I’ve had anaphylaxis all my life. In fact, when I was born, most doctors didn’t even truly understand what it was. My parents were in and out of the hospital, having to inject me with epinephrine while we were out and about because I’d have reactions to dairy or egg allergens in the air. Because of this, we didn’t go out for dinner all that much. Here is me having my mashed bananas:
Needless to say, it was hard growing up with food allergies; I never really got to eat out with friends for fear of cross contamination at restaurants, and I always had my own birthday muffins at friends’ birthday parties.
As I got older, I grew to understand my condition and learned to err on the side of caution and to always bring my own backup food (I still bring my own bread and margarine on trips).
Then one time my freshman year at the University of Texas at Austin, some friends and I were going to a move and stopped for a coffee. I had recently learned that lots of coffees serve soy milk, so I ordered a soy milk latte . . . but the barista who actually made my drink didn’t hear the cashier call that out. So three sips of coffee later, my face is blowing up and it’s getting harder and harder for me to breathe. I end up in the hospital like this, my parents’ worst nightmare.
It’s been about five years since this incident, but since then I’ve still had reactions every few months or so due to cross contamination at a restaurant or waiters not being diligent enough with their chefs (though honestly, that particular problem has gotten a lot better with more people being aware of food allergies).
I’ve started this blog to let others know about food allergies, and to give hope to those who are still struggling with the concept of sometimes literally not being able to sit at the same table as others. But there’s a light at the end of the tunnel! Some places, like Capital City Bakery in Austin, TX, are completely vegan (no milk or eggs on the premises at all), and they even made me a beautiful wedding cake so that I could experience my wedding the way so many other brides get to!