Tag Archives: dairy allergies

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

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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

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

The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies…

Do you honestly want to know one of the FIRST things I did when I left all 3 of my children with my hubs and went to visit my family in Arizona????

I BOUGHT, ATE, AND ENJOYED PEANUTS!!!!

And I felt guilty the ENTIRE time.

I ate them thinking that I shouldn’t.  After all, we have been a SERIOUSLY peanut-free home for at least 2 years.

And, second of all, I felt as if I was cheating on my kid Maxwell (that I could kill with my peanuts)…AND ESPECIALLY my daughter Adelyne (age 10—no allergies) because she was suppose to be on the trip with me—eating peanuts right alongside of me.  Snacking.  On peanuts.  No worries.  Carefree…

At home, if she EVER eats a peanut at a friend’s home or touches one—she has to immediately wash her hands and brush her teeth—and then MAKE SURE that her toothbrush is not touching her brother’s (just in case there is cross-contamination in toothbrush remnants???!!!).

Friends…you should seriously know that it is not just the allergy kid—NOR the allergy parents—that live every single moment of their days on edge…It’s the siblings, too.

And it is just as tough for them—especially because they are kids.  WE MAKE MISTAKES as parents in regards to our kids and their allergies.  Which means, kids make mistakes, too.  After all, they are kids.

Here is one mom’s honest look on raising her now 9-year-old who lives with egg and peanut allergies, featured on Huffington Post.

As a mom of a bubble boy (pretty much he ONLY will touch or eat food I hand him personally)…

blowingbubbles

I hear her.

Notice each of my kids have their own bubble blowers???  BECAUSE MAX DOESN’T SHARE ANYTHING that goes in his mouth.  After all, Josephine ate yogurt for lunch.  He welts at the touch of milk…he vomits at the ingestion of beef…he breaks out to the peanut kiss.

Did I say, I hear her????  Because I do.

Enjoy the read found on Huffington Post:  The Worst Part About Parenting a Child With Food Allergies

xo b

Raising a Nutty Kid…My child’s #TBT and Reaction story.

My son did not have a killer kiss.  It was, however, a HUGE wake-up that it could actually happen.  I have shared my son’s story before, and since today is #TBT Your child’s reaction and story, I thought I would just link it in here, so you have a chance to read.

As in every story, his is evolving…every day.  And, every day, I learn more about him, what makes him sick, how I fight every day for his life, and try not to panic about his future.

But I know that I am not alone.  So many of you out there are like me.  Fighting for your children’s safety, too.  I commend you!  Carry on, Mom and Dad warriors.  You rock!

Here’s my kid’s story.  And a great look at how Maxwell’s allergies have sure humbled this once very arrogant momma 😉

Raising a Nutty Kid—Maxwell’s Story!

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Premature and Food Allergies???

My son was born 8 hours into my 35th week—which in itself is a miracle.  I started having contractions around 17 weeks.  At 22 weeks, I was just praying that I would make 25 weeks.  At 29 weeks, I was receiving medicine to stall contractions.  And, at 34 weeks, I finished my time in the hospital until my water broke and he rushed out.

Okay, kidding.  He did not rush out.

He came out 4 and 1/2 LONG hours later — especially because the epidural I was begging for never came at the Polish hospital where I was delivering my little man.  And that pain and humor all tied into one is best saved for a personal retelling of my story (as I find myself extremely humorous, so you must see my expressions while storytelling :)).

He was not making noise when he was born—and so they slapped the cry into him.  Literally slapped the cry into him.  Just like the good ol’ days (that you hear of) or the movies that you see.

He was not a healthy looking color although they gave him a 10 on the APGAR scale (totally a huge LOL for us).

And within 5 minutes of his birth, he was whisked away from us and put in NICU, in an incubator, on oxygen, and a feeding tube.  He was also immediately started on antibiotics as there was already an infection in his lungs that they called “newborn pneumonia”—that’s the best description we could get from the doctors considering having a baby in a foreign country is REALLY difficult already and then having a baby with complications even more so—and then trying to figure out what “newborn pneumonia” is—impossible.

But our little fighter made it through === and we eventually brought him home.

And then at 5 weeks of age, he nearly died again.  Of, lack of a more respectful way to say it, horrible horrible horrible care of RSV in a premature newborn that already had trouble with his lungs and a hole in his heart that turned into full-blown pneumonia.

For 3 days they did nothing to save our baby—often leaving us alone at night for more than 8 hours at a time.

The night before he entered heaven (don’t worry, we got him back), he was only taking 1-2 breaths a minute.  It was 9pm and the doctor had to shake him to get him to take a breath.  We said, “HE’S NOT BREATHING!”

She looked at us with this horrible ugly air of superiority as if to wrinkle her nose at mere parent mortals and LITERALLY said “It’s sleep apnea—very common in newborns!”  And she walked out.

And I stayed awake ALL night giving my baby a little shake every 5th or 10th second to remind him to breathe.  And he would gasp for breath and then stop breathing all together again.  I did this from 9pm-5am while not a single medical personnel entered our room to check on our dying newborn.

And that’s when he stopped breathing completely.  Because I couldn’t shake my son forever to remind him to breathe.  And his body wasn’t reminding him.  And so the two of us together quit.

