How food allergies make us better at facing change

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No one likes change. Some of us fight it to the bitter end, while some of us have faced enough change that it comes a little easier to adapt to. This passed week I watched some of my co-workers facing unexpected change and many were pretty upset about it. It was unintentional but I’m worried that I may have come across a little heartless as they shared their concerns with me. I didn’t mean to downplay their concerns, but I saw this coming and even warned some that it was expected. I honestly thought some of these changes were long overdue which probably made me look even more like a horrible person.

Maybe I’ve faced enough change in my life that this just didn’t faze me anymore. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or not. I’ve had my life turned upside down more than once with little time to react; my husband’s food allergy diagnosis required immediate change in many areas of our lives, I served in the military during 9-11 which also resulted in pretty immediate and drastic changes, and in my professional career I’ve been through 4 acquisitions by publicly traded companies leaving me quick to adjust to change when needed.

Let’s go back to food allergies for a minute here. Do you remember that moment when you learned your world was being turned upside down by food? I do. It was May and after months of pain my husband had finally been referred to an allergist. He called me asking me to come home as he was really overwhelmed from the results. I remember standing there in the kitchen as he listed off all the foods he tested positive for and then the non-food allergies as well. I remember deciding then and there that we were all in this together. That we’d figure it out.

There was no other option. We weren’t given any warning or time to adjust, it was immediate. Keep going down this path and pay the consequences or change now and improve your life from this point on. Yes, we didn’t have a clue where to start, but we still made it work. Thank goodness for the internet, for food co-ops, and all the great food allergy bloggers out there that came before me. You were all a blessing at a time when we needed it most.

Looking back now I have to smile at all the things we’ve learned over the years. We’ve become experts at on allergy safe brands and crazy scientific names for foods, we know how valuable tin foil and waxed paper can be, we knew how awesome Quinoa was before it became trendy, but most importantly we learned that food allergies don’t have to change all the things we loved to do. We still camp, and tailgate, we go to the races every year, we still travel, and have pretty great life despite all the changes we had to face.

Yes, we panicked to some degree after that diagnosis, but then we took a deep breath, a big step back and dove in because we had to. We faced change head on then and continue to face it everyday with product recalls, traveling, eating out, being excluded, and new developments in food allergy treatment and research. We are stronger for the challenges we’ve faced and the support we offer one another.

These are all things I needed to remind myself of when my co-workers were trying to voice their concerns. Just because I had easily accepted the changes ahead of us didn’t mean everyone was having an easy time. For some this was a big change and my chance to be there for them and offer support. Show them this wasn’t as bad as it seemed and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. We all face change constantly and deal with it in our own ways, but the support of those who have gone before us is also appreciated. So thanks for all of you bloggers out there that came before me. Thanks for help and support and for showing us the way to an Allergy Friendly life.

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