Halloween 2014

This Halloween we was a little more exciting than other years.
I have grown into understanding food allergies a lot more clearly.
As a parent you want the best for your kids, and not everyone will understand the significance of that. I understand that now. Usually people don’t understand unless they been exactly in your shoes. Most people does not understand that a food allergen could potentially kill. Scary to think that, right?!

We went to the FARE Walk 2014 in Atlanta. The support there is simply overwhelming. People who understand you! People who get it. Agh, it is a life saver. That one day you feel like you have all these people to support you. Jade absolutely loves going.
This year we got to add the Teal Pumpkin Project. Here is a bit about it:
A little message from the creator of the Teal Pumpkin Project:

The purpose of the Teal Pumpkin Project:
1. We want to raise awareness of the severity of food allergies and show our support to families of children with food allergies by painting a pumpkin teal in recognition. This is a great opportunity to educate and open communication about this important cause.

2. We want to encourage inclusion for children with food allergies and other dietary restrictions during an activity that is primarily food-focused. A teal pumpkin (or poster) is a great way to show that you have non-food treats available.

It is not our goal to exclude candy from the Halloween tradition but instead encourage others to add a new tradition to ALSO provide a few non-food items as a safe alternative. This will allow many children the opportunity to participate in traditional trick-or-treating on Halloween night, regardless of food-related disabilities.

We need to stop battling on social media –
I encourage everyone to participate in this project with the understanding that this is not a campaign to ban candy nor is it a means to politicize an awareness movement that is simply intended to promote compassion and inclusion. Stay positive and reflect compassion in your own actions and words. We cannot create an inclusive environment for our children by creating more division.

Here are some tips to keep this awareness movement going strong:

1. Talk to your neighbors. Many parents have contacted their neighborhood associations or community boards to encourage participation in this project. If your neighborhood uses a site like nextdoor.com then this is a great way to reach out.

2. Talk to local businesses. There are so many opportunities available for businesses and organizations to be involved, even if they are not passing out treats. Print a copy of the Project Teal Pumpkin (our profile picture) and ask if those establishments will display the sign to show support. If treats will be passed out, ask if they would also provide non-food items as an alternative and provide a copy of the Project Teal sign that indicates non-food treats are available. Do you have a local farm or nursery that could provide teal pumpkins?

3. Talk to your child’s teacher, guidance counselor or school administration. This is a wonderful opportunity to teach children about the importance of inclusion, disability awareness, and/or food allergy safety. Encourage schools to take part in the #TealPumpkinProject and get their permission to hang signs or distribute information to other parents to rally more involvement in your community.

4. Talk to the media. Awareness is at its peak right now in many areas so this is your opportunity to educate the general public in a POSITIVE and informed manner. Know the purpose of the project and how this show of support will encourage respect, compassion, inclusion for children with dietary restrictions, like food allergies. For more information, please visit FACET’s website (Link in the comments below).

We’d love to hear from you! Please comment below to share your ideas and success stories so far with the #TealPumpkinProject …

Thank you for your ongoing support of our awareness efforts!
Blessings,
Becky Basalone
Food Allergy Community of East Tennessee

I hope in the years to come we see more people who support such an amazing opportunity.

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2013 in review

Sorry I have been MIA on updating you guys with everything that is going on in my world. A lot of new things are happening, as well as a lot of bad, but we never give up praying. We have huge news coming in 2014, so just bare with us! I can’t wait to get back to updating you guys on our journey. Jade is still dealing with food allergies, and I am learning to adjust to the new way of living. I am even teaching myself how to cook (I know, don’t freak out). I have cooked Spinach Artichoke Dip, Banana Pudding (even if it was instant with real bananas Again, don’t judge me) hahahah!! šŸ˜‰
I am also getting ready to pack again, but you will just have to wait to figure out why!
Since August 2013,Ā  I have started a Food Allergy Support group for our area: West Georgia Food Allergy Support Group. Our first meeting is the 21st and I am so nervous! I can’t wait to see what the future holds for us. When Jade was diagnosed I didn’t realize how many people was so unaware of food allergies, even for myself. I am now pushing with all the other food allergy awareness that epipen training should be like CPR training, and should be mandatory. Did you know that bus drivers in our area are not properly trained? However, as of 2014 they will be! My voice is being heard, and I am so excited about making a difference.

Anyway, I will leave you with this note:
“Never give up hope, always trust in Him, and everything else will fall into place. If people walk out of your life, then hold your head high and smile, because you can show them you can make a difference rather they are with you or not.” — From Me!

I wish you all the best in 2014 and I will be back, so hold your horses! And for the ones who have been checking on us, thank you!

