for "free from" foods. I didn't even know it existed! My first week was okay, but by the next Friday I'd had enough. I'd never in my life been on a diet, and here I was checking every label and discovering more and more foods I couldn't eat! It got to the point where I didn't want to eat anymore--especially breakfast. I cried a fair bit that day. We had to go to dinner that night and I was devestated to find out that the only thing I could eat on the menu was some avocodo stack entree.
The toughest thing I found was the first four weeks when I was getting used to what I could and couldn't eat, and how to recognize the products by their different names. Being at school was even harder. My friends started questioning my sudden desire to eat salads, and I had great difficulty explaining to them that "I don't have severe reactions, they just make me a little sick so I'm nt eating them anymore."
People had a lot of trouble understanding that. Food allergy itself is largely misunderstood, and most people have ever heard of "food sensitivity," not to mention have an understanding of it. Now I just tell people that i have a minor allergy, and if I feel like I might elaborate, or I might not. It's just easier.
One of the hardest moments was when I went for coffee with my friends. I love my iced chocolates with the works. However, I could no longer have them. So there I was in a cafe watching my four friends devouring these iced chocolates and sipping on my own soy latte . . . I wasn't happy. I felt extrodinarily left out of a world I used to be part of.
I work in a coffee shop. I used to get really annoyed when I had to make a drink with soy. I'd have to get out a new jug, clean a thermometer, etc., and it would back the rest of the orders up. However, after I became a soy drinker myself, I had a lot more compassion for any fellow soy drinkers, and frequently tell other staff off for whining about having to make soy drinks! Yet even my job became a place where I'd get slightly upset . . . no more whipped cream and fancy drinks, or free food. It took a while, but I discovered that I pretty much could drink only three drinks from our entire range and that I can't eat anything on display, either. That was the area that I found most frustrating, besides my friends' initial reactions--the amount of prepared food I can't eat!!!
Since I've been on my new diet I feel a lot healthier. Yes, I lost weight, but that was because I didn't like eating anymore (I did get over that). I also noticed that I wasn't as sick anymore and on the one occasion since my new diet started that I did get a cold, I noticed I recovered a lot faster then normal. In fact, a lot faster than my friends did. The benefits from discovering a mild food sensitivity and treating it accordingly is amazing.
It took me only four weeks to settle down and get used to my new diet. The emotional impact that I experienced from this, however, was immense. It was totally unpredicted and I wasn't ready for it. I know I can get away with eating things I'm strictly not meant to, unlike other members on this site, yet I'd argue that the impact it has had on my life and those around me is still a significant one. And for all the readers on this website who have their own stories and personal experiences . . . I salute your courage, strength and perserverence! (Bonnie, (18years old))
Hi. My name is Evan. I am six years old and I am in grade one. I can't eat nuts, eggs, wheat or soy. I also get sick from outdoor molds, trees, weeds, grass, dust, cats and dogs. We also think that I am allergic to honey. I feel bad because it makes me sick. I was in a restaurant and I was coughing and coughing and I threw up. I had trouble breathing because someone ate something with nuts and I smelled it. So I coughed and threw up. My mom gave me medicine and then I felt better.
At my school it is nut free in grade K to grade three. The kids up to grade three aren't allowed to bring nuts or anything that might contain nuts. My Epi-Pen is at school. I worry about eating nuts because I would get sick, very sick. I can't breathe when I eat nuts and I could die. I don't want to die.
I went to the hospital when a cat was in our yard. There was some mold by the fence and some dandelions with the fluff on them. I had a rash all over my body. I don't like being sick. (Evan
(6 years old))
I am allergic to eggs, milk, nuts and all dairy products (as well as many animals) and have been for as long as I can remember. Apparently at the age of six months I was fed milk and was very ill, and ever since then I've had to be really careful about what I eat or even come in contact with.
Since I was about nine (I'm thirteen now) I have had to carry around an Epipen with me wherever I go. This was after a serious allergic reaction I suffered as a consequence of eating some turkey from a local supermarket. As usual my mum had asked at the delicatessen counter if the meat contained any milk/eggs and was told that it did not. As soon as I had taken the first mouthful I knew there was something wrong, and soon I was throwing up, my face swelled up like a balloon. I felt really listless and drowsy and was told later by the doctor that I had been going into anaphylactic shock. Since then I've had to carry my Epipen around.
I was shown just how serious my egg allergy was a few years ago when camping with my family in France. We were camping with various aunts and uncles and as usual were all eating separately. However, an uncle came over to our tent and borrowed our salt shaker. Later on I was sent over to get it back. Soon after, my whole face was swollen, red and itchy, my eyes were puffy and I felt awful. After some investigation on my mum's part we found out that the uncle who had borrowed the salt shaker had cooked eggs in his tent the previous day, and the shaker had obviously come in contact with something eggy.
