As a child I suffered from many allergies - wheat, milk, eggs, citrus, fur, feathers, pollen, dust etc etc. So I've lived through all sorts of allergy tests (skin, blood) and symptoms (skin, breathing, eyes/nose, stomach) and even had years' of allergy shots in an attempt to deal with my bodies determination to treat so many innocent substances as something that my immune system needs to attack. It's tiring, sometimes uncomfortable; often down right painful.
Dealing with other peoples views of allergies would test the patience of Jobe. How often have restaurants not been correct when telling me something is safe to eat? How often have other peoples' disbelief resulted in me being sick? Too often to count...
Then I had a daughter...At six months she was on two types of inhalers to try and make it possible for her to sleep. Every night she was awake coughing and coughing. Then the vomiting started. She literally never slept through the night. She didn't react to the skin prick tests so she wasn't classically allergic. After years' of issues, and when she started to lose a frightening amount of weight, we ended up at a gastro clinic where she underwent a procedure to assess if she had reflux. Two days in hospital attached to a computer confirmed reflux. Then came the drugs, Omeprozol and Ranitidin.
Later...a consultant told us she thought our daughter had delayed allergic reactions and under her care we did an exclusion diet. Turns out my girl is allergic to milk and eggs, but the reactions take place up to 7 days after she's eaten them. It took a year to settle her tummy. Now she's off drugs for the most part; but still sensitive to sugar and fat due to the reflux. So we live 'carnivore vegan', eat healthy, no sweets, a few crisps now and then but a whole bag would make her sick. Not easy to not eat the cake, the cookies, the sandwiches because of the butter. We take our own food to parties (just like I did as a child) but at least she's well.
It was a very lonely time...we had a sick child but one with lots of energy. We had to listen to people ask if it was all 'attention seeking', or maybe it was my fault? I was 'projecting' my allergies onto her? This is why we've launched Allergy Mums...to provide support and advice to Mum's (and Dad's!) dealing with allergies. Practical support such as recipes, where to buy stuff, restaurant reviews as well as emotional support.
We know it's hard. We're here to help.
P.S. Pictures of food are all made by me, and 'Molly approved'. I'm not a trained cook or anything fancy. Just a Mum desperate to let her kid eat cake!
Molly is much bigger now and her allergies and asthma hasn't stopped her one bit. Here are pictures of her representing Britain at the European Youth Waterski Championships, she's the Under 14 British Slalom Champion 2017 and 2018.