{Allergies} Everything Under the Sun…or on a Tree!

by Leighann on October 17, 2012

Last week I told you that I took Q in for allergy testing. Since it was our first visit I wasn’t sure what they would actually test for. They started with the normal allergens: trees, weeds, grasses, animals, dust, mold, etc. Foods were not on the list.

That poor thing reacted to every single tree, weed, and grass, plus dust, mold, cats, and guinea pigs. Surprisingly she did not react to dog, which she was excited about because I’ve always used it as an excuse not to get one. And I also thought she’d be allergic to horses because she came back from a trail ride this summer covered in hives. We were on vacation and we had to go to a pharmacy for benedryl and itch cream. The doctor said maybe it was mold or something in the woods that triggered the hives, not the horse.

I told the allergist that I have had a true milk allergy since childhood and I would like to go ahead and test for that. I also recounted Q’s walnut story.

A few years ago I was baking and one of the ingredients was walnuts. Q grabbed a handful of walnuts to snack on. She started complaining that her throat hurt. I noticed that she had red blotches around her mouth and on her cheeks.

I didn’t really think much of it because Q has had nuts before…and since. But she says over and over that she’s allergic to walnuts. Now mind you she eats Banana Nut Crunch (walnuts) and Blueberry Morning (almonds) for breakfast as least once a week. She also has several PB&J sandwiches every week. In my mind there was no way that she was allergic to nuts.

But she is. She reacted to every single tree nut they tested her for.

Hearing the news of her newly diagnosed tree nut allergy, Q began to cry. “I can’t eat my favorite cereal. Call daddy and tell him to throw it away before I get home.”

Tree Nut Allergy SignI have to say that the level of education you get with a diabetes diagnosis far outweighs that you get with a potentially life-threatening tree nut allergy. I was handed a stack of papers, told all of the prescriptions that would be called in, and the nurse showed us how to use an epi pen. And we were basically sent on our way.

What?!

I felt a little ill prepared leaving the office. It’s serious enough to have an epi pen, yet I wasn’t really talked through any of the logistics of being a tree nut free family.

Obviously I can read up. I’m the type of person who does her own research. But still. Two weeks later and I’m not sure if I have really grasped it.

Maybe I am under reacting. Maybe having a diagnosis of type 1 diabetes first prepared me to handle other diagnoses. Maybe I am completely delusional.

I would bet that if the nut allergy was the only (or first) health issue that my child had I would be freaking out.

I chatted with a parent at play practice whose child has both peanut and tree nut allergies. She said if I needed info or support she could be there for me. She said that not everyone is going to be supportive and it’s going to be too much of a bother for them to read labels, etc. I wasn’t in any way trying to discount her feelings or her child’s allergies, but I told her that compared to Q’s diabetes diagnosis, this didn’t seem as big a deal to me.

Like I said, maybe I’m delusional. I just know that I’m being cool and calm about it. At least for now.

More of this story to come!

Further Reading

* Image from Allergy Free Table

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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Renee October 17, 2012 at 7:33 am

I had the allergy first then the Type 1 second. They both are a huge deal and the longer your child has the allergy you will start to see why.

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2 Lisa October 17, 2012 at 11:23 am

I feel the same as you. Zane was eating some carrot cake and complained of his tongue itching and later broke out into hives all over. Took him in for testing and turns out he’s highly allergic to peanut (walnuts were in the cake) and had a small reaction to walnuts (but can and does eat Almonds all of the time). I didn’t and still don’t freak out about it, I think the same as you…the Type 1 dx just made the allergies seem like not such a big deal. I don’t freak out about labels, but maybe I should. Good luck! Lucky for us, Zane can’t stand anything with peanuts or peanut butter in it anyway and never has!

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3 K October 18, 2012 at 5:57 am

My oldest child has a peanut allergy. My youngest has Type1 diabetes. We’ve been dealing with the allergy for 10 years, the diabetes for 10 months. Yes, the diabetes is WAY more overwhelming than the allergy. She avoids all nuts..her preference. And even before we discovered she was allergic she could not stand to even be around someone eating peanuts or peanut butter..the smell has always been unbearable for her. A natural defense mechanism? So…the most difficult thing is potlucks..The desserts are always a big question mark. She has always given me what she would like to try and asks if it has nuts..I usually do a taste test or if I know who made it I’ll ask. Funny how people sometimes seem offended when asked. I’m not BLAMING them for putting nuts in there..just want to know if they’re in there so she can choose something else! Another issue is the restaurants that have the huge barrels of peanuts for eating while you wait for your meal…and..yikes!..the hulls all over the floor. Obviously we stay out of those places. And I have always been annoyed by the yearly paperwork and refills required for them to have her epipen available at school.. And now I laugh at the simplicity of that compared to T1d. Everything’s relative.

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