Having a food allergy has completely flipped my life upside down. I’ve been going to doctors for years and they knew I had an allergy and never asked if I had an epipen. Finally one asked me about it, and I responded no, my allergies aren’t that severe. She was able to get me a prescription and tell me how important it was to have it with me because allergies can be unpredictable and just because one reaction was mild doesn’t mean the next one will be. This was only about 2 years ago! And luckily she told me, because a few weeks later I had my first anaphylactic reaction and she prepared me when I otherwise wouldn’t have had a clue what to do.
I used to accidentally eat tree nuts and remember my tongue swelling and getting tingly while my throat felt tight. I would take a Benadryl and it would go away within an hour or so. I never thought twice about it. Now that I know the facts, I am so lucky nothing ever happened and I personally think everything happens for a reason so for me that purpose was to raise food allergy awareness for others who started in a situation like me, not really understanding how severe it can be.
In the future I hope to see more inclusion and understanding of food allergies. Going to college has already started to make obstacles for me. Finding a roommate who won’t eat my allergen in the room has proven to be more of a challenge than I thought! I think by continuing to spread awareness and get the word out there it will start to click for others that this is not a diet or an intolerance. It is a life threatening disease!
This is a pageant picture of me in the evening gown competition. While this does present food allergy struggles like eating at lunch during the pageant, I have not let my allergies define me and still participate in activities like pageants! (BONUS: pageants has even opened more doors for my voice to be heard about food allergy awareness!)
I partnered with SunButter and was able to donate 18 five pound tubs of SunButter to St. Vincent de Paul to make allergy friendly lunches!
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