Eggs and Epi Pens

My youngest child, Bailey, is allergic to eggs. She can’t have just a taste or something baked with egg as an ingredient. She is very allergic and has been since she was a few months old. We found out when Bailey was one and took a tiny bite of her birthday cake. She immediately broke out in hives and I threw away her cake. It was a very pretty cake that I baked and decorated myself. I was super pissed. My anger was not directed at my child but at the fact that she could not rub cake all over her face like a normal baby.

Fast forward a couple of months and we were dealing with a child who was also allergic to milk and later, peanuts. Bailey also has tons of environmental allergies. I learned a LOT about food labels, how hard it would be to eat at a restaurant, and got to purchase a handy dandy epi pen. I practiced what to do if Bailey ever had a life threatening allergic reaction. Thankfully that has never happened and I feel confident it never will. She is very self aware and never eats anything that hasn’t been packed for her. It’s a lot for a six year old but she is very healthy and this is an issue WE can control. Bailey’s sisters are vigilant. They would probably sacrifice their bodies if they thought she was about to eat something with egg.

Bailey outgrew her milk allergy (she found out real butter is truly a beautiful thing) and also the peanut allergy. I was so relieved. A few weeks ago her doctor dad and I decided to have her undergo an oral food challenge to see if she had outgrown the egg allergy. I baked a cake and in a controlled environment (Benadryl, epi pen, etc) Bailey would eat increasing increments of cake. Dad timed each level and our goal was to get to one teaspoon of cake without any hives or breathing issues. The process took two hours and Bailey did great! I stared at her face and neck. Stephen would examine her throat and skin for any signs of reaction. I let myself imagine a life without the damn epi pen and with french toast. We made it to the end of the challenge and there were no outward signs. I was going to buy Bailey her first donut.

As we left the doctor’s office Bailey was complaining of stomach pain. She had mentioned that her belly hurt around the one hour and thirty minute mark but I didn’t think it was a big deal. I was wrong. Bailey got very sick. The rest of the day was spent watching her body get rid of the whopping few ounces of cake. She cried. I cried. She said she was sorry she failed her test. I cried harder and told her that she had done a wonderful job and that stupid test didn’t matter.

Why am I telling you this story? It isn’t for sympathy. Bailey has a very minor health issue. In the great scheme of things it’s really okay. We have been dealing with this for five years so it changes nothing in our routine. I am sharing because it is so easy to think “why is this happening to MY kid?” I have had some very angry moments. I have definitely asked why in the world didn’t she outgrow her egg allergy by age 6 like the statistics showed.

And then I’m brought to my knees when I hear a college friend is at a children’s hospital with her son who is fighting cancer. Or I have to help my nine year old understand why a girl at school has to wear a pump to make sure her diabetes is controlled.

We all have battles but let’s keep them in perspective. I will do this by whipping up egg alternative meals that Bailey will most likely hate like a normal kid and I will always have my epi pen handy just in case.

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