It’s Been A Journey Preparing For University With Multiple Food Allergies And Eczema

My eldest son, Michael, will be heading off to university in the fall of 2014. He will be one amongst the many youths eager, excited and yet, a little anxious to start a new chapter of their lives.

Michael’s university experience, however, will have an added layer. What will set him apart is not his average, his sense of adventure or his charm…Michael has multiple food allergies…dairy, egg, beef, lamb, fish, shellfish, peanut/tree nuts, sesame, mustard, and raspberries.

Michael is about to embark on a journey that has been in development since he was born.

As parents, we nurture our children, teach them right from wrong, provide them with choices, watch them fall, help them find ‘their feet’ and pick themselves back up again, guide them, encourage them to learn from their mistakes, remain a strong support system, love them through out it all and then hope that all the experiences they have encountered in their lifetime with us has prepared them to meet the ‘real world’.

For Michael, and many other children, personal medical conditions add another element to their ‘life’s journey’.  An element that ‘stirs the pot’ so to speak. Leaving parents and children ‘grasping for straws’ to find their way.  I look back now and wonder how either of us survived the displacement…it was a time in my life full of confusion.

However, to look at Michael now…I know, as parents, we must have done something right. 🙂

In my eyes, the ‘Grade School Years’ were the hardest…Michael suffered greatly from eczema. (Although, he would argue that having food allergies were worse, but then again, his memory of the eczema years is murky…thank goodness!)

At the time, I felt his food allergies seemed manageable in comparison to the many bouts of infection he endured.  His food allergies ‘took the back seat’ until his eczema started to clear around Grade 7.  Until then, I felt tortured by the fact that there seemed to be ‘no method to the madness’ of his eczema.

My eyes would well, my throat would constrict as I held back the tears while I bathed and creamed his wounded body. 

Below are a list of a few of the posts I have written concerning Michael’s journey with his food allergies and eczema:
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Talking About Atopic Dermatitis”.
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Suffocating With Multiple Food Allergies and Atopic Dermatitis: Taking a Breathe In Scotland.”
Click here for a post I wrote titled, “Hockey Dominates Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma”.

During those turbulent years, I would find as many distractions as I could to keep Michael from scratching his already weakened skin…reading, games, puzzles and lots of Barney videos to keep him occupied and entranced.

Once school started, warm classrooms and stress increased his ‘itchiness’ making it harder for him to concentrate.  For many years, Michael and I would sit after school to review the day’s work and practice in a supplementary work book. Breaks consisting of sitting in front of a fan or sticking his head outdoors to cool down were often.

All I can remember at that time was how imperative it was to me that he learn the ‘basics of reading, writing and arithmetic’. I worried that the ‘window of opportunity’ for learning these ‘basics’ would pass him by and he would spend the rest of his educational life ‘catching up’.

I emphasized the fact that everything he was learning was needed for his ‘journey of life’.  He needed to ‘pack’ all that he was learning in a ‘suitcase’ to bring along with him.  No matter how much he may or may not be enjoying the work…he needed to ‘pack it’.

As he got older, I would review what he had ‘packed’ proving just how important he needed each and every step of his learning. For example, knowing how to add helps with subtracting…just as knowing one’s multiplication tables makes division that much easier. Over the years, my metaphor of a ‘suitcase’ became a symbol of his accomplishments.

Michael struggled to do well in school but it wasn’t until around Grade 7 that everything fell into place for him. As his eczema started to heal, he started to sleep through the night. This in turn allowed him to focus better in school and that is when the ‘light bulb’ went off. Everything started to make sense to him…as if the items in his ‘suitcase’ were finally coming together.

The desire and ability to do well finally came together for him. He graduated Grade 8 with Honours and was the recipient of the Christian Spirit  Award.

The common thread throughout our journey has been hope

…the hope that Michael’s choices would not be controlled by his eczema and food allergies.
…t
he hope that his eczema and food allergies would act as a catalyst for learning compassion, building a strong sense of sense, confidence and esteem.
…the hope that he would one day outgrow his eczema and food allergies.
…the hope that he would see his own potential and strive to reach his goals.

So here we are now…Michael in his final year of high school. His ‘suitcase’ has served him well. I know he has all the tools he needs to achieve the average needed for the university of his choice. It’s all up to him. Just one more semester to go.

My hope now for Michael and all youth out there with food allergies embarking on their new paths…universal acceptance.

Times are changing…the more society, immediate family, friends, peers, and educational establishments recognize the importance of embracing our children with food allergies…the easier it will be for these students to achieve their personal goals.

Hope, support, choice, faith and change have played a major role throughout Michael’s journey. They have made him who he is today…a young man with big dreams with the self-esteem, ability and opportunity to reach them…and one proud mom!

More Inspiring Food Allergy, Eczema and Asthma Bloggers

I have put together a list of inspirational food allergy, eczema and asthma bloggers compiled from skin and food allergy bloggerThe Allergista and food allergy blogger, Dairy-Egg-Nut.

I have written a little about each, in the hopes of spreading their stories and inspiring many!

I want to thank The Allergista and Dairy-Egg-Nut for posting and sharing their ‘Very Inspiring Blogger’ Award lists. It is a great opportunity to widen our network of allergy related bloggers…get ready to be inspired!

1.  ‘The Other Courtney’…Courtney is an eczema and allergy sufferer…I love her post titled, ‘You Might Have Eczema if…’, totally relatable…it made me smile. 🙂

2.  ‘Linda Sepp Life with Multiple Chemical Sensitivity: The importance of safe housing’…Linda’s life is an eye-opener…Linda is a Canadian, ‘disabled and housebound from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Environmental Sensitivities, Fibromyalgia, and Electromagnetic HyperSensitivity.’ Read all about her journey by clicking here. The information she has researched will have you re-evaluating what you injest, breathe in and put next to your skin. I had no idea this existed…Linda’s life is inspiring to say the least!

3.  Lifewithfa Life with Food Allergies: A Mom’s Perspective…Alice is a mother of two young boys with multiple food allergies…a combination of 18+ between them! (peanuts/tree nuts, wheat, egg, milk, fish, shellfish, soy, barley, rye, lentils, buckwheat, peas, chickpeas, chicken, turkey, celery and sesame seeds) Like myself, she is often asked, “So, What Do You Eat?”  I can totally relate to her life as a mom faced with the challenges of every day life living with multiple food allergies.

