Empathising With Allergies

Recently I won a Mothers Day gift through the magazine Allergy Today, based on a letter my sister-in-law sent in. I was honoured to have won, and thought the letter my sister-in-law sent in was beautifully written; she has given me permission to share it here.

Dear Paulette,
I’d love to nominate my sister-in-law, Elizabeth, for your Mother’s Day Draw!  Elizabeth has really inspired and challenged me in the way she has tackled multiple food intolerances in her family.  It’s been tough finding recipes to cook for gluten, dairy, and sugar free meals.  It’s been a hard journey for their whole family discovering and identifying their daughter’s intolerances and finding ways to cope with them, having the hardship of watching her feel so unwell and the struggle to work out what to do.  But the thing that inspires me the most about Elizabeth, is that she’s done all this from a place of not cooking.  She used to hate cooking, you see.  And she didn’t think she could bake.  But not anymore.  Through this tough journey of food restrictions, Elizabeth has discovered that she not only can bake, but finds joy in doing so!  Her meals are delicious and nutritious as well as meeting the ‘free of’ needs of her family!  And now she’s going on to help other struggling gluten free families by making a little booklet of her family’s favourite recipes to pass on to some families at preschool!  I’d just love to see her encouraged to continue this inspiring path!

Thanks, Amy

Initially everything seemed to go well, I got the phonecall telling me I had won; I was asked a few questions and clarified a few things, and then told there were changes to the prize. Unfortunately I missed the details as my phone was playing up badly, and I quite possibly missed a few other important details as well, looking back in hindsight.

Over a week later I still hadn't seen nor heard anything - I had assumed the prize was to be couriered; so I contacted Paulette to let her know it had not arrived (due to where we live, and the fact our driveway is shared and a good 1km long, it is quite common to have issues with couriered goods). A day later a tube of facial moisturiser arrived in the mail, not by courier, all hand-written and not a note nor clue as to where it came from.

It took four days before there was a response regarding my e-mail, so I let her know I had received this moisturiser which I was assuming was the prize. In my head I thought I had meant to have been getting a set of facial cleansing things - so I had been quite disappointed, and things were feeling a little sour to me. The moisturiser was in fact the prize, so I started using it (it is Trilogy, and it is lovely by the way); and then decided I needed to go back and reread the original article that started this whole process off. And this is what I found:

I’ve kind of had enough of allergies. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not leaving my seat as editor of Allergy Today magazine – but I’m feeling slightly slammed by an allergy avalanche in my household. 

Do you know the type of avalanche I mean? The sort that sees you constantly at the GP’s office, always scouring for information on the internet, desperately seeking some sort of solution that may address (in our case) severe asthma and eczema, only to find yourself more confused and baffled than ever. The sort that interrupts everyone’s sleep with discomfort and suffering and keeps you at home from kindergarten, school and work. Yep, that’s allergic living for you.

But what can you do? You get up every day, you apply the creams, you dispense the inhalers, you do the sensible, prescribed thing. Because that’s all you can do – for your kids and yourself. We have no choice. And most of the time, we do it willingly and gladly.

I happen to think all parents, family members and caregivers do an outstanding job of looking after those with allergies. It’s tough, confusing, expensive and frustrating. I personally want to say to you all, you’re doing a great job in what could arguably be called a thankless task.

Mother’s Day is the perfect time to highlight and celebrate all the mums who dedicate their lives to their allergic children.

If you know of any mother who deserves a lovely treat on May 11, 2014, please email me by April 29 to be in to WIN a Weleda Wild Rose Smoothing Masque worth $39.90. 

And you know what - rereading this turned the tide, and made me stop the grumps in their tracks. Not only did I do better getting the moisturiser (I use moisturiser every day, but I'd never use a face mask); but it gave me a bit of a reality check.

Paulette - the editor, is just another Mum of an allergy-kid; but she has to fit in full-time work alongside all the other difficulties. She has sleepless nights worrying, she has to stop and think about what to cook for dinner (AFTER a hard day at the office) and work out if it is safe AND tasty, she has to watch everything that goes into her child's mouth closely, and then keep an eye out for reactions 'just in case'. But the difference is - she is also out there and making a difference; I am still sitting at home trying to come up with nutritious meals just for my family.

This prize wasn't about being the 'best Mum to an allergy kid'; this prize was just about encouragement. Encouragement to keep fighting the good fight for you and your child, to keep doing the best you can, and to keep going day after day after day. THAT.IS.ALL. So I told myself to let go of the bull****, enjoy the moisturiser, and keep fighting that fight; and make it worthwhile! Time to start doing something with this new found passion and interest, and looking into nutrition now (it doesn't cost anything but time to start searching the internet for articles to read); as well as getting that booklet finished, and copies off to those other families at Preschool who are also struggling.

Yep - time to get off my high-horse, and start honouring others who also struggle with allergy-children every single day. Time to get out there and help...

It Is Time.

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