God Bless You in everything you do!
Jenna

 

Btw – I am active on my book blog: Werejumpinbooks.wordpress.com So come on over if you enjoy books!

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

Madison Square Garden can seat 20,000 people for a concert. This blog was viewed about 62,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Madison Square Garden, it would take about 3 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

 

Food Allergies vs Faith

FA

I am coming forward to shed a new light on some things.

I haven’t talked too much about food allergies since my daughter was fighting for her life May 2012. Just because I didn’t talk about it much or throw statistics at everyone doesn’t mean I wasn’t praying for miracles, not only for my child but for every child out there battling their food allergies. I didn’t know much about food allergies till that dreaded day.

I didn’t know it could mean life or death within minutes of eating something or that I would spend so much time and energy researching things you have to do to make sure any food you touch was safe. I am not talking about just reading labels here. I am talking about the every detail of everything you do.

Did you know that half of the time you have to either call companies, or send them an e-mail to see what is actually in their food? You spend most of your time helping, or protecting your child. It is not just about companies, it’s also restaurants. Those times where you just want to go sit down as a family and have someone cook for you. After doing some research in ourĀ  town, we found that we only have two options for sit down restaurants: Cracker Barrel & Olive Garden. Even though recently, Cracker Barrel changed their menu, so I will have to contactĀ  them before our next visit to make sure they are still food allergy aware, and if anything has changed.

Half of the time, we (parents of food allergy kids) just want people to ‘get’ it. It is life or death. How hard is that for people to understand? When you have a child who is sickĀ  you don’t take them to the hospital for them to run around and play. So, why would I take my food allergy child to your birthday party and let her run around free of everything, when I have no clue what is there. I have no clue what is in the cake, the ice cream, and those donuts you decided to pick up and bring. So sorry if I come off being “overly protected”, I am just being a mom. Ā 

Food allergies just happen. It is not planned out. It is not something that I would wish on anyone. Just because one day my child eats nuts, then the next day she is in the ER, doesn’t mean I am just going to go back to our way of life before. That ONE day changed our life, and we changed our life-style. It is a way of living, it can be restrictive but at least this is something I can battle. This is something I can manage.

Your next question could be about my faith. “If your faith is strong enough you wouldn’t worry so much. Let Go, Let God” Really? So, I should just throw that common sense God gave me right out the window and say “Run along Jade! I will watch you from here! Even though I saw you battling for your life, I just want you free-spirited. In the meantime, I will sit over in my corner and pray while you run free”

So, let me inform you about my faith.

My faith is loading my daughter up on the bus every morning for school. I don’t know what Sally has brought on the bus that morning. I don’t know if Sally is going to give Jade her walnut ice cream, or did Sally just saved her Nutella sandwich to share with Jade on the bus. Don’t tell me this can’t happen, because when I was in school I brought snacks on the bus. My ride was an hour and half, so of course, I brought me something! Who is not to say some little kid does the same? Why would a kid bring something so dangerous on the bus? The reason why is because to that child it isn’t dangerous. That kid is living the Free-Spirited life.

My faith is letting my daughter into a public school. A public school where they have no clue, nor have they seen a child go through Anaphylactic shock. The teachers and staff don’t know what to even look for if something happens to my child. I have to tell them the warnings signs. My faith is, for them to remember exactly what I told them.

My faith knows God can change this. My everyday prayer is finding a cure, finding a way to ‘fix’ whatever is wrong. And now my faith is really showing and do you want to know why? Because just today we found out that Jade might have outgrown her allergies, but that’s not why I have faith now. I have faith now because I am going to put her life in her Doctors hand. The Doctor is going to do a food challenge and feed her Walnuts. The Doctor and Nurses will watch her closely. I will be facing the devil head on, but I will not bow my head. I will push through because I know who has this, and it is not me. So, next time you hear food allergies think about everything it takes for that parent to push through everyday life. Don’t judge them; don’t start pointing fingers at them, because in my eyes they have the best positive outlook on life. For they know what true Faith is.

 

Jade’s Allergy Awareness

Google Image

Most people don’t realize how serious food allergies are. I am learning that a lot of people are not aware of what could happen if my child eats, or if someone touches her with oils from a nut on their hands what would happen to her.

