The calmer side of a still flipped out Rebecca

**This post was written Monday night, to be posted Tuesday, but now it’s Wednesday and I’m just now posting it. Not edited. Not updated. Just what I was feeling Monday night.**

As I sit here, in my big red chair, on Monday night, I can feel my body aching to relax. It’s been a heck of a day. I was able to get enough sleep last night, so at least I’m not sleep deprived today. I have this overwhelming feeling of being completely out of my league. I’ve been encouraged by so many family and friends, telling me that I can do this. That everything is going to be OK. And, the truth is, I know that it will be. Honestly. After all… we’re just dealing with an allergy here, not a debilitating disease. I’ve told myself that over and over and over and over. I’ve spent hours in front of the computer researching food allergies, health-nut websites, straight up granola websites, getting side tracked reading lots of other health stuff. I’ve found myself lost in thought, and on the verge of tears, countless times today. In fact, I just read an article about hidden lactose in common foods and I almost started crying… again.

That’s right, I said lactose. Three different people in the past 24 hours have said that they think it’s a milk/dairy allergy, and after a talk with Brad, we decided that it couldn’t hurt to start there instead of the wheat/gluten route.

Zoe and I stayed home all day to let her immune system recover a little bit more, and by the time that Brad got home I was going stir crazy. The first words out of my mouth were, “Can we go to Five Guys for dinner”. And he said yes, but then switched it to Moe’s because he had a coupon. As I was ordering my food, the guy behind the counter asked if I wanted “cheese and salsa” on my naked burrito. I stood there frozen. I could barely muster, “Cheese, but on the side.” Except, I didn’t say the second half of the sentence fast enough, so he dumped a pile of cheese right on top of the chicken and rice. Now, I was really frozen. I weighed the possibility. I weighed how much that cheese would/could affect Zoe if she ate it. I wondered if it was all that bad. The man behind the counter just stared at me. I started mumbling something unintelligible. Then I decided that if we were doing this, then we were going to do it. So, then I started mumbling that Zoe eats my food, and see the thing is that we think she might be allergic to dairy, so I can’t have any of that cheese on my burrito. And I’m so sorry, it’s new. It’s only been 2 days that we’ve been dealing with this, and I just don’t know what to do. Then I realized I was having verbal diarrhea, and I should just shut my mouth. So I did.

See, the thing is, I’ve always thought food allergies were… I don’t know. Weird? Over-diagnosed? Almost like a new fad diet? Don’t hate me… especially if you {or your child} has a food allergy. I just have issues with how many gluten-free, lactose-free, nut-free kids are running around these days. NOT IN ANY WAY DO I ATTRIBUTE THAT TO THE KIDS OR THE PARENTS, nor am I making light of the allergy. It’s more that I wonder, “What the heck is in our food/environment that’s creating this epidemic of allergies/asthma?” {And, don’t even get me started on the autism epidemic that is sweeping through this new generation.} But, because whatever is in my food or environment has never affected me, I didn’t give it a second thought…other than to think that it must be hard. And, certainly, MY kid doesn’t have a food allergy.

That’s one of the main reasons why I brushed the suggestion of food allergies off for the past several months, because MY kid isn’t allergic to anything. I don’t want her to have that stigma. I don’t want her to have that life. I don’t want her to have to read labels for the rest of her days. I want her to be able to eat whatever she wants to, in moderation.

Let’s not mention the fact that if she was, in fact, allergic to something that would mean that I, Rebecca- who never ever reads food labels and hates rules, would have to adjust to that allergy. That I, Rebecca- who never questions what’s in food, and probably would’ve never even thought about a chocolate chip cookie having milk in it, I now have to start asking questions. I have to be prepared. I have to be willing to say “no”. And, because my daughter eats almost 90% only what she sees me eat… I, Rebecca- who has eaten a chocolate chip cookie at Moe’s every single time I’ve been there for the past 10 years, I now have to go without, because my daughter would see me eating it and would ask for a bite… and I would have to say “No, sweetie, you might be allergic”. Yes, I do talk to my 16-month-old like she understands everything that I say.

Honestly? I think food labels are the most overwhelming part of this whole thing to my brain right now. It’s a 180 from how I live. It’s also one of the most doable parts to this whole ordeal. So, I just remind myself that this is just a test. That once we know, we’ll know… and we can go from there. If you’re wondering, back in October at the initial allergy conversation with Zoe’s DR I asked if we could just do the allergy testing, you know… the easy way. She explained to me that it was an option, but kids Zoe’s age tend to test falsely… both positive and negative. So, that option is out the window for right now, although it might come in at a later date.

So, the nitty-gritty of what we’re doing is eliminating dairy/lactose first, for one full month. If the symptoms {coughing, congestion, runny/itchy eyes, tugging at the ears, red bumps around her mouth, lots of loose stools, fair share of diaper rashes} go away, well then… we’ve found our culprit. At that point, we will add in one item at a time for a few days/a week at a time to see if there’s any reaction. For example, we’ll add back things that have milk in them but aren’t straight milk, like… well, you name it, milk is in a lot of things. We’ll add item after item one at a time, until we have a firm grip on what gets the reactions going. If the symptoms don’t go away after one month, then we will keep her off dairy and add wheat/gluten to the mix. Lord help me if that’s the case. Everything inside me cringes at the thought of that. Not necessarily the gluten/wheat allergy… the combination of having to do them both at the same time. But, one day at a time right?

I’ve definitely considered going to my pediatricians office and telling them that I need them to tame their granola-ness for two seconds and accept that I’m coming from the complete opposite side of the spectrum, and give me baby steps that I can handle. I don’t know why, but this whole thing seems very tied to a change in lifestyle for us. In my mind, at least. I don’t know exactly what that’s going to lead to, but I feel like I need to lesson my wariness of granola-minded people… although, I’ll probably never stop calling them granola. I just feel like I’m headed into a research stage, and I’ll probably be reading a lot here in the next few days/weeks/months. Don’t you worry… I’ll be sharing what I’m learning {as long as it’s not coming from the conspiracy minded side of things…that stuff I’ll just laugh at.}

As always, I’m a complete amateur at motherhood… so this is subject to change. I might wake up in the middle of the night with a clear revelation of what’s going on, or I might throw in the towel and say “I’ll take my chances with the allergy testing because I hate reading labels”. Lord knows, whichever way the chips fall, I’m praying hard that my daughter is healed. I want her cough gone. I want her to not be allergic to any food. I want her to be healthy.

Thanks for your comments, thanks for your encouragement, thanks for your prayers.

Happy Tuesday Ya’ll…. is it really only Tuesday? I feel like it should definitely be Wednesday already.

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7 responses to “The calmer side of a still flipped out Rebecca

  1. Pingback: Post number 237 {Because I don’t have a catchier title} | Confessions of a Reluctant Housewife

  2. Geez, poor Zoe sounds just like me. I hope shes fine, but she will feel so much better if she does have an allergy & she’s not eating it anymore. It is hard, I’ve had that experience many times where I find myself hesitating. I could eat dairy for 22 years…. and now I can’t. I’d love an explanation to that, or all of a sudden getting asthma at 19. If it is dairy allergy, you have to watch restaurants b/c even if they tell you, I’ve gotten sick to my stomach anyway…which means the kitchen wasn’t careful. I know it’s difficult, you guys will get through this… God has helped me many times & He will help you. There’s also good news… if she has it now, I’m sure you’ve read that if she has asthma & dairy allergy, there’s a chance she will outgrow them. For me, they will never go away, which I’ve been praying for God to heal me!

    PS. I never eat granola πŸ™‚

    • hahahahaha! not “eat granola”… granola people, you know… flower children? all organic, natural home remedies, the “man” is out to get us… those people. πŸ˜‰ a few of which are some of my very best friends on the planet… so, I say it with love.

  3. Hi, so a few tips:

    1. Go here and download the “How to Read a Label” document. Print two copies–one for home and one for your bag. Then take a deep breath, and promise yourself you won’t research anything online for the rest of the day. This list is all you need at the grocery store.

    2. Yes, it is almost impossible to eat out with a dairy allergy. Try vegan places or menu items (Asian food is good for this), or look on the bright side that you may save money by eating out less. Even if that money does go toward pricey “bread,” it saves your budget.

    3. You can still steam veggies, cook chicken in olive oil and garlic powder, and eat lots of fruit. Full meals are possible without dairy! One step at a time.

    Also, I thought the allergy thing was kind of overdone, too, and I couldn’t understand it. Now, I’m kind of angry that the kids in cartoons with allergies are always the skinny, geeky, pale ones. My baby has food allergies–four of the top eight–but he has a belly that can rival any other at the playground. He may turn out to be a geek, but that’s because of me, not food!

    Finally, I’m grateful we did the allergy testing because it would have been tough to pinpoint a definite egg allergy without it. I know the tests aren’t always accurate (I don’t think J was ever really allergic to wheat), but they were helpful for us.

    Good luck! You can do this!

  4. LOL that’s even funnier after reading your explanation & then rereading my comment… Yes, I totally understand what you mean

  5. Poor little Zoebear. I will be praying for you guys. You will find the culprit & maybe you should still get the allery test Rebecca. Bryce was allregic to milk when he was little but he gre out of it. : ) *Hugs* to the cutest little girl on the planet. πŸ˜‰

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