Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I did, most recently when I had the privilege to attend the AFAA Food Allergy Conference earlier this month in Minneapolis, MN. What a great lineup of optimistic speakers addressing real life topics and sharing exciting possibilities for food allergy sufferers in the very near future.
For example, Steve Rice from the Food Allergy Initiative announced that a comprehensive new training program for educators (developed in collaboration with FAAN ) is scheduled to be rolled out in 2011. Another great speaker with the Food and Drug Administration announced that an FDA-sponsored restaurant guide to food allergies (which has been years in the making) may also be implemented as soon as next year. And within five years, treatments like the Chinese Herbal Remedy now in 2nd phase trials may be available by prescription or possibly over the counter.
These major milestones in food allergy advocacy and research are most definitely cause for celebration, with the promise of many more advancements to come. So in those moments when you’re ready to say “Ba Humbug” to potential health scares caused by holiday cheer, remember that real progress is being made in big and small ways. And when it comes to my daughter's food allergies, any level of progress most definitely makes my days both merry and bright!
Thursday, October 14, 2010
I'm always on the lookout for good, food allergy friendly treats, and with Halloween just around the corner, I am very excited to be offering Gimbal's Candies at a few upcoming BugaBees events this month!
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
9 AM to Noon
FOOD ALLERGY RESOURCE FAIR
Sponsored by Food Allergy Support Group of MN
Saturday, October 2, 2010
FAMILY FUN EVENT
Sponsored by Kids with Food Allergies
Storytime & Book Signing
Saturday, October 23, 2010
Saturday, October 30, 2010
10 AM to Noon
HALLOWEEN COSTUME PARTY
Friday, November 5, 2010
SCHOOL NURSES OF MN ANNUAL FALL CONFERENCE
Sponsored by the School Nurses of MN
Monday, September 13, 2010
The good news: Cricket and the gang are in high demand. The bad news: We won't be able to meet that demand until September 24 when the new inventory hits our warehouse.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
Friday, July 23, 2010
One school nurse that continues to inspire me personally is Karen Leister from Southern Boulevard School in New Jersey. In 2006 along with her school psychologist, Karen created an incredible program for her district called FAST Friends (FAST standing for Food Allergy Support Team). Established with a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation, this group meets five or six times a year on various topics designed to help elementary school children better understand their food allergies. The goal of this group is three-fold: to offer support to children who are learning to eat differently at school and beyond, to equip these children to (eventually) assume their own care through education and to raise awareness in the community by teaching others and by thanking those who are most helpful in supporting kids with food allergies.
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
During the course of my flight to my vacation destination, I just kept thinking “How will she ever do this?” as the flight attendant went aisle by aisle passing out peanuts and pretzels. On my return flight home with a different airline, snacks were not provided of any kind, but there was a passenger across the aisle from me that pulled out her own little lunch, which appeared to me to be a peanut butter and banana sandwich. Sigh. “I’m never taking her on a plane,” I said to myself at that moment. Road trips are just as fun, right?
I know there are other families that do travel on airlines with food allergies. Some have great success stories. Others have horror stories. For me, I guess I fall on the conservative side. I would rather not take the risk. Why add stress to an activity intended to remove stress from your life?
BUT CHECK THIS OUT … The United States Department of Transportation has recently proposed new wide-ranging consumer protections for air travelers, Including Peanut-Free Airlines!
Tuesday, May 18, 2010
Sunday, May 9, 2010
- Post a comment on the BugaBees blog (right here) or on the BugaBees Facebook page anytime between May 9-15th
- EACH DAY one participant will be randomly selected to win an autographed copy of "The BugaBees: Friends with Food Allergies"
- All winners will announced on May 16th
- One comment per person, per day please :)
Monday, April 26, 2010
Joined by three other newspaper columnists and sports writers, it was really kinda cool to see that whatever the genre, our advice to the students was essentially the same: write what you love, work hard, and revise, revise, revise!
Many thanks to the teachers, students and panelists for their interest and enthusiasm!
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
It’s that time of year again when my 1st grader starts coming home and telling us about the fire drills (and sometimes tornado drills) they often conduct at her elementary school. Many businesses also take time out to do crisis management drills and run mock emergency action plans every now and then. Which is why a few years ago, I came up with idea for our family to start doing our own surprise Epi-Pen drills, just to help keep us on our toes.
My daughter Mollie gets to be in charge of deciding when she tests us by acting out the symptom(s) of her choice and seeing how we respond. This typically involves her shouting, "uh oh, I think I ate a peanut!" which is enough to send us into action. We check on her and ask a series of questions, such as "Do you have hives? Are you breathing ok? Are you throwing up? Are you experiencing swelling or shortness of breath?" etc. She gets to decide the answers and we respond accordingly. It's a great way to ensure our Epi Pens and phones (for calling 911) are always charged and where they should be. It's also a great way to run through the procedure for giving her a shot if needed, which we always use our Epi-Pen trainer for.
If you haven't done this before, I highly recommend giving it a try, and extending it beyond family to other caregivers, babysitter, parents, etc. I guarantee, someone will walk away learning something new. Most recently, my friend (who often hosts Mollie on play dates in her home) was surprised to find you can administer the shot directly through clothing. These little details, along with developing a physical memory of what to do in a crisis situation, help empower and prepare everyone involved!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Which is why I was so excited to learn of the The Half Pint Book Drive currently underway. Across the U.S., Half Price Books stores are working to collect and distribute children’s books to those in need. New and gently used books donated through this program help provide inspiration for children from low-income families, while helping to boost literacy skills outside of school. In many cases, children are getting their first book through the Half Pint program. The drive accepts any type of children’s book, including Spanish language books, as long as they are in good condition. The program is now in its 12th year and has collected more than 2 million books for community centers, special schools and many more children in need.