4. Photosensitivity & Solar Urticaria Blog…since February/March 2011, this blogger has been diagnosed with a rare form of Solar Urticaria…she needs to avoid sunlight. Again, I had no idea this existed! Talk about an inspiring girl!

5.  My Food Intolerance Journey: This WordPress.com site is following my road back to full health…Dean suffers from food and chemical sensitivities. Dean is currently taking low dose immunotherapy…click here to read.more.. and trying to heal a leaky gut…click here to read more. I remember when my eldest son was young, I felt he had a leaky gut…I also started him on probiotics (a dairy free version) and EFA’s (evening primrose oil and flax oil)…he is still on them to this day.

6.  Surviving Seattle With Allergies enjoying food to the fullest:  Adrienne writes to raise awareness of the importance of maintaining one’s personal health…her blog is full of her recipes.

7.  Food Allergy Experience: Dainty is a mother of two. Her son has multiple food allergies to…dairy, soy, wheat , eggs, peanut/tree nuts, mango and shellfish. He also suffers from eczema and asthma. To read about her journey, just click here. Dainty posts her son’s weekly menus, shares her experiences of living with food allergies and posts allergy friendly recipes.

8.  PINKLIKEABEACON Topical period Withdrawl-Taking it one day at a time:  at Day 175- 25 weeks off steriods…this blogger’s skin would be a bit of a shock for anyone not familiar with eczema. Reminds me very much of Michael’s skin. It breaks my heart to see these pictures as I know exactly what she is going through. I had no idea, at the time, that there was such a thing as ‘topical steroid withdrawl’. I am now starting to believe that perhaps Michael went through this phase as we weaned him off his steroid creams. If your child is on any steroid cream for eczema…you should check this out.

9.  Allergictolifemybattle Life Can Change in an Instant:  Severe mold in the workplace changed the life of this mother of two…immune system dysfunction, severe depression and near financial ruin. In 2003, she started her book on how devastating mold can be…‘Allergic to Life’ will be available Summer 2013. Click here for her post on her book update…I love the poem she wrote.

10.  Adventures of an Allergic Foodie Don’t let celiac disease and allergies hold you back:  Allergic to asparagus, capers, cashews, corn, dairy, guar flour , kefir, nutmeg, pineapple, rennet, soy, vanilla and yeast..this blogger also lives with celiac disease and Eosinoplhilic Esophagatis (EoE)…she is a girl who in her words, “struggles to eat”. With an autoimmune system that has gone ‘haywire’, I love her mantra, “I don’t believe in whining. I do believe obstacles are put in our lifepaths for a reason-and I don’t know about you, but I’m not about to let food allergies hold me back!”

11.  adaptingtoallergies adapting our lives and recipes to live safely with severe food allergies:  Melanie is mother to two children…her son JT has severe food allergies and has asthma. Melanie tells her family’s story…she states, ” I have adapted to live safely with food allergies without turning our lives upside down.”

12. The Crunchy Cook Learning to love food again, one allergen/gluten-free recipe at a time. The blogger has a long list of food allergens…gluten(wheat, barley, rye,spelt), dairy, eggs, soy, peaches, pork, shrimp, mushrooms, strawberries, tomatoes, tuna, aspartame, peanuts(life-threatening/airborne level), honeydew, beef, annato, apples, and a sugar, honey and molasses sensitivity. With all these food allergens, I love The Crunchy Cooks attitude…she states, “when I look at all the tasty things that are still options, it makes life-or at least the putting-food-in-my-mouth-part seem more manageable.” Click here for her list of foods she enjoys to eat.

13.  Please Don’t Pass The Nuts (TM) Just because you have a restricted diet, doesn;t mean you have a restricted life. Sloane Miller, aka. Allergic Girl, is my idol! She is the author of the book that anyone with food allergies should read…Allergic Girl: Adventures in Living Well with Food Allergies. I did a reveiw on her book awhile back…click here to read. Her book made me feel better about all that I was trying to do for my boys and inspired me to ‘step out of my box’…something I continue to strive to do.

15.  The Allergy Eats Blog Your Allergy Friendly Restaurant Blog: This site is a “user-friendly guide to allergy-friendly restaurants across the United States. It is a peer-reviewed directory of restaurants – rated by people with food allergies, for people with food allergies.” written by a father of five with three of his children with food allergies. Click here to read more. I love the post he wrote on, “The  Most Allergy-Friendly Restaurant Chains in America”…click here for the post.

16.  It’s A Hard Nut Life is written by a fellow with nut allergies and has a condition called Dermatographia…”too much Histamine in your blood and when your skin gets irritated or scratched, it rises to the surface and causes a little bump.” Apparently, this condition is quite common with people with allergies. Click here to read his post on this condition and check out the interesting artwork he has drawn on his skin.

17.  Ingredients all about cosmetics, chemistry and fashion: Louise has always loved fashion…when she was finishing her Ph.d, she experienced a bad allergic reaction to a skin care product.  The bio chemist in her was determined to learn more about cosmetic products…she obtained a post-graduate certificate in cosmetic science from the U.K. Society of Cosmetic Scientists. Louise’s blog, Ingredients, is all about combining her love of fashion, chemistry and cosmetics…in her words, “My goal is to provide balanced, objective information and product reviews, based on real science and my knowledge of organic chemistry, skin anatomy and biochemistry.”

18.  Allergy Warriors and Gluten-Free Gal For people with a food allergy, intolerance, or sensitivity:  Allergy Warrior Annie is a mother of two…her eldest has a peanut and egg allergy. Allergy Warrior Annie chose her name “because anyone who has a food allergy knows how much of a battle it is to be safe!” Gluten-Free Gal Lizzie shares her recipes, tips and tricks “about living gf in a world where gluten seems to be everywhere.”

I know I must be missing some…please let me know in the comments, of any inspiring allergy, eczema and asthma bloggers that you feel should be highlighted.

Who inspires you?

Food Allergy Chronicles Thanks ‘Seize The Veggies’ For The Very Inspiring Blogger Award

I am honoured to have received ‘The Inspiring Blogger Award’awarded to me by Julie @ ‘Seize The Veggies’. Julie is a vegetarian blogging about delicious tips for healthy eating. Julie also has a son with a tree nut allergy.

wpid-photo-may-5-2012-215-pm

Here are the rules:

  • Copy and paste the Award graphic in a post.
  • Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog.
  • Share 7 things about yourself.
  • Nominate 15 bloggers, and tell them by posting a comment on their blog.

