Nobody asks to suffer with allergies. BUT, did you know there are hidden benefits to have allergies?? Yes, that's right! It took me many years to become aware of them. When my son was first diagnosed with life-threatening multiple food allergies I was in shock. Then a cloud of wavering emotions followed... confusion, injustice, anger, guilt. Then came the acceptance and determination to do whatever I had to do to keep my son safe. Can you relate?
Sounds like the stages of grief. It is really isn't it? It's dealing with the sudden loss of living a normal life doing normal things that normal families do.
Life becomes all about keeping your child safe and fed.... in that order. Every area of life is affected. Nobody understands but someone with or caring for someone with allergies.
To attend a birthday party or any social gathering takes preparation and planning. Wherever food is involved we have to be all-knowing - what's in the food, how was it prepared, where was it stored. Even if the food is made from safe ingredients, there are endless possible risks for cross contamination . So, we usually end up taking a cooler bag of food and a handbag full of snacks wherever we go.
A few years ago, after a long time feeling sorry for myself. Haha, Am I the only one? I found my rose coloured glasses and started wearing them again. I began to start seeing the HIDDEN BENEFITS that living with so many allergies has had in my son, in our family and in me.
I see the person my gorgeous little man, has become.... and I couldn't be prouder! He is made of grit and resilience!! I wonder if he would be the same had he not have had these challenges, and I really doubt that he would be.
He shows courage and bravery. Every blood test and Skin Prick Test he faces head on. Every food challenge, despite being scared, he still does goes through with them. I don't know whether I'd be as brave - I'd certainly complain a lot more than he ever does!
He shows such patience, understanding and tolerance. I never want him to miss out on food that other kids have. There are times, though when things are beyond my control. Sometimes he does miss out, and that's OK! We all miss out on things in life. It's part of life.
When he's given lollies or Easter eggs, he brings them home so I can swap for safe treats - that's delayed gratification, a trait that most kids haven't learnt... and let's be honest a lot of adults too!
He also has great compassion for other people. If someone is being left out, he notices them and makes an effort to include them. He understands how it feels to be excluded.
There are so many other benefits, and I'm sure you have noticed them too...
Hidden benefits in our family - well we are a whole lot more healthy. We rarely opt for take away as have never been much choice for those with allergies. We save money from not eating out very much. We communicate better. We know who our real friends are and we are grateful for them. By remembering to always take the epipen, my hubby now remembers other things -like his keys, phone and wallet. Haha
For me personally, there are so many positives, a change in my career, I am healthier, I don't care what people think (as much I used to ), my faith has increased.
I think the biggest benefit that facing allergies has had on me, is my obsession to find answers and realising that there are solutions to health complaints. The human body is amazing, if given the right environment, it will heal itself. I've seen it first hand.
I put up with asthma, allergies and eczema my whole life, because that's all I knew. I didn't question things. It wasn't until my boy was diagnosed with so many allergies and eczema that I really started to research and find answers. I began learning about toxic chemicals that affected our health, how food can harm or heal our body, how stress can affect us, about the amazing way our body can heal itself and about gut health.
After 40 years, I no longer suffer with asthma or eczema. My beautiful boy no longer has severe multiple food allergies... just a nut allergy!
One of the main benefits that allergies have had on my life is my change in career and passion for helping others become their healthiest! This is why I have invested in further studies by becoming an allergy coach.
How have allergies affected you and your family? I'd love to know - leave us a comment below.
Sonya Lee x