Category Archives: tbt

Tbt – The Medical Mystery Month

For this week’s “TBT,” I plan to recap this past month as it proved to be one of the most challenging ones for me.  I must first start by saying that I am forever grateful to my husband, family members, and friends who helped and supported me during those four weeks of emotional and physical turmoil.   In those moments, days, and weeks, when I felt that my world was spiraling out of control, it was and is comforting to know that you guys never left my side.   You fully supported me even when I wasn’t sure of how to support myself.   Anyways, with that being said, here is a recap of my wild ride and some of the lessons that I learned.

Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations._.jpg

Before I start, let me remind you that I am NOT  doctor and this is all my personal opinions based on my personal experiences.   Also, this is a long post.  

Disclaimer: This blog is a personal blog and used as a way of sharing and connecting with other readers. The posts, articles, and stories shared on the site are meant as a source of encouragement. In this challenging world of food allergies, I have found reaching out to other parents and people in my shoes to be extremely resourceful and inspiring. Therefore, I want to give back and do the same. The information on my blog is not intended as medical advice so as always, please consult with your doctor.


November 6

  • Found out I was pregnant with my second child.   I was beyond excited!

November 9

  • Visited my Nana in the hospital as she was not doing well.  She had a stroke last December 2014 and has been in and out of hospitals since.   Throughout it all, she remained one incredibly strong and inspiring woman.

November 11

  • While teaching, 7 bugs are found during two of my classes. One was even on my arm.   I squashed it and continued on.   Then, we soon found out they were German roaches. I moved my classes and all of the materials from my classroom for the next couple of weeks.
  • My son’s lip got red after eating apricot for the first time.   I am not sure if that was just that his skin was sensitive or a minor reaction. However, I monitored him until I myself started having symptoms.
  • The left side of my stomach started to throb.   The pain continued to get worse and worse leading me to urgent care.   They checked me in, asked for urine, and then told me that they didn’t have time for me since they are closing in 40 minutes.   They sent me to the emergency room where I spend the next 8 hours (7:30 pm-3:30 am).
  • Joint pains and chills started.

Medical Verdict: Start of a possible miscarriage or implantation especially since my hCG number was low

My Personal Verdict: I stayed hopeful. I stopped my daily running and took it easy but deep down, I knew it was too late for implantation.   Still I prayed for a miracle.

 November 13

  • Bleeding started
  • I knew that I was miscarrying.
  • Flu-like symptoms began to get worse. They included horrible joint aches and pains.  Back chills continued to get worse.

Medical Verdict: OB/GYN told me to go to the urgent care the next day and have hCG tested.  He thought that I was having a chemical pregnancy.

My Personal Verdict:  Still I prayed for a miracle. I felt horrible and like I had the flu.

November 14

  • Miscarriage was confirmed.
  • Since my flu-like symptoms continued, my OB/GYN sent me back to the emergency room because he believed something else was going on.  This was where I spent another 6 hours of my life.

Medical Verdict: I was once again reminded that I had a miscarriage.   They tested for the flu and diseases such as lyme.   Everything came back negative.

My Personal Verdict: While I was extremely upset, most of my focus was worrying about my health.   I felt so weak with joint pains and body aches. I believed that something else was wrong.   I kept bringing up the roach that was on my arm and doctors continued to tell me that it was unrelated.   To me, it was just too weird that this all started right after one was on my arm.

November 16

  • I was instructed to see my primary doctor.   However, since mine was not available, I saw another doctor in the group.
  • Chills and body aches continued.

Medical Verdict: She ordered more blood work and a back x-ray.   Everything came back normal except my C-Reactive Protein (CRP) level was high. I was told that this was nothing to worry about but just meant that there was an infection or inflammation of some sort in my body.   It might be the miscarriage.

My Personal Verdict: I still felt awful.

November 17-21

  • My join pain, back aches, and bleeding started to get gradually better.
  • Jaw pain and pressure began.   I felt like I was shaking but no one else noticed.
  • Random bouts of blurred vision started and some vertigo.

Medical Verdict: Body was recovering from miscarriage and now doctor told me that she believed this may be anxiety.

My Personal Verdict: Knowing that I had a history of anxiety in my past, I knew that I was going through a stressful time. But, I truly believed something was wrong and going unnoticed. Yet, I agreed to see a therapist and acupuncturist. I needed to feel better. Also, I ordered Young Living essential oils  to try to heal myself since no one else seemed to be able to help me. At night, I started to mediate.

November 26-27

  • We visited my Nana which would turn out to be the last time we would see her before she passed away.  (I love you Nana!)
  • On Thanksgiving, my vertigo and blurred vision began to get worse.   This continued all weekend.   I still had throat, neck and jaw pain.  My ENT was not in the office so I went and saw another one.

Medical Verdict: That ENT told me that I had TMJ due to the stress of the miscarriage.

My Personal Verdict: I cried all the way home because I was feeling worse and truly believed there was something more than just anxiety causing all of this.

November 28-29

  • Dizziness was getting worse and more frequent.
  • I saw a therapist.  Maybe it is just intense anxiety? However, she believed it was more than just that.  This made me feel slightly better.
  • I saw a doctor for the white spots that I now saw in my throat.   My collarbone and neck both started to hurt even more.

