The food allergy roller coaster.

The food allergy roller coaster. One child off. 🥜 One child on.

In November, we got the hoped-and-prayed-for news that Cora is no longer allergic to peanuts. A miracle, truly, as there was only a 15- to 20-percent chance of this happening on its own, no treatment.




We feasted on PB&Js and puppy chow. We looked forward to a holiday season with a little less fear of cookies and the words “may contain.” We continued to pray, with even more hope, that God would heal our son’s dairy allergy, which he is more likely than not to outgrow by elementary school.


screen shot 2019-01-16 at 3.59.54 pm

This is how bad it was in the early days when we were still pinpointing dairy.


But, the day after Christmas — during a museum outing with all 17 of our visiting family members — Charlie had a severe and unexplained allergic reaction to a snack mix. We found out today he is allergic to the cashews it contained, and also to pistachios.

This is hard news. As it stands, there’s only a 10- to 15-percent chance of outgrowing tree nut allergies, and they tend to be lifelong. Our allergist was hopeful that the immunotherapy that’s been successful for some children’s peanut allergies will work well for tree nut kids, too, and he’ll keep us up to date on the latest research.

As an allergy parent who’s slipped uncomfortably into this heightened role of protecter and food inspector, I feel equipped to navigate this. I am thankful that cashews and pistachios are easier to avoid than peanuts or milk. As just plain old mom to my barely-not-a-baby son? I feel pretty deflated, sad…




When we found out that Cora was no longer peanut allergic — that the nightmare we experienced with her first bite, her first ER visit, at 8-months-old could be one we won’t have to relive — it felt like an unexpected gift. One I’d nearly forgotten I’d prayed for, but for the evidence on a prayer card where I’d penned the hope. That news was this giant hug from a God who says, “I haven’t forgotten you. I care about the little things that keep you up at night. And, look, I’m just gonna take care of this one.”




Today’s news doesn’t undo that feeling. No. But it is so indicative of the lives we lead here — the already-not-yet nature of a curse that feels so real sometimes it’s hard to remember it has been, is being and will be utterly undone. We live in that tension. We go to doctor’s appointments in that tension. And that tension means that, yes, for now, one has been healed and the other has not. One care is washed away and a new one emerges.

So, today, I’m sad. Today, I’m remembering that mortadella has pistachios in it and cashew-filled Lara bars are off limits for one of us.

But, soon enough, every tear — every food allergy — will be wiped away.



2 Responses to “The food allergy roller coaster.”
  1. Becky Hartsfield says:

    Great article, Whitney.  Glad to read the good news about Cora.  Emily has 3 boys that can’t eat gluten.  It is an adjustment but as you well know, you just learn to deal with it. I heard you and Cole were a gracious hostess and host for the holidays and that everyone had a wonderful time. Looking forward to your next article. Becky Hartsfield

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