7 Things About Me:

1.  My hair is naturally curly and I have yet to colour it.
2.  I love dogs…especially big cuddly ones…unfortuately, our dog allergies have prevented us from adopting another into our family.  If we were to adopt another, I would love to own a Portuguese Water Dog.  It was our second choice…our first dog was a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier. Click here to read all about our experience having a dog with our boys.
3. I love peanut butter…not just any peanut butter but all-natural crunchy peanut butter...President’s Choice Organic Crunchy. I know it seems sacrilige to be even mentioning and providing a link to this contraband in our house…but it is my ‘girls getaway’ indulgence when I visit my mother. It is one of the many sacrifices our family with multiple food allergies has made in order to provide a safe environment for both our boys with peanut/tree nut allergies.
4.  Green Tea is my favourite tea to enjoy throughout the day.
5. A Soy Latte at Starbucks is a special treat…best enjoyed in cold hockey arenas.
6.  I am thrilled to be running again…physio therapists, a chiropractor/acupunturist and physiotrist have all been a big help in my recovery.
7.  I really enjoy writing my blog, The Food Allergy Chroniclesa big thank you to all that follow me!

I urge you to please take the time to acquaint yourselves with the following bloggers living with food allergies. Living with food allergies can be very isolating…it should not be a lonely experience…we need to support each other.

Read through and be prepared to be inspired!

My list of 15 ‘Very Inspiring Bloggers’ Living With Allergy/Eczema/Asthma:

1.  A Tale of Anaphylaxis Tips & Tricks On Living With Anaphylaxis! by the Epipen Princess: Sydney, a student, with food allergiesstrawberry, pineapple, cashew and coconut…with tips and tricks to surviving day to day life tasks with anaphylaxis. Sydney is inspiring as she tackles anaphylaxis through the eyes of a student….giving students with food allergies a voice and mentor. I love her ending sentence on a post she wrote on ‘How To Emotionaly Heal After Anaphylaxis’…”Don’t cry because it happened, SMILE because you are alive!” Click here for that post.

2. The Allergista How to Manage Your Skin & Food Allergies Without Losing Sanity OR Style Points: The Allergista has a skin condition called Allergic Contact Dermatitis ( a form of eczema) is lactose intolerant, deficient in Vitamin D, wears only cotton and must avoid touching anything with nickel. She also has multiple allergies…chocolate, cashews, green, brown and white beans, spinach, canned food wheat, shellfish, ground meat, vitamins, figs, pineapple, prunes, raspberries, mussels, hazelnuts, peanuts, sunflower seeds and licorice. There is more…click here for more about The Allergista. The Allergista inspires me with her enthusiasm for life…she will be an Official Expo Blogger at the Gluten and Allergy Free Expo in Chicago 2013. Click here to read more about it from The Allergista.

3. Celiac And Allergy Adventures Living a Full And Fun Life With Food Allergies And Celiac Disease:  A 30 year old who has lived with food allergies, asthma and eczema all her life and is now living gluten free. Celiac and Allergy Adventures inspires me because as she states,  ” I’m viewing this all as a positive learning experience and refuse to let these conditions take control over my  life.” It is a blog filled with personal experiences.

4.  lucys friendly foods:  A Cordon Bleu trained mom of two children with food allergies…dairy, egg, nut and sesame seed. She inspires me with all her delicious recipes…Rosemary Foccacia, Welsh Cakes and Ginger Flapjacks…I especially like all the British specialties.

5. Dairy Egg Nut: Dining out…with allergies:  as titled, the blogger writes about dining out with allergies…where they go and what they order. Dairy Egg Nut’s restaurant experiences inspires me to start ‘stepping out of our box’ and try some of their tips at our local restaurants.

6.  Intrepid Allergy Mum adventures with allergies: a mum living in Western Australia with her 5 year old son with food allergies…dairy, egg, fish, nuts, lentils and sesame. She inspires me with all her allergen friendly recipes that she creates for her son.

7.  My Eczema SkinCare Blog My Trials and Tribulations for Clearer Skin!:  The blogger hopes her experiences with her eczema, from the past 5 years, helps others find a solution to their eczema. This blogger is inspiring with her passion and candid exposure of her experiences with eczema.

8.  It’s An Itchy Little World / Eczema, allergies and asthma…oh my!: Jennifer is a mompreneur and founder of The Eczema Company. Jennifer shares her stories with her family’s battles with eczema, allergies and asthma using natural methods. Jennifer inspires me with her indepth approach to researching the best products for those suffering from eczema and inspires me with her stories of strength related to her son’s food allergies.

9.  Frugal Food Allergies:  Lindsey is a mother who believes it should not cost a fortune to cook with food allergies. Lindsey’s blog focuses on her daughter’s EoE (Eosiniphilic Esophagitus) as well as her daughter’s limited diet due to her mulitple food allergies. Click here to read about her lengthy journey. Lindsey inspires me with her positive energy, strength and determination to be there for her family.

10.  Dairy Free Diner: A blog about living with a dairy allergy in your family:  Jennifer’s son has a dairy allergy and febrile seizures and a daughter with alopecia areata…with both inheriting their father’s amblyopia. Click here to read all about the details of her journey. Jennifer blogs about her family’s trials and tribulations. Jennifer is another mother who inspires me with her strength and determination living with all the medical conditions her family faces on a daily basis.

11. Young Allergies: Magdalena has a son with eczema and food allergies…milk, soy, egg, peanuts/tree nuts. Magdalena blogs about her life with her two young boys and posts allergy friendly recipes. Magdalena inspires me as a mother of a child with food allergies that goes above and beyond to create a safe environment for her son to thrive within. Her candid honesty with her daily struggles with two young boys tugs at your ‘heart strings’. Click here for her post on ‘Struggles’.

12. Allergy Foodiethrive with top 8 food allergens: Anu blogs about her son with food allergies…eggs, wheat , soy , dairy, nuts, tree nuts, fish and shellfish.  Anu’s ‘passion for the field of nutrition’ and improving the quality of life of her son…leads her to researching issues such as ingredient lists, new recipes, new products and substitute foods. Anu inspires me with her creative allergy friendly dishes and her determination to educate others on food allergies in general.