Medical Verdict: The doctor told me it was due to the hormones of the miscarriage; however, I also was diagnosed with pharingitis. He stated that it should pass on its own because it was viral.

My Personal Verdict: I was losing hope… but hanging on…the blurred vision and dizziness happened frequently and especially if I ate a large meal.  I began to research lyme disease in depth because none of this mad any sense. Plus, several doctors kept mentioning lyme disease.

November 30

  • I asked that my classroom be tested for mold and the air quality because of flooding several times and the roach problem.   I found out that my classroom had a low impact roach cream used without me knowing.   I also found out that my classroom had too much carbon dioxide in it.   Therefore, I was told that my windows should always be opened a crack.   The problem was that I only have two windows.   I began to think my classroom was making me sick…
  • I saw my regular, amazing ENT.   She was concerned with the environment I was teaching in and had me tested for so many factors (including lyme, autoimmune diseases, carbon dioxide levels, and sooooo much more.) She also sent me to an allergist and hearing specialist.
  • My dizziness got worse.  I had to pull over a lot when I was driving because of these dizzy spells.

Medical Verdict: While I was still a medical mystery, she encouraged me that we would figure this out.   All of this blood work and testing came back normal except two parts.  1) my CRP was still high and 2) my hearing test showed an imbalance coming from somewhere but not my inner ear.

My Personal Verdict: I prayed for answers and had hope in my ENT. But after the results and my persistent symptoms, I was left even more frustrated.

December 1

  • My dizziness and blurred vision was horrible when I woke up.   Since my vision was so blurry and I was incredibly dizzy, I had a breakdown.  I couldn’t drive. I couldn’t multitask anymore like I was always able to do.   Everything took so much longer to do because of the incredible amount of concentration it took to do it. Not to mention, concentrating was nearly impossible. It sparked headaches and migraines on some days.
  • I went to the ER for a third time. Embarrassed to go again but feeling helpless…

Medical Verdict: They had a neurologist see me.   After a CAT scan and MRI of the brain, they ruled out bleeding of the pituitary gland, MS, and other conditions.  They sent me home and told me to see an eye doctor.   The eye doctor informed me that my eyes and vision are actually starting to improve.

My Personal Verdict: I felt like I was losing my mind.   I started to believe it may be horrible, horrible anxiety.

December 3-7

  • In addition to my lingering symptoms, it was now painful to sit down.  My OB/GYN wanted to see me.   She tested for an infection and made me get an ultrasound.
  • Daycare called me after my son was there for only an hour and told me he was wheezing. He had never wheezed before. He also had some hives.  Therefore, for safety in case it was an allergic reaction to something, we took an ambulance to guess where…. the ER again!   After we left that Friday, we spent 5 hours that weekend at the doctors’ office, giving my son breathing treatments.
  • He woke up Monday with a fever and sounding worse.   I took him to see his pediatrician and another doctor in the group.

Medical Verdict: He had a horrible case of pneumonia.   They almost hospitalized him. Instead, they gave us a strict list of treatments and medication to give.  My ultrasound and infection test both came back normal.

My Personal Verdict: I stayed as strong as I could  for my son but my dizziness and blurred vision both continued. Neck, collarbone, throat, and upper chest pain also continued to get worse. I did not know how I was functioning and getting through each day. 

December 8

  • Neck, collarbone, throat, and upper chest pain was bad.
  • I almost passed out in my class.   My amazing co-worker/friend told me that she would not allow me to drive. Instead, she insisted on driving me to appointments with my chiropractor and a rheumatologist.
  • The amazing woman that I was beyond blessed to have called Nana passed away to be with the Lord and my grandpa. I missed her so much from that very second.

Medical Verdict: Rheumatologist told me that she couldn’t find anything wrong with me in her area of expertise.   However, she ordered more blood work to see if my CRP level had dropped to normal and gave guidance on more doctors to see next.

My Personal Verdict: I kept praying for my health to be restored and that my Nana was out of pain now and in peace. I was emotionally and physically drained. I didn’t know what to do anymore so I continued praying and using Young Living essential oils.  I even put a drop of lemon oil in my glass of water before bed.   I needed a change.

December 9

  • I woke up not dizzy and feeling better than I had in weeks.   I ate and didn’t have blurred vision.  This was the first time in weeks.   Like a migraine when it starts to fade, I worried that the vertigo and blurred vision would come back.
  • I got my blood work done.

Medical Verdict: I found out on Thursday that in this blood work my CRP level was finally normal again!!!

My Personal Verdict: I continued to pray.

December 10

  • I woke up and could barely move my neck.  It hurt so badly to swallow anything even water.   Difficulty with swallowing hot liquids started a week ago.
  • I saw my ENT.   I only got dizzy and blurred vision here and there.
  • I found out that I may have been exposed to a type of pneumonia awhile back.   But the reality was who knows what I was exposed to with all of those hospital trips.

Medical Verdict: ENT encouraged me and told me that based on my CRP level finally being back to normal it seemed like my body was finally doing what it was suppose to do.  It was fighting whatever infection had been in my body. This also explained why my lymph nodes and muscles all around throat and neck were inflamed. She believed that this was probably the same back-to-back viral/bacterial infection that caused my son’s pneumonia.  However, mine was in my bronchial tubes and esophagus, not my lungs.  Since my miscarriage made my body weakened, it was theorized that I wasn’t strong enough to fight it off until now.

