I will let Nancy Grace Speak for me…

Yeehaw Maxwell!

Today I think that I have cried a few too many tears.  It’s not just because my husband and daughter are far, far away where there is sun while I am in a home heated by coal.

Yes.  I said coal.  And a wood stove.  Yes.  I just said heated by coal and wood.

And there is no sun.

Did I point that out yet?

You should also know that I am cold because I am NOT that great of a pioneer woman.

And the coal at this moment only heats the hot water.

Therefore, I am bundled up, while my kids are stuck in their upstairs bedrooms, in their cribs, visiting with one another while mommy drinks her coffee and writes this blog.

But it’s okay because I will chalk it up to mental health for mommy time.

You know you do it, too.  Don’t judge!

Also, they share a room.  So, technically, they are actually just “playing” upstairs—even though they are separated by two separated but caged cells.

I love caged cells.

In any case, as I sat around this morning WAY too early awake (thank you trash collectors and our 3 large dogs for alerting me of them), I have been reading the news and weeping at half of it.

One.  Probably because I miss my missing family.

Two.  Because the job that I have as an allergy mommy is SUCH A BIG ONE!

But don’t take my word for it.  Take the word of Nancy Grace.  On her HLN page she shares 7 tragic deaths of mostly teenagers (and 1 smaller child) to allergy-related deaths.

And asthmatic (probably).

My son is both.

Allergy and asthmatic.

Death is a word that hinges on my mind every second of the day as I walk him through life.  And seeing the fact that these photos highlight teenagers makes me EVEN MORE AWARE that while I can police him now—perhaps it is when he is MUCH, MUCH older that I should be very, very afraid.

And then I read another article shared by a friend.  It is me.  Me trying to figure out when my two year old tells me that something is wrong.  But this article was written by a woman whose son is 6.  So much more communicable.  Yet no less scary.  It was written because he picked up trash.  Trash.

My allergy-parent friends…This thing that we live is not all in our imaginations.  It is our reality.  And it is scary.

But we can do it.

You can do it.

I can do it.

Your kid can do it.

My kid can do it.

It just takes 24/7 for the rest of my/your/his/her lives to do it.

The end.

(I would say enjoy the articles—but, instead, today I will simply say PLEASE READ!)

Nancy Grace highlights 7 children that have died from allergy/allergy-related causes:


Anne Radcliffe writes:  A terrifying day in the life of an allergy mom:


10 Must Tips for All Allergy Parents



1. There is NO 5-second fall on the floor rule. EVER.  With your allergy kid. NEVER EVER!  You never know what fell on the floor before your child’s food.   Always better safe than sorry.  We live this.

2. Always have cookies or other treats with you that your child can have in case there are sweets being distributed—that way your child will NEVER feel left out. (Find out what cookies or candies they can have—or make a bunch and keep them handy)

3. Always have food when you go to a restaurant or a friend’s house. Do not rely on your friend’s word that “there is no…” in the food. Your friend may not really know nor have a good understanding of the consequences.

4. If you do go to a restaurant, ask what oil they cook in.  Ask for an allergy menu.  Study it carefully.  Talk to the manager.  Do absolutely anything you need to protect your child the best you can.  You need to know everything.  (In the end, it’s still a risk)

5. Always wipe down the table where you sit.

6. Always wipe down the grocery cart that you touch.

7. ALWAYS ask the ice cream counter to WASH the scoop with hot water and soap before you get your child the sorbet. ALWAYS. They will be inconvenienced and roll their eyes—you stick to it and MAKE them clean it well.

8. NEVER EVER EVER leave your home without ANY of your medicines. Your allergy medicine. Your inhaler. Your auto injector. IF you leave your home without them—YOU TURN AROUND FOR THEM. The world will wait. It will. I guarantee it.

9. TRUST your child when he/she says that the food you gave—even though you read the label 50 times —is OWIE! Always trust your child’s instincts. Kids like to eat. Your child is most likely telling you the truth and NOT trying to get out of eating something.

10. Once you find a brand or an item that your child can safely eat—don’t try and find other items at better costs. The only thing better than finding an actual store-bought item that is safe for your child is making it 100,000,000% from scratch yourself. If money is really difficult, then make the food at home. Time consuming? YES!  Most cost effective?  YES!  Worth it? YES!

How about you? What tips do you have for me?

Life-threatening Allergy Parent—You must teach your child to live this phrase.

He knows how to really wear his cape!

My stomach tightens into one million knots every time my son leaves my field of vision. And this is not an exaggeration.

Unless, perhaps, he is at home with his babysitter—because I know my home is a VERY controlled environment.

Or if he is with his daddy somewhere—because his daddy loves him as much as I do.

But — and this RARELY happens  (church is one of the only other exceptions)— if my son is not in my physical presence and is somewhere else in the world, I nearly lose my mind.