13. My 1/2 Dozen Daily: As Carla simply states, ‘Join me through the ups & downs of motherhood as I try to balance a husband, 4 kids, a cat, a handful of hobbies, my faith, homeschooling, living green & frugally in Canada all while keeping a smile on my face!’ She forgot to add…while living with eczema and food allergies (OAS)…most raw fruits, some raw vegetables, sugar, dairy, soy, cocount, peanuts/tree nuts, corn, oats and quinoa, gluten/wheat, hormones/antibiotics/pesticides, chemicals and preservatives, fish, sulphites and processed foods of any kind. Carla inspires me with all that she does for her family…her management of money, care for her children and her sewing and photography on the side to help ends meet…all the while living with the ‘puzzle’ of excema and her OAS and food allergies.

14. The Allergy Mom Life With A Child With Allergies: Melissa is the mother to two children with eczema and allergies…environmental, dairy, eggs peanuts/tree nuts. Melissa’s site is host to allergy related articles, allergy friendly recipes, an allergy forum, an allergy directory and her blog. Melissa is inspiring in all that she does to raise the awareness of food allergies with the public, as well as, navigating the world of food allergies in her daily life.

15. Jazzy Allergy Recipes Simple and delicious egg free, dairy free, and nut free recipes that everyone will love: Lori creates recipes especially for her daughter, Jazzy, with food allergies…dairy, egg and nuts. Lori inspires me with her dedication to her daughter to keep her promise…‘That I would do my very best to find a way for her to eat any food she wants to try.’ …A theme I have noticed that resonates between all the mother’s on my list of ‘Inspiring Bloggers’.

Thank you all for inspiring me…our experiences in life give us meaning…thank you all for sharing yours!

Cross-Contamination Series: Romantic Get Away For Two…Biking In Niagara-On-The-Lake

Living day-in and day-out with eczema, multiple food allergies and asthma issues with your children can add up to ‘a heck of a lot of stress.’

The kind of stress that can ‘suck the life out of you’…’put a strain on one’s relationship with their partner’…’put a marriage to the test.’

I seriously got to the point of not knowing who I was anymore…I had so many roles to play…wife, mother, nurse, doctor, teacher, caregiver, special education intervenor, friend, daughter, sister, aunt…I burnt out.

A trip to Scotland with my then 7 month old second son gave me the break I needed to refocus my mind, recharge my batteries…find myself!

It would become my ‘aha’ moment!

Over the years, my husband, Andy and I have made an effort to plan a weekend get- away…just for the two of us…to rekindle our relationship.

A weekend in Toronto for a dinner and show or taking a boating license course together, passing the test and celebrating in Toronto with a dinner and show are a couple of get-aways we have enjoyed.

Our most favourite weekend get-away to date…venturing back to the Niagara region…the setting for our wedding…20 years ago this July.

For the past 3 years, Niagara-On-The-Lake has been our destination of choice. Staying at a Bed and Breakfast in the heart of the town, bringing our bicycles to follow the bicycle paths out to Brock Monument, Niagara Falls and the many Wineries, enjoying an evening at the local pub…heaven!

Victoria Day Weekend is our weekend of choice…Friday and Monday are both holidays for my husband…the perfect opportunity to get-away!

I know what you are thinking…”What about the boys? Who is looking after them? How could you leave them with all their food allergies? Who can you trust?”

Yikes! My anxiety levels are up again!

Leaving my boys with food allergies is not ‘a walk in the park’ for me. First and foremost, I need to feel that I have left my boys in ‘safe hands’.  Trusting your children with someone takes on a whole new meaning when food allergies are involved…anaphylaxis is at stake.

For the past 3 trips to Niagara, my mother has stayed with the boys.

My mother has been as good as my ‘right hand man’ when it comes to looking after my boys with their eczema, food allergies and asthma issues…she has experienced the lifestyle of living with eczema, food allergies and asthma hands on…witnessed allergic reactions…she understands the reality of the situation…I believe she ‘gets it’…I trust her.

When my boys were younger, I would leave explicit instructions covering Michael’s bathing and creaming, their medications, ‘safe’ snacks and meal options. Now that the boys are older, going on 16 and 14 years of age, they are much more independent with their basic hygiene, puffers and understanding of ‘safe’ food choices.

I still make sure there is enough ‘safe’ food in the house…I make Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Rice Krispie Squares, Dairy, Egg and Peanut/Tree Nut Free Chocolate Chip Cookies and Dairy and Peanut/Tree Nut Free French Stick and Sub Buns.

I prep the meals ahead of time…I have the dough all ready to go in the Bread Machine for the boys pizza for Friday Night, the Pork Back Ribs and Pork Tenderloin are defrosting in the refrigerator for Saturday and Sunday night dinners. There are veggies, rice or potatoes for them to choose to accompany their main dishes.

Last minute instructions, extra Epi Pens and the boys’ health cards are all at the ready…just in case.

Back in the day of no cell phones, a quick phone call upon our arrival at our destination was our protocol of communication. I know that may seem ‘odd/selfish’ to some, but if I had to deal with the every day stresses of our ‘home life’ on my time away…I would be stressing the entire time…defeating the purpose of our little ‘get away’.

Times have changed and my boys have grown.Technology these days has me texting our arrival to my eldest son, Michael. He likes to keep me updated with their activities…often we share photos of our trip…any questions can be easily answered…we are just a text away.

The benefits of the ‘get aways’ goes both ways…the boys get to put to good use the skills they have learned living with food allergies, exercise their independence, learn to trust their abilities as well as others and share some quality time with their Nana.

Believe me, even though I have ‘prepped’ as much as I possibly can and I ‘know’ that my boys are in ‘good hands’…I will still be totally ‘stressing out’ right up until the time that Andy and I pull out of our driveway.

My mind will be racing through a check list as we drive to grab a coffee for the road…heading out on the highway my body will start to relax…with the tunes playing, my hubbie by my side and an adventure waiting on the horizon…I will finally feel the tension lessening in my shoulders and back…ahhhh…we are on our way!

Tip: I must thank two great friends/neighbours…Leslie and Linda…with whom I am most appreciative. I know they are both a phone call/walk away…knowing they are both there as ‘back up’ should my mother ever need them…having great friends who would be there for you at the ‘drop of a hat’…priceless!

