Category Archives: Allergies

Heaven in Poland…

Nungesser Family

You have no idea how HAPPY I am at this moment.

I know…I may be a year behind this beautiful article, but ah well…As the old mantra goes, “Better late than never!”

So, I have noticed that the need for expanding Max’s diet has changed like CRAZY ever since he actually went to school.  He was no longer home for me to prepare his food.  And the city that we live closest to has a VERY small selection of hardly anything that is Max friendly in terms of cheese or meats or spreads.  Yes, there are always carrot sticks—but, come now!  How many of those can we actually eat?  Enough—but that is usually not all.

Since Max had a horrible reaction once to chick peas, we don’t risk hummus, although it could have been cross contamination?  Who knows.  But, in any case, we avoid foods that we notice he has reacted to before (And, when I say reaction, I mean, “Mom, my mouth is burning!  My mouth is on fire!”) …Therefore, I emphasize again, we could send him with carrots for lunch every day but we sure would like to send him with more!

There is a brand of bacon that is milk free—but cold bacon?  unless you’re serving me a fresh BLT, then, umm…not the same, eh?!

And sliced ham?  Well, much has milk additives for flavoring—not all, but much.  He doesn’t seem to like ham that much, though, but should that really hurt my feelings?

He’s allergic to beef.

He doesn’t like chicken.

He does like items with eggs in them but not eggs by themselves.  Currently ruling out egg-salad sandwiches.  Maybe his taste buds will change in this year for that one???

But, my point is, packing second breakfast, lunch, and afternoon snack is getting more difficult as he grows.

I don’t mind that he doesn’t have a huge palate for meat.  I mean, I love meat but what?  Am I going to force my children to eat it?  Not if they don’t care for it.

THANKFULLY he likes cookie butter.  He likes jam.  He likes tons of fruits.

We still gotta work on the veggies—but, hey!  What 6-year-old doesn’t need to expand his veggie palate, eh?!

In the MEANTIME…I am seriously OVER THE MOON THRILLED!

I was desperately Google searching today to figure out how I can make Max grilled cheese and pizza with cheese that is NOT nasty soy tasting when I came upon this beautiful article!

You have to also understand…I found Max a DELICIOUS…seriously, a fantastic cheese once at the grocery store in Germany with a rice/coconut base to it.  Not only that but it melted beautifully.  And, have I mentioned that it was DELICIOUS?  If not…YUM YUM!

And so I thought—I’ll just order from Germany this same cheese.  UMMM?  Euro costs, plus shipping, plus tax?  Yeah.  It was like a $40 could be purchase for cheese for at that time—a 5-year-old.  No, thank you!

But today—in my Mom wants to avoid laundry moment—I began to compensate for “Bad Housekeeping Mom” with “Good Feed Your Son Mom” and the search commenced.

And it led me to this…This beautiful piece of gold:

http://www.mintel.com/blog/food-market-news/vegan-cheese-gets-creative-in-poland

Thank you, beautiful Honorata Jarocka!  You are my new heroine…

After searching all the brands/companies she has mentioned, I have found SO MANY cheeses to order and try for my little man!

And, if they are good enough—I think I’ll just switch the family over in one fell swoop…so that way I’m not busy making two of everything.  Two cutting boards.  Two knives.  Two bowls for two different yet similar meals .

Well, if you are a dairy-free mom of a little and nut free one (too) — well, hey !  You know what I am talking about.  Especially if your kid reacts even to the slightest touch.

And, believe me…prep work is WAY harder than you think…ask my mom.  She kept setting Max’s knife directly on the counter.  NO!  Set it on a paper towel or plastic clean plate, please, while prepping.

Wait!  New cutting board, please!

Yes…My mom is the best in the world…but it is way harder parenting an allergy kid than ANY mom would think.

Anyhow, if you are like I am and live in Poland or perhaps Europe and are having the SAME trouble as I am feeding your little one—may this article lead you to the companies and the search and the FIND for what you need!

All my allergy-momma love to you on your journey,

B (which stands for Brooke—but most commonly known as Mom of Adelyne, Max, and Jo)

 

An article to make one think…

Here I am … one woman responsible for 3 lives. It sucks the very wind out of me. It is hard enough to be responsible for my life—but compound that with the lives of wee ones is overwhelming.

Then add dangers to their lives and there you have it.

A mommy in paranoia.

If you don’t know Max’s backstory, he never was easy. After 10 years of marriage, my husband and I discovered we were pregnant with our 2nd child. Our rejoicing after years of infertility turned to sorrow as we lost our baby near the end of Trimester 1. Max came 2 years after that—in our 12th year of marriage. Just hours outside of his 34th week.

After spending a couple weeks in the NICU, we brought him home only to deliver him to death through RSV turned pneumonia—blood transfusion, coma, congestive heart failure and a stint of being bagged before our eyes.

Saying we miraculously made it through this is truly saying miraculously we made it through it.

Only to discover his life-threatening allergies.

I kind-of feel as if Max has handed me enough—but he threw this on the barbecue anyway.

And now it is my every breath helicopter mommy moment of my waking day.

Keeping him safe. Alive. And yet letting him live.

This young girl’s death is but another reminder to me that paranoia and triple checking to make sure items are safe IS NOT nuts.

It’s life.

And that’s exactly what I want Max to have.

Here is the article of sorrow.

My heart aches for this family: https://medium.com/@Weresquirrel/progress-or-backlash-the-dilemma-of-allergy-advocacy-8046d658502a

Dedicated or Shared? Cross contamination is a VERY real thing.

18700551_856490394526634_3787279801794236211_o

If you must know, my children LOVE Oreo cookies.

I mean, I have read the studies that refer to them as #addictive as cocaine (by the way, unsubstantiated).  And I have even blocked a “former” Facebook friend when I posted the first picture of my youngest, Josephine, enjoying with great delight her first Oreo at about a year old.  This said “friend” went on to share my post of my daughter, attached with said articles mentioned above, and then wrote how HORRIBLE I was to feed my daughter these delights.

Needless to say, I wrote this lady a letter that shared my opinion of her exploitation of my daughter and immediately blocked her.

Some people!

But, regardless of this lady’s opinion on my parenting, I love Oreos, my husband loves them, and my children love them.

Best of all, they are “supposedly” allergy-friendly for our Max.

That’s a miracle.  To find a cookie that does not include any sort of nut or milk product?  It’s like finding an oasis in the desert.

When we go to birthday parties?  I always make sure Max has his Oreos to eat while the other kids gorge on cake.  Because of the creamy goodness, Max has never yet complained!  And, thankfully, that has allowed me to not make my kid his own cake for every birthday party he attends.

I mean, I am not a baker, folks!

But there is a big thing about processing, and Oreo just recently had to answer to the calls of it.  It is called “Dedicated” or “Shared” processing lines.

Basically, it means that there are processing lines dedicated to be free of any allergen product to touch it.  Or there are shared lines that mean that allergens touch the processing line.

This may sound like a lot, but, believe me, I have the child that IS the one to respond to cross-contamination from “Shared” lines.

Just the other day, I returned from Torun.  Torun is my favorite city in Poland, and it is where the Polish people claim to be the “home” of gingerbread.  Many parts of Europe claim this.

But it is DEFINITELY the home of Nicolaus Copernicus, the Polish astronomer that discovered that the earth revolves around the sun (heliocentric theory).

In any case, it’s a wonderland of science, beauty, history, and GINGERBREAD!

Most gingerbread, my son has been able to eat.

Therefore, when I checked and double checked the ingredients of the cookie I was going to bring him from Torun, I bought it confident of the fact that it contained no allergens.

Max was so excited.

He had his cookie!  It was a bear!  He couldn’t wait!

And then he took his first bite.

“My tongue is burning, Momma!”

An then welting began on his forehead.

Needless to say,  my heart sank.

It was IMPOSSIBLE to give my son ANYTHING!  My heart broke, tears filled my eyes, and I began our allergy routine to care for my son.

I told Max how sorry I was that he had owies, and I was so sorry that I couldn’t buy him a special souvenir.

As is with most allergy kids, my son, used to his fate and greatly disliking pain that comes with eating something “owie”, said in utter graciousness, “That’s okay, Momma.  Next time just bring me some gum or Oreos.”

Most likely, the gingerbread I brought Max was baked on a cookie tray that apparently must have been shared with something that makes Max hurt.

Dedicated or Shared?

This wasn’t the first time Max has reacted to something that was made with allergy-free ingredients.  But it was the most recent time.  And it just reiterates for me the fact that ingredients are NOT enough.

Dedicated or Shared?

Either word carries with it joy or pain.

My son is proof of that.

***

Here is a recent article sharing the “safety” of the plain varieties of Oreo Cookies for those of us living in the allergen-world:

Regarding the Manufacture of Oreos with Respect to Peanuts and Tree Nuts

Good News! I am to be published again…

first day of school

Well, I got GREAT news again today.  I have a second article picked up by The Mighty that will be published in the future.  When it is published, they will send me the email with the link, which I will then pass along to you.

