(Our peanut allergy research journey. May 13.)


I’m hiding on the other side of my bedroom door while my son watches TV and tries to hide his misery from me. I’m crying over bug bites.

He went next door to see my sister; to hang out at his second home. And she had to rush him back here because he suddenly had bug bites all over his arms. He’s scheduled for his first food challenge on Wednesday. One day and twelve hours from now. If he takes antihistamine, we can’t do the challenge. If we can’t do the challenge, we are delayed, at best, in enrollment in the clinical trial. Worst case: we don’t make the enrollment.

As the date for the food challenge gets closer, I get edgier… if you can call walking around clenching my teeth and shooting darts at anyone who even makes eye contact “edgy”. Turns out I’m quite a grump when I’m nervous… this nervous.

I almost welcome the setback… I need a reason to not do this other than my own weakness. It’s torture. I braced myself for it. I’ve got a lot of “ooorahs” and “you can do it” but it’s torture.

When he got here it was triage without tripping up… if it’s bug bites, a baking soda bath should stop the swelling. If it’s hives, they need quick attention but the attention they need is a deal breaker. My alert system was at DEFCON 1. Not unfamiliar territory really, just unwanted.

And that’s why I’m crying over bug bites. Crisis averted but torture remains. I don’t want a peanut allergy DEFCON. I don’t want to triage bug bites and hives and rashes. I don’t want to allow my mind to be swimming with “what if’s?” I don’t want my heart to beat this fast and my breath to be this shallow. And the only way to GAIN what I don’t want is to go through all of this so that in two years, after ingesting peanut protein every day, he will be safe. We will be free from this world of peanut bombs. We will be free of this terrorizing torture.

But for two years, I’m afraid I will spend a lot of time on the other side of my bedroom door crying. I will learn to let go and let God. I already know that. Body and heart and mind aren’t syncing right now. It’s the raw story of peanut allergy that I promised myself and others I’d share. We will have victories and I need to hold on to them. Today, it’s just bug bites – not hives. That’s a victory. A painful victory, but many times victory is measured by pain. Ooorah. I can do this.

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