Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Stages of grief

I think that I'm going through the stages of grief in dealing with Andrew's food allergies. It took me a while to realize what was happening, so I figured I'd blog about it in case it helps anyone else in their journey.

The stages:
  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance
We were in denial for the longest time, though it was so obvious that he was allergic to milk. When he ate yogurt for the first time, he threw up and got hives. So of course, I gave him some more yogurt a month later. Threw up again. Then I made breastmilk yogurt, to make sure that he wasn't allergic to the bacteria in yogurt, but the dairy. And yeah, he was fine on the breastmilk yogurt. Nowadays, anytime he throws up, we take that food away without any questions about whether it's an allergy or not.

Did we have anger? Yup. And blaming, too. The allergies couldn't have come from my side -- or his side, said both our parents. Though Tony was colicky as a baby -- I suspect he had a dairy allergy back then. And we're both lactose-intolerant. So there's definitely a dairy sensitivity in the family. His cat/dustmite/mold allergy comes from me -- I've got those too. No idea where the peanuts/nuts allergies come from.

And yeah, we bargain. We're still bargaining. If we don't give him anything that could cause a reaction, then he'll be fine. Because keeping him away from all his allergens, his doctors say, is the key to letting his body "forget" that it's allergic to them, and then treating the allergen as a food.

Of course there's some depression. I sometimes lie awake at night wondering how he'll get through school, will he be able to make friends and survive to become an adult? And my attitude to food is just horrible these days. Food as fuel, not as a delight, as it used to be. Sometimes I see food as an enemy -- it's the thing that could kill.

Acceptance? No, I don't think so. Not yet. I'm still processing through the other stages, and I go back and forth through them.


Blue Moon Mama said...

I'm feeling depressed about my son's allergies.

But your list gives me a little hope -- acceptance must not be too far off now. :)

allergicmom said...

Dealing with it is often a struggle. Some days, it's just a fact of life, like the fact that Andrew's hair is straight and Geoff's is curly. But other days, especially when there's been a reaction, I'm depressed and mad at myself.

Arisce said...

OK, so I'm hoping that you get email updates of comments so can I have the recipe for bm yogurt? I have a 6 month old who is allergic to dairy, soy, avocado, tomatoes and wheat already. The bm yogurt sounds like a great idea. Can I use frozen bm? Thanks!

wenat said...

I do, and hopefully you come back to check my reply! I just followed the regular yogurt recipe, but replaced the cow's milk with breastmilk.

I also used storebought yogurt starter, which I think was dairy-free, but you should probably double-check that with the manufacturer. (Some yogurt recipes use plain dairy yogurt as a starter.)

Arisce said...

That was so fast! Thank you! I'm going to try it this Friday. The poor kid broke out in hives and swelled up when we tried avocado last Friday. I'm really liking your blog. I'll have to go find starter that is dairy and soy free. I'm so excited!