In the meantime, my ALLERGY BOY is officially in the 5/6 year old class at our local school, and the school is scared.  I am scared.  Max’s dad is scared.  I think we are ALL scared.  In a small village, Max is the first to arrive carrying EpiPens and life-threatening allergies.  But it has been hashed out: he will only ever consume or touch his food.

This may not seem like a big deal in your country where food allergies are well known, discussed and people are pro-active on the fight-BUT in the country which we reside, it is still a very big unknown, under discussed, and, therefore, very scary for all of us in the game.

Emphasizing how scary this life we walk in this world we walk is, I bring you an absolutely tragic story of a woman that, after being repeatedly assured at a restaurant in Hungary her food was nut free in all ways, suffered anaphylactic shock that has left her in a state of suffering from life-altering brain injuries.

I have already watched my son receive CPR treatment while he was in a full-coma in the ICU.  The nurses kicked us out and bagged our son while waiting for the doctor to arrive.  It is because of their life-saving treatments, he appears okay.  Eventually they were able to intubate him and get a steady flow of oxygen going.

But, the thing is, every single day that I walk my son outside and purchase a food item for him, I risk this exact thing happening.  Because, no matter how many guarantees of safety we are given, my son walks a very unforgiving road.

Fear makes me want to hide him away.  But that is not living.

And so we walk.  Hoping for life.

***

Please click here to watch the video and read the link:

Heartbreaking scenes on This Morning as ex-producer left paralysed by nut allergy is comforted by Ruth Langsford on show

Will this make me die?

nungesser 3

My poor little man.  He LOVES Kinder Eggs.

What are those, you may ask?  OH THEY ARE HEAVEN ENCASED IN CHOCOLATE, I may add.

They are brilliant itty bitty little toys that half of the world loves, the other half hates.  The parents, we are a mixture of in-between.

There are YouTubes.  Millions and millions of hits that have children seriously JUST UNWRAPPING the Kinder Egg and showing what is inside this chocolate delight.

It’s ridiculous…but yet guess what my children choose to watch when they get TV?

Yes.  That’s right—The Kinder Egg kids and these ridiculous toys.

But my children love them…just like the kid next door.  And they are FANTASTIC for bribery!

Yes, I proudly bribe my children and expect great results from said bribery 😉

Even my allergy kid LOVES these surprise eggs…He just has to get a little more creative when opening them.

Sometimes he smashes them open with a hammer.

Other times, he puts on latex gloves.

Once I wrapped his hands in tin foil.

Another time, plastic wrap.

We have taught him to break it open.  Then he waits for us to move the chocolate, clean the table, and wipe down the plastic egg surprise container.

WHY WOULD YOU DO THIS????  You may ask.

Isn’t this a LOT of work?

Yes.  It is.  We do it because in this life he leads, it’s a small amount of time for my boy to be “just one of the guys!”  Even though Just One of the Guys requires lots of prep and cleaning work.

But he is thrilled each time—even though he can’t eat the treat.

Today, however, he surprised me.  I was cleaning the mess that was made (his sister went poopy on the potty, earning her and Maxie a kinder egg—see post here), when Maxwell stated, “Is chocolate what will kill me???”

I stopped and stared.

He got it.

He got that there are foods out there that will kill him.

That if he eats or ingests or even samples them, he very very very very well could die.

And I am not sure if at that moment I was okay, happy, relieved, or sad.

Maybe I was a mixture of ALL because it’s the reality of his world.  But it’s not the reality of mine.  Or his dad’s or his sisters or even his cousins.

My son could die if he simply ingests the wrong food.

And we live every moment of every day making sure that his food is safe so that he will live.

Boy—when I woke this morning, I had NO IDEA that a Kinder Egg would bring such perspective into my life.

Not just the annoying little plastic toy 😉

The Mighty!

Perhaps you are here because you have been directed here by The Mighty, the online site that focuses on Real People Real Stories!  

If so, WELCOME!  I hope that you enjoy Allergy to the Max!  A site I started to find better ways to manage being a mommy to Max.  He’s a tough nut to crack, which is ironic considering he can’t even TOUCH A NUT!

If not, then I hope that you’ll hop on over to The Mighty and see a post that they recently picked up!  Super excited about it.

Here it is:  5 Tips for Managing Your Child’s Food Allergies Abroad .

Enjoy the read and please like & share,

Brooke

Mom of Max