It's a pain always having to check what I'm eating, especially when I'm around friends' houses. People are always so careless; I'll find them saying, "Don't be silly, of course such-and-such-a-thing won't have milk in it!" and trying their hardest to feed me something I know for certain I can't have. People are always so surprised to find out how many things really do contain eggs, milk and nuts.
However my close friends and family are all very good about it; they know what I can and can't have and my best friend's family actually keeps soya milk and dairy-free margarine in their fridge especially for my visits! All my friends have been instructed on the use of my Epipen and I find myself living a life not too different from everyone else's.
Always having to check everything I eat doesn't really bother me anymore; it's just a way of life and it's normal to me.
Actually I'm quite glad I have my allergies--I adore anything chocolatey I can find but because of my allergies I'm pretty restricted in what I eat and this is a GOOD thing because I have no desire to put on any more weight!!!
People are always saying, "How do you survive? What's it like?" but I can never give a definite answer to these questions.
It's not "like" anything. Having allergies is just my normal life and it's me. People are always saying I must "miss" this and that but how can I miss anything when I've never tasted it?
Maybe my allergies are a nuisance but they're part of me and they make me unique! If I wasn't allergic to eggs, milk and nuts I would probably be a few stone heavier, to say the least!!! (Emmse
(13 years old))
I have severe migraines and have always been the sickest out of all
of my friends. I was taken off all chocolate, nuts, aged cheese,
nitrates, MSG (Chinese food), bacon, sausage, and caffeine when I was
13 years old. That helped my headaches a bit, but then last year,
when I was 16, I went to a specialist in Houston for a week's stay in
the hospital, feeling like a pincushion from all the needles and I.V.s!
The dietician there took me off even more food and that's where
I first learned to VERY carefully check ingredient labels.
That wasn't too fun, cuz I had to call companies and
actually ask people
who worked there what was in their food. Some people were nice, and
some laughed at me, and some were just plain rude. I didn't call
about ingredients near as much as I should have, but then I only knew
the foods were triggers. Some foods, like anything citrus or milk,
would make me throw up very soon after I ate it, and all I drank at
that time was caffiene-free diet Coke, orange juice, and skim milk by
the gallon! I thought it was all the new medications, but even after
that stopped, I would wake up and throw up every single morning.
Somehow, one of my doctors suggested I go to a pain management
After waiting in the waiting room, I met this big guy
with a few strands of hair and a whole lot of needles on his desk!
Slightly intimidating, but I have found out that he is very mcuh a
"natural" healer. He gave me a vit B-12 shot, loaded me down
with vitamins, and ordered bunches of tests. The tests I had done
ranged from blood tests, hair anaylsis, stool anaylsis to urine tests.
All of which concluded that I am deficient in many mineral and
nutrients, which could be why I am always losing my hair! (I have
about 1/3 of the hair I had a year ago, and it still falls out!!!)
After a couple more tests, he suggested food allergies, which I
promptly denied. Not that I knew much beyond the peanut allergies my
cousin has, or the milk allergy a family friend has. I just knew it
wasn't me, cuz I was already very restricted on what I could eat.
After the amino acid powder that was made especially for me just made
me throw up, and more tests were showing up with deficiencies, I was
tested for food allergies. That was not a happy day when I got back
the results! Food I had thought I would always be able to eat, like
eggs, I found I was severly allergic to! I went home and cried, cuz
by then I had done research to find out exactly what food allergies
The doc thinks I also have leaky gut syndrome, meaning that my
gut lets out bigger particles into my body that I then develop an
allergic reaction to. Which basically means that until they can find
a way to close it up or whatever they need to do, I will become
allergic to more and more foods, which has been happening.
too hard to tell people what I could NOT eat, so I just tell them
what I CAN eat now! Most people are very sympathetic and say they're
sorry and stuff, but there are others who are kinda cruel and bring
their friends over to me. Their friends say they've never seen a
person allergic to so much stuff. I guess I'm supposed to be greean
with fuzzy antenae or something, the way they all look and point and
whisper. It used to bother me, but not so much anymore.
friends in almost every social circle, am never at a loss for dates,
quite the contrary actually!, have become stronger in my faith, and
even have felt better! My headaches are much decreased and I am more
in control of them now. I still miss about 12 times the normal
amount of school people miss so far I haven't been in school more
than 3 days per week this year!!! I was quite lost until I found
this list. Now my friends who want to know more, I just give them
this address and they come up to me and say what a cool site it is.
Having food allergies is very hard, but I just think that we're
specialer than the average boring person! (Kelsey (17 years old))