By: Danielle Travis
So, as I mentioned in my first post, I will be writing a monthly entry about EOE, and really try to shine some light on the whole issue.
Today, I’m sitting in my bed, trying to think about what to write about. I mean, there’s so much.
But I think that today I want to write about what it’s like dealing with food problems when you’re a teenager.
Now, I’m assuming that most of you moms out there reading this have babies that are diagnosed with EOE. But one day, believe it or not, they will grow up and still (sadly) be dealing with the same issues. The whole key to dealing with the issues is your attitude on handling them.
When I was diagnosed at age 14, my whole life got twice as complicated in a matter of seconds. That summer, I went on my first elimination diet. I did a skin prick test at the doctor’s office, and eliminated pretty much everything. I took away the 8 common food allergies (soy, tree nuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, egg, peanuts, and dairy.) I then also took away the foods that I had tested positive for on my skin testing, which included things such as rice, corn, pork, etc, etc.
For that entire summer, I went on a diet that consisted largely of beef, green beans, applesauce, and pea-butter. Yes, butter can be made out of peas. It was a rough time on my stomach, but it was an even rougher time on my social life.
Now, I know what you’re thinking- A 14 year old doesn’t have a social life! But alas, I’m not really talking about hitting up the dance floor at 12 midnight, but about when I was sitting at the lunch table with my friends and they always thought my lunch looked weird. They didn’t really understand the whole “elimination diet” and so they couldn’t see why I had eaten rice a few months ago, but now because of this diet, I couldn’t.
EOE is much more complicated than food allergies (Although I’m not trying to downplay any significance of food allergies.) Adults have a hard enough time understanding what it is, so kids in middle and high school surely won’t understand everything about it.
It was really hard at first, dealing with people’s opinion of my food. It got even harder when I switched to all formula at age 16. The best way I can think of dealing with it (or helping your child deal with it when he gets older,) is to just basically, “ignore the haters.”
It sounds like simple, worn out advice; turn the other cheek, walk away, have a deaf ear, yada yada yada. But really, once I stopped letting people’s comments of my “baby food” get to me, then I was more at peace with myself.
Now, the comments didn’t stop. But what did stop was the comments way of hurting me. I recognized at a very early age that sometimes you just have to realize that kids (and sometimes adults) are mean and will never understand your hardships.
Going through the whole journey of EOE (which is a lifelong process,) is a difficult one. But I truly believe that you yourself can make it harder or easier, depending on your outlook of it.
Well, I took up a whole page on Microsoft Word, so I guess that’s it for today. Check back next month!
To read more about Eosinophilic Esophagitis, click here.