Question: Does the stress of living with food allergies take a toll on your marriage? How do you keep your relationship with your spouse/partner together? What are some strategies that you find help keep your relationship strong? 

P.S. I am hoping to have a post of our weekend away ready for Monday…it just might be Tuesday! 

Update: Actually….more like Wednesday!

Allergies, Asthma, Eczema and a Dog

Let me introduce…Brian!

brian a soft coated wheaten terrier

Our honorary guest this week.

Brian, Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier

Brian is a 7 month old Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier…basically a big soft ball of fluff…with loads of energy!

My boys are in heaven! They are just loving having a dog in the house again! They take him for walks, play catch, feed him, yes, even clean up after him and basically entertain one another.

Whose taking who for a walk!

brian leading matthew on a walk

Brian is in love with the boys…following them around wherever they go…whining when they go upstairs, off to school or out to deliver their papers.

Our family is well versed in Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers…meet Chester!

chester, a soft coated wheaten terrier, our first dog

Chester was our beloved first dog.

Andy and I welcomed Chester into our lives the first year after we purchased our first home.

One of the reasons we purchased a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was their hypo allergenic qualities:  non-shedding. I am highly allergic to many types of dogs…I was fine with Chester.

Over the years, my husband and I questioned our eldest son’s eczema and both boys’ asthma in relationship with our dog. Every doctor we visited recommended that we find a new home for him. One allergist, in particular, would not perform a skin test on our son until we no longer owned a dog. She said it would take 3 years to fully rid our home of a dog’s allergens.

This was not easy to digest. In the end, Chester lived his full life with us to the age of 12.

This was taken days before Chester died. Notice the redness and dark circles under Michael’s eyes.

michael and matthew with chester

I have this photo blown up and framed at home. A few years after Chester died, a young friend of the boys was visiting. After looking at the photo he exclaimed, “What is wrong with Michael?”

Coincidentally, 3 years after Chester’s death, Michael’s eczema took a turn for the better. In the last few years, he has been puffer and antihistamine free. Matthew is in the process of weaning himself off  puffers.

Could it have been Chester?

Also, in and around the 3 year mark, Michael started light therapy under the care of his dermatologist. Puberty also set in.

Could the combination of variables have made the positive difference?

Soft Coated Wheaten Terriers are considered to be hypo allergenic…unfortunately, I believe my boys definitely showed signs of being sensitive to Brian. So much easier to notice when you have something to compare it with.

Brian arrived last Saturday. I was away and arrived home Sunday evening. It took only one look at Michael and Matthew to realize they were suffering from allergies.

Michael was all red in the neck, sniffling, sneezing, coughing and his breathing was strained. Matthew was also sniffling, sneezing and coughing with laboured breathing. I immediately got them on their puffers and Michael on his antihistamine.

I banned the dog from the basement, had the boys vacuum it and removed Brian’s bed from the basement to the kitchen. (Figured that was a good spot as it is where I spend most of my days. lol) He was already banned from the upstairs…thank goodness that was already in place. The boys needed places of refuge.

Since the boys have gone back on their puffers, Airomir and Alvesco both in the morning and night, their breathing is back under control.

Michael’s antihistamine seems to be helping with the sneezing and headaches.

On one of Brian’s walks, I happened to bump into my neighbour/friend…a friend who knew only too well the journey I have been on. Her first words to me went something like this, “Are you crazy…of all people to be looking after a dog…with all your allergies!”

Yes, I realize it seems absurd that we should be dog sitting. It certainly has made me realize that the boys are definitely sensitive to dogs.

I don’t know about you, but I have a ‘backpack of guilt’ that follows me wherever I go. Over the years, I have tried to empty it with the philosophy of learning from my mistakes and moving forward without looking back with regret.

Chester is in my ‘backpack of guilt’. Little did we know when he became part of our family, that he would become part of our allergy problems.

Brian’s stay with us has confirmed all the doctors claims. Rather than feel guilt, I am going to remind myself that we did the best that we could at the time…Chester was family…it was not an easy decision to make.

Moving forward, we know for sure that we will not be able to own another dog.

In the meantime, as a family, we will all enjoy the last couple days with Brian.

I sure had lots of fun taking Brian for his daily walks.

brian out on a walk in the snow

I think we bonded…best buddies now!

out with brian for a walk

We enjoyed three daily walks …one in the morning, one in the afternoon to meet Matthew after school and one in the evening.

going for a walk with brian and andy in the evening

A romantic walk in the moonlight with my two sweethearts.

We will live vicariously through our friends’ dogs…making sure we are all on our medications…so we can enjoy every snuggly moment!

the boys snuggling with brian

Thinking of owning a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier and have dog allergies?

Check out Best Allergy Sites here and here. Ruth describes her decision-making process in researching a dog for her son who is allergic to dogs and her positive experience owning a Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier.

Have you owned an animal and then were faced with the decision to find a new home due to allergies in the family? What did you do? Please share.

My Leibster Award Recipitants

I would like to thank Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily, for nominating me for the Leibster Award.

I am truly thankful and flattered for the recognition.

Liebster is a german word & translates to “good friend” in english, so it’s a pretty special award! :)

Here are the rules!!  There are rules to receiving and accepting this award.

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.  3. Cop and Paste the Award to your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the word and love to other bloggers.
5. Have fun.

My top 5 bloggers, that I have chosen are all blogs that I follow. They are all hardworking moms documenting their journeys’ living with food allergies, eczema and/or asthma.

And the winners are…

1. Anu @ Allergy Foodie recently won 2nd place in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs 2011. She writes about her journey with her 6.5-year-old son with multiple food allergies. Her wonderful recipes are sure to add some extra ‘spice’ into your cooking. Food allergies include: eggs, wheat, soy, dairy, nuts, tree nut, fish and shellfish.

2. Jennifer @ It’s An Itchy Little World was also recently listed in the Circle of Moms Top 25 Food Allergy Mom Blogs 2011. For a complete list click here. Jennifer’s blog is a wealth of information for anyone needing to learn more about living with food allergies and eczema. She blogs about her son’s journey and adds recipes that her family enjoys.

3.  Lindsay @ Frugal Food Allergies writes about learning to live and thrive with food allergies on a budget. She writes about her daughter’s journey with Eosinophilic Esophagitus (EO), includes menu planning and delicious recipes.

