Tuesday, January 7, 2013 was the day I introduced a new food item for my eldest son, 16-year-old Michael…lamb.
Michael already has a list of food allergens including dairy, egg, beef, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, mustard and raspberries...how could there possibly be room for yet another food allergen? Here is our story.
Why, you may be wondering, did I choose this day over any other day? Well frankly, there is never a good day!
What with hockey on the weekends, school tests, quizzes, projects, exams, basic homework looming every week, and life in general…there never seems to be a perfect time to introduce a new food item.
To tell you the truth, it all came down to the fact that Michael has really wanted to try lamb for a while now, there was leftover pork tenderloin for Michael to have as his main course and I had a marinated lamb in the freezer that needed eating. It was as basic and spontaneous as that.
Michael was extremely excited…perhaps one could call it a nervous excitement. When the lamb came in off the barbecue, I could almost see his mouth start to water at the knowledge that he was going to be able to try a bit of the lamb.
I cut a small part of the most tender slice of lamb…setting it aside on a plate of its own.
Michael started his meal with a slice of pork tenderloin, homemade Macaroni and Daiya Cheddar Style Shreds and roasted carrots…all the while, eyeing the tiny piece of lamb expectantly.
Michael had already rubbed his wrist on the lamb for a skin test…no reaction. He then touched the lamb to his lip…no reaction. He bravely took a very small bite of the very small piece of lamb. “Mmmmm…it tastes good!”, he exclaimed with a big smile on his face.
It didn’t start right away, nor did it seem to take very long before he felt the tingling on his tongue. He made his way over to the kitchen sink and started the water running…sticking his head in to let the water run over his tongue. Soon he was vomiting. His allergic reaction did not go any further than the vomiting. His breathing was never compromised nor did he break out in any hives.
Needless to say, Michael was very disappointed to have to add, yet another food allergen to his already long list of food allergens. I guess lamb will have to be considered part of the ‘others’ that is listed on his ‘Medic Alert dog tag’. His list is so long, not all his food allergens can be listed…or the ‘y’ in ‘allergy’. His ‘Medic Alert dog tag’ reads, ‘has epipen allerg: peanuts-nuts-dairy-sesame- eggs-beef-seafood others/asthma.’
It adds a bit of comic relief to his food allergy situation.
Personally, words cannot describe how I feel…a mix of emotions and feelings…saddened, numb, ill, guilty, angry, frustrated, lost…all come to mind.
The next day, Michael was a trooper. Despite the fact that he was not feeling 100%… without a single complaint, he headed off to school. (Well, actually I drove him along with his brother and two friends.)
As soon as I got home…I called the school. I informed the secretary of Michael’s allergic reaction the evening before and the fact that he was not fully up to par. I wanted the school to be on the alert if he were to relapse. The secretary passed the information along to the attendance secretary as well as the Vice-Principal.
As the lunch hour approached…I received a phone call from attendance. Michael was not feeling well…could he come home. I immediately drove to pick him up.
Apparently, in 2 out of the 3 classes Michael attended before his call home, 2 of his teachers approached him concerned that he did not look so well. I was very pleased to hear how observant the teachers were as well of the fact that Michael revealed to them the likely cause…his allergic reaction to lamb the night before.
Michael described how he felt by stating that he felt “very weak.” in his arms and legs. Needless to say, he took it easy for the rest of the day while I kept a watchful eye over him.
The chicken I was going to roast that night for dinner turned into Homemade Chicken Soup. Michael’s favourite meal when he is not feeling well. I think it has magical restorative powers!
“Much, much better day…I feel almost 100% good.”, he announced upon his arrival home from school the next day.
That night, at the dinner table, the conversation turned to Michael’s allergic reaction to the lamb. Michael mentioned that one of his teacher’s had suggested he try goat. Well, that started a cascade of ideas. Duck a l’Orange was the first to be mentioned…but it quickly turned into a game…how about frog legs, rabbit and squirrel?
The family was soon in stitches…as we all envisioned me whipping up some squirrel delicacy such as the likes of Kay on Duck Dynasty. Our family is totally addicted to the show!
A little comic relief to lighten the load was welcomed!
There are no new plans to try any other food item in the near future…exams are on the horizon, hockey on the weekends, not to mention his ‘work out’ schedule during the week.
As well as being upset at discovering a new food allergen…Michael was ‘bummed out’ that his allergic reaction disrupted his ‘working out’ for the rest of the week. He is back on track this week.
As challenging as living with multiple food allergies are for Michael…I like to believe there will be a silver lining to it all. I believe Michael has already experienced many…an awareness of healthy eating, character building, and empathy to name a few.
Have you recently introduced a new food only to discover a new food allergy? Are you nervous to try new foods? How do you decide when you will introduce a new food? How do you deal with the aftermath of discovering a new food allergy? How does it affect you and/or your family? What have been your silver linings?