Bring on the Food!

This post has nothing to do with game design or writing. Just warning you.

My oldest kid (now 6 years old) had a severe allergic reaction (choking, rashes) to milk when he was a baby and after testing we learned he was allergic to dairy (and eggs and peanuts). This prompted a radical change to our own eating habits, of course, but over the years we adjusted… learning to cook food differently and so on.

But I used to love to eat out. And we stopped doing that. There were too few restaurants that offered anything for him to eat. Sadly McDonalds was one of the few where it was relatively safe to take him too!

The situation has improved. Over just the last few years restaurants have become (a bit) more sensitive to food allergies but many don’t have much variety for somebody with multiple allergies. I don’t blame them, its really difficult having a balanced menu and taking into account all the various foods that can cause allergies. But it was still frustrating.

Anyways a year or so ago our son had an allergy challenge for peanuts and he passed. Peanuts were now safe for him. It was amazing to introduce a new food into the house! (And he loves peanuts, though not peanut butter so much.)

We got our hopes up, in regards to the dairy and egg allergies.

A few months ago he finally went in for his dairy challenge. This was the one we worried the most about (since it was the original allergen).

He passed!

So to celebrate we had milkshakes and he spilled his on himself; immediately he broke out into hives over his entire body. He was suppose to have his egg challenge the next week but instead the doctor decided to use the session to retest the dairy allergy. He passed again.

He can eat cheese and cooked food with milk but contact with milk or ice cream or yogurt will give him hives (though externally only… if he can manager to drink the milk without getting any on his lips, he’s fine). It is kind of weird. But compared to the situation before this is a vast improvement.

So we were glad to introduce a wide range of foods but a bit frustrated because we had to wait several months to have his egg allergy challenged. In the meantime we had a long vacation over summer and ate out a lot but the variety of food available to him was still limited (though much better than before).

Anyways he had his egg challenge a couple days ago and passed.

All of a sudden we do not have to take the epi-pen with us everywhere or his medical bracelet. We don’t have to interrogate every waiter and cook at the restaurants we frequent. We can just go out and eat and not really worry.

Now looking back I can’t really believe how much his food allergies transformed our life. To be honest I pretty much expected that he would never pass any of the food challenges… and I was okay with that. While I am rejoicing in our ability to eat out at whim (and taking advantage of it) I am definitely more sympathetic to those who suffer from food allergies than I would have been had we not had this experience.

And for the record the treatment path we took, based on our doctor’s advice, was complete food avoidance of the allergens. It seemed to work, for him.