4.  Magdalena @ Aiden’s Allergies writes about her journey with her son’s food allergies, her journey as a vegan and recipes her family enjoys. At 7 months, she removed her son’s food allergens from her diet (milk, soy, eggs, sesame and peanuts) and his skin cleared up. Baby number 2 is on the way! Food allergies to date include: milk, soy, eggs and peanuts.

5. Jennifer @ Dairy Free Diner writes about her journey with food allergies. Her son has a dairy allergy and has outgrown a few on the way. She writes about the many experiences she has had navigating the challenges her family have faced and also posts recipes her family enjoys.

Living with multiple food allergies, eczema and/or asthma are challenges that these moms have taken under their wing…they are living testaments that one can survive and thrive.

I am thankful to have found their sites!

I am inspired and admire these dedicated moms.

I gain strength, wisdom, hope and friendship from their blogs…I encourage anyone looking for answers in the maze of food allergies, eczema and/or asthma to check out their sites. 

The thread that weaves between us all is the thread of hope. Passion keeps this hope alive…it is what fuels me everyday. 

These moms are all worthy of the Liebster Award…congradulations to you all!

In the Spirit of Christmas…The Pillars of Strength

What is the Spirit of Christmas?

I believe I experienced it on Sunday evening. Our family was driving back from Matthew’s hockey game and as we turned down our street…there they were…

2011 Pillars of Strength on our street

…The Pillars of Strength…in all their glory!

The ingenious idea for The Pillars of Strength came into fruition last year by our neighbour.

Families and individuals all over the world struggle with challenges…medical, physical, emotional, and financial.

Facing these challenges takes strength, courage, determination…it takes everything we’ve got!

For me, The Pillars of Strength stand tall in their solidarity.

They represent a neighbourhood coming together with all that we have…their presence gives me that extra boost of confidence…they give me hope.

2011 Pillars of Strength on our street

Living with multiple food allergies, eczema and asthma we have experienced our fair share of challenges…but who hasn’t!

On our family’s journey, I have always stressed that there are many families in the world struggling with challenges of their own…there is not a family out there that has been able to avoid them. At times, I believe knowing this has helped my boys get through some rough times.

My husband and I are very fortunate to have purchased our first home in this jewel of a neighbourhood. In the beginning, we were thrilled at the location…home situated in the middle of a quiet street with only neighbours driving by…perfect for road hockey! Nice sized lot for kids and a dog to play in. Close to schools, church, grocery store and a pharmacy.

But really the heart of the street comes from the people who live there…our neighbours.

How does our front lawn magically get mowed… our driveway shovelled on the day that I just can’t get out there? Who can I ask for a cup of sugar on a dime? Lend an egg too?Neighbours!

Last winter the women on our street united and created a schedule of sustenance (soup, casseroles and reading material) for a family in our neighbourhood facing cancer. 

These acts of kindness come from the heart.

The Pillars of Strength are there to remind us all, that simple acts of kindness give more than the eye can see…they remind us of the good in people…they give us hope!

2011 Pillars of Strength on our street.

The Pillars of Strength stand tall for all those struggling with the many challenges that life presents to us.

The Pillars of Strength are dedicated to our dear neighbours who continue to bravely face cancer.

2011 Pillars of Strength on our street

The Spirit of Christmas lives in all of us…may you find your own strength in Our Pillars of Strength.

Hockey Dominates Atopic Dermititis and Asthma

Atopic Dermatitis was no match for my son’s love of the game of hockey.

michael on his hockey cardMy eldest son Michael’s love of hockey, proves that love can conquer all!

As a youngster, hockey stick in hand, he would run around in circles hitting balls. He was labelled…a busy boy. His father, also a hockey fanatic, was so proud.

Christmas 2010, Andy and the boys with their hockey jerseys

Our house is situated halfway down a street that encourages only those who live on it to drive by…perfect for road hockey! Neighbourhood boys congregate outside our house for ‘pick up’ games. I always know where my boys are and I get to know their friends.

No one was more excited than Michael to follow every Canadian boys’ dream…signing up for ice hockey.

At the tender age of 5, Michael’s dream came true…he would be playing ‘real’ hockey.

michael's first year playing hockey

Skates and hockey equipment in hand, he headed off to the arena to meet his teammates, coaches and suit up for his first practice. Proud Mama and Papa followed close behind.

Sitting up in the benches, my husband and I watched as he flew across the ice with ease, weaving in and out of pylons and dropping himself on his knees only to pop back up and race down the ice.  Michael was truly in his glory!

All of a sudden, everything changed. Watching him dash off the ice in a panic, my husband raced around to the hockey bench to unearth the problem. Michael could then be seen frantically disrobing on the bench right down to his long underwear. He had overheated and was in an itching frenzy.

Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart broke watching, what could be, the end of his dream.

My husband remained on the bench after helping Michael to re-equip himself in all his gear. Michael returned to the bench another time to undergo the undressing and redressing routine once again.

Waiting outside the dressing room for Michael seemed like forever. When he did emerge, I enquired, “How was the practice?”. With a smile on his face, he answered, “Great!”

Not once did he ever complain about his overheating episodes. Each practice was ‘great’. There was no question in his mind…he was bound and determined to make it work.

He wanted…needed to play the game.

My husband and I questioned how he could continue this routine during an actual game. We needn’t have worried. Come game day, his on ice times never overheated him and he was able to sit on the bench with his teammates and be ‘one of the guys’. I was overjoyed!

Over time, his need to undress completely at the practices dwindled until there was none.(When I asked him recently, if he remembers those times, he calmly states, “I just got used to it.”

Michael, a boy, with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma living a life limited by what he can eat, wear and do, was determined not to have his opportunity to play the game he loved the most, taken away from him. This was something, he himself could control. He mastered it beautifully!

I am so proud of him! As parents, our instinct is to protect our children. How easy it would have been to say, “You, know…hockey looks like it is not working out for you. Your exertion on the ice is making you overheat and causing your eczema to flare up…I think you should give hockey a pass.”

Instead, seeing how in control he was of his situation, my husband and I let him make the decision to continue with hockey. To tell you the truth, it went unsaid…we just followed his lead…heading to hockey practice and games each week.

The look on his face after a practice/game said it all! How could we take that away from him? No matter how painful it was to witness his uncomfortableness.

Winter 2010, Michael playing hockey outside on my brother's homemade rink

If there is one thing I have learned on this journey of ours…stay focused on the positive!

