I’m Finally Last Week’s News

Flowers 2Well, the past couple of weeks have been interesting to say the least.  Decided I should probably write a quick update.

The other week, when I posted about what happened at my university as a result of my anaphylaxis reaction to peanuts, I wanted my fellow allergic neighbors in the blogging realm to know what happened regarding my issue with the university.  I felt they had a right to know.  But if I’d known things would’ve gotten so ornery online I might have sentenced that little article to remain in Word Document purgatory, forever out of sight.  But it’s too late for that now.  I even ended up in a clip on the local news, which was picked up by other news stations and even ended up playing on Good Morning America.  Yup, it’s been interesting.

What’s really surprised me throughout this whole thing though is how people have responded (thankfully, I’m not the only one, The Allergista was surprised by the lack of empathy, too).

Trouble with Trolls

The comment sections of news websites, in case you’re blissfully unaware, seem to be the natural habitat for trolls: disgruntled, aggressive, and with a bit too much time on their hands.  I swear, someone could likely post a news story about how a sweet grandson gave flowers to his dear old grandmother, and a troll—or twenty—would likely still freak out.  I’ve been staying off the news sites since all this started and that’s helped (thankfully, it’s pretty much died down now; so glad to be last week’s forgotten news).

It’s not that I expected everyone to be all warm and empathetic, but I’d honestly thought  part of why the trolls felt the freedom to be so nasty was because they assumed I’d never read their comments.  Not only did they feel safe behind their computer screens but I assumed that I must have seemed less like an actual person because of the lack of direct contact with me.  Well, that’s what I’d hoped, at least.   

Instead, the trolls who saw me during a quick blurb on their local news or Good Morning America were not content with leaving anonymous comments on the news sites.  So they tracked down my personal Facebook profile to make sure that I saw their comments.  Uh.  Creepy?  I started getting so many aggressive messages on my personal Facebook profile that I had to completely go into hiding.  After just a few days of the troll infestation, I was already starting to feel anxious whenever I’d hear the bing alerting me that there was a new mysterious message waiting—Oh, gosh, what now?

Allergies and Unicorns

A lot the trolls who stalked me down put food allergies into the same box as believing in unicorns and fairies.  And I don’t even know how many people have contacted me personally just to tell me that I’m mentally ill because allergies and anaphylaxis simply don’t exist.  Appreciate it.

Others demanded explanations about this that or the other—it usually boiled down to the fact that they either didn’t read the article or they didn’t read it very accurately and were, as a result, really not sure exactly what had happened.  But were still feeling spiteful, nevertheless.

A Myriad of Allergies

Living with food allergies can vary a lot depending on the severity of someone’s allergies, life stage, and what they’re allergic to.  As a result, some of the allergic folks who’ve contacted me don’t even fully understand my situation.  Sometimes it isn’t because they’re not trying, but because our own experiences with food allergies have been so drastically different and many of them didn’t have a lot of familiarity with such severe cases.  And other times they were just trolls with seasonal allergies (which really isn’t the same thing as anaphylaxis at all).

Other fellow allergic people, while they may be empathetic, just have completely different experiences with allergies than mine. (One young woman contacted me to tell me about how she’s allergic to weed and how she has to ask all of her classmates to please refrain from smoking during lecture; I came away feeling that my own college experience has been very conservative since, even though people smoke at school, I’ve never seen anyone light up during lecture).  😉

Where Things Stand Now

While I’m thankful for some of the new connections I’ve made with fellow allergics online, I’m very grateful to finally be last week’s news.  I still haven’t heard from the university at all (even though some of the news reports make it sound like they’re in contact with me).  But I’m still going to pursue things at least a little farther, only not in such a public manor.

I’ve already started looking into where I’ll transfer Fall 2014 (or maybe sooner, we’ll see), and I’ve found some good options.  But for the moment I’m going to focus on getting married, Mr. M and I buying our first house, moving, and work.  It’ll be more than enough to keep me busy.  And once I’ve had a bit of a break, I’ll hit the books again.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programing …

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24 thoughts on “I’m Finally Last Week’s News

  1. Oh– my gosh—— bless your heart!!!!!!!!!!!!! Just know there are many out here who do care– support you & want the best for you— keep sharing!!!!!!!!!! There are always those who lack a life– or lack understanding— when I have people who have no understanding of MCS– I just think to my self well–one day they will probably be some of the ones asking for my help– as the toxiic chemicals are effecