Thursday, July 5, 2012

A "Cure" for Peanut Allergies?

Big Jim Cole once said, "Ain't a man alive, hasn't got trouble. How he deals with that trouble's what counts."

Our trouble for the last decade has been peanuts. For most of you, reading this blog, these small "beans" have been a staple in your diet for longer than you can remember. Roasted, candied, ground into a buttery paste, as an oil or by the handful, these same small legumes have become to us, a poison, deadlier than any snake venom.

Our son, was diagnosed just before his second birthday, with an anaphylactic reaction to peanut protein. That means that anything remotely related to peanuts, or processed in the same factory as peanuts has been off limits to our family for the last decade. We are constantly checking labels and avoiding restaurants that use peanut oil or peanut products in their food.

Double Dave's pizza was taken off the safe list when they introduced Thai pizza. Chili's restaurant was recently added to the list of off limit food establishments when they added a peanut drizzle salad dressing and a peanut butter brownie dessert to the menu. Baskin Robbins is out because of cross contamination in the scoops and don't even mention Chick-Fil-A, They fry everything in peanut oil, or at least did until recently and even if they changed over, how long until they have sufficiently cleaned the peanut residue off of everything. We even had to forgo canned spinach from Walmart because it contained a peanut warning (not a big sacrifice there). Accidental contact has our biggest fear and has in fact sent us racing for the hospital on more than one occasion. I am not complaining, just explaining the reality of life with a peanut allergy.

It really has not been that much of a sacrifice. We learned to read labels, ask questions and stay nearby when he was out of our control. I ate a PB&J sandwich most every day of my life for the first 23 years, giving it up was not a big deal, it was what needed to be done. My wife has missed M&Ms and I miss chocolate covered raisins. Both of which are manufactured in facilities or on equipment that also processes peanuts. Life without peanuts is not nearly as hard as life without two feet. Like with so many other things that are thrown our way in life, we pull back, regroup and move forward.

There have been little issues, school cafeteria serving unsafe food, birthday parties with unsafe cake mixes, Halloween, Easter baskets, etc. But for the most part, we have remained safe within the walls of the little world we have created. Safe, that is until this year when our son expressed a desire to go to high school! Having finished the eighth grade at the top of his class, it seems only logical. But the world of high school is a wide open, scary place where none of the safe guards we have worked so hard to set in place will be. It really feels like we are sending our child swimming with alligators.

And so, you can imagine our delight when, after years of searching, we found a facility less than 500 miles from our house that has successfully desensitized over 40 people with similar peanut sensitivity.

We begin treatment soon and will keep you posted on the progress. But for now, know that we are tickled blue (don't particularly like pink) about the possibility of sending our son off on a field trip, to camp or eventually off into the wide wide world of college and beyond without fear of a life threatening reaction. We encourage you to pray with us as we begin this journey.

Stay tuned...

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