Sunday, July 4, 2010

Our Story...

I will never forget the day I received the call. It was the daycare calling and Cameron was about one at the time. They called to tell me that something wasn't quite right with Cameron. He'd thrown up and had some hives. Shortly into the call, I heard someone in the background say "Call 911. He is going in and out of consciousness." I don't even recall how I got to my car, but what I remember next was being stuck by a train on my way to the daycare. I could barely breath and only recall the strength to throw the train off the tracks as the car filled with the sounds of sirens coming from all directions to save my child. Upon arriving, the last of many firetrucks and ambulances pulled in with me. I later learned that a "non-responsive" 911 call earns the grand prize of all units in the area responding. I raced through the front door to find my child laying limp in the arms of a caregiver, with drowsy eyes glazed over and barely the energy to reach for me. He was transported to Children's Hospital via ambulance and spent the majority of the day there. In the end, it was an anaphylactic reaction to trace amounts of barley in his baby food. This was actually the worst, but not the first time Cameron experienced anaphylactic shock. He had previously reacted to, and had been diagnosed allergic to, a number of other foods, but we didn't know enough to call 911 at the time. As of today, Cameron is allergic to: WHEAT, BARLEY, RYE, DAIRY, EGGS, PEANUTS, and TREE NUTS. And then we had Carter...

Carter, also known by many as "Carter Bear," was lucky enough to have parents who spent the years before his birth figuring this whole food allergy thing out. We knew you had to be exposed to a food one time before showing an allergic reaction. Sometimes, it seems, food passing through breast milk can be enough to qualify for that first exposure, so we had him tested for everything before introducing baby food. He tested negative to everything, but knew it wasn't a sure thing. With each food we gave him, we held our breath, watched him carefully, and watched the clock as time slowly ticked by waiting for the time to pass without signs of a reaction. We thought we were in the clear and had mental celebrations with back flips and all!! ...until about two months ago. I picked Carter up from daycare. His teacher was holding him when I got there and said he was out of sorts. I chalked it up to teething until we were half way home and I realized he was in pain. Within a few minutes, I pulled in the garage only to find his eyes swelling shut and his face covered in hives. I ran in the house with him and stripped him down to find his body nearly 75% covered in hives while he tried frantically to itch them all at once. My husband, Charlie, was working late that night, so I left Cameron with a friend and raced to the Urgent Care. He screamed the whole way until we were a minute away, then he went silent. I think my heart stopped at that moment and don't recall how I got into a parking spot, but I started yelling to him and grabbed him from the car. I suspect he likely passed out from crying too hard more than anything. I ran into the Urgent Care and a packed waiting room. A nurse saw us within seconds and took us straight to the back as she called out "We need the next room! We have a child who is having an allergic reaction!!" He received shots of steroids and Benedryl and we spent the next few hours watching and waiting for the swelling in his face to subside. Carter is allergic to: EGGS.

One of my jobs as a mother to teach my children how to embrace life and face their fears. I never realized I would have to figure out a way to do that when the very thing that could kill them could be found in the next bite of food they take, in the medication they are prescribed, on the lips the person they kiss, in the lotion they use, on the grocery cart they touch, at the baseball game they attend, in the airplane on which they fly, etc.. This is the beginning of our story...


  1. Thank you for your story and I will be sure and help Nicole spread the word. I have just found that I have been blessed to not have gone through those things that you had to go through. I cannot imagine how that would have felt getting that phone call from the day care. Thanks again for sharing and a better way of determining allergies and any cures would so helpful to our young ones. God bless.

  2. I am ecstatic you've started your blog! I am aware of Cameron and Carter's allergies, but reading your story in your words gives me a whole new perspective. Those boys are just too precious. Congrats on the birth of your blog!