It's been several months since we found out that Persephone has a life-threatening peanut and cashew allergy and I'm still dealing with the diagnosis. I'm arming myself with all the information I can find. It's life changing for our family, but I'm trying to stay optimistic and up-beat. Here are some of the things we have to think about now:
* Reading every single label. She can't eat anything with nuts, that may contain nuts, or may have been processed in the same place as nuts.
* Restaurants have become scary places and this is a real bummer for a family that enjoys eating out. Asian food, ice cream parlors and bakeries are out of the question since they pose too much risk for cross-contamination.
* Carrying an epi-pen everywhere I go and always looking for possible signs of an allergic reaction. Staying up to date with my CPR and carrying a cell phone in case I need to call 911 has become a priority.
* Making cookies, cakes, and any other baked goods from scratch since most candies and chocolates are off limits for Persy
* Worrying about what we'll do for holidays like Easter, Halloween, Christmas, Valentine's Day. We've found a few sites where we can order peanut-free chocolate, but I've been working on coming up with creative candy alternatives.
* Concerns that she will pick up something with nuts and eat it or some other child or adult will unknowingly give her something with nuts.
On a positive note, Persy has been very cooperative about her asthma breathing treatments that we do each day. We call it "Bear Lungs" because it makes her strong like a bear and we do a big, ferocious growl each time. She also has a fun dinosaur mask that she uses with a nebulizer when she has an attack. I sometimes catch her putting her mask on her stuffed animals or "practicing" on her own.