A friend posted something on facebook about how nice it was to have the people at church be considerate of her allergies. So I have been thinking about that the last few hours. I also have been thinking about it because of a severe reaction the other day, when I had a great friend come help me out without making me feel like I was too much trouble. She was willing to drop everything, even take me to the hospital if I needed it. Luckily, my other medications ended up working, so we didn't have to do that.
When I first started having my food allergies, there were many people who did not understand how serious my reactions could be. I didn't even understand until I had several instances of barely being able to breathe, even with lots of medication. I figured out that I am so sensitive to a few foods that even the particles in the air can affect me with life-threatening reactions. It was heart-breaking for me to give up these foods. It was even more heart-breaking for me to give up friends and acquaintances that were not willing to give up those foods when I was around. I heard things like, "If you are worried about having an allergic reaction to something, then just stay home," or "I don't want to have to change what we eat just because you are a drama queen. You're not really going to die just because my kid eats a Reese's or a banana around you."
So, you might be able to imagine how I became embarrassed about having my allergies. How I was scared to go to potlucks and almost anywhere in public. How I was nervous to request that menus be safe for me. I mean, if I was really that paranoid, why didn't I stay home? It would be so much easier.
Well, then we moved to our current location. (And I am having some tears slip out just thinking about this.) There was an activity about a week after we moved here, and I really wanted to go. I didn't know anybody yet, and I wanted to meet people. There was going to be food there, so I didn't know if I could go. I had decided that I would just stay home so I didn't have to worry about anything. Somebody that I didn't really know invited me to come, and I bravely (I felt brave, at least) shared my concerns about going because of my food allergies. She called the right people and found out that the menu didn't have anything that I needed to be concerned about. It was so nice to go out in public without the fear of getting sick or worse from food that other people might have around me. Then, she told other people about my allergies. They have all tried to help me so that I can go to events and be safe. One time, I was talking about staying home from an event that might have some things I was allergic to. One of my friends said, "Let's just call ____. I'm sure that she would change the menu for you. We would much rather have you with us than eat ____." And this kind of thing has happened so many times. And because of good people who are considerate and kind, I do not feel quite as much embarrassment when I have to ask about menus or tell people about my allergies.
I am so grateful for those people who value me more than they value eating whatever they want whenever they want. It's nice to feel like I am of worth to other people.