As many of you know, Chloe quickly became very ill. The consultant pediatrician had passed us off, saying that she most likely inherited one of the digestive diseases from either one of us (I have Crohn's, and digestive diseases run in both of our families). We refused to accept the answers provided to us. In fact, it was the representative from Similac at a baby fair who suggested that it sounded like a milk allergy and recommended the hypo-allergenic formula. We switched over the following day.
Chloe was recently seen by a gastric specialist who, after running a series of GI tests, diagnosed her as having both severe reflux (causing the ulcers that caused the intestinal bleeding), and a severe milk allergy.
I have several food allergies and sensitivities myself. Red meat can cause me to be bedridden for up to 3 days. Onions cause airway restrictions. Tomatoes cause massive vomiting (there goes Italian food!). Wheat causes me to bloat and have intestinal issues. Dairy products also can cause me great pain.
Unfortunately, not everyone is accepting of our allergies. I have no idea why, I mean, if they were diagnosed with a severe bee-sting allergy would I send them out to work in a beehive? Yes, there is a lot I can't eat. No, I don't expect you to remember the list, nor do I expect you to go out of your way to prepare something just for me. In fact, with my allergies I would prefer to only eat what I, or someone close to me, has prepared. I am not being rude by refusing your freshly baked whatever, I am being kind to myself.
What I do expect, and I think this is pretty reasonable, is that I be allowed to bring my own food to dinner, etc. Yes, really, that's all folks. I know that I have been thought of as being difficult and picky for doing just this. I know I have been thought of as being rude. Often, I just won't get an invite that includes anything to do with food. This is quite hurtful to the many, many people who suffer food intolerances and allergies.
Research on the topic of women with endometriosis and allergies has shown that there is a strong relationship between them. Women with endometriosis are several times more likely to have food and environment allergies than women without the disease. This has been known for YEARS. However since few people actually know what this disease is, or how to say it, I wouldn't expect for them to know this. Even if they did, since they don't accept endo as a real disease, it becomes all that much more difficult to share these tidbits of info.
So what can you do to help? Be understanding when I refuse your plate of freshly baked cookies, it's not about watching my weight, it's about being kind to myself. Don't be upset if I do bring over my own food; I don't mean to be rude. If there is a group dinner at a restaurant, please consider letting me supply ideas; I know what I need to avoid. Please don't stop inviting us places, we like to have social engagements as well as any other person out there. Most of all, just be plain understanding of the situation; my health and that of my daughter's, is more important than any food that could possibly be offered to us.