About Max


Maxwell, known to all as Max, is the cutest little trouble maker in our family.  But don’t take us seriously.

Do take, however, his life seriously!

Maxwell was born early in the country of Poland.   He spent nearly his first two weeks of life in the NICU.

Here’s a photo of the little big man from birth:


But he, amazingly enough, escaped the NICU and the hospital and flew home with his cape—joining his big sister, Adelyne:


A couple months later, however, our little fighter man was in for one of the first fights of his life.  Take a look here:


RSV turned to pneumonia…Leading to a lot of things including congestive heart failure and a blood transfusion and 7 days in a coma and 11 days in the ICU.  While he was dying, people around the world stopped and prayed that he would live:


Live he did!  All glory to God.

However, Max still found himself in and out of hospitals for the next half of a year of his life:


(Germany this time)

Finally—at 7 months of age, and only freshly out of the latest hospital but stable enough to fly—his parents returned to  US soil.  Max, the American born in Poland, got to meet his country!  And his family!  And so many people that loved and prayed for his life.

Here is the kicker—it’s not as if Maxwell didn’t go through enough already—but on top of serious life and death issues, it was noticed very early on that Maxwell also had something VERY, VERY wrong with him.

Every time he ate something with milk, he reacted.  Sometimes welting.  Sometimes throwing up.  Sometimes experiencing breathing problems.

All of them scary.

And then we noticed he reacted to the touch of other foods.

All of it scary.

Many allergy tests later confirmed all of the bad news—Maxwell has allergies.  Life-threatening allergies.  Allergies that can end his life.  His precious, hard-fought life.


This blog, Allergy to the Max, was started by one set of parents floundering through this crazy maze of TRYING…simply trying to raise an allergy kid in this big, big world.

It’s hard—but our Max is GREATLY worth the fight!

We hope this blog helps you find resources, recipes, inspiration, and rejuvenation as you, allergy mom or dad, fight the good fight, too.

After all, in the allergy world, it really does take a village to keep our children safe!

God bless and good reading!

We look forward to hearing from you,

Brooke and Richard


(Adelyne, Maxwell, and Josephine)

12 thoughts on “About Max”

  1. Allergies are no joke and we are glad Max is doing well and you are all adjusting. I cannot imagine the constant precautions and vigilance that must dominate your lives but I do and did have a taste of this life at one point.

    My Aniela, while we were still in Poland, was also determined, after I complained she has allergies, to be allergic to almost anything you can imagine except fish. She was “allergic” to tomatoes, onions, wheat, rice, eggs and many other things-Prior to this, she had loved all these foods and would ask for tomatoes cut up with onions, garlic and a touch of bullion for breakfast. Can you imagine getting an order like this for breakfast from a 2 year old? This was to be no more. Anyway, I scrambled for a few weeks looking for other alternatives, spent so much money on some grain and foods I had never heard of from the only specialty store for “allergics” and vegans in Poznan at the time. It was hell and Aniela was miserable. I started to do some research to complement my medical knowledge. I always had eczema but I was 27 yrs old when i developed asthma provoking allergies to pollen, rug weed, dust mites and some trees, especially birch, and I noticed her onset of symptoms were in sync with mine, always. I discovered something in immunology called cross reactivity with regards to the tests that were done, I slowly started reintroducing all those foods under strict supervision, and nothing happened. She is allergic to fewer things than I am but not food per se. Halleluya. I know this was not your case and his allergies are very real, its the few weeks of having to stay away from almost everything that rocked me wild and allows me to think I know your pain and challenges.

    One other allergy prevails for both of us and was especially troubling in Poland, a huge consumer –cigarettes!! Can you imagine? Now, contrary to popular belief that the smoke is the harmful element in allergies, It is actually some (not yet known) of the about 4000 toxins in the cigarettes that bother us, some cigarettes are worse than others (it is hard to determine as I am not able to ask all smokers around me what brand they are smoking.) So without the smoke, the upholstery, clothes and anywhere toxins are deposited can provoke itchy throat and inner ears, coughing, hoarseness with a croaky voice and the life threatening , edema of throat, lips, face etc. We used taxis a lot and I always had to ask for a “non-smoking” taxi-many a time, one would arrive and I’d smell ciggs in the upholstery as soon as I got in. I’d have to ask the driver to leave –I stopped explaining myself as they could not understand. They would insist that they had their window open while they smoked and “there is no smoke.”

