Friday, 18 February 2011

...a life with allergies

I thought it would be a good idea to talk about where we're at with the Wee Man's allergies.  It's difficult to write about it, not because it's a depressing or an emotional topic but because I don't want the allergies to define the Wee Man.  I want him to be defined by the person he is and not by the allergies he has.  Does that make sense?

More often than not when people find out about the Wee Man's allergies a wave of sympathy and pity hits me square in the gut.  I often then dismiss the allergies and quickly change the topic of conversation.  The Wee Man's allergies are just there, they don't define him, they don't make him the perfect little boy that he is, they are just there.  The Wee Man is the Wee Man and not the boy with allergies.  I hope at school he will become known as the boy who won the most medals at sports day or the boy who is top of his class or the boy who is anything but "the boy with the allergies".  (Though of course being the naughtiest boy in class is not an option!)

The Wee Man has a lot of allergies: wheat; dairy; egg; nuts; soya; beef; citrus; berries; spinach and; latex.  The list is actually growing as he undergoes more skin prick testing.  But is life a challenge?  Well no.  He is a normal healthy little boy who enjoys playing outside, beating Mum and Dad at board games and playing with his trains.  He LOVES trains.  In fact, in all likelihood he will be and is "the boy who loves trains".

The Wee Man is in a fantastic school whose staff have exceeded all my expectations of them.  They have been supportive, proactive and most importantly of all understanding.  They understand the severity of his allergies, they understand the life threatening potential a simple crumb has, they understand and act to eliminate those threats to his life.  I am truly, truly grateful to each and everyone of the staff at the school.

The past three years have been an education for both the Wee Man and me (maybe the Big Man also but since I do 99.99% of the cooking it's mostly me).  Together we've found recipes, alternative ingredients and just tried things out.  A couple of weeks ago the Wee Man and I wandered into our local Holland and Barrett and found a dairy free and soya free cheese.  I was elated!  The Wee Man actually danced in the aisle and shouted "Yay!"  He's now well known amongst the staff at Holland and Barrett!  I've found that involving him in the preparation of his food and making alternatives to the foods his friends are eating has helped with the Wee Man's acceptance and understanding of his allergies.

He loves to cook and I love to cook with him.

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