Nuts for Freedom


Arriving home from work in the early afternoon, our oldest, then two years old, greeted me with a puffy red face looking like he had been hit by a truck. He had an allergic reaction to a cashew nut consumed two hours prior.

The allergist confirmed that Ian had a lethal tree nut allergy, although it was a less severe one than what some kids have. Eating tree nuts without immediate medical care could mean swollen, blocked air passages. From that day forward we checked every label of every food that our son ate. Even products that might have been manufactured in a factory with nuts posed dangerous health threats.

Often the scrutiny necessary for Ian’s safety left him feeling different and defective as he approached middle school. He grew more self-conscious about always carrying the black Nike bag that housed his EpiPen. Inheriting his mother’s sweet tooth, the times having to skip out on birthday cakes, classroom cookies—or even all the really good Halloween candy—bummed Ian out. He even went as far to say that having his nut allergy was worse than being deaf!

Initially, we were told that although some kids outgrow nut allergies, most have it for a lifetime.

At his annual check up, Ian didn’t fully comprehend the implications when his allergy doctor shared new research and told him he was a candidate for a peanut allergy test. Several months later we were sitting in his office with the nurse and two bags of peanut M&Ms. Two hours later after systematically consuming 30 M&Ms with no reaction, the doctor announced to Ian he was free to eat all tree nut products and no longer needed to carry an EpiPen.

The world turned a different color for Ian as we left the office.

It wasn’t about cookies or cakes…it was about freedom. I could see in my son that he now felt free because he was more or less just like everyone else.

And we all celebrated by sharing a mini Milky Way, Twix, and Reese peanut butter cup.

Catholic Women’s Guide to Healthy Relationships Tip: Appreciate and support the desire for our kids to be “just like everyone else” when possible, so they are able to be different for Christ when they need to be.