Have we made progress? Are we any closer to a day where my son can have eggs with breakfast or a slice of cheese on his burger? Are we any nearer to a time when we don't have to carry an EpiPen?
These are the questions of an allergy parent the night before our next allergist appointment. Tomorrow morning, I once again will subject my son to skin testing for his allergies. It's not the worst thing, but getting poked in the back with multiple tiny needles isn't exactly a 3-year-old's favorite thing, either.
The first year, we got better news than I'd expected — leaving behind allergies to peanuts, nuts and soy. (Though if I'm being honest, I question whether those tests were accurate in the first place.)
In the years since, I've gone into our follow-up appointments with a fair amount of optimism, expecting to hear he'd outgrown at least one of the remaining allergies.
But no dice.
I walk out disappointed. "Nothing changed? Really?" I ask the allergist, then the universe.
The thing is, food allergies aren't the worst thing in the world. In the scheme of things, if this is the most complicated medical issue we have to deal with (and I pray that it is), I can totally deal with this. But when your child has food allergies, that just means there are that many more things that can harm him ... that many more things that can make him sick — even kill him.
It's something that you think about every day. Do his teachers know what he can and can't have? What happens at a friend's house? Does Grandma know how to feed him without dairy or eggs? Does HE know what he can and can't have? Will he be too tempted by a cupcake another child brought to school? Does the server at our favorite restaurant really know what's in the dish I'm asking about?
Parenting and keeping our kiddos safe and healthy is stressful. And food allergies simply add complication and stress to something you do multiple times a day. I'm trying not to get my hopes up ... But if tomorrow's test could give us an indication of any sort of progress, well, I'll take that as a win. Because maybe someday, keeping my son safe will be just a smidgen easier.