QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna.
QT's Mummy Columnist Clare Evans of Goodna. David Nielsen

Take it from me, food allergies are a fact

RARE DISEASE: The Boy’s chronic illness meant he would vomit anywhere up to twenty times a day, every day.
RARE DISEASE: The Boy’s chronic illness meant he would vomit anywhere up to twenty times a day, every day. Contributed

AS A parent, you tend to get pretty blasé about bodily functions.

Let's face it, there's nothing like a toddler asking in their loudest voice "Mummy, are you doing a poo?" in a crowded public toilet to make you shed any last hint of inhibition the whole birthing process didn't already rob you of.

So nappy explosions, snotty noses and blood don't faze me.

We haven't had a broken bone here yet but I'm pretty sure I could handle that too.

And then there's vomit. My arch nemesis.

I'm all queasy and goosebumpy just typing the word.

We had a bout of gastro through here last week, and it sent me into full Lady Macbeth mode, wandering the hallway at night haunted by the smell of spew.

I had my trusty Glen 20 can holstered on my pants, ready to fumigate the loo at a moment's notice.

I threw out two sets of sheets, because I cannot bring myself to wash vomit.

So it stands to reason that my son should develop a chronic illness which had him vomiting anywhere up to twenty times a day, every day.

The Boy was diagnosed with eosinophilic eosophagitis a couple of months ago, and it has taken me a couple of months to be able to say that without sounding it out syllable by syllable.

EoE or EE as it is referred to comes under the banner of eosinophilic gastrointestinal disorders (EGIDs).

It took us 18 months to get to this diagnosis, 18 long months of sickness and treatment for illnesses which had similar symptoms, but weren't really what was going on in his little body.

EoE is yet another aspect of the Boy's allergic personality.

We already knew that he was allergic to some foods, some in a life-threatening way, but also certain other foods that could affect his skin or his breathing. EoE is basically a different type of allergic response, but this one occurs in his oesophagus.

There's no cure for these disorders. There's the shining light of remission, where he is symptom free, but if and when that ever happens, we can't say.

For now, we manage with medication, a very strict diet eliminating seven of the top eight allergens (dairy, nut, peanut, soy, wheat, egg, fish, and shellfish - he still eats fish at this point) and regular endoscopies and biopsies of his oesophagus to see how he's going. So far, so good.

We are down to one or two episodes of vomiting a week which is a massive improvement.

But, like his other allergies, this is something he will have to manage for his lifetime, unless some miracle cure comes along.

So why am I on my soapbox now?

Because August 11 - 17 is National EOS Awareness Week with the Top 8 Challenge Day on August 13.

We've challenged our nearest and dearest to eat Top 8 Free for the day - or even just for one meal - to get a bit of an idea of the challenges our Boy faces.

These challenges aren't just medical, they're social as well. His school lunch looks different to everyone else's, he can't eat what they eat, and we didn't even broach the idea of a birthday party this year.

He's a great kid, and he knows why he has to eat that way, but combine all that and then non-stop vomiting in class for months at a time? That's got to suck.

Because there's not much awareness of EGIDs, there's not a lot of understanding either.

I know that a lot of people didn't understand why the Boy was having so much time off school when he didn't "look sick", and even thought that he was bunging it on a bit.

Under a lot of stress already, I did consider at one point whether maybe those people were right, which quite frankly makes me feel like a bit of a vomit myself.

Certainly not my proudest mummy moment anyway.

So sometime next week, I'd love it if you could consider what would change in your life if you were suddenly 'Top 8 Free'.

It's a challenge.



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