I know that the Bible says, “Be still and know that I am God…”

I know that the Bible says, “Fear not, for the Lord your God is with you…”

But the Bible also says, “Be wise and discerning…”

And these are the words that I, life-threatening allergy mom, live by.


The problem lies, however, in the fact that I will not keep my son in a bubble.

He does not currently live in a bubble. Therefore, we have life-saving medicine with us everywhere we go—and, far too often, we see him have an allergic reaction to something that we JUST CAN’T PUT OUR FINGER ON.

A wise mom once told me, “You can keep your son hidden or teach him how to live.”

Mind you, this is when my son barely escaped death and woke up from his coma and was escaping the ICU where they were holding his body hostage—for good reasons—to keep his heart from failing and his lungs living.

So, you can imagine that I wanted my son to live in a bubble. But that is not the way God intended man to be.

He designed us to be interactive. To see the world. To enjoy his creation. And to live life to the fullest.

And because we DO want our son to enjoy life and live, we, my husband, Richard, and I, Brooke, have adhered to one VERY strict rule with our son to keep him as safe as possible.

It is this:

You see, we first discovered our son had extremely severe allergies around 7 months of age. Severe.

Head welting. Throwing up.

Not long after—body swollen and welted. Not sure what the insides were doing.

And, of course, more times than I can recall, welting, breathing problems, and, well, you name it===he’s lived it.

We HAD to get this reaction thing under control—And this is how we did it:
As soon as my son was cognizant enough, we started telling him, “Maxwell, this is OWIE!!! No touch!”

And we would ask him, “Is this owie?”

And he would respond, “Owie, no touch!”

It’s not that we want him to fear the world, but he does need to know that in the world lurks great danger.

Yes. We scare him about it too.

It’s okay, Allergy Parent, for you to scare your kid. Because scaring them is caring. And caring by scaring is keeping your child as safe as you possibly can.

We all remember the tragedy of the young teenage girl that accidentally took a bite of a peanut butter Rice Krispie cookie before spitting it out—-medicines, 3 auto injections, and air lifting her out of her location later—-she still tragically passed away.

I say this so that you understand—-YOUR CHILD KNOWS as soon as the food touches his/her lips and tongue that it HURTS. The food hurts.

BUT your child does not ALWAYS know, by seeing the food, that it kills.

The Bible also says, “Appearances are deceptive but God sees the heart…”

My friend, food is the same.

By appearance, it may appear safe and not harmful at all—-but what is in it that could kill?

Do you know?

Does your child know?

How can you tell?

More often than not, you can’t.

Therefore, it is mandatory as an ALLERGY PARENT to teach your child to “Just Say No!”


There is no question about it.

My little toddler of a son has been offered food by sweet kids ever since he could waddle around, but we have instilled enough life-saving fear in him to not even TOUCH the food offered to him.


You see, he reacts as well to contact on his skin.


Therefore, he HAS to be vigilant at all times.

And by teaching him to “JUST SAY NO” he won’t touch the item proffered by sweet children.

The children offering, they don’t understand, but it’s okay—-one day they will. If I am close, I simply say, “Oh, that is so sweet but it gives Max BIG owies! Thank you, though.”

Because it is kind.

But this sort of kindness can also kill.

And so, my allergy-rearing parent and friend for life, be adamant and insistent. Teach your child from the moment they begin to waddle away from your legs that there is only ONE answer when they are offered food—-

That answer is NO!

It may just be the one word to save your child’s life.

Easter with an allergy kid. How does this work?

Already covered in candy smiles!
Already covered in candy smiles!

Dear Parents and Friends of Allergy Kids…

The holidays are TOUGH! Capital T through H TOUGH!

Thankfully the big EB (Easter Bunny) knows the kind of candy and cookies and snacks my little allergy man can eat, so his Easter basket was S-A-F-E.

But the Easter egg hunts are much harder! Especially when you don’t live in America and have plastic eggs everywhere at easy disposal. Which I don’t.

So this is what I did—and it was a great success.

Before the egg hunt I told my boy (he’s two turning 3 in May)…

“Max, we are going to go hunt eggs. It will be fun.”

“Fun. Right, Mom!”

“But the eggs are owie, Maxie. So you CAN’T eat them, okay?!”

“Okay, Momma.”

“Remember, Max. The eggs are owie. So you can’t eat them.”

“Owie eggs. Okay, Momma.”

And I stayed with him through the hunt.

Which is hard when you have two littles that both need help and your husband is out of country. That’s where great friends come in and help you out.

My littlest, Josephine, was taken on her hunt by a friend while I followed Max around.

He had SO much fun collecting the eggs.

the egg hunt
The hunt!

And then—after the hunt—came the super hard part. THE DISTRIBUTION.

