What I Hate The Most is Not What You Think...
What I hate the most is not what you think.... It’s not a person. It’s an object. It has power to kill in our family. It’s something simple but dangerous.
It’s become our enemy. It’s.....peanut butter.
Oh, how I loved it once. I devoured peanut butter every single day. Whether it be in a sandwich, cookie, with pretzels and even popcorn I was obsessed with it.
I remember the day I knew my husband (boyfriend at the time) was the one. After dinner, he grabbed a jar of peanut butter, placed it on the table with two spoons and we ate half the jar at once. Even on the evening of our engagement, my husband had a special peanut butter pie made for after our romantic dinner. We loved peanut butter that much.
I recall hearing about allergies. Peanut allergies were on the rise before I had my twins but I naively thought... if anyone won’t get an allergy it’s my boys! I eat peanut butter like it’s going out of style. Of course we all think it won’t happen to us when we hear these epidemics. And I wish I was right.
One of my twins had a milk allergy when he was an infant so I had to give him special formula as well as breastmilk. We found out he had a milk allergy when he had the worst diaper rash and would break out in hives a lot. Luckily he outgrew that allergy so I figured we were good to go. One of my best friends came over one day with her little girl. The kids were a little older than one. She had a peanut butter sandwich for one of her kids so I figured it was the best time to give it a try.
Now this was right before all this great research came out about starting the kids when they were months old on peanut butter. Oh how I wish we would have tried that but I just have to stay in a positive mindset. I fed my boys some peanut butter. Like most things, my Ry was quite a picky eater. Thankfully he put a bite of the peanut butter sandwich in his mouth and quickly spit it back out. As I was cleaning up dishes I began to notice hives forming around his mouth. They quickly traveled all over his body.
I did not realize the severity of this allergy at the time. Although my heart was racing, I took a deep breath and controlled the panic that I could feel creeping inside my head. I called the doctor’s office. Of course they were on lunch break. Why did I try and do this when they were on lunch break? Dammit. My friend and I continued to monitor Ry. As many hives as he displayed, he wasn’t showing any other symptoms.
We finally got a call back from the doctor and they suggested we give him Benadryl. They were also writing a prescription for an epipen so we could pick that up at the pharmacy soon. They referred me to an allergist. My mind was accelerating at dangerous speeds and I knew I had to take a minute to compose myself. Thank God my friend was there as we were very lucky this situation did not turn fatal.
After Ryan’s hives went down and I made an appt with the allergist, I allowed myself to burst into tears. Wtf?! Allergies? Peanuts? Seriously? What did this even mean? Would he have it for life? Now I have an epipen?!!!
Our appointment with the allergist was bittersweet. After Ry had a prick test and it was definitely confirmed he had a severe peanut allergy, I listened to the allergist give me information. He would most likely not outgrow this. However...there are so many advances that there most likely will be some kind of cure in the near future. He would need an epipen for life.
Fast forward four years later, and I am one lucky mommy. Ry has grown into a very smart, creative, and social little guy. He loves superheroes and playing hide and seek. He’s still a picky eater. He’s been amazing through this journey. He know what it means to read labels. He knows that Mommy has to sort through his Halloween candy first. He knows that certain foods are not safe for him. He has the best teachers in the world that call me if they have a special snack and double check. His twin brother speaks up a lot and lets others know if they are somewhere new that Ryan has an allergy.
But I’m still getting used to this role. If I’m honest, these are some of my daily thoughts that run through my mind:
He says his stomach hurts. Is he going to having a reaction?
His friend is having a peanut butter sandwich. I want him to get used to being in society but what if he starts getting hives after hugging them?
We are at a birthday party and I checked labels but what if he starts reacting?
There’s another news article about someone who had another anaphylaxis shock. I can’t read it. I just can’t go there today.
They are selling peanut butter trees. I hate them. I used to love them and now the sight of peanut butter infuriates me.
Grandma is picking the boys up from school - I always keep track of the epipen. Need to make sure she gets it.
Should we try peanut oral immunotherapy?
The teacher is calling my phone. Did something happen with Ry?
I hide these thoughts pretty well and have learned to get through them each day but honestly, I still worry. I have to say people have been truly amazing. I feel like society as a whole is getting better at being more aware of others. People ask me about food when we come over. People make sure to let me know what Ryan can’t eat at a birthday party. Most restaurants are wonderful about going a couple steps extra when preparing his meal. It's been pretty amazing.
So thank you to all of you for making this a journey that you walk beside us. Thank you for treating us like we are part of your family and showing awareness. And if you have a different experience (which I’m sure we will some day) I urge you to reconsider who you want to be around. Who supports and listens to you. Where you feel safe and not judged. We are all in this together. I have a son with severe allergies. You may have a son with a learning disability. Or a child battling a rare disease. Or a mom who is battling cancer. Or a Dad who has altimeters. Or you yourself battle something silent every single day that no one knows about....
I know things could be a lot worse for us. And I’m not using this post to complain. Just simply share what I have learned. We are all fighting battles. Our purpose, as human beings, is to be compassionate and help each other in this journey. We are not alone in our grief. And at the same time, we are not alone in our joys and successes.
Let’s lift each other up. Let’s look at the positive.
Although....I still hate you peanut butter. You are the thing I hate the most in this world. But oh how I wish I didn’t!