I wasn’t diagnosed with a peanut and tree nut allergy until I was 5 years old, but I used to pretend I was actually allergic because I hated the smell so much. It wasn’t until I ate one of those cookies they give you at your supermarket’s bakery that I realized I was allergic. I nibbled off a piece of an almond cookie and my hives went 0-100… Real quick.
When I finally went to get pricked and prodded with countless needles, my tests lit up like a Christmas tree, and from that day forward, I was known as “the girl with a nut allergy.” I was told I’d never grow out of said allergy, and to this day, I’m still super allergic. Throughout my 20 years of life, I’ve realized why living with an allergy is really friggin’ annoying.
I had to sit in the peanut free section.
This was just plain awkward for me. I basically sat in silence everyday, while eating my crazy-mom-approved-peanut-free-lunch with a girl who didn’t speak and a boy who I had a huge crush on. It was painful. Never mind the fact that all my best friends in the class got to sit wherever they wanted.
From a really young age, I was treated differently. Going to high school was the biggest deal ever to me because I finally had the freedom to sit where I wanted at lunch like a big girl.
My parents were more overprotective than most.
I’ve lived my whole life calling my parents at least 5 times a day. Yes, 5. They’re constantly wondering where I am, what I’m doing, and obviously, what I’m eating. They ask if I have my Epi-Pen on me, which I always say yes to, even though that may be a lie sometimes… oops.
Food labels aren’t reliable.
A normal person can run to any bakery, pick up a batch of cookies, and go on with their bad selves. But not me… I have to closely analyze the nutrition facts and lengthy ingredient list, magnifying glass in hand just to see that the cookies MAY contain peanuts or tree nuts because they MIGHT have been manufactured in the same plant as peanut butter products.
Like, why not put that heart-breaking message at the top of the ingredient list of the triple chocolate extra chunky gooey ooey cookies? LMK, cookie factories.
“Special treatment” isn’t as cool as it sounds.
Whenever I go out to eat, I have to tell my server that I’m allergic to peanuts and tree nuts, to pass onto the chefs in the kitchen. A restaurant manager comes to my table shortly after to assure me that I’ll be taken care of properly. It’s nice customer service, but it’s not the end of the world that I can’t eat some of the menu choices. I was gonna get chicken fingers and fries anyway.
It was really nice of the dining hall at my school to replace the tub of peanut butter with sun butter (aka sunflower seeds blended to impersonate the infamous PB) but it wasn’t nice to hear my roomies give me shit for being the reason why that had to happen. My campus is now a “nut free campus” and I can appreciate the efforts, but I also think I’m old enough to know what to stay away from… 20 years of this allergy and I’m still kickin’.
When I was younger, my mom would have to bake me brownies or my own little cake when I got invited to birthday parties, because the cake was always made in a bakery. Bakeries = bad for nut allergy victims. I’d chill with my homemade brownies in a tupperware container while all my friends dug into an obnoxiously big cake with Aaron Carter’s edible face printed on the front.
People ask some really dumb questions.
I am constantly asked mindless questions about my allergy and sometimes I wonder if the person asking has anything goin’ on up in their noggin. I wish I had a FAQ list tattooed to my head so that I wouldn’t have to answer people’s questions.
No, I don’t use an Epi-Pen as if it were insulin – in fact I’ve only used my Epi-Pen 3, count em’ 3, times. Yes, this cheeseburger is absolutely peanut free (unless it’s from Five Guys…). Yes, I have had an allergic reaction… How else would I know I’m allergic?! And my favorite – NO, I do not like the taste of peanut butter.
But for real – I’m actually super lucky to only have a peanut allergy rather than a life threatening disease or sickness. This post was simply inspired by some of the things that I’ve found to be wicked annoying and frustrating throughout my life.
I hope some fellow peanut free kiddos can relate to these annoyances, and for those who are lucky enough to eat at bakeries and stuff their faces with Nutella, sympathize with me, yo.