My Personal Verdict: I cried.   I personally do everything possible not to take any kind of medication even Tylenol.  Now, I was going to have to take a strong antibiotic that I never had before.   I was terrified and prayed for direction.  Reluctantly, I took the medication. I scheduled an appointment with a lyme specialist just in case the medication did not work. I continued using essential oils.

December 13-14

  • In many ways, I was feeling so much better.   I only got dizzy like once or twice a day.
  • However, my upper chest and collarbone pain continued.  And I coughed up blood.

Medical Verdict: I was told by one doctor that I had acid reflux and needed to take two other medications.  After speaking with my ENT, we decided that I would not take these.   Another doctor told me that she originally thought it was anxiety but now it appeared that this was indeed a viral/bacterial thing.

My Personal Verdict: I finally surrendered.  I couldn’t see anymore doctors except my ENT and chiropractor. In all of my life, I had never seen so many doctors.  Therefore, I needed to ride out this storm and believed that God was healing me.   He was guiding me to take the right steps to restoration.

December 15 – Now

Current Health & Lesson Learned

  • My son is 100% better! After seeing a specialist, he does not have asthma.   It was just triggered by this crazy viral/bacterial infection. Our fingers are crossed as we pray that he does not catch something similar again this winter season.
  • I am back almost back to my “normal” self again! I do have some brain fog and other symptoms lingering.
  • We have both ended our medications. My doctor put in another 10 days of mine; however, I may try to see a doctor before taking it to ensure that I really indeed need it.
  • Now, I am even more focused on rebuilding our gut health.   To make myself feel better about being on antibiotics, I am thinking of it as starting from a clean slate, building my gut health from scratch.   (Although it may not be the medical way to look at it, this has become my inner drive: to improve my overall health despite the recent challenges.)
  • I have scheduled an appointment with a new primary doctor in my hunt to find one that I can trust.
  • I learned how many amazing, loyal family and friends I have.   I learned that my husband truly stands by my side no matter what.
  • Last but certainly not least, I now value how important one’s health is.  For years, I took for granted how healthy I was. Also, on a personal note, I took for granted living in the moment by being truly present. Even when I felt the sickest, if I focused on being present in the moment, I felt emotionally at peace. This Christmas I celebrate how incredible blessed I am to be restored back to health with my loving family and friends by my side, embracing each and every precious moment. And that is why I smile on even bigger in faith and hope with my Nana, my special guardian angel by my side…

_Life is short,Break the Rules.Forgive quickly,Kiss slowly.Love truly, Laugh uncontrollably.And never regret ANYTHING,That makes you smile..jpg






Tbt – Anaphylaxis: Back to the Basics

Today’s “Tbt” brings us back to that initial allergic reaction to yogurt. Looking back at that Saturday evening and the months that followed, the term anaphylaxis overwhelmed me to the point of being in denial about it.  When I spoke about TJ eating that first taste of yogurt, I would say that it was a severe allergic reaction.   However, because he did not stop breathing, the words anaphylactic reaction never left my mouth.  It wasn’t until TJ turned 1 that I started to admit to others, to myself, that his reaction was indeed an anaphylactic reaction.   However, because we did everything that we were suppose to do with calling 911 and going in an ambulance to the hospital, TJ received medical attention before anything even more serious occurred.

learn to Create stunning flat designs.jpg

THE BASICS: An anaphylactic reaction usually involves more than one part of the body.   This may include the heart, gut, brain, mouth, eyes, skin, and lungs. Looking back at that evening, it is important to mention that TJ did have several early signs of anaphylaxis within seconds of having that infamous spoonful of yogurt. His symptoms included:

  1. fussiness within seconds/reaching and scratching at his face and mouth
  2. red rash and hives all over his body
  3. swelling of his lips and tongue
  4. TJ cried a lot and then was zoning out.   I must admit that in those minutes that felt like hours, I was most scared.   Getting into the ambulance, he started to cry because he did not see me.   This was a great sign because it meant he was breathing.


Here is an excellent resource about anaphylaxis.



I am recapping this event because I want people to understand that a serious allergic reaction does not always mean the individual has stopped breathing.   Instead, there are several other symptoms that do categorize it as anaphylaxis.

Because we know that God is forever by our sides, like that snowy December evening, we smile on helping to educate others too…

Tbt – Thankful

With today being Thanksgiving, I am making this post short but very sweet.   When I think of the significance of this holiday, I am reminded of how incredibly blessed I am.   Thinking back,  I am beyond thankful for two of the greatest days that I have been lucky enough to experience and the gifts of love that I received during them.

  1. The day that I became a wife marrying my best friend, my soulmate, my amazing husband
  2. The day that I became a mommy giving birth to my incredibly special little guy

As I reflect back to both of these life-changing memories, I have no choice but to believe in fairy tales and true love.

