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 Post subject: dealing with family
PostPosted: Mon Jun 20, 2005 11:33 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Since we have a 'dealing with strangers' thread, I thought I'd start one on 'dealing with family' although this topic has been discussed elsewhere...but I can't remember where exactly!

In any case, I just wanted to share a good experience at our family reunion recently. For the first time, my sisters and I sent an email around to everyone asking people to help to make our event nut free. I wasn't sure whether everyone would understand (our extended family is large, and not everyone would be aware of the severity of our allergies) but I got several supportive responses, and I even found out that there are more people in the family who are allergic to nuts than I knew about. As far as I could see, no one included nuts in their dishes, and the person who always buys ice cream for everyone didn't get drumsticks this time. One of my relatives even thanked me for speaking up---she has been concerned about this for awhile.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 10:03 am 
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Site Admin

Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6455
Location: Ottawa
Lisa, that's great!
I find that most people want to be supportive but don't know how to go about it. (There are a few who don't get it and are actually dangerous, but thankfully they are the minority)
It's a fine line to walk- being optimistic, providing knowedge, promoting safe aternatives while at the same time not being an oppressive bore who can't have a conversation without constantly bringing it back to allergies and how special(different) the allergic person is.
That's probably why your relative didn't speak up in the past.
Good for you! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 12:13 pm 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Lisa, glad to hear the reunion went well.

I find being an adult with allergies makes it much easier to deal with family then if it were my child. As an adult I do feel it is MY responsibility, but if it were my child - I'd resent people bringing things.

**********

By the way, Chapman's has safe ice-cream cones that are very similar to the drumsticks. They have crispies on top instead of nuts - similar texture without the poison. ;)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jun 21, 2005 9:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 6:53 pm
Posts: 1454
Location: Canada
Thanks Susan and AnnaMarie :) I'll have to tell my great uncle who always buys ice cream for everyone about the Chapman nut free ice cream cones for next year.
Lisa


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2006 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Well, I just thought I'd rant about Christmas. My MIL could not and would not give up on her traditional baking, of which each morsel is chock full of nuts. She put the plates full of cookies and fruit cake right in front of my daughter even though not half an hour before, we had been discussing the cross-contamination issue. I was fully expecting this but it hurts nonetheless that they are so thoughtless. We also received our traditional Toblerone even though we said ahead of time not to bother anymore. But I can't rock the boat. My husband just hushed me and said he will take it to work. At least I was able to prevent taking a plate full of baking home, after arguing with her for a minute that I had done my own safe baking, that I didn't want nuts at home, that no, my husband didn't need to take it to work, etc.

When my MIL brought the plates out, my daughter and I went to sit in the living room, away from everybody.

We're still in the dark as far as my daughter's peanut allergy. She is booked for a food challenge February the 15th, but in the meanwhile the allergist told us to take every precaution to avoid peanuts.

My MIL talks about all her maladies all the time (shoulder pain, diabetes, regular old age stuff), ad nauseum, and I am supposed to lend a sympathetic ear but it's hard when she doesn't seem to care about her own grand-daughter and won't even take the necessary precautions. To top it all, they even forgot to give my daughters their Christmas presents. They called 2 days later to say they had cards with money for them. :roll:

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2006 1:12 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Wow - I'm so sorry that it went so badly Nicole. It does sometimes take a long time for family to "get it". And some people are just more self-absorbed than others... and maybe your MIL is starting to also get very forgetful, given that she forgot to give your girls their present. (Having said that, my DH forgot to wrap and give me the two presents he bought for me from the boys... I'm still waiting for them! LOL).

I guess all you can do is talk to your daughter, make sure she's not feeling too badly about the whole situation, and keep trying to educate your MIL. Some people do get it with time.

Big hugs.

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


Last edited by KarenOASG on Sat Dec 30, 2006 11:26 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2006 12:47 am 
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Joined: Thu Sep 22, 2005 11:39 pm
Posts: 1141
Location: saskatchewan, canada
Nicole,
My MIL does not get it either...and she even raised my very allergic husband. My husband went to her house briefly on the 23rd just to exchange gifts (the girls don't go there...she's too obsessed with "tradition" in the sense of her precious baking and nut trays...not the tradition of keeping family safe and alive).

So in the 90 minutes my husband was there...she actually offered him egg nog...her own son...who is deathly allergic to eggs :roll: and has been since childhood. Is it any wonder I stayed home with the girls?

_________________
DD age 9 1/2 -peanuts, nuts,
DD age 7 1/2 - milk, eggs, chicken, peanuts, treenuts, cats, dogs,
DS age 2 1/2
Husband- asthma, eggs, treenuts, fish, shellfish environmental
Self - penicillan, eurithromiacin, mild laytex allergy.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 10:34 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Wow, saskmommy, I have 2 words for you: UN-BELIEVABLE!

I don't know what goes on in people's heads.

Karen, you're right, they are very forgetful, but my MIL has always been somewhat self-centered. You try to tell her something and before you have a chance to finish, she interrupts with her own stories (that I have heard a million times anyway) and she never hears the end of your story. It's very frustrating. Her husband even tells her to stop and to listen sometimes.

Oh well, thank you for listening to my rant, I guess we all have these stories, and like I said, I fully expected it, so we just have to learn to deal with it.

We went to visit a friend of my husband's in Montreal a few days ago. They're Italian, so even though we just had enough time to stop for a drink, the table was laden with goodies, and dishes of cashews and pistachios. They're telling us to eat, so when I said my daughter was allergic to peanuts, low and behold they said that their 14 year old son was also allergic to peanuts. The mom told me he throws up and gets a rash. I asked if he carried an Epi-pen and she said no,I don't think she even knew what it was, but worse they had never taken him to an allergist!! :shock: I strongly urged them to go to the allergist and to get an Epipen, but I get the feeling that they think they just need to avoid peanuts, even though he had a reaction with just an ice cream cone without peanuts from Dairy Queen once. I think I will try to mail them some literature about anaphylactic shock.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 10:29 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 58
My family refused to give up their traditional Christmas food, chicken kiev, so I got to eat ham, the same ham I had been eating all week! Whoopee. I was sick of it by then. Next they refused to buy a whole vegan chocolate cake so that everyone would have the same thing, so i had to buy my own individual piece. That made me feel great (insert sarcasm here). They know how much my Grandma meant to me and they still insist on serving her chocolate cake which is packed full of eggs and dairy, neither of which I can have. If I hadn't gone out shopping on my own, I would have been desertless. Family can be so cold and heartless. That same night I had to cook my own pizza because they refused to go to a place with goat cheese instead. So I sat aside eating my "allergen free" meal looking like a dope while everyone else actually got to enjoy their dinner.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 1:05 pm
Posts: 528
Location: Burlington, Ontario
Sorry to hear about your experience, Honugirl.

It seems funny that people have no problem accommodating vegetarians and people with diabetes, but when it comes to allergens, huge mental block.

_________________
15 year old - asthmatic, allergic to cats, dogs, horses, waiting to be "officially" diagnosed for anaphylaxis
12 year old - asthmatic, allergic to tree pollen and mold, OAS
Husband - Allergic to amoxycillin
Self - Allergic to housework only


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:55 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 11, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 923
Location: Oakville, Ontario
Honugirl, I sympathise with your plight. It WILL get easier for you. Take heart. What you are feeling is absolutely normal, and most of us have felt what you are feeling. We're all here to listen as you go through the adjustment.

One thing our family has found that "works" with others is when we bring platters of food to share. People are so often AMAZED how good the food tastes when it's made to accomodate someone with food allergies (and does not include eggs, or nuts, or seeds, or fish, or whatever food you need to avoid (eggs and dairy in your case)). I find if we're willing to contribute (and I've found we've made BIG contributions to the dinner), they are quite happy to accept these "alternate" foods. Our son's weakest time for food is all the hors d'oeuvres, so we bring 1-2 platters of safe appetizers (depending on the event). It's a fair bit of effort, but others really appreciate the effort, and we've found they are much more willing to talk about the foods we must avoid. When we've brought desserts to share, people are AMAZED that the cakes or cookies have no egg (I use Kingsmill Egg Replacer which I LOVE for baking).

I had read somewhere that it can take up to 2 years to fully adjust to living life with food allergies - and accepting them. I found that was a pretty accurate time frame for our family. I don't want to dishearten you with hearing "2 YEARS?!", but it really does take time to adjust and accept it (and lose the cravings!) Even though it's my son with the food allergies, our whole family avoids all of his foods, so I feel like our whole family had to adjust to living without those foods. I can honestly say that we've all adjusted to it, and I no longer crave those foods. As we tell our son, all the foods he can eat are just as tasty as those he can't. I don't want him to feel he's really missing out on something so amazing, that he can't live without it. We focus on all the great foods he can eat.

_________________
15 yr old daughter: no health issues
12 yr old son: allergic to peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, fish, sesame, sunflower, mustard, poppy seeds, green peas, some fruits, instructed to avoid all other legumes (except soy & green beans), pollen, cats, horses


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 12:51 am 
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 58
Thanks Julie. I appreciate it. 2 years is a long time, but now I know that these cravings aren't going to go away in a month, two months or even six months and that in itself should make it a little easier.

I know that eventually it will get easier, I just wish everyone else would get with the program! I even wish grocery stores and other places would get with the program and get stuff in that we can eat without having to drive to 4 different stores (yes, I currently have to shop at 4 different grocery stores!)

I'll try the bring desert thing with them if it comes up again. They're pretty set in their ways though (I'm 28, for 28 years + they've served pizza, crab, salad, garlic bread, and grandma's chocolate cake, so I highly doubt that they're going to change any time soon unfortunately).

Nicole, I agree, what is up with them accommodating everyone else (diabetics, cardiac diet, etc.), but a food allergy is off the charts?


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 10:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 29, 2005 4:04 pm
Posts: 2044
Location: Gatineau, Quebec
Honugirl - one thing you could try for the grocery stores is to talk to the store manager to see if they would bring in some of the products that you want. Some stores can be quite accommodating. A friend of mine has had great luck with hers. Mine is pretty useless, unfortunately...

But I hear ya - I sometimes have to drive an hour or more round trip just to find a safe product (such as DF soy cheese or safe EF mayo), and I would say that I have to go to at least 5 different stores to find the various safe products that our family can have.

It used to drive me absolutely crazy. After 6 years, I've accepted it. LOL. As my husband has said to me over the years, it's just a waste of energy to get upset. (He's the zen one in the family.)

K.

_________________
Karen, proud Mom of
- DS1 (12 yrs): allergic to cashews, pistachios, Brazil nuts, potatoes, some legumes, some fish, pumpkin seeds; OAS
- DS2 (1o yrs): ana. to dairy, eggs, peanuts; asthma


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jan 06, 2007 1:32 pm 
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Joined: Wed Dec 06, 2006 12:47 am
Posts: 58
Thanks Karen for the tip. I just might have to try that. It's getting ridiculous with going to school now to be running around trying to find food.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2007 2:14 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 03, 2006 8:23 pm
Posts: 190
Most of the members of my family seem to have a mental block regarding the seriousness of my allergies, which have been life-long.

It's sad, but some families will never 'get it'.


Last edited by Andrea_MASG on Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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