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Saturday, February 27, 2010
Bring on the celebrations! During the month of March, not only will I be rejoicing the 40th year of my birth (yes, I said rejoicing), I will also be participating in NEA's Read Across America project.
This signature program, developed by the National Education Association, is building a nation of readers. Now in its thirteenth year, this year-round initiative focuses on motivating children and teens to read through events, partnerships, and reading resources.
NEA's Read Across America Day takes place each year on or near March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss. Across the United States, thousands of schools, libraries, and community centers participate by bringing together kids, teens, and books, and you can too!
On March 2, the National Education Association calls for every child to be reading in the company of a caring adult. So grab your favorite kid, your favorite book, and enjoy some quality time together.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Sunday, February 7, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
The good news is, researchers around the world are currently searching for new therapies to treat, and one day cure, food allergies. Many scientists believe that with proper funding, a cure could be found in less than a decade. Unfortunately, food allergy research in comparison to autism and other similar afflictions is at present grossly underfunded and in need of dire some attention.
As such, I was excited to recently discover that the Food Allergy Initiative has made it easier than ever to send a letter to Congress requesting funding for food allergy research. It takes less than two minutes! Log on and let your voice be heard at FAI Advocacy and be sure to share this link with others who want to help. Yeah!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Still, as much as he has been able to help teach us how to care for our daughter’s food allergies, he will be the first to say that he does not live with it day in and day out. That’s why I’m here to tell you that support groups can be so important. I must admit, in our first few year’s of Mollie’s diagnosis, I pretty much rejected the idea of them. I pictured everyone sitting around like they do in the AA meetings portrayed on TV where we’d all have to confess our struggles and talk about the doom and gloom of what it’s like living with food allergies.
Since joining the Food Allergy Association of Wisconsin, I am am pleased to say this is not the case! We have great topics of discussion, featured speakers, product samples and other meaningful information to share with each other. Much like those classes you take before childbirth, it’s clear that every person’s experience is different and I love being able to learn from them all.
For example, in a recent meeting, I discovered for the very first time what the side effects can be from an epinephrine shot. I have thankfully never had to use one on my daughter, but a family in our support group explained how they were not so lucky. During their story, I learned that this life saving shot can often turn the child blue or ashen and cause them to tremble and shake…
Really? Of all the hours of using Epi-Pen trainers and talking to our doctor, this little fact never had come up. Until now. And I’m so glad it did, because if I’m ever in that frightening situation myself, I feel like I’ll be a little more prepared to handle it, simply because I’ll know what to expect.
Gina Clowes of www.allergymoms.com has compiled a wonderful, comprehensive listing of support groups that may be in your area. Check it out on (on the bottom of her home page). Thank you, Gina!
So this is my heartfelt pitch to anyone who has never attended a food allergy support group meeting: Consider giving it a try. Even with the best doctor in the world, I think you’ll find you still have something to learn – or better yet, something to share.
Monday, January 11, 2010
When I think back to how much I’ve learned from the first day my daughter Mollie was diagnosed with severe food allergies, it is staggering. At that time, I thought if I just carried her Epi-pen, read ingredient labels and remembered to inform wait staff at restaurants of her food allergies, everything would be fine. Four years later, I now know it’s not that simple. There is no black and white in the world of food allergies, just a lot of gray areas where parents need to ask questions and advocate for their children.
I’ve also discovered that there are a lot of people out there who really love peanut butter – enough to fight for it, sign petitions against banning it, and other serious stuff. Some believe that a mere 3% of the population (which equates to approximately 12 million people I must add) should not dictate guidelines that inconvenience the rest, and that “hysterical” parents who fear for their children’s lives should just remove themselves from society to “raise them in a bubble”.
This controversy over food allergies was yet another factor I had not expected but have learned much more about in recent years. I have personally experienced the eye rolls and obvious resistance to making any special accommodations for my daughter where food is concerned. On the flip side, I have also experienced overwhelmingly thoughtful parents and teachers who have gone above and beyond to help her feel included.
So my New Year’s Resolution for 2010 (and every year after that) is to help educate and promote understanding and acceptance of people living on both sides of the issue without judgment or frustration. Because before Mollie’s diagnosis, I was one of those people that just didn’t “get it”. I never gave a second thought to the kind of candy I purchased for Halloween trick-or-treaters, or worried about the open bulk peanut bins at the grocery store, or paid attention to which utensils I used to prepare or serve a meal.
And while I concede that some parents can be a little overbearing about their child’s food allergies (myself included), I have to ask, can we really blame them? If you’ve ever seen your own child swell up beyond recognition or struggle to breathe because a small bite of food, I don’t think you would. I sincerely believe there’s a happy medium out there and I’m on a mission to find it.
Isn’t it Oprah that says “When you know better, you do better?” I love Oprah! And I truly do want to do better for all the little buggers who are out there living with food allergies. So I’m gonna try. Because as much as I used to love to eat peanut butter sandwiches myself, I obviously love my daughter a whole lot more. Is there really a comparison?