Featured Allergy blog: Food Allergy Ninja
Author: Amy Fitzpatrick
I am a food allergy advocate, blogger, and mom. I am a former attorney and current stay at home mom to three little kiddos. Only one of my children has food allergies but she’s doozy. Her allergen list currently tops 25 foods.
What is your blog about?
Food Allergy Ninja is about our journey as a food allergy family. It chronicles the life of ‘Bubba’, a four-year-old who is allergic to numerous foods and yet is a thriving, happy, healthy, brave, and included little girl. My site offers research, statistics, tips, and recipes but most of all our story is one many food allergy parents can relate to. There are challenges and heartbreak, there are triumphs, and there is hope. Food Allergy Ninja is about fighting, often silently, for your child’s chance to live life to the fullest. I hope the site offers others the chance to arm themselves with the knowledge they need to navigate their own path.
What inspired you to start your blog?
I have always been a researcher at heart. After Bubba’s initial diagnosis I comforted myself by accumulating as much knowledge as I possibly could. Having answers and being up to date on the most current research gave me a sense of control and also a sense of hope. I began blogging privately as a way to warehouse information I had gathered – links, studies, statistics, etc. It was just a convenient way to organize everything I was learning.
I also regularly participated in online allergy support groups and over time became concerned at the level of fear and anxiety many food allergy parents experienced without having the information they needed to adequately assess risks. I decided to take my blog public so I could share information with others and also tell our story. We are a family who strives to live life to the fullest despite a daunting list of food allergies.
What is your most memorable allergy experience?
The first couple years of my daughter’s life felt like navigating a minefield. We never knew when her next reaction would be and we seemed to be adding new allergens to her avoidance list weekly. I felt like I was doing everything in my power to keep my kid safe and yet it wasn’t enough. She suffered numerous anaphylactic reactions – often the result of exposure to a new, unknown allergen. In October 2014, I attended my daughter’s preschool campfire where they were serving s’mores. I knew this in advance and was actually in the process of preparing her safe s’more when a parent-volunteer handed my daughter a dairy s’more. She took a bite and within minutes was vomiting and becoming hoarse. At three years old, Bubba knew enough to ask for her own epi-pen.
For Bubba to be in danger only feet away from me was my breaking point, but not in the way you’d expect. I realized that we were always going to be okay. Accidents can and will happen.The important thing was that I was there, as were numerous teachers trained and ready to save my daughter. The important thing was that my daughter was never ever away from her epi-pen. The important thing was that I was teaching my daughter how to help keep herself safe, how to advocate for herself, and how to focus on the positives. I suddenly felt confident that I could prepare us for anything and still live life. When I submitted a photo of my daughter eating her safe s’more from the ER hospital bed to Mommy Short’s Mommy Skillz contest I dubbed myself the Food Allergy Ninja. I finally felt like I could take on anything and still keep my kiddo safe. I finally embraced the idea that my kid was meant for me.