Thursday, July 7, 2011

Megan's Story

Our daughter Megan was diagnosed with anaphylactic food allergies right around her first birthday. Originally I knew that egg was a possible problem but when her blood tests came back I received the dreaded call telling me that not only was Megan very allergic to egg but she was also very allergic to peanuts and tree nuts. As a parent I was devastated with this news. Though I was devastated I was also very grateful to know what we were dealing with. Megan's first experience with egg around 9 months of age turned into violent vomiting followed by being very tired. At the time we assumed she had a stomach bug. Her next exposure was very similar, violent vomiting and getting very tired and falling asleep. I cringe when I think back to those experiences as I know how bad things really could have turned out for her. By her third exposure, which was after diagnosis, progressed into full blown anaphylactic shock requiring epi and an ambulance. Upon diagnosis, Megan was prescribed epi pens from her allergist and we were sent on our way in a daze with so many unanswered questions. I knew nothing about food allergies and was soon on a mission to figure out how to protect and keep my child safe. I began searching the internet, reading books and navigating my way through living a life with food allergies. As a mother I feared for Megan and was scared every time I fed her wondering if she was going to be okay. I wiped down every surface, read every label and constantly watched Megan for signs of reactions. The first year I struggled with dealing with the diagnosis. Eventually I learned that I could not let food allergies define who Megan was but rather it was just a part of who Megan now was. She was still the same child just a bit more special now. Over the years Megan has had her share of reactions that have required epinephrine and ER visits. We have had our ups and downs. When Megan was around two years old her allergist, Dr. Richard Wasserman, was beginning food desensitization with some of his patients. I was very curious but Megan was not old enough to qualify. She would have to wait. We patiently waited, and this year, when her 5th birthday rolled around she finally qualified for the desensitization process. At this point we had to decide which food we wanted to do first. Because Megan is anaphylactic to both peanuts and tree nuts we decided to start with egg. So begins our journey.

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