    I remember one episode at the famous Veranda restaurant on Paderewskiego with friends. I started to itch and swell without seeing or smelling any smoke. I started to think it was the food, which would have been new. We were all baffled and I had to leave, on our way out we saw someone smoking at the other end of the restaurant. Damn! Dividing a restaurant with smoking and non smoking sections is a big joke. Once upon a time when i was a kid it used to be like that in airplanes -Imagine that.

    I am so happy with the bans on smoke in some places in the US and hope this continues to every street in every state in the country. This was one of my reasons for returning to the USA. Europe has too many smokers everywhere and to ask someone to “quench” their cigarette is almost unheard of unless they are in your house. I feel people should not have a right to suck others into their self destructive habits, sometimes jeopardizing lives, without their permission and that is exactly what smoking in public is. There is so much ignorance on this issue. In the meantime we continue with our inhalers and antihistamines. I always say that if I had to choose other illnesses over this I would be at a loss. There is growing awareness of food allergies and Max will be a pro at keeping himself safe by the time he is a teenager. Never ever leave that epipen at home. If possible, have more than one. Many hugs to your cherubs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. oh man! you know who aniela is like??? RICH! he’s allergic to all of those dust mites, etc. and he has horrible eczema too. we now have outside dogs because of him. i can’t begin to let the dogs go. and i guess he is also allergic to the potting soil (or mold that grows on top of the soil) of live indoor plants. so we have just a very few.

      you’re so right about more than one epipen i was thinking we need a second set. i need to renew his asthma inhaler, so i think i’ll see if the doc will write a prescription for that one too!

      big hugs—you are an amazing lady! how’s all of that doctoring going in the states? loving it???



    1. Max was born in Poznan—we lived in the States for a year of his life, though. But the rest we’ve been trying over here (he’s 5 now). It’s quite hard. Be very careful with packaged items—as I don’t quite think the processing is as carefully monitored as the States—and Max has quite a few reactions to bags that say “may contain…” i mean—like reactions nearly every time. Yet I keep trying to see if perhaps there will be “an item” that we can risk. The only items he hasn’t had reactions to, thus far, are pretzels (of course—without milk). How hold is your kid? School is a huge one—today I was at Max’s school program and watched the kids eating everything owie and then running around catching each other and sharing the same microphone, lips pressed against it, and so forth. How long have you been in Poland?


      1. I have one turning 3 this month, and the younger one turning 1 next month. Oldest is egg and peanut, however he is doing baked egg now. Youngest is milk, peanut, and we think egg which was a surprise after a 0 for egg on blood work. We are in Warsaw for 3 years, we just arrived here 5 months ago in September.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. yes it does seem like almost everything has may contain statements for our allergens must be lots of shared lines here in Poland or just liability statement due to cleaning equipment. I wouldn’t suspect dedicated lines free of allergens in a country with less prevalence of food allergies. So far we have been okay with everything that says may contain but always reading and always watching. I’ll have to watch for the milk may contains as my youngest starts eating more packaged food items. I’m really surprised we haven’t had any reactions because my oldest is in the highest class for peanuts (class 6 by blood work).


  2. poland is very good at marking all of the allergens in the items packaged as well as may contain. if you add the app google translate to your phone, you should able to scan any item and see the ingredients. if you need any help, don’t hesitate to contact me: brooke at international dot pl … Be very aware that many do not know what an Epi Pen is—so, if you send your allergy little to a preschool, you will have to walk them through everything. but warsaw may have allergen-friendly preschools, as well 🙂 best of luck!


  3. i should also mention that i did not send max to preschool because his reactions are very topical as well as digested. he even has problems breathing when a can of peanuts is opened. so, i waited until kindergarten to send him.


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