And when all of his alarms began to sound not a single healthcare provider responded, I literally ran into the halls screaming, “My son!  My son!  He’s not breathing!”  (except in Polish).

Finally two nurses rushed in and got him breathing again.  Not a single doctor came.

After they got him breathing, they left.  Left.  Left me and a near-dead baby alone.  They didn’t even call a doctor.

My husband and I are now contacting a helicopter to whisk him out of Poland.  We are wondering how fast we can get to Warsaw and storm the Embassy, demanding they get our son out of Poland.  We are crying because we just know our baby is going to die this very day.

And it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.  And it is the darkest you will ever be in your life—watching your child die (my great apologies to those that have lost children, as I know that is far darker…but this was that moment for me, watching him die).

The worst part of it all was that every single medical personnel we had encountered over the last 3 days were horrible and callous and apathetic to the life of our child.  And we were at their mercy, even though they didn’t show mercy.

Even the cleaning lady when I asked for soap in my son’s room so I could wash my hands snapped at me and said, “I just gave you soap YESTERDAY!”

I looked at her with a death stare and said, “I don’t care that you gave me soap YESTERDAY—TODAY I have no soap!”  Needless to say, she very begrudgingly returned with SOAP at my son’s sink so that I could wash my hands to help keep germs away.

Oh friends—there are so many other horror stories that accompany all of this fight.  I will save those for another day.

But then a miracle took place.  One hour after he stopped breathing, a new shift change took place and a doctor that I had not seen for the past 3 days came on shift.

I kid you not, I really thought she was an angel walking and working here on earth—because for the FIRST time in 3 days, someone looked at my baby and didn’t just tell us he was going to die and then walk away—but said, “Your baby is going to die!”  And then she called an ambulance, put us on it, we were whisked to another hospital, and our son was put into a full coma and on a whole lotta machines—after all, he was a lifeless baby at this point.

Our heads were spinning — the doctors told us that we should not give up but we should also not keep hope because no one knew what would become of our baby.

But for at least this one more day, we had our son…

Our little premature child.

And, after many moons of him fighting and about half of his first year of life in and out of hospitals, our little man seemed to be on his way to living…

Finally we could sigh.  Breathe.  Have respite and relief???

No way!

This little booger went and vomited all of his mashed potatoes and welted at the touch to whipped cream on his scalp.  This little stinker from head to toe reacted to a peanut kiss.

This little booger almost had us in the emergency room when we were merely sitting at a steakhouse that just so happened to have peanuts at the tables.

This little life-support NICU preemie baby also seemed to want to rack infant allergies onto his already impressive hospital accolades 😉

And ever since then, I have wondered strongly—do premature births and allergies go hand in hand???

After finally sitting down to become my own GOOGLE MD on the subject (haha!) I found two very interesting reports that came to the conclusions that they don’t.  They don’t have any correlation that has yet been identified in the medical community.

My premature kid and his allergies are separate entities engulfed into one body.

Bummer to find out because it leaves me still at square one:

My NON-AMERICAN born kid is the ONE kid in our family that has the life-threatening allergies to both dairy products and peanuts/tree nuts.

The one kid that was never exposed to American processed food in utero or post utero.  The one that did not even have American immunizations (his first immunizations were in Poland).  His second round was well after we noticed his first allergic reaction to the touch of whipped cream on his skin.

The one out of my three.

How can this be?

And so, I—-like most all of you out there—continue to stand at square one.

Why does my child have so many allergies?  Especially life-threatening ones?

Prematurity and allergies—non check!

In the meantime, I will continue to search and read and learn and wonder and do my darn best to try and keep him safe at home and in the world around him because he’s worth the fight—

And he’s been worth the fight from the start!

His dad and I are aren’t the only ones that think so—

His sisters are sure glad he’s around, too!

max and jo

***

Here are three interesting articles.  Two regarding allergies and premature babies.  One regarding premature babies and increased infant mortality possibilities:

The risk of developing food allergy in premature or low-birth weight babies

Premature Birth and Food Allergies

(Which will link you to:  Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology)

And the article in regards to premature births and risks of mortality:  Even Slightly Preterm Babies Face Risks

When your allergy kid can’t eat Cheetos!

Cheetos are not the healthiest—but they are close to the best!!!  And every time my non-allergy oldest buys a bag, I feel tremendous pity for my allergy middle.  He watches his sisters devour my favorite treat.  He knows it will bring him owies—but you can still see the longing in his eyes.

Well, what do you know???  I found a fantastic chip in Poland that is “Ketchup” flavored—but really tastes like the tamer cousin of the Cheeto.  Hurrah!

And the best part—they really are shaped like dinosaurs.  What fun!

So, to all you dairy allergy moms and dads living in Europe—I hope you can find these, too.  

Be careful, though, the ketchup one is the only dairy-free one I have seen.

And for Gluten-Free Mommies and Daddies out there…these are for your kids, too!

Hey—they may not be the healthiest snack around, but they sure are fun.

Smacznego, Kiddos!

  
(These come out of the Slovak Republic, according to distribution.  Brand:  McLloyds)