Photo by Rebecca Gould Photography

Friday, August 22, 2014

"Next Year" Is Here

"Next Year" is here.  

Last Spring, at several difficult times, Susan and I reminded each other that "Next Year" (read:  "Next School Year") could be infinitely easier.  We talked about what it would be like to eat out without worrying about cross-contamination with peanut and dreamed of a lunchroom experience where she would not be restricted to a "Nut Free" table.

Next year is here -- and nothing has changed.
And yet...maybe, just maybe something HAS changed...maybe the open-label Xolair injections Susan has been undergoing all summer have decreased her reactivity to peanut -- but we have no way of knowing...(at least not just yet)...

For all intents and purposes, nothing has changed.
We still eat at our handful of "tried and true" restaurants...
And Susan still sits at a Nut Free table at school (with a handful of tried-and-true friends...).

And yet...maybe something HAS changed.  Susan is in seventh grade this year.  In our community, this is the year year-of-the Bat & Bar Mitzvah...think parties, restaurants, enough unknown food and potential risk to boggle my mind.  When well-intentioned friends have asked how we planned to negotiate this difficult time, I always answered honestly "I do not know."  I have worried about this year extensively -- late at night and into the morning.  In the past, I would have tried to research in advance what was being served, to determine what would and would not be safe -- to make a plan -- and when necessary, to provide Susan with food and treats that were comparable to the menu, in an effort to minimize the ways in which she felt different.  

But, after much discussion (and in light of the no-new-food restriction we agreed to for the duration of the clinical trial) Susan has decided to "pre-eat" and to simply stash a safe treat in her purse.  For events where there might be a "real meal," she is going to carry a larger bag with a GoPicnic in it (she can eat everything but the fruit leather, which could be fine -- but falls into the "new food" category).  She is ready -- and she is most decidedly NOT worried.  She said, "Mom, it's not about the food."


While nothing has changed on the face of things this year, many things have changed for Susan, within Susan.  She is stronger, braver, and far more certain of herself.  She has taken charge of her food allergies, and while she may not have beaten them yet, she is not going to allow them to define her.

As we head into Susan's seventh grade year, I am reminded that, as with many things in life, it is often far more about the journey than it is about the destination.

While I remain tremendously hopeful that Susan's reactivity to peanut will decrease as a result of the clinical trial, I find myself increasingly aware of the growth that has occurred -- in Susan (and maybe, just maybe beyond) along the way.

No comments:

Post a Comment