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25 Reasons OIT Changed Our Lives in 2019
So much has changed for our family over the last year. We are doing things we never dreamed of before Oral Immuntherapy (OIT). The worry and anxiety we experienced on a daily basis has been replaced with peace and confidence. The social situations we used to dread, we now enjoy together.
Over the last several months I wrote down the amazing new and life changing things we have been able to do because of OIT. I put them all together to send to the doctors and nurses that have made it possible for us. I hope they understand just how much it means to us and how grateful we are. We are looking forward to even more doors opening when we finish tree nut treatment in 2020!!
- We have eggs at our house, and our family can eat them. Before OIT we couldn’t have eggs at our house at all. Even if he didn’t eat them, he would have reactions from cross contamination from our hands or other surfaces, so it wasn’t safe. Our family now loves to eat eggs, especially our daughter who has been elated that she can eat eggs for breakfast and quiche, which is her favorite.
- Riley went to Lagoon and ate at the amusement park. We never would have done that before. We always brought our own lunch because there were virtually no safe options. He ate at a BBQ place and also had a funnel cake for the first time. It was his first time eating whipped cream and he loved it.
- He can eat school lunch. There wasn’t anything safe on the menu and the risk of cross contamination was so high with egg and dairy especially that we never would have dared to attempt it. Now he eats school lunch once a week and looks forward to it every time. He loves to try new foods he has never been able to eat, like orange chicken.
- Riley ate milk chocolate for the first time. He loves it. This has opened up a whole new world of candy.
- The piano teacher always gives the kids treats at the end of their lessons. Riley only had a couple of options, Starbursts, Sour Patch and Haribo gummy bears. Now he can choose from almost the whole bowl. He loves Reese’s Peanut butter cups and gets excited about his treat each week.
- He traveled to Atlanta Georgia and was able to eat the cinnamon rolls, fritata, homemade salad dressings, homemade bread and many other foods his aunt prepared for him. She didn’t feel overwhelmed or stressed out by trying to keep her kitchen free of milk or egg, or trying to find food without those allergens. Avoiding nuts takes a little effort and awareness, but not nearly as much as eggs and milk. Avoiding only tree nuts makes finding or making food for Riley feel doable instead of impossible for others who don’t manage food allergies every day.
- We can eat at new restaurants. While visiting Atlanta, we had a day in the city where we didn’t have to pack a lunch. We ate at the Waffle House and none of us stressed about whether there would be something on the menu he could eat. He ate a burger and and didn’t even have to worry whether their buns had eggs in them. He was even able to try their waffles.
- His soccer team had a party with pizza and snacks. He could eat the pizza with everyone else. We didn’t have to call and make special arrangements, order a special pizza or bring his own food. He didn’t have to feel left out or embarrassed. He felt like he could eat the food with everyone else, and I didn’t have the pit in my stomach I always get when someone invites him to an event with food.
- He was excited about going Trick-or-Treating with his best friend and eating the chocolate candy, especially the Reese’s peanut butter cups. He stayed out for a long time trying to collect as much candy as possible since he was excited about all of the new options he could try. Before OIT he could only eat a few of the hard candies, so he wasn’t very interested in Trick-or-Treating.
- His family can share their favorite foods with him. His aunt wanted to bring him a treat for his birthday. Normally we would say there really wan’t any baked treat she could bring him from a restaurant or store. She went to her favorite dessert place and brought him a Belgian waffle with Creme Fraiche. He loved it.
- He can participate in school rewards. He was invited to eat a catered lunch at the school for getting a 4.0 that term and could participate with everyone else instead of skipping it or without having to bring his own meal. We still had to work with the restaurant to make sure we could avoid nut contamination but they were able to accommodate him. Avoiding nuts is much easier than milk, egg, and nuts. The amount of smiles and thank-yous were so worth it.
- The students at school often get rewarded with candy bars for good work or behavior. He used to feel frustrated or sad when he was offered something he couldn’t eat. The teachers usually felt bad too. That hasn’t happened since milk and egg OIT. There are only a few treats he has to avoid. He is excited like everyone else to get a treat and it really is a reward instead of a disappointment.
- When he goes to church youth activities or events, there are often treats that the kids get really excited about. He can eat the rice krispie treats, cookies, donuts or brownies with everyone else.
- We are saving money, which is a fun bonus. For example, we can buy a regular package of chocolate chips. We can buy 2.5 more chocolate chips for the price of one of the allergy free bags.
- At Thanksgiving I didn’t have to coach our family members through how to make the turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing, or rolls without dairy or eggs. Riley could try all almost all of the pies (not the pecan pie yet). He even ate them with whipped cream and ice cream.
- We went to a church Christmas party and we didn’t have to go out and buy a separate meal for him to eat at the party. We ate the meal together. He even ate some brownies a neighbor brought.
- Riley tried hot chocolate for the first time in his life at a party. He loved it.
- He is excited to get vouchers and coupons for food. Over the years the school, library and sports teams often hand out vouchers as rewards to the kids for free ice cream cones, cookies or meals. He normally can’t eat any of the free food items they hand out which is always a bummer (especially when it is a reward), but this time when Riley got a packet of coupons from basketball at our local rec center, he was excited that he could get a free sub sandwich.
- We went out for ice cream as a family for dessert. Riley was excited to order ice cream with the rest of us instead of fries or soda.
- I did a cookie exchange for Christmas with my neighbors. I normally wouldn’t participate because it is sad when everyone else in our family can enjoy the cookies except for him.
- Our neighbors always bring us caramel popcorn for Christmas. Instead of wishing he could eat it with us, Riley could try it and enjoy it with us for the first time.
- My mom and grandma love to make Christmas cookies. They are so excited to be able to share some of their favorites with Riley. It is so fun to be able to include him in food traditions and family celebrations.
- We went out to breakfast as a family. We’ve only done that once many years ago, and he had an allergic reaction with 4 hours of severe stomach pain because of cross contamination. This time he ordered pancakes and eggs and we weren’t even worried.
- Riley can eat at so many restaurants. He loves the food at Cafe Rio, but couldn’t eat there before because the of cross contamination with dairy in the assembly line. Riley’s Dad took him to Jersey Mike’s to eat a sandwich for lunch. As Riley watched them drop food carelessly all over while they quickly made sandwiches, he said, “I could have never eaten here before OIT.”
- There were a lot of holiday class parties at school, and instead of being disappointed and watching everyone else eat the treats, he was excited he could participate with all of the other kids eating donuts and hot chocolate.