From this experience…I have learned to never underestimate the power of another person’s determination. When Michael chose to take on his eczema with hockey, it became his journey. We assumed he would not be able to tolerate the implications…we were wrong.

I have always felt that Michael has had to grow up much quicker than most children due to the many situations he has had to endure. I don’t necessarily look at this as a negative, rather as a positive. He has acquired so much compassion for others, benefited from living a healthy lifestyle, and discovered the power of determination…priceless!

Michael is now 15 years old. My husband and I continue to follow and cheer him on at his games. In fact, we are heading to one tonight.

After years of playing defence, he has been moved up to right-wing and is considered in second or third place for goal scoring!

Coaches are informed of all his food allergies, and exercise induced asthma. (Epi Pen and puffer are kept at the ready by the Trainer) He no longer suffers from overheating but needs to take his puffer before each game. Showers are mandatory after each game!

Why did he endure all that he did to play the game of hockey?  “…because it is fun!”

Winter 2010, Michael playing hockey outside at my brother's homemade ice rink

Who doesn’t need a little fun in their lives!

P.S. This post was written specifically for those families with children with eczema. Listen to your children…sometimes they are much wiser than their years…willing to make sacrifices that we may feel are unnecessary… all in the name of fun.

P.P.S. At our most recent appointment with our Pediatric Dermatologist, he examined Michael’s skin and told us that he never thought Michael’s skin would ever look this good. I always believed that the day would come when Michael’s skin would clear…it has taken 15 years…happy days!

My advice… keep the flicker of hope alive, focus on the positive, learn as much about eczema as you can and persevere. Remember…you are not alone!

P.P.P.S. Have you ever questioned allowing your children to partake in something due to their eczema? Does eczema limit the choices that are made? Is eczema controlling your life? Would love to hear from you…please leave a comment.

Questions and Answers: A Teenager’s Perspective: Living with Multiple Food Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

My 15-year-old son, Michael, has lived with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma since he was a baby.

Multiple Food Allergies: Dairy, eggs, beef, sesame, fish, shellfish, peanuts/tree nuts, raspberries and mustard.

Atopic Dermatitis: his triggers include: heat, stress, grass, citrus, cantaloupes, and non-hypo- allergenic detergents (Tide in particular)

Asthma: his triggers include: dust, exercise (over doing it), hockey arenas (over doing it on the ice), colds, really cold air and really hot air (high humidity), and lots of pollen in the air.

I thought it would be interesting to post a question/answer period with my son to get a teenagers perspective on what it was like growing up and living with the tri-factor of the allergy world: multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma.

Michael  is entering that stage in his life where studies have proven that teens with food allergies take more risks. Two good sites for teenagers with food allergies are FAAN, The Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network and Why Risk It?, at Anaphylaxis Canada. Both provide information for teens with food allergies.

In order to help our teenagers through this period of adjustment, I believe we need to: ask questions, truly listen, keep the lines of communication open, and show compassion, love and understanding. Our children’s’ journey with food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma will soon be their’s alone…they need all the support they can get.

So…what is a teenager’s perspective on growing up and living with the tri-factors of the allergy world?

In typical teenager fashion, Michael tended to want to rush through the questions with yes and no answers. A little ‘pulling of teeth’ garnered a few more ‘tid bits’. As you can see from the picture below, we were still on speaking terms at the end.

michael and me after our interviewIn all honesty, I can’t express enough how proud I am of Michael. He has truly been through so much…he deserves a happy ending.

What is your earliest memory of living with atopic dermatitis?

I remember staying home from school because my skin was so bad. It was probably in kindergarten or Grade 1.

Food allergies?

I remember getting my first allergy testing done on my arm. It was very itchy and it hurt a bit. Not like it is now. I like to get it done on my back now because I don’t like to see it. It doesn’t hurt… I think it hurt because I was young and was scared.

Asthma?

Playing road hockey. I remember having coughing fits.

How would you describe what it feels like having atopic dermatitis?

It sucks!

I mean what does it FEEL like?

I try to block it out. I don’t feel it anymore.

What gave you the greatest comfort when you were uncomfortable?

When you sang ‘Ally Bally Be’ to me.

What did you like about my singing that song?

I liked it when you would sing and rub my back. I would forget about the itching and was able to fall asleep.

Did you ever notice a correlation between food and your skin?

Yes. Oranges for sure. I would eat too many and then my skin would go all red. When it was red it was dry and when it was dry it was terrible.
One time I had a whole bag of Swedish Berries and went all red in the face.
Coke would make my skin break out the next day after I drank it.
Yes, we discovered that Coke had caramel in it which can be derived from dairy. After you stopped drinking Coke, the break outs on your hands went away.

Was it hard to focus at school? What helped?

Yes. Nothing helped.

How would you describe the on-coming of an allergic reaction?

I would get a tingling on the tongue. After that I would feel like I was going to throw up and I would.

Were you ever bullied or teased for your skin issues or food allergies? Did you feel different? Were you treated differently?

No, I was never bullied. Yes, I felt different but I can’t explain it. Yes, I think people felt and still feel bad for me.

What has having multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma taught you?

To be thankful for what you got: my loving family, everything I have and  am able to do.

If you could give any advice to children and parents of children living with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma, what would you say to them?

It will get better eventually…I think. It wasn’t set in stone that I would get better so…I don’t know. I feel I got lucky getting over the eczema part.

What do you do to maintain your skin now?

I moisturize. I like the Vaseline intensive rescue, extra strength, unfragranced formula. I put it on after I shower in the morning and sometimes at night.

Do you feel safe at highschool?

Kind of because I have friends that look out for me. When someone pulls out something with nuts, they tell them to be careful because I’m allergic.

Do you think it helped that your Grade 8 class was educated along with you on the signs and symptoms of an anaphylactic reaction and how to use an epi pen?

I think they feel more comfortable around me.

You eat in the cafeteria surrounded by your food allergens. What steps do you take to ensure you do not encounter any cross-contamination?

I don’t eat anything that isn’t from home. I use hand sanitizer and don’t put my food on the caf table.

You had an allergic reaction this past weekend from cross-contamination. What did that teach you? (Michael ate plain chips from a bag that were contaminated with a dairy dip that his dad had been eating with the chips.)

I need to still be careful eating foods that I can eat.

Eating out in restaurants is on our to do list. Where would you want to go? What would you want to order that you can eat?

