Friday, September 16, 2011

Surprised by Fear

Ever think you have overcome one of your most paralyzing fears only to have it appear out of nowhere?

When my Jamie was 18 months old, we found out she had a peanut allergy. At age 3, she touched another child who had peanut butter on them at church. She then rubbed her nose/mouth. Her reaction started with a rash. Hubby & I each thought the other had given her Benedryl. Big mistake! 1 1/2 hr later Jamie has an anaphylactic reaction. This means her lungs were swelling as was her mouth & throat. She could barely breathe. I'm so thankful for her Epi-pen. Within 30 seconds of Hubby injecting it into her leg, you couldn't tell anything was wrong with her breathing.

After this reaction, I became paranoid that I would lose my baby. I was filled with fear whenever there was a situation where peanuts were involved. It was overwhelming. That is not how I wanted to live life. Fortunately we have a gracious God who took away most of that fear & helped me to see that I could only protect her so much & that I would have to trust her in His hands. I began to relax, even when peanuts or tree nuts (which we discovered later) were involved. I trusted that we were doing all we could to keep her safe. We warned others, we trained Jamie to ask if things had nuts in them & not to eat without our permission. We've made it almost 8 years now without a major reaction. I've probably had 5 years without the fear.

Wednesday night, that fear hit me with a vengeance. Due to a relaxedness on my part & oversight by those at church, we had a kids function with peanuts involved. I thought this would be a safe event. My guard was down. As we walked across the lobby to the cafe, I spotted the peanut covered ice-cream. I felt the fear grip me. It took all my strength not to grab the kids & run out the door we were passing. This would have meant very upset kids.

So I stuffed my fear down & walked with my kids into the cafe area. It was a very chaotic area with kids & adults everywhere. I told my kids not to touch anyone & not grab any ice-cream treat until I checked labels. The first box of assorted goodies had NO allergy labels at all. It contained the forbidden item. So everything in that box was out. Fortunately, they also had Icee push up type bars which where labelled with allergens. They were safe.

I got each of my kids one & even made sure another boy who has peanut allergies (his mom wasn't in that area at the time) got the safe Icee product. I sat them at a corner table where I could try to keep an eye on them to make sure no one who had nuts touch Jamie. No one approached our table, but I don't blame them. I probably didn't look too inviting. I was trying hard to keep the fear inside & not overreact & fall apart.

I prodded the kids to quickly finish & we made our escape. I was glad it was dark on the way home as I was crying. The fear had overwhelmed me & I had not handled the evening gracefully at all. I reacted in fear & not with God's peace. I had focused on the threat instead of God's protection. I thought I had moved past the fear. Once again, Satan had waited for the opportune time for my weakness to show & pounced on it & me. Once again, I let the fear overwhelm me without turning to God until I was almost totally engulfed.

I'm praising God today that He kept my Jamie safe without a single hive! I'm also praising Him that even thought I let the fear capture me, He didn't let it totally engulf me & enslave me! I learned that I need to turn to God the second the fear appears & not let it in. I also learned I need to not be lax on checking food for events we will be attending & need to remind Jamie's teachers & leaders about her allergies. When you don't live with the allergies, you don't always think about them.

1 comment:

Amy Bartusek said...

I have been so careful about all allergies now that Luke had (since outgrown) and Miles have allergies. MIles is allergic to milk, so since im nursing, I too am "allergic" to milk. It is a huge lifestyle change and am so much more aware of all labels and hidden products!