Life with a nut allergy

I am constantly worried about what I eat and touch because of my peanut allergy. It’s really hard to be around people who don’t understand what life is like because it is extremely hard to communicate how serious I have to take my allergy. Especially at thirteen years old, most people don’t want to believe that I know more than they do about any topic, and they think they’re right even about how to keep me safe around nuts. It’s even harder when a kid doesn’t understand because it makes me a target for bullying. It scares me when I am walking through class and I suddenly feel a finger on the back of my neck and hear the words, “Ha, ha, I just ate peanut butter.” They could actually have had something containing nuts and I don’t know if it is real or not.  I have to run to wash my neck off (which is extremely embarrassing). This happened to me in fourth grade.

Every time I walk up to a door, I get scared. I have no way of knowing what is on that door. I always have to drink out of a water bottle because I have reacted from a water fountain before. I often have to turn down treats at church and friends’ houses because they are not safe. I always hate when it is time to eat cake at birthday parties because I rarely get to eat it. I hate to say this, but I even know what it feels like to have a reaction so bad that I have to use an epi-pen. I almost had to use the epi-pen on Christmas Day. That made me mad.

I even know what the epi-pen feels like and I promise that it is not fun! Its needle is a little more than two centimeters long. It hurt so badly when it went into my leg that I could not stand up. Dad had to carry me to the hospital. In Italy, I reacted to one bite of pasta sauce that had ground cashew in it (the label was in Italian). The reaction was instant. I have also had an anaphylactic reaction from a doorknob or a water fountain.

When I go into anaphylaxis, it is scary because I can feel my throat closing off and I have horrible pains in my stomach; my skin is so itchy it feels like it is on fire. It is scary because I know those feelings mean that my body is shutting itself down. Those feelings are also scary because they mean I will have to spend the night in an uncomfortable hospital bed in constant worry that I might have a biphasic reaction. I might have to have a second epi-pen and a second shot in the rear end and then they might have to intibate me. That is where they put a tube down my throat so that I can keep breathing. My life is scary because I know that unknown things around me can send me into anaphylaxis.

[I posted more about living with an allergy here ]

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