At the Mylan Blogger Summit, I had the pleasure of meeting some truly inspiring women. One of these women was Jenny Sprague from Multiple Food Allergy Help. I am very happy to be able to share her story with you.
Jenny is a stay at home mother of two beautiful boys. Caleb is her oldest and will be seven in March and Jacob will be four in September. Both of her children have food allergies. At a year old, Caleb was diagnosed with allergies to dairy, peanuts and tree nuts.
Shortly after Caleb was diagnosed with a dairy allergy, Jenny learned that her son was also allergic to peanuts. She found this out when she was snacking on celery and peanut butter while feeding Caleb in his high chair. Caleb reached over and grabbed Jenny's snack. Without even ingesting any of the celery and peanut butter, his face immediately swelled up. He also developed a runny nose, a rash and wheezing. Jenny panicked and didn't know what was going on. She put him right into the tub and gave him a dose of Benadryl. At the time Jenny didn't have an Epipen and thankfully Caleb was fine. Jenny then had him tested for peanuts and tree nuts and he was allergic to both.
When Jenny would bring up her concerns to Caleb's doctors, they would blow all of them off and offer other excuses for what may be causing his issues. They even refused to do allergy testing and they would not refer her to an allergist. This is when Jenny sought out an allergist on her own. Jenny said, "He had suffered his whole first year because I just did not know that he had allergies or that it was food causing all his woes."
Jenny will never forget the time Jacob had his first anaphylaxis reaction. It was in the hospital after having major surgery. Jenny had given the hospital a list of Jacob's allergens and it was in her son's chart. The morning after his surgery Jacob was given a tray of food containing wheat free and gluten free toast and juice. He only had a little bite, a drink of juice and he didn't want anymore. Shortly after, Jenny heard her son coughing and clearing his throat. Her first thought was that his throat was irritated from being intubated during surgery. Jenny then noticed welts flaring up everywhere on Jacob and she immediately called for a nurse to come help them. The nurse grabbed an Epipen and gave him the shot. Jenny recalls coaching the nurse because she was holding the Epipen incorrectly. Jacob's breathing improved within seconds after receiving the shot of Epinephrine. Jenny later found out that the cafeteria had changed distributors and the new gluten free bread had egg in it. Jacob is allergic to egg. Jenny said, "When it was done, I was relieved. If he had to have a reaction, it was the perfect place. I saw it, recognized what it was, knew what was needed, and was able to stay pretty calm through it. I look at it as the perfect training run."
Jenny started a blog about two years ago called Multiple Food Allergy Help. She wants to help other people that are in a similar situation and struggling with what to feed their children with multiple food allergies.
The most important thing Jenny has learned is to always be an advocate for your children. If something is wrong, speak up and always trust your instincts. She wishes and hopes that one day her younger son can outgrow some of his food allergies and be able to live a healthy life without needing a G-tube. Jenny also hopes to raise her boys to be knowledgeable, responsible and careful when it comes to their food allergies. She said, "I want my boys to advocate for themselves with confidence."
Courage is like love; it must have hope for nourishment