So, I kept reminding Max that since the eggs were owie, he was going to share his eggs—BUT after he shared his eggs with everyone, then he was going to get a super big treat!

He was so excited. He walked around the entire crowd and gave each person one chocolate egg. After he finished passing them all out, I gave him a BIG bag of jelly candies! (I know—just what he needs—sugar 😉 ).

He was so happy. He sat right down and began to eat them.

This year it wasn’t so hard. Again—he’s turning three in the next month. But I do know that as he gets older he may have more longing for the chocolate everyone else is eating. But, it’s funny, even though he’s little—he already knows how badly the food hurts him when he eats it.

So perhaps it won’t be as hard as I already imagine it to be?

Time will tell.

In the meantime, the Easter egg hunt was tremendous fun! Even though he didn’t get to eat a single one.

What about you? How do you do Easter when there is only one in your family that has allergies? Do you eliminate all of the allergy foods or have specially marked eggs? Or do you let the children simply have fun but make sure to separate very carefully in the end?

This allergy thing—it’s a lot of work.

But I know that your child is worth all of the extra work—just like my Max!

God bless,

Be Very Afraid of Church!


Okay.  Here’s the truth, and you should hear it straight from me.

You should be VERY afraid of church!

At least for the sake of your Allergy Kid.

Here, let me explain.

When we went to bring our child for the first time to nursery at church, I panicked.  There were goldfish crackers being served to the kids.  The kids were between 1 and 2 years of age.  Which means, kids were at the age where they EAT all of the time off of the floor.  And, all of the time, they drop food on the floor.

One goldfish in the mouth of my kid and it would be an emergency call to me.

I know because on multiple occasions already, I had lived it.  My Max reacted to milk.  To the touch of milk.  To the ingestion of milk.

Not just a little—a lot!

And so, when I saw goldfish in nursery at church, I panicked!

BUT—I had a choice to make:

1.  Leave and never return


2.  Explain his severe allergies to the nursery classroom

I decided that my son would need to leave me at some point in my life—and, while I was in the States, it would be really pleasant to be able to sit in church without a little hugging my leg.

Therefore, I seriously addressed my son’s allergies with the attending workers, and we left our boy in good hands and God’s hands…

Here are the issues we addressed, however, just in case you find yourself in the same place we found ourselves:

1.  Our son is deathly allergic to peanuts.  Please do not even touch him if you have touched one.

2.  Our son has an EPI-Pen in his backpack.  Please call 911 immediately if you see him go into shock for any reason and then call us.  (For the most part, the church nursery workers will not be able to administer an EPI-Pen.  But you can double check where you are and see if they are able.  You may have to sign a release.  We did)

3.  Our son has Benadryl in his backpack.  If he eats anything with milk, he will welt and react.  Please call us immediately.

4.  Please do not touch our son if you have milk on your hands.  He will react.

5.  Please make sure our son does not take ANY OTHER CHILD’S bottle or sippy cup.  It could be disastrous.

6.  Please make sure that Max does not get or touch any goldfish.  He has his very own snacks.  Please make sure he only eats his food.

7.   In case of emergency, call 911 first, but then please see his ID bracelet.  It has our phone numbers on it in case you need them.

Oh—yes, Maxwell has a medical ID bracelet.  And, believe it or not, it was not that hard to get him to wear it.  I’m a huge fan of them.  They are visible reminders for EVERYONE around your child that your child has something that is serious.  But don’t worry—they’re stylish, too.

I’ll attach a link at the bottom of the page to get you started on that journey.  It’s an expensive investment—but greatly worth it.  Especially when your children are young and uncommunicable.  

8.  Here is our phone number (write it on the sign-in paper, too).  If you even have a slight question, call right away.

It doesn’t matter how many times you give your number—the more places it is written or worn (such as on the bracelet), the better!

9.  Have fun!  (Perhaps even smile at them as you leave…)

At this point, you will notice the nursery workers start to cry as loudly as the kids in the room.  Your heart will have great pity on them.

They will be afraid.

But it is okay—because your child’s life is now in their hands.  And it is of the utmost importance that they realize-really, really realize-how deadly serious your child’s allergies are.

My dear Allergy Parents, you have every right—be very, very afraid of church.  But this doesn’t mean don’t go.  It simply means be prepared to scare the staff—Your kid is coming!

And thank them profusely when you go to collect your kid!  They deserve it, you know they do.

In the meantime, a VERY Happy Easter from Max’s home (here in Poland) to yours wherever you are around the world,

B and R

Here is a link if you are interested in finding the perfect medical alert wearable jewelry for your child.  It’s worth the investment.  And the peace of mind:  http://www.laurenshope.com

Here’s a photo of our Max with his manly jewelry, too, eating soy blueberry yogurt.


Keep Calm and Allergy On!

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