With being a No Nut Diet, that means all Peanuts and Tree Nuts. Tree Nuts include – Almond, Beech nut, Brazil nut, Butternut, Cashew, Chestnut, Coconut, Hazelnut, Ginko nut, Hickory nut, Lichee nut, Macadamia nut/Bush nut, Nutmeg, Pecan, Pine nut/Pinon nut, Pili nut, Pistachio, Sheanut, and Walnut

Following is a list of tree nuts and some ingredients that contain tree nuts:

  • Almond – butter, paste (marzipan), flavoring, extract
  • Brazil nut
  • Cashews – butter, flavoring, extract
  • Chestnuts (water chestnuts are OK, they’re not nuts despite their name)
  • Hazelnuts or filberts
  • Hickory nuts
  • Macadamia nuts, Queensland nuts
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts, pinon, pignoli
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Gianduja (chopped nuts mixed with chocolate)
  • Nu-Nuts artificial nuts
  • Nut Meal
  • Mashuga nuts (pecans)
  • Nougat
  • Nut paste
  • Nutella

Foods Commonly Containing Tree Nuts:

  • Baked Goods – breads, muffins, cakes, cookies, bars, pastries, doughnuts, frostings
  • Snack Foods – granola, granola bars, rice cakes, snack mixes, crackers, caramel corn
  • Asian Foods
  • Pesto
  • Salads
  • Candy – candy bars, brittles, chocolate, fudge, pralines, turtles, clusters

Every time Jade is exposed to the allergen, she could get worse with each reaction, which could lead to death. So, as a Mom I will read labels, and tell my family till they know everything I know by heart. I want my family to be aware, just like I am aware, and I want to be able to trust them with Jade, just as much as I trust myself. As her Mom it is my duty to be her mouth, and to tell people she is around about her allergies. I will continue to do research to not get better knowledge about food allergies, but so I can become fully aware of how real it is. Just because Jade carries an Epipen that doesn’t mean that I can rule out what makes her sick, or could possible kill her. Her Epipen is what saves her life till we get her to the nearest hospital.

Every time we pick up something, rather if it cereal, frozen stuff, ice cream, shampoo, sandwich meats, bread, etc… this is what we look for (above picture)

Allergies, Oh My

Yesterday, Jade went to Nana’s while Hubby and I went to get groceries, and do a little bit of fishing. Hubby caught 2 Bass and I caught 2 Brim, even saw a lot of baby turtles. I was catching Brim off bread, who knew? The clouds starting rolling in, the thunder was getting closer, so Hubby paddled us to the truck. We loaded everything up on the truck and hauled off to get Jade before the rain started pouring down, making the boat 10x heavier than it should be.

Before we get to Nana’s, Jade took a bite out of a yogurt that wasn’t hers. Nana made her yogurt with Strawberries and walnuts and Jade’s without walnuts, but Jade took a bite with the walnuts and realized it, she started spitting out the walnuts, and instantly started crying. When we got there Jade was at the door saying “I got to the hospital, I need Doctor.” The storms were rolling in a lot closer now, as the lightning started popping outside. I told my mom to go ahead and give her some Benadryl, and when we get home I will see if I have anything else to give her.

We get home, Hubby unloaded the truck and I ran Jade inside. I took her temp and she didn’t have one, but I noticed her shirt was soaked, I watched her for a few seconds and realized that every time she would drool she cried. I knew then she couldn’t control her drooling, but I just figured it was allergic reaction, her body was just trying to get the walnut stuff out of her mouth. Hubby came inside, Jade walked up to him and I noticed the back of her legs were red. I told Hubby to check her out, he pulled up her shirt and yelled for us to get in the truck that she is now breaking out in hives.

On the ride to the ER I would ask Jade to count to 10 and 20, doing everything to keep her awake. I sang her songs, and made out the lightning strikes was a light show, saying “Ohhh pretty, did you see that Jade?” Every red/green light I would ask what color it was and what does it mean. She stayed awake for the 15 minute ride. When we pulled up in the ER I unloaded her and carried her in.

I didn’t even sign her in, they took her straight back for vital signs, checking her Temp, pulse, oxygen, weight, and etc. They put her in the waiting area and told us that she was the 2nd to the next one to go back into a room. So, we take her to the waiting area and I tried to get her to talk to me, but she didn’t want to. I looked at Hubby and told him to check her tongue, which is when we realized her tongue is swelling. So, back to the front desk nurse I go. She waved us to come on back.

They put Jade straight into a room, hooked her up to a pulse and oxygen reader. They brought her crayons and the nurses stayed with her, they were so good to her and laughed, and talked about how smart she is. Once the Doctor came in he said that she had a systemic rash, a very high allergic reaction that had to be from the walnut and he said it didn’t matter that she spit it out, shes allergic to it and its a severe case. Once the Doctor left the nurses came in with juice and stickers. After about 30mins they gave her an epi shot, steroids and Benadryl, then sent us home.

So, long story short… No Walnuts for Jade.

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