By Heather Legg
Today was the end of year party for my daughters’ swim team. There were awards, trophies, games, and the always there – cake. It reminded me of four years ago when my daughter was first diagnosed with her nut allergy. It was right at the end of the school year when she was diagnosed and the end of the year swim party was probably her first encounter with cake since that.
That year, I called the grocery store from the swim party and spoke with the bakery manager. I consulted with other moms on the swim team. I had my epipen nearby. Why was I so worried? She had eaten birthday cake made at this grocery store bakery for years and never had a reaction. But there was that label – processed in a facility with tree nuts.
So she had a bite of cake that year and has eaten cake on many occasions since then. It doesn’t worry me anymore (plus we went through NAET, see Beyond Allergy/NAET for more information); I know what to steer away from and what I am comfortable with her having. However, in these past few years on swim team, I have seen how allergy awareness has grown.
Today there was a plate of allergy free cupcakes that another mom had brought for anyone needing them. People asked about the cake and others knew the answers. I feel like that even a few years ago, people knew a lot less about allergies than they do now. Even those without kids with allergies or allergies themselves are learning about “allergy etiquette.” This is a good thing.
On the other hand, I still see people everywhere with peanuts, cashews, chocolate covered almonds, and it makes me pause to think. The other day our friends had trail mix at the pool, complete with macadamia nuts and cashews. My daughter noticed this and mentioned it to me. I just told her to stay clear of them and all was fine.
Going through NAET was a great choice for us. We are still careful and don’t let her eat nuts, but she has never had another reaction since her treatment. She eats foods processed in plants and on shared equipment. She eats foods that may have traces. It gives us the peace of mind to let her live “beyond her allergy.”