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Confessions of an allergy kid-2

 

Our youngest son, (currently 10 years old) Christopher, has dealt with life threatening food allergies since he was a toddler. 

This past week, he agreed to do an interview with me.

As his parent, it was interesting to hear him talk about how having allergies has affected his life and way of thinking.

These are his thoughts on living with severe allergies as a kid. 

 

Question: Hey, Christopher. Thanks for being willing to talk about this. To start off, what are you allergic to?

I am allergic to soy, coconut, peanuts, nuts, and stuff like dust mites, dogs and cats. Oh, and a lot of plants.

 

Question: What are some of your favorite things?

I love to sing, play the ukulele, and play video games.

I love to play basketball and dance.

My favorite book series is Big Nate.

My favorite foods are No Bake Cookies (without peanut butter, of course), tacos, and salad.

My favorite restaurant is Red Robin. I like it there because they can make me an allergen -free burger and fries.

And I can even eat the bun there.

 

Question: What is something that is hard to do because you have allergies? 

It is hard for me to do sports sometimes, because my allergies cause my asthma to get stirred up sometimes.

Making it hard for me to breathe well.

But I have gotten better over the past few years, and use my inhaler right before any game or dance. It does help a lot.

I was able to play basketball last fall. That was so much fun.

I don’t eat out at a lot of restaurants.

I usually pack a lunch or a snack if we are going out for awhile.

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Question: How often do you think about the fact you have allergies? 

It feels really normal to me now.

After this long of having it, I don’t think of it as a strange thing.

It’s just something I have to deal with.  It has become routine.

So it feels like I don’t really think about it very much. 

 

Question: Is there anything you have been fearful about dealing with allergies? 

When I was a little younger, I used to be scared of peanut butter.

If any of my friends were eating a peanut butter sandwich, I would kind of freak out.

Or if I went in a store that had an aisle of nuts, it would make me scared.

But now, I just stay away from people that are eating it.

I sit across from them, and make sure I don’t touch where they were eating.

 

Question: Is there anything you have felt badly about with having allergies? 

When our family chose to get rid of peanut butter in our house several years ago,

I felt like it was my fault. I felt sad.

I knew that a lot of our family really liked peanut butter.

But now I realize it really isn’t an option for me.  I could actually die from it.

So my family has made me realize it’s ok.

Also, I thought that maybe some kids wouldn’t want to be my friend.

 

Question: What is a kindness someone showed you, going out of their way to make you feel included even with food allergies? 

When I played basketball this past winter, my coach was really understanding. 

His son also is allergic to nuts so he knows what it feels like. 

When it was time to celebrate for the end of the season, he sent an email to all the parents reminding them that there were kids in the class with allergies. 

Then he asked my parents what dessert I would like in place of all the things there I couldn’t have. 

He brought me my own giant pack of chocolate puddings! 

 

Question: How do you feel when you see a “NO NUTS allowed” sign at places like the theater school you attend? 

I like it!

It makes me feel safe, and that people are really trying to look out for kids like me.

Like they are understanding that it is a big deal for kids who are allergic to peanuts and nuts.

 

Question: What did you feel like the first time you met a kid your age who also was allergic to a lot of the same things you are?

It made me realize I am not the only kid dealing with it.

And that I was not as weird as I felt.

That it was “normal” for other kids too.

 

Question: What are some of the things you do to stay safe when you are away from the safety of your house? 

I carry a backpack that has all the medicines I would need if I were to have an allergic reaction or anaphylaxis. I take it everywhere.

I know how to use my epi pen.

I don’t eat anything without checking the labels.

My parents normally check them, but if I am somewhere without them, I check them.

Even if my friend has checked them.

I like to double check.

I ask people to check the ingredients to everything I eat.

Epi pen pics

 

Question: Are there any places you can’t go because of allergies? 

I don’t go to any restaurant that has peanuts out in the open or on the floor.

I’ve not been able to go to the football stadium with my grandpa because of peanuts.

I had to leave a seal exhibit one time because I started having a really bad reaction to something in the place.

We never figured out what it was.

If someone asks me if I want to pet their animal, I just say, “no thank you.”

I usually offer for my friends to come to my house and play, more often than going over to theirs.

Especially before we have a chance to talk about my allergies and explain things to them.

I also don’t play in the grass or leaves, like roll around in it.

If we are at a park, I just mostly stay up on the play ground equipment or on the concrete.

 

Question: How do you feel when you hear about kids reading your book about allergies: James and the Big Battle?

I have a mixture of sad and happy feelings.

Sad because if they have allergies too… well, that makes me sad for them.

But happy, because I want to make them feel like they aren’t alone… that there are a lot of kids that have to deal with them too.

It makes me happy to hear they read the book and liked it!

JBB on kindle Chris

So there you have it.

From the mouth of a young man who has taken a quite positive approach to a very serious subject.

I hope you’ve been encouraged by this interview like I was.

His encouraging spirit is contagious… and I hope you caught it!

If you haven’t had a chance to check out James and the Big Battle: A Children’s Book about Allergies, you can do so here!

 

What is something you have dealt with allergy wise? 

A fear? A positive experience? 

We’d love to hear from YOU!

 

 

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