Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Live and Learn

Our family feels very fortunate to be able to say we absolutely love our pediatric allergist. Dr. Healy is not only extremely well-informed in his vocation, he also has a great rapport with children which makes going to the doctor not really feel like going to the doctor.

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 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.

1 comment:

  1. Amy..

    I totally agree with you about support groups. I recently joined a local one myself and now I run their web site (

    I also wanted to say that I bought The Bugabees and I think it's a fantastic book for children. It's one of the best I've seen. My daughter loves it when I read it to her, and she really loves the illustrations too. I also recommended the book on my blog. Thank you for doing something so thoughtful for allergic families.

    Noha Elkar