Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) Parent Anxiety
Next week we are slotted to begin our daughter’s OIT (Oral Immunotherapy). I have bounced back and forth between excited and panicky for months about this and let me tell you why. The main reason we have decided to proceed with OIT for our daughter is simple – hope. We hope for an improved quality of life for her and our family as a whole. Why the panic? We will actively be training her system to tolerate her known peanut allergen on a bi-weekly basis, the thought makes my guts just rot.
What people may not realize- is that food allergies have totally shocked our social life.
There are very few places I trust to go, it is really difficult for me to consider a place SosiSafe. This has unfortunately translated into many missed events, parties, and just general gatherings with friends.
I really hate being that mom who has to explain over and over again why my daughter’s life is more important than their child’s choice of drink or food. Justifying her safety is emotionally draining and leads me to avoid certain social situations.
Why Does the Park Freak Me Out?
Meeting at the park in the warm weather is one of our absolute favourite activities to do with friends. The kids get to burn off some energy and the moms get to catch up. We chat in real-life, not just through a messenger group chat. You allllllll know what I am talking about! While my group chats are seriously the best as my therapy, humour, and parenting sounding board, nothing beats real life interaction. What is awesome about my core group of friends, is that they take Sosi’s allergy very seriously. There is no messing around. They would never bring snacks with peanuts in it, and I have never, ever had to ask them to skip serving their kids’ glasses of milk while we are together. However, I factor in the other 50 parents who have also brought their children to the same park, on the same day.
Play’n the Odds
What are the odds that at least one of those children has enjoyed some gooey peanut butter toast for breakfast? Or maybe even a crunchy granola bar laced with alllllll the nuts? Do you think they washed their hands with soap and water before bouncing out of their carseats and goobbering their hands all over the play equipment? HA! Of course not right? And before I became an allergy mom, I honestly wouldn’t have given our pre-park snack choice a second thought. So then it becomes a gamble and I helicopter around with my little fanny pack filled with hand wipes, sanitizer, 2 Epi-Pens, Benadryl, our Emergency Anaphylaxis Plan, and cell phone. I mean, it’s a LuluLemon fanny pack, and it’s cute but if I could let it slip out of arms reach and not panic, that would be amazing.
The Invisible Weight of an Allergy Mom
I carry around the weight of Sosi’s food allergies, everywhere, at all times. I try and shield her from the reality of her food allergies, the best that I can but I know that as she gets older, the odds of her developing anxiety about her food allergy will increase. With Oral Immunotherapy we are hoping to remove some of that anxiety and weight by increasing Sosi’s tolerance to peanuts. The idea is to slowly increase her amount of intake to the amount of two full peanuts by the end of her treatments (which will take months of safe, allergy doctor supervised visits and careful observation). To read more about the details please read our first post, What is Oral Immunotherapy (OIT) in Canada? Once Sosi’s tolerance is reached, we will be able to go to the park worry free! It will be very exciting to rejoin the world where we can freely join in on lunch dates, birthday parties, and school functions without artfully exiting when the unsafe food comes out.
Next Steps in Oral Immunotherapy (OIT)
My husband and I completed the mandatory counselling sessions with our daughter’s allergist months ago. However, due to a really crazy run of boogers, coughs, fevers, and a nice bout of the barfs, we have not been able to begin her first batch of suspensions. We are really crossing our fingers that next week we can stay as healthy as we can, during our lovely Canadian winters, and continue to share our journey with you. I am hopeful that my panicky heart-palps will slowly subside and the excitement of a life without fearing a tiny legume will take over.