Swiss Chalet. A salad with their Chalet dressing, plain baked potato and a 1/4 chicken plate with their special sauce.

Do you ever get frustrated with your food allergies, atopic dermatitis or asthma?

Yes. I can’t eat stuff, I get itchy and I can’t go as hard as I want to playing sports.

What do you look forward to in the future?

Hopefully being able to eat foods that I can’t right now, getting my asthma under control and hopefully I can improve my skin.

So, what do you think about our interview?

Awful…just torture…it was okay…I don’t know…I don’t know what else to say…are we done?michael in our interview

As he walked away munching a Krispie Square, he said, “I hope I get a happy ending…”

“I do too sweetie, I do too!

Remembrance Day: Today I remember all those who dedicated their lives so we may live a better life…especially Thomas Beaton, my grandfather’s brother. He was part of the Merchant Navy and Fishing Fleets (Part 1) and died August 24th 1944. His name, along with many others, is in the Scottish National War Memorial at Edinburgh Castle, Scotland. I have had the priveledge to visit and surprisingly found his name to the shock of my grandfather…priceless!

P.S. As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!

Coping With Multiple Food Allergies, Atopic Dermatitis and Asthma

A Mother’s Perspective…..

Let’s be honest……living with multiple food allergies, atopic dermatitis and asthma is no walk in the park! Dealing with the stresses that they impose can be overwhelming . How does one cope?

Balancing it all can be a challenge.  One that I must admit I am still struggling with. My advice……find an outlet…take time for yourself.  Write a list of ideas that you would like to do that give you pleasure and follow through on them.

I know, easier said than done…………………but worth the effort!

Some of my favourites are:

Getting outside for a power walk or run. Seriously…this has to be the number one ‘feel good’ thing you must do. From the moment Michael was an infant, I took him out for walks in his stroller with our dog. (Not to mention it was the only way to settle him down for a nap…win/win situation!) Four years ago, I gradually turned my power walking into running. I now run every morning. It helps to clear my head and energize me for the day ahead. I even ran in the 2010 (50:26 minutes) and the 2011 (50:10 minutes) 10 km run for the Allergy Asthma Information Association (AAIA). I look forward to the 2012 AAIA run to try to get under 50 minutes. I also hope to one day try a half marathon! Just get active! The overall benefits for your mental and physical health will have immediate and long time beneficial effects. Just 30 minutes a day is what doctors are recommending…it is do-able!

Reading a good book. As much as I enjoy reading and learning from Allergic Living Magazine or related blogs…sometimes I need a break…cue easy reading! I loved the book The Help by Kathryn Stockett. Perfect timing with the movie out in theatres. Tie it in with a girl’s night out! (It was in the theatres when I wrote this…wait for the rental and have a girls’ night in) My mother, friends, neighbours and I are all recycling books between ourselves. It creates lots of great discussion and anticipation of the next good read! I also recommend these three books written by Kate MortonThe Forgotten Garden, Riverton House and The Distant Hours. I am excited to learn she has another book coming new out at the end of 2012. Until then…any recommendations?

Baking/Cooking: Believe it or not…I love to be in the kitchen whipping up something tasty for everyone to enjoy. It gives me great pleasure! It brings out the creative side of me. Not only that…the look of happiness it brings to my kids’ faces when I create a tasty treat or meal for them…well…it’s simply priceless!

Gardening. There is something therapeutic about tending a garden. My garden is generally perennials with my annuals out front in an urn. In the spring,  I love getting in the garden and ripping out all the spent perennials of the last season to unearth new growth. (I am lazy in the fall and just leave the dead perennials as a protective blanket for the winter) Anticipating the arrival of my tulips that survived the squirrels. Purchasing and planting herbs (basil, rosemary and parsley) and vegetables. (usually tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, sometimes peppers and beans) I get sheer enjoyment from watching the cycle of flowers that bloom throughout the summer. Which reminds me…I better plant my tulips soon if I am to see them in the spring!

Getting together with friends. Whether it is to go for a walk, a coffee/tea, a movie, out to the mall, or a play date with the kids. Find the time to keep friendship relationships in tact.  My friends are a super support network that help me to keep my sanity in check.

Couples Getaway. Find the time to get away with your significant other for an afternoon, an evening, a night or more. Spending one-on-one time together to reconnect is a priority for me. Our favourite get away is to head to Niagara-on-the-Lake. We stay at a Bed and Breakfast (Wine and Country Bed and Breakfast), and bicycle around to the wineries. We love to go during the Wine and Herb Festival which is held every weekend in May. Enjoying local cheese, wine, and our beautiful Niagara region together…heaven!

Girlfriend’s Getaway. My two best friends from childhood live on the other side of the country.(Western Canada)  For the past 5 years, we have made the effort to get together. They help keep me grounded. They make up another support network. (I will soon be heading off to see them. More to come!)

A Weekend with my mother. Spending a girls’ weekend with my mother is very special to me. I call my visits, my ‘Peanut Butter Getaways’. We rent girl’s movies, check out local festivals, enjoy a lunch out, make yummy dinners, take long walks, talk.

Church on Sunday. As a family, we have reintroduced church on Sunday. Personally, that hour in church allows me a time for reflection and gives me a sense of peace.

We must give ourselves permission to step away, recharge, have a break.

I love my family…but I was so caught up in ‘survival mode’, so overwhelmed with chaos…I was scared my love for them could not shine through all the darkness that surrounded us.

For my sanity and for the benefit of others, learning how to balance it all has ultimately had a positive effect on everyone.

Finding balance is not a perfect science. Encountering rough patches is ‘par for the course’…recognizing those times, however, is key in order to rebalance. I am not an expert in this…trial and error are my mantra! I am constantly learning from my mistakes. Such is life.

How do you find balance in your life while living with multiple food allergies, asthma, atopic dermatitis or just life in general?  I would love to hear from you! I look forward to your experiences and your comments!

Speaking of balance…check out Carla @ My 1/2 Dozen Daily. She lives an inspiring life of balancing her food allergies, asthma, chequebook, creative cards and sewing projects while raising a family of 4 children with her husband. She is also currently trying to raise money to help those who also strive to find balance in their lives.

P.S. As always, any products I mention in these posts are my own personal recommendations. No one’s paying me to recommend them. They’re just what has worked for our family. Your own needs and preferences may be different!

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