Where do I start?

I don’t know where to begin tonight.  I have been debating whether I should even write this.  I really want to be one of those bloggers whose posts are uplifting.  I mean, those are the types of posts that I usually enjoy reading.  I want others to enjoy my posts, too.  But I’m not feeling very positive right now.  The main reason I started this blog was to help me to work through my thoughts and emotions.  To get them out and then let them go.  So here goes.  Who knows?  Maybe one of you have had similar experiences and need to know that you aren’t alone.

We had to leave church early tonight because of Mowgli’s allergies.  Mid-way through his choir class they moved to a larger room so that several grades could practice together.  Within minutes of being in that room his eyes began to water, his nose got stuffy, and he developed a hive on his arm.  Since he’s had problems off-and-on with his environmental allergies flaring up at church, we no longer go to our adult Bible study classes on Wednesday nights.  Instead, we stay outside of his choir class and monitor him often.  Tonight we peeked into the class, saw him looking around for a teacher (he knows to tell them right away if he’s not feeling right), and quickly got him out of the building.  I put some hydrocortisone cream on the hive and we waited for a bit outside to see how serious the reaction was.  He seemed okay, so we started on the twenty minute drive home.  About five minutes into the drive he told us that his eyes were watering a lot more, that his throat felt tickly, and that he was scared.  Trying to keep my own anxiety under control I smiled, told him he was going to be okay, hoped beyond hope that I hadn’t just told him a lie, began mentally rehearsing the steps of giving him the Epi-pen, and waited.  A few more minutes passed and the tickling in his throat went away.  I thanked God and tried to act normal during the rest of the drive.  Once home we gave him his usual nightly dose of antihistamine and had him get right into the shower.  An hour later his symptoms were improved.  I am so thankful.  And still so worried.  The enemy definitely knows where to send his fiery darts.

It feels like there have been a lot of fiery darts aimed my way lately.  In reality there aren’t that many, and they’ve mostly been little things, really.

Like Mowgli’s basketball practice being cut short by a half hour last night so that the kids could enjoy surprise cupcakes brought by the coach’s wife.  She knows about Mowgli’s allergies, but didn’t give me any sort of heads-up.  He wasn’t upset about missing out on the cupcakes.  But he was really disappointed that he didn’t get to play his full hour of basketball.  We wanted to let him stay and practice, but it just wasn’t safe for him to do so with the other kids handling cupcakes and then the basketballs.  Allergies can be so isolating.

Little things.  Like meeting another family in the allergist’s office this week.  Their daughter is sixteen and has been getting allergy shots for the last seven years (we’re only on week five); three shots per visit, just like our Mowgli.  She, too, has multiple food allergies that have only increased in number and severity as she’s gotten older.  At first I felt encouraged.  There are others who have been through/are going through exactly what we are going through.  They’ve survived it.  They’re handling it.  We can, too.  And yet…  After seven years this family still has to come to the allergist’s office for their daughter to receive shots.  The allergist told us the usual length of treatment is five years.  Meeting this girl and her family dashed my hopes a little.  Okay.  A lot.  These allergy shots are a huge commitment.  They carry significant risk.  We prayed about it A LOT before we decided to do them.  I have been believing that God is going to use them to heal our son.  So to meet a girl for whom they haven’t yet worked was…discouraging.

There have been a few big things, too.  Like a friend’s miscarriage, which has brought up all of the memories of my own even though it was so long ago.  The grief was intense, but blessedly short.  Had God allowed us to keep that baby, we wouldn’t have our Mowgli.  Where there once was heartache, there is now joy.  But while I no longer grieve the loss, I have to recognize that it has forever changed me.  It is, at least in part, why Mowgli’s anaphylactic allergies have rocked my world so hard.  I KNOW the devastating pain of losing a child.

The flaming darts have come in many sizes, but none surprised me more than a friend’s Facebook post yesterday.  She shared a meme that’s been going around for over a year now that says, “If my kid can’t bring peanut butter to school, yours shouldn’t be able to bring preventable diseases.”  Okaaay.  So I commented and explained why this meme is offensive to parents like me who have kids with food allergies.  (It’s not okay to imply that kids with food allergies are unvaccinated.  Just like other kids, some are vaccinated and some aren’t.  Food allergies aren’t a choice.  Vaccinations are.)  She said she wasn’t implying that kids with food allergies are unvaccinated and clarified her position, which is this:  “If (she) can force kids not to bring peanut butter and jelly sandwiches” (she’s a teacher) “why can’t we apply that same logic to kids coming to school without vaccinations?”

I found the whole exchange emotionally draining, and I thought it was just from the frustration of having to explain to my friend (a high school English teacher) that whether she meant to imply it or not, the use of “my” and “your” in the meme does imply it.  But then why didn’t I feel any better after she explained her position?  I realized today that it is because she is saying that forcing parents to keep the peanut butter at home is the same thing as forcing them to vaccinate their children.  Let’s consider it.  Vaccines carry risk of illness and injury.  Even if that risk is small, it is there.  What is the possible harm in keeping your peanut butter at home?  Inconvenience.  Sacrifice of time and energy in order to find a lunch item that your child will eat.  Yet the way many parents react to having to keep the peanuts at home is as if you’d forced them to stick their child with a needle.  They rant and complain that their child’s “right” to peanut butter has been infringed on by my child’s selfish desire for a safe environment.  No, my friend is wrong.  It is not the same thing.  You cannot use the same logic.  And having to continually educate and explain this to others is exhausting.

Life is hard enough, especially nights like tonight when Mowgli’s had a reaction.

How do I end this?  With a reminder to myself that I can put out those flaming arrows of the evil one by taking up the shield of faith (Ephesians 6:13-17) and that it only takes mustard seed-sized faith to move mountains (Matthew 17:20).

{*Please do not respond with comments for/against vaccination.  I will not approve them.*}



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