Tbt – Anaphylaxis’ Abrupt Introduction & Why We Still Smile

Saturday, December 13 was a typical evening.   As I was setting up my son’s dinner, I was excited because it would be his first taste of yogurt. After two small spoonfuls, the verdict was in: he loved it!

However, within a minute it all changed.

He started to fuss and rub at his face.   Turning red, his lips and mouth swelled up as huge blotches formed all over his face, neck and chest. Although just an infant, fear was written all across his face.  After calling 911, an ambulance arrived in what felt like a lifetime.  In the ambulance, his state continued to get worse. I held an oxygen mask over his now slightly-blue lips.   As he started to zone out, I prayed that he did not lose his breath. When he cried, I felt a second of relief for he was breathing.

Asking the EMT repeatedly about his state, I now know that she too was worried.  Her silence spoke louder than any words could have. They did not have an EpiPen with them in the ambulance and called to meet up with another team on the way to the hospital. However, due to the snow, that did not happen. As the doors to the ambulance opened, they sprinted in holding my son as I ran behind them, helpless.

The hospital staff administered epinephrine, Benadryl, and a steroid then reassured me that everything would be okay.   It was 40 minutes after ingesting that tiny amount of yogurt and I now know that we were beyond lucky.  Not everyone gets those 40 minutes.

A moment of relief soon turned into the reality of what had happened. It mixed with guilt, throwing me into the most difficult place I had seen. That night, I slept on the floor next to his crib waking up every hour to check for breathing.  Yet, even in his sleep, TJ smiled on…

We soon learned that TJ was allergic to milk, eggs, wheat, oats, barley, rye, peanuts, tree nuts, coconut, sesame, soy, and peas. At first, I spent those early months trying to defend myself to others as a good person who did not eat too many peanuts or eggs during my pregnancy.  Or, explaining why I chose to continue breastfeeding despite these allergies.   I was explaining myself to everyone to try to prove that I did not cause this and I was not an awful mom.  However, it was unhealthy and I needed to shift my focus to best help TJ.

Therefore, I turned to writing, starting this blog (at first on a different site)  as an outlet for the emotions I was feeling and information that I was learning. By sharing our story, we hope to teach everyone with or without food allergies while inspiring others who wear similar shoes to smile on despite the challenges they face.   While we have just begun this journey, I have already learned to smile because:

1)      Special kinds of people wear these shoes.  Wear the label often thrown at you with pride.

For you are special.

2)      Make the most of it, don’t let challenges like food allergies define you. Only YOU can

define yourself.

3)      Ignorance is not bliss and needs to be educated.

4)      Let your faith be bigger than your fear.  Trust your instinct but always be prepared.

5)      Educating means advocating. Never apologize for it. Your child’s life never requires an


Last, but definitely not least, TJ continues to inspire me each and every day. Throughout all of our emergency room trips, endless doctor appointments, and the worst days, TJ always smiles, inspiring our blog’s name and giving others like me the courage to smile on too…


12 thoughts on “Tbt – Anaphylaxis’ Abrupt Introduction & Why We Still Smile

  1. Laura @ Dot Makes 4

    What a fantastic post!
    I too have seen my son have an anaphylactic shock. He was 10 months old when we found out that he was severely allergic to eggs, milks, nuts and peanuts.

    I too defended myself, whilst also blaming myself, but realised I needed to help him.
    11 years on, he’s doing amazingly well and is finally starting to accept that this is who he is.

    I love S.M.I.L.E! I will definitely remember that!

    Laura xx


    Liked by 1 person

    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you so much for stopping by, reading, and leaving your encouraging words. I am glad to hear that your son is doing so well now and not allowing food allergies to define him. Love hearing stories like yours. Thanks again! =)


  2. acornishmum

    That must have been so scary, it’s horrible seeing them having to be rushed to hospital, but I’m just glad they got him there in time for you!
    Thanks for linking up to #Picknmix
    Stevie x


  3. DomesticatedMomster

    I couldn’t even imagine the state of mind you must have been in going through those 40 minutes! So scary! You are so positive and don’t need to defend yourself to anyone. TJ deserves only positivity in his life and yours. Thank you so much for sharing your story with #momsterslink. Hope to see you again tomorrow :0) smiling on!
    ❤️Trista, Domesticated Momster

    Liked by 1 person

    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you so much for stopping by and your encouraging words. Support like yours definitely helps us to smile on… =)


  4. flanaganm

    It’s so hard for non-allergic people, or those without a highly allergic person in their life, to understand the anxiety surrounding reactions.
    But it is also easy to blame for allergies. These things seriously just happen. My whole family is not allergic to anything; I have a severe dairy allergy. My mom did the same thing for both pregnancies. My sister is fine, I can’t ingest dairy products.
    When I visited the allergist before introducing my child to dairy, he told me that there is almost nothing that can predict an allergy. Not how much of any allergen you eat while pregnant or an allergy in the mother. Nothing.
    You couldn’t have known or even prevented this, but your reaction to and advocacy is wonderful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

      Thank you for your encouraging words. It really means a lot. I had to make a choice months ago when this all started. To be fearful all the time or turn this into something positive as crappy as it is. That is when I decided for TJ, I needed to advocate and educate as much as I could. Allergies are soooo crazy in that sense that there is no definite answer to anything. I pray that one day there are more answers. When were your allergies first discovered? You mentioned your child. Does your child have any allergies? At first, I looked at and over-analyzed everything that I had done during pregnancy and nursing, blaming myself. And during those times, listened to too many people asking questions about it. However, I do realize now that I did not cause this. There is a much bigger picture that doctors don’t even know about right now. I pray for those answers one day. Anyways, let me stop rambling, and thank you for sharing your story. I look forward to anything you have to share to my posts and blog. Have a great weekend!


      1. flanaganm

        My allergies probably started at birth, but were written off as a weak stomach muscle since my reaction is to vomit. I started on soy formula when I was a baby, and told that I would grow out of the sensitivity eventually or that other animal milks might be ok for me to ingest. None of that was true. In fact, since my reaction is not the typical classic anaphylaxis reaction, even allergists at first refused to acknowledge that I had a dairy allergy. When I went to get it on record for the first time last year, the docs actually told me that nothing would likely turn up in the skin test since I have a GI reaction and not the typical reaction. They were shocked when the dairy site had an almost off the charts response.
        My child doesn’t have any allergies so far, and I ate tons of PB, nuts, fish, and other allergens during pregnancy and while breastfeeding. I even intro’d her to PB and fish before the 1 year mark, which “everyone’ says not to do.
        I really think allergies are just the luck of the draw, or a combination of chance and circumstance.
        However, allergic kids today, or at least those with a smaller number of trigger foods, have it way better than I did growing up. Non dairy anything was nonexistent, or only available at a super high cost. Soy milk tasted awful, there was no alternative for dairy cheese or pudding or yogurt, and allergen labeling wasn’t yet required by federal law. A lot of eating was trial and error, or by feeling, or by accounting (I dipped my chicken fingers in a dab of ranch yesterday, so I can’t have frosting today).
        Let me know if there is anything that I could contribute to your blog, perhaps hope for parents of allergic kids that it does get better and easier, or how to teach kids about trigger foods, or anything!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Thank you for sharing all of this. It is very helpful and insightful. I really appreciate it. Either of those topics would be great to share. Want to email me at smilingawayallergies@gmail.com? I have not worked with guest posts yet but it is definitely something I am interested in. Thank you.


      3. smilingawayfoodallergies Post author

        Also, I can’t imagine how difficult it must have been at first before there were so many allergy-friendly companies. That must have made things even more tricky. Kudos to you for powering through that ! 😄


      4. flanaganm

        The credit goes to my incredibly diligent and inventive parents, who made separate meals and created amazing dairy free alternatives to dairy-heavy meals (lasagna, mac & cheese, pizza, homemade ice cream, etc.). Seriously amazing!

        Liked by 1 person

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