Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Headed for Baltimore!
Hey guys! Well, I am PuMpEd! I, along with 12 million other people in this world suffer from food allergies. I am deathly allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs. In other words, eating 1/1,000 of a peanut could kill me. But, I don't like to think like that. My body basically treats the proteins in peanuts, tree nuts, and eggs as poison. My immune system doesn't tolerate the food, so it does all it can to get the "poison" out of my system. This is when I have a reaction and go into Anaphylactic shock. Having a reaction is just about the scariest feeling there is in this world. Even I, the girl who writes everyday, can't put the feeling of a reaction into words. All I can say is that having a reaction when you're deathly allergic to food is not coughing, wheezing, and sneezing. That is probably the biggest misconception there is in regard to food allergies. No... When those of us who are deathly allergic to food have a reaction, it is LIFE THREATENING. I get hives all over my body that are sometimes the size of golf balls, I vomit, I experience the feeling of a lump in my throat and my throat begins to close, which makes it hard to get enough oxygen to the important organs in my body, my face, hands, and ears swell, and I may faint. It is a scary thing. Sometimes, during reactions, one can go into shock from oxygen deprivation. Though this is rare, because usually before that happens an Epi-Pen is administered and 911 is called, it can still happen. And that's when things go from bad to worse.
I have been EXTREMELY fortunate my entire life. I've only had one serious reaction, and that was at school last year. I was rushed to the emergency room, and I was stable within a few hours. Now, one of my many missions in life is to EDUCATE others regarding the EXTREME SEVERITY food allergies poses. Another mission of mine is to comfort others who are too living with food allergies... To provide them with as much knowledge from my past experiences I possibly can. If I can make any difference at all, that is so rewarding to me.
Next week, I'm flying up to Baltimore with my mom. Every year, FAAN (Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network) holds a teen conference where teens from all over the USA come and learn more about various ways to handle living with our allergies. There is a teen lunch session where teens can talk to one another and get some advice about pretty much anything having to deal with food allergies. I am so BEYOND excited. I can't wait to meet others who are going through the same things I'm going through. All my life, I've always been the only one with SEVERE, LIFE THREATENING food allergies. It will be so cool to finally see I'm not alone.
IF YOU HAVE FOOD ALLERGIES:
1. Know that you are never, ever alone.
2. Know that you are just the same as anyone else, and that having food allergies should not EVER hold you back from being a normal kid, and doing normal kid activities.
3. Know that if someone doesn't understand your allergies or gives you a hard time about them, they aren't the kind of people you want to surround yourself with.
4. Know that SOMEONE is always going to be there for you. Find a good friend and TEACH THEM how to use the Epi-Pen in case of an emergency.
5. Make your Epi-Pen your best friend. GLUE IT TO YOUR HIP. TAKE IT WITH YOU EVERYWHERE BECAUSE IT COULD JUST SAVE YOUR LIFE.
6. PLANNING is the magic word. People with food allergies can do anything. It will take a lot more planning, but ANYTHING is doable.
7. Never focus on the flaws or hardships having food allergies entales. Focus on the life lessons you've learned from living with them :) (e.g. responsibility, tolerance for others with differences, compassion, understanding, and the ability to take everyday as a gift.)
8. FAAN has a website at http://www.foodallergy.org/. Become familiar with their site, and subscribe to the monthly newsletter. You will never know how much good it does until you do.
9. Know that it is so important to educate people. UNFORTUNATELY, we live in a society with people who think, "If it doesn't apply to me or someone I love, I don't care about it and I don't have to know about it." They don't know how wrong they are. Maybe if we can educate, we can turn that whole mindset around.
10. Have faith that a cure from food allergies is coming.
GOD BLESS <3
Photo courtesy of http://www.beijing-kids.com/files/u4/2008/05/pa03.jpg. I do not own this image.