Welcome to my weekly post where I share our experiences with food allergies, things this moms are loving, articles I found helpful and anything else that was brewing in this mom’s heart the past week. There might be some affiliate links included in this post.
Last week, Child#2 shared to me something that happened during one of her classes. A classmate of hers asked why she was on a strict diet.
Right away, I figured out that this child is new in their school because my daughter is already in 7th grade and has been in that school for four years. Almost everyone in her batch as well her friends in Drama Club (6, 7 and 8 graders) already knew that she is allergic to several things.
Then, I asked what her reply was. She said she told the girl that “I am not on a diet. It is my lifestyle, my way of life — as in my LIFE depended on it.”
Curious, the girl asked “What do you mean?”
My daughter continued, “If I eat things with wheat, egg, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, shellfish and sesame, I get sick. Sometimes, I’ll have eczema on my face. Sometimes, my tummy will hurt which may cause me to go to the bathroom numerous times or throw up. Sometimes, I will have a hard time breathing. That’s why I avoid these allergens.”
I was surprised why Child#2 didn’t just say she is allergic. So I decided to look deeper.
She then told me that some people tend to misuse the word allergy. Like one of the girls in her batch who keeps telling everybody that she is allergic when she doesn’t like the food. Then you would see her eat the same thing the following week and say that she is no longer allergic to it.
To stir up the conversation, I continued to inquire why did she use the word lifestyle, not disability. (With a 504 plan, food allergies is indeed considered a disability.)
“Mom, not eating things I am allergic to is my way of life. My lifestyle. A lifestyle that keeps me alive. Plus, I am not dis-abled. I am abled!”
She even emphasized that even though she can’t eat some food, she’s very much ABLE to do things. I was smiling when she began enumerating her skills and accomplishments.
What amazed me the most was when she casually mentioned some of her friends. Friend1 is allergic to fish and shell fish. Friend2 is allergic to pistachios and cashews. Friend3 has severe and frequent asthma attacks. Friend4 broke her foot during the Talent Show week. “All of us did the Talent show, the play and the school musical. We are all Abled mom.”, she pointed out.
It was such an opener. As a food allergy mom, I tend to focus on restrictions that I sometimes forget to look at her capacities. I think it’s about time to start seeing Cans than Can’ts.
What do you think?