FAMILY, FRIENDS, FAITH

(Our peanut allergy research journey. December 2nd) Today was a big day…BIG. I looked forward to this day for months. Our last updose. The target was 300mg of peanut powder; the equivalent of one peanut. With no reaction to today’s dose, we would officially be in “maintenance”. We would continue to dose 300mg indefinitely to build a high tolerance to peanuts.

I invited Team Coleman’s Co- Captain to go with us because I just knew I would sob tears of joy when the two hour observation time was up, and I didn’t want to sob alone, and Coleman’s not a sobber. I didn’t sob. I was too excited. All night, all day… I wasn’t nervous or anxious. I was excited. 

So Nurse Shelley showed up early this morning wearing a “Team Coleman” t-shirt she had made just for this day. I had already purposefully selected my “Warrior Pride” t-shirt. Coleman had his warrior blanket. Just before we left, I went back to my room and put on my dad’s dog tags and the cross I bought on my last vacation with him. 

I like our Warrior Pride swag. I loved Nurse Shelley’s t-shirt. I’m grateful for growth in my faith. And I just wanted to have one of Coleman’s biggest cheerleaders ever to walk this planet be represented today. They weren’t good luck charms, they were symbols of community. My family, my friends, my faith. 

This has been a journey for my family. My husband works out of town during the week. We try to emphasize family time when he’s home on the weekends. He’s a typical husband with a typical wife and we have our typical roles – the hard working breadwinner, the household manager and caregiver. He lets me do the worrying. He takes the peanut allergy seriously and I guide the management of it. This journey has exhausted me. Doug doesn’t even ask if I need a break; he comes home in game mode and tags me out. He has risen to a level of investment that I never thought I’d need and I could not do this without him. 

My sisters and their families are just a phone call away. I rarely make the call, it’s too hard. But I know they wish I would let them help more. I’m grateful that they are willing and don’t hesitate when asked. I’m grateful that they support me through my meltdowns and hissy fits. Whether it’s a two hour phone call with me ranting and bawling because I’m overwhelmed, or a five day ice out where I won’t talk to anyone because I’m overwhelmed… just letting me handle this the way I want to handle it is an ocean of support. They probably don’t think I’ve noticed, but I couldn’t do this without them.

This has been a journey for my friends. They have endured my peanut trial hysteria for almost a year. When it comes to “Team Coleman”, they are the varsity. They are the offense and defense. They are recruiters and coaches and cheerleaders. I’ve received encouragement and prayers from people I barely know, and I’ve bared my soul to the people closest to me. And they haven’t left me. And I couldn’t do this without them. 

This has been a journey of faith. Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. I have hoped for a cure for Coleman’s peanut allergy since he was seven months old. I have seen evidence of God’s power and grace in every step, every single step of this journey.  The growth of my faith has been absolutely the hardest and most rewarding part of this journey. If everything stopped in its tracks right now, I’m sure I would be selfishly devastated. But I have learned to TRUST my God who has brought us this far. 

There are many nights that I’ve mixed the pudding, monitored, recorded data, looked at the growing lists of tasks and homework and appointments and activities… and I’ve felt alone, but I have never felt abandoned. I just haven’t. I know God is teaching me through every high and low and “why” and “I know”. When I feel completely shredded, I know He is strengthening me. When I feel elated and stunned with how surreal all of this is, I know He is paving a path of His glory and giving me a testimony that I will share with my son for the rest of my life. I know that I am weak, and silly, and wishy washy and He loves me despite and because of my shortcomings. I know, without a shadow of doubt, that all of this is answer to fervent prayers for my son. And I know that I could not do this without Him. 

Coleman tolerated his final updose. We are moving on to the next stage of this trial. I needed this milestone because there is a whole lot more of the same ahead for us. We will be in maintenance for months. We will have rigorous food challenges with all of his defenses stripped away. We will continue with nightly doses and monitoring and recording. We have new goals for increased tolerance. The maintenance will build his immunity with a targeted tolerance of over 3,000mg. I’m not thinking about that number right now. I’m thinking about a number I wouldn’t think about six months ago: 300mg. And I’m thinking about my family, and my friends, and my faith. And I couldn’t do this without them. 

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