The Lilypad(1)

Because God gave me my two perfect princes and the life I prayed for, we smile on with a thankful heart… 

It is not happy people who are thankful. It is thankful people who are happy.

be anxious about nothing.but in everything by prayer & petition

Tbt: The Havoc of a Nursing Strike

Since it has been a tough week for me, I went back into my archives for some of my first entries.  As I was browsing through these, I found my entry about a nursing strike that my son had when he was 11 months.  While this topic may not be directly linked to food allergies, it was an extremely stressful phase that complicated matters a bit.   At 11 months, TJ was barely eating many foods due to his diet limitations and sensitivities to new textures.   Therefore, breastfeeding was still his main source of nutrition.  It had been about 4 months of my strict elimination diet of his allergies (wheat, oat, barley, rye, dairy, eggs, tree nuts, peanuts, soy, peas, coconut). I can’t lie… it was a difficult at times; however, I wanted to continue until another source of milk became an option.  I had felt confident that I would be able to continue the diet and breastfeeding until he had his first nursing strike….

I could not wait until March (2015) was over and done with. I know we aren’t suppose to wish away our days; however, March was filled with too many stomach bugs and colds for my liking. Anyways, with April’s arrival, we also welcomed another challenge.

Let me recap and share with you what I learned.

March 28

  • I was diagnosed with an ear infection and put on Amoxicillin for 7 days against my will. (I hate being on prescriptions and medication in general.  I even try to avoid Advil and Tylenol… just a personal preference.)
  • My son started to only nurse for 1-3 minutes, and if he got to 3 minutes, that was a lot! Before this, he would nurse between 3-5 times a day for about 8-12 minutes each time. However, he would barely even wait for a let down. He would still drink from bottles though.
  • He also started to drool a lot and bite everything from his toys to his crib to his bottles to my boob several times. Ouch! One of the first times he did this with his SIX TEETH, I instinctively yelled and startled him. He also had a cough and was getting over a cold. Because of all of these factors, my son was also super fussy and clingy.


  • Nursing strike continued. I would attempt to nurse and he would only stay latched on for about 1.5 minutes at a time. Based on the fact that my breasts were still full afterwards, I knew it could not be that he was just super efficient and quick with it now. So, I would offer and attempt to nurse. When he would refuse or only latch for a minimum amount of time, I would then go and pump to keep up my production. I was worried about my production dropping and us not making it until next month when we know more about his food allergies and if he had outgrown any. Therefore, I emailed his pediatrician and my breastfeeding friends for guidance. I was feeling so emotional about all of it, wondering what was causing it since it could be sooo many different factors.

Was this all because of his cold?

Was this teething? Getting molars a little early? (I did notice swollen gums on the top.)

Was it the cough/cold plus teething?

Was it that he preferred the bottle over nursing now? (I was worried about this one because I already pump two to four times a day. Now, I was pumping about 6 times a day. It was very difficult to keep up with. I give all you Mamas who exclusively pump A LOT of credit!!!)

Was he becoming more efficient or did he need less milk and feedings?

Was it my medication?

And the question I was worried the most about was…

Was he weaning himself from breastfeeding before we had a new plan of what he would drink at a year?

APRIL 4: Time for a New Plan

  •  How could this be so stressful for me?  I was an emotional wreck inside all week while trying to hold it together on the outside. I kept praying for strength. I would stay so strong all day until the evening when I would finally have a meltdown about everything.
  • I needed to figure out something, a solution to all of this. Therefore, on the 8th straight day of this, I finally stopped panicking and looked for answers instead. During his nap, I searched online and read a lot of websites and blogs. Some of the ones that I found most helpful are the following:

With these links, I came up with a new theory and plan:

  • First of all, I learned that most babies don’t wean themselves from breastfeeding until closer to 18 months, definitely not at 11 months. Reading that was a major relief to me because I felt like I had recently taken for granted how amazing nursing and breastfeeding was. Hopeful that this was not weaning, I felt confident that we could get back on track so I devised this theory and plan.
  • The Theory: I think that originally this nursing strike all started because his gums were bothering him badly because of teething. Then, he bit me and my reaction startled him. Therefore, I had to make nursing a comfortable, relaxing, stress-free environment again. I, myself, had become extremely anxious when feeding for the past 8 days, worrying about everything and anticipating that I would get bit again. Therefore, I had to be the one to change this back.
  • The Plan: When he woke up from his nap, I went right in when he was still drowsy. Singing a song that always comforts him and rocking him in the glider, he nursed for 11 minutes on one side and 5 minutes on the other! What an amazing feeling!


  • As I continue to rock and sing to my son when nursing, his nursing strike appears to be over! It definitely made me appreciate this whole breastfeeding and motherhood journey even more than I already did. It reminded me of how fast these past 11 months flew by and how fast the next months and years will go. This nursing strike really opened up my eyes. Since you never know when the last time with anything in life will be, it is extremely important to live in the moment instead of allowing the everyday stresses and routines to overshadow what really matters. I think I needed to be reminded of this.

Like One Republic says in their song “I Lived,”…I want to be able to say this one day…

“I owned every second that this world could give. I saw so many places, the things that I did. With every broken bone, I swear I lived.”

While a nursing strike may seem like nothing to most people, it was truly a broken bone to me. However, I owned it, lived in the moment instead of my to-do lists. Heck, we even made it until 13.5 months of breastfeeding, 6 of those months on a strict elimination diet.  At that point, he passed a soy oral food challenge and started to transition to soy.

Looking back at this memory, we smile on… learning to embrace the moments… for they make some of the most amazing memories….

Tbt – The Early Signs of Food Allergies

Months ago I first posted some of this as my first “Throw Back Thursday.” However, it was before I had many followers and I wanted to add more to this topic


To start, in our case, predicting food allergies during the first few weeks or even months was really impossible.  First of all, because I myself never had a food allergy, I never considered the thought that I may have a high-risk baby.   I now know that a baby is considered high-risk for food allergies if at least one parent or sibling has allergies.   TJ has no siblings yet; however, a dad who is allergic to fillet fish and walnuts. While I did know about these allergies before TJ’s anaphylactic reaction to yogurt, I did not know that my husband was also allergic to eggs as a baby and child, and suffered with horrible eczema until the age of 8.   In fact, his eczema was so bad as a baby that he had to be held 24/7 to prevent him from scratching and getting staph infections.  Maybe that is why he also did not sleep through the night until he was 3.  Not to mention, he was allergic to regular diapers and needed to use cloth ones. So yes, my son and any other children I may have one day are all considered high-risk.


Check out this article: Prevention of Allergies & Asthma in Children

Secondly, I do believe that TJ was born with these allergies and that is was nothing that I did or did not eat while pregnant or breastfeeding that caused it.   While TJ was born with eczema, I was told by doctors that it was common in babies and that he would probably outgrow by the age of 1.  I have read studies that show that symptoms, incidents, and the severity of eczema are all often reduced in babies who are exclusively breastfed during the first months of life.    I breastfed TJ exclusively for 13.5 months; however, his eczema and skin reactions were not an issue until October 2014 when he was five months old.  Coincidentally, that was also the month when I introduced solids.   Knowing what I know now, I would have and would wait until six months of age to introduce solids for any of my children.  His body just wasn’t ready. It was and is just too pure for the foods we eat these days.

With that being said, I do believe that he had some signs of food allergies early on, but the tricky part was that they are symptoms common among most babies.

  1. SPIT UP: While TJ never projectile vomited (minus the one time he had the stomach bug), he did spit up A LOT!  In fact, we both needed to have wardrobe changes throughout many days.  However, because he always gained weight nicely, this spit up was never an issue to doctors. So we did not worry.  Heck, there were so many other aspects with a young baby to worry about.
  2. ECZEMA: Looking back, TJ’s eczema did tend to flare up after nursing.  It was never a horrible flare up that seemed to cause him discomfort.  However, certain areas would become slightly red and irritated.  It wasn’t until he was five months that this eczema started to cause him discomfort, sometimes even resulting in hives and red rashes.
  3. LOOSE STOOL:  At a breastfeeding group meeting, I remember a mom discussing her daughter’s stool and everyone having a conversation about poop.  I had never spoken about poop so much in my life as I did during those first few months.   Anyways, I did not even think twice about it when TJ continued to have loose poop.   Many of the other babies started to have different kinds of stool when they started solids.  Instead, introducing food to TJ’s diet did not bring any change for him.  Instead, he always had loose stool that also called for many wardrobe changes.  However, there was no blood in it so once again no one thought that food allergies were to blame.

Looking back, I do believe that these three symptoms were signs of food allergies.  Although they were not to the extreme level or to any level that caused anyone including doctors to worry, they were present in a modified version due to breastfeeding. Or at least, this is my theory about them. (Remember I am no doctor and these are just my personal views and experiences.   Refer to my disclaimer on my “About Us” page.)

Additional Resources Regarding Early Signs of Food Allergies

1) Possible Signs of a Food Allergy


2)Food Allergy Reactions


3) Babies With Food Allergies


4) Food Allergies – Food Allergies While Breastfeeding


5) Infant Allergies & Food Sensitivities


From now on, I would (and would recommend others wearing similar shoes) request for allergy testing to be done before introducing high-risk foods or any solids to a high-risk baby’s diet. While I brought TJ to an allergist before introducing any food because of his eczema, there would be more of a conversation and plan the next time around. Regardless of what should have or could have happened, we smile on together in trying to educate others about this wild world of food allergies…

tj cartoon



Tbt – Holding On for “Deer” Life

Today, we throw it back to last December and early January right after TJ’s anaphylactic reaction.   Here is one of my first blog posts. It gives a perfect account of what was going on during that time…

DECEMBER 26, 2014-JANUARY 8, 2015

Quite frankly, I was in a major funk these days.   I was putting all my energy into still being my happy self in front of my son; however, I was an absolute mess when he was not around.   A lot happened during these two weeks…

  1. We took my son to have allergy testing through blood work.   We saw an excellent guy who was able to get a lot of blood.   When these results came back, it was confirmed that now my son was allergic to OAT and BARLEY in addition to the skin tested allergens of WHEAT, PEANUTS, TREE NUTS, DAIRY, and EGGS. Therefore, I cut out the few items that I was eating that contained oat and barley.

  2. I also realized that my favorite non-dairy creamer for my coffee was not dairy free so I cut it out. I cried…

  3. I then realized that I should not be eating tootsie roll lollipops everyday like I had been doing when I pumped. (It was my treat twice a day…I never liked chocolate much before being pregnant.) However, it contains milk so I cut these out too and yes, I cried again…It sounds silly what I was crying about.   I think I just kept feeling like more and more food that I enjoyed were being taken away. And even worse, I felt like I had been hurting my son for so many months and had no clue.  (While no one can confirm this, I truly hope and pray that I helped him during those 7.5 months of breastfeeding before my elimination diet started.

  4. I met with Nutritionist #1.   She basically told me that I may have celiacs disease which I definitely do not. However, I kindly took all of her materials and thanked her for her advice. She did tell me that I could eat goat cheese so I stopped and bought some on the way home.  However, my son’s allergist soon told me that was NOT the case. As I threw out the goat cheese, I cried again…

  5. I met with an orthopedic for a severe pain in my left thumb/wrist.   I had read about what I thought I had, “Mommy Thumb.” Sure enough, the doctor confirmed this and told me that I needed a cortisone shot in the area. A few days after the shot, the pain went away for three weeks.   But, then came back even worse.

  6. I found a lump on my right breast.   I freaked out. I went to my gynecologists’ office twice about it and called four times.   Yes, I do sound crazy and I am sure that they thought I was too. At the first visit, I was told it was a torn muscle. Then, a day later as the pain got worse, the doctor told me that it was a clogged milk duct and called in a medication for me if it got infected.   However, I never went to get it.  Lots of massaging, pumping, and nursing did the job.

    During these two weeks,  I was definitely depressed.  I truly thought that everything was falling apart, that I had messed up everything, and that there was nothing that I could do to fix it.  I had an intense sense of impending doom.   Since I have experienced a couple times in my life where I suffered from depression and anxiety, I knew that this was what it was.   However, I needed to stop it.  I had to for my son.   I had to take care of myself for him.   I just couldn’t figure out how to do this. One day I caught myself obsessing over how much I was eating, measuring and remeasuring my food.   While I had never stopped counting calories and measuring food, I had not limited myself in close to 20 years.   I recognized some of these behaviors that I was doing as the start of an eating problem again. Yet, I could not stop.   My life seemed to be out of my control and this was one thing that I could control.  I was losing a couple more pounds with this elimination diet.  I probably needed to add more daily calories because of the way that my body was metabolizing this rather healthy elimination diet.  In fact, I was having dizzy spells too.

    Because of a lingering cold, I went to my actual doctor and had blood work done to make sure that I was not deficient in any areas.   I was falling apart quicker than I could catch myself. Yet, I felt like I was doing something right. Even if I was failing at everything else,   I made my son smile on…

Looking back to that early entry, it is evident how overwhelming anxiety and stress can be.   I do believe that following my son’s initial allergic reaction, I suffered some post traumatic stress. I remember feeling like I was not fit to be a mother and feeling beyond guilty as to why I ever thought I was.  However, I continued to pray for strength because I could not do this alone.

It was through those prayers that I was reminded one morning of why I initially even decided that I was ready to be a mom…

Before my son, I loved my life of spending time with my husband, my job and tutoring until late, traveling to gorgeous beaches when we wanted, Saturday afternoon wine tastings, dinners out, hanging out with friends, and other events that revolved around wine. I felt that I wasn’t ready to be a mom… yet knew I wanted kids.   Therefore, after 3.5 years of being married, I prayed that God would send me a sign that it was time.   I was so scared to take that leap on my own especially since I had seen and heard how relationships became got a lot more difficult after kids. I was afraid of this…I was afraid of change.

After several months of no signs and not feeling any differently, while driving to my last tutoring session of the evening, I started to think about what it would be like to have a child.   In that exact moment, I saw a beautiful deer crossing the road right in front me.  Stopping to let her go, I then noticed that two tiny fawns trotted right along her side.


While I had seen plenty of deer in my life, this was by far one of the most remarkable moments because of its perfect timing. It was then that I knew I was more than ready to take this leap into motherhood. It was in that exact moment I knew I had forever changed.

God’s work in my life always astonishes me.  During that morning of praying for strength, he reminded me of that very deer and her fawns. It was then that I knew everything was going to be more than okay and that maybe it was not about holding on for dear life.   Instead, maybe I needed to let go and trust that God’s grace would be there opening my eyes to see wings I never knew existed. 


To conclude but only for now, as I was packing up my belongings at school this past Tuesday, I noticed that my window was open.   As I walked over to close it, I noticed a giant leaf sitting on the sill.   Just when I was going to push this outside, I noticed that I was mistaken.   It was a large praying mantis.  In all of my life, I have only seen one of these beautifully unique creatures and that was during my childhood. While I do not yet know the meaning of this, I once again believe it symbolizes that something amazing is up ahead for us.

prayign mantis

With all of this, my smiles have been turned to genuine as I continue to join my son in smiling on…

tj cartoon TBT

Do believe in signs? If so, was there ever a time when one of these signs transformed you?

“If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn’t let go
If I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
If I told you my story
You would hear life but it wasn’t mine…”

– “My Story” by Big Daddy Weave


Tbt – What a Week That Was

Today we are throwing it back to last week.   Yes, last week….and boy what a week it was.

On Wednesday, October 14, my son received his flu shot.  My son is allergic to eggs;therefore, the shot was administered at his allergist’s office since it may contain small traces of egg protein. Thankfully, there was no reaction and we went home and had a great next day.

Then, Friday hit and made life interesting to say the least.  The next six days would include 6 days of little or no food, 3 days of flu-like symptoms aka gross diapers, some hives, a bad eczema flare-up, and a lot of fussiness.

Here is a timeline of how the next days went down…

October 16-17:

  • Little or no food
  • Bad eczema flare-up
  • Fussiness

(We thought it was probably just teething yet again.)

October 18:

  • Hive reaction on face (not after eating- since there was no eating going on)
  • Took him to doctor who said it was something viral
  • After getting home from the doctor, the flu-like symptoms started aka gross diapers
  • Still no eating – Day 3 of this!
  • Fussiness especially after sleeping

October 19:

  • Day 4 of no eating
  • Day 2 of gross diapers
  • Fussiness
  • Tired and weak (Tripping and falling down frequently when playing; Thankfully, that did not continue in the afternoon.)

October 20:

  • Day 5 of barely any food (He ate some puffs.)
  • Day 3 of gross diapers but on the mend
  • Fussiness

October 21:

  • Flu-like symptoms were gone
  • Still no eating; Day 6 of this! Now, we were getting more scared.
  • Extreme fussiness
  • After his nap, he screamed for two hours straight! We could not console him.  He would reach for his sippy cup and snack, put it near his mouth, and scream in pain.  Terrifying!

While we made a doctor appointment later that evening, we contemplated bringing him to the emergency room. It was that bad! None of our usual or new tactics worked in calming him down.  After 120 minutes, out of nowhere, with a little help of Mickey and some passed gas, everything changed…

He stopped crying and allowed us to put him down into his high chair where he would sit for the next hour, devouring more food in those 60 minutes than he had eaten in an entire week.  Thank you God! I could not have been more relieved.

Since then, every day continues to get better.   I can’t lie last week beat me up and brought a lot of anxiety. Aside from my son’s sickness, it was just one of those weeks full of extra morning traffic, extra tasks at work, extra family stuff, extra everything.

However, now looking back at it, I realize that it taught some valuable lessons.

1)No matter how much of a planner I am, I don’t have the ultimate say. With that being said, I can survive without my daily “to-do” lists and plans. Last week most of what I had planned went out the window and restoring my son’s health was our central focus.   In my life, I need to do more of putting aside my plans and living in the moment.  Lauryn Hill explained it perfectly with the following words.

we can't plan life,

Maybe I need to work on being more “available” in the moment instead of planning for moments that may never be.

2) Toddlers are resilient. My son amazes me every day with the knowledge that he is learning through his explorations.  Despite having what I believe was the flu, my son also spent last week learning new skills and words such as “Elmo” or rather “Elno” and even something that sounds like “U-Bre-la” for umbrella.  Also, since he started to eat again, he is eating lots! I guess he is making up for those missed meals. Maybe I need to worry a little less and just follow his lead sometimes.

3) No matter how stressful the day is, there is always a reason to smile.  You just need to open your mind to seeing the good instead of focusing on the negatives. It is easier said than done, but definitely possible. Therefore, because we are too blessed to be stressed, we smile on…

tj cartoon

Tbt – A “Bumpy” Car Ride

Today, we go back to the morning of January 9.  It was about three weeks since my son’s anaphylactic reaction and learning of his multiple food allergies. I had just stopped crying and was starting to think that I could and would totally make the best of all of this.  Just when I started to gain control of my emotions and life….Just when I started to feel like I was indeed a great mom for my son….

We ended up back in an ambulance to the emergency room.


As we were driving to work and daycare, I heard my son gagging in the back.  So, I pulled over and saw that he had a red rash all over his chest and neck. In addition to this, his throat was slightly swollen. I panicked, called my husband to come, yelled to two random guys in the parking lot to help me.  I had no idea what was going on.   He had only nursed that morning and I had cut everything that he was allergic to out of my diet. I did not understand what was going on. I was terrified that I would need to administer the EpiPen.

Within minutes, a cop was next to me and calling for an ambulance.   My husband also soon arrived.  As I held my son, I knew that this was a different kind of reaction from his anaphylactic one to yogurt.  He even smiled  at my husband and the cop at one point.  Of course, like the night of December 13, it was snowing so it took a little longer than normal for the ambulance to arrive.


While we took the ambulance to the hospital, he did not need anything but Benadryl. Within two hours, we were on our way home and scheduling to meet with our allergist.

After the allergist, we learned some new information about my son and living with food allergies.

  1. My son was diagnosed with dermatographic urticaria. Click here for more information about this skin condition.  This mixed with his multiple food allergies was making everything more complicated. He has very sensitive skin and gets random hives and reactions to environmental factors in addition to having many food allergies. Therefore, he needed to start taking a low dose of Zyrtec at night. With this Zyrtec, we would hopefully be able to control “random” environmental hives and reactions.
  2. More food allergy testing was done but testing is tricky at this age because they are so young and it’s not so accurate. This is when he ordered for many fruits, vegetables, and meats to be tested.  They also tested for autoimmune diseases.
  3. I also learned that in addition to his EpiPens/Auvi-Qs, I should always be carrying Benadryl with me too.


After blood work results…

Based on his IgE levels, my son would now need to avoid soy and sesame in addition to the others (dairy, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, oats, barley, wheat, coconut). However, we also gained some positive news.   All of the other tested fruits, vegetables, and meats were safe for us to continue to introduce.   This also included rice and corn which have been beyond helpful to his diet.  We were also informed that autoimmune diseases were not something that my son was dealing with based on these levels.

Today as I look back at some of the scariest times of my life, I realize how far we have already come and how much we all have grown in the process.  Despite it all, we know that we have so much to be thankful for so we smile on…

tj cartoon

My Random Musings

Tbt – What’s the Verdict Today? – Playing Detective

Having a young child is a blessing. It’s a miracle. It’s amazing. Truly incredible!  And truly mind-blowing confusing sometimes…

Colds, vaccinations, fussy periods, developmental phases, sleeping issues, picky eating, hunger strikes, and the list goes on and on. Once we figure out how to best handle one issue, we are welcomed by yet another situation, oops I meant, learning experience.

These little guys and gals like to keep things interesting for sure!


And for some of us, food allergies, eczema and other conditions are thrown into the mix of variables.

With or without food allergies, I have found myself playing detective with my husband, trying to determine the root of a fussy moment, day, or phase aka endless month!


Is it the start of a cold or virus?

Is it an ear infection?

Is it a reaction to a shot? Lord knows there’s a ton of vaccinations in those first years.

Is it a stomach ache?

Wait, why does he have a stomach ache?

Is it that he isn’t getting enough breast milk or formula? Is he hungry?

Maybe it is a growth spurt?

Oh wait, maybe he ate too much?

Is it “just a phase?”

Is it teething?

Is it a wonder week? Yes, I totally believe in them.

Is it sleep regression?

Are we using the wrong method of feeding? Of sleep training? Of parenting? Are we even parenting yet?

Did I put the diaper on wrong or uncomfortably?

Is it his clothing? The detergent?

Is it an allergic reaction? Is it an environmental factor? A new food allergy? An issue of cross contamination? Cross-reactivity? Our dog?

Is it something we don’t even know about yet? 

Quick, let’s search on google….(You know you’ve done it!)


On today’s Tbt, let’s reflect back to a few of these incidences.

1) When my son was just weeks old, we experienced one of our first scares. After giving him a bath, he started to make a strange wheezing noise.  We panicked! We called our pediatrician’s office and spoke to the urgent care staff since it was a Saturday night. They instructed us to take him to the emergency room.  It turned out to be nothing but probably a reaction to being cold. We were relieved and felt slightly silly for “overreacting.” But, I believe overcautious is better than any regret after the fact.

What was the verdict? – Being cold +being a newborn that will sometimes make silly, random noises + being worried first-time parents doing a better job than we thought + sleep deprivation

2) At 4 months, my son stopped sleeping through the night for almost a month.  For three weeks, we lost more than our sleep, we lost our minds coming up with different theories and trying out different solutions.

What was the verdict? – Teething + a wonder week/developmental leap + 4 month sleep regression + transitioning to the crib

3) Red rashes and hives on Saturday and Sunday mornings from October to December.  This was before we knew my son was allergic to anything.  While it wasn’t every morning after, looking back at it, it happened often after I ate cheese pizza.

What was the verdict? – Milk Allergy (Food allergies)

4) An overall eczema flare up happened in April. In addition to this, my son’s lip would get red when eating apples. Like that wasn’t confusing enough,  it was also accompanied by a nursing strike which also added a whole other level of emotions and required even more time pumping. We started to worry.  Was he allergic to apples now? He couldn’t be allergic to apples. He had eaten them safely every day for months. Right? Teething again? Early molars at 11 months? Ahhhhh…..

What was the verdict? – A virus causing his body to react strangely to apples for a week + seasonal allergies + cross-reactivity with pollen + sure enough, teething of the first two molars

These are just four of the many, many, MANY confusing moments, days, or phases.  Looking back at them today has made me smile, knowing that we have learned so much throughout these times. It’s funny how even some of the most stressful times in life can bring us joy and knowledge when they become memories.

After my little guy’s initial allergic reaction, the most difficult thing to do as detective mom and dad was to distinguish an allergic reaction from cold symptoms or even teething. We are on guard all the time with food and even with skin contact. Despite the difficulty, I have been reminded that every baby…every toddler…every person is different. Therefore, with the guidance of your doctors of course, it is important to become the expert of your child or children.


For example in the course of these 17 months we have learned the following about my son:

  • When teething, his eczema flares up and he may even get some random hives. Teething also causes his lip to get irritated when he eats berries even though he is not allergic to them. Actually, teething causes a lot of drama over here from eczema flare ups to barely eating.
  • Sometimes, seasonal allergies will cause his skin to react to different foods even though he is not allergic to them.   Apples and bananas have both had times of irritating his lip. We just take a brief break from them during these times.
  • Right before my son is going to get sick, his skin has a day of being almost completely clear of any eczema.The first time this happened we were ecstatic, thinking that maybe he had outgrown it.  Wishful thinking… It usually lasts a day then gets so much worse as the cold or infection emerges.
  • Most viruses and infections also cause my son’s skin to become more irritated.  In addition to that, some of these viruses cause his lip to get irritated by apples and bananas.
  • And we continue to learn much more every day…

Although I find this added confusion to be one of the more difficult parts of food allergies, we have accepted it and already learned so much from it. Therefore, the final verdict is that even with its challenges, this journey of motherhood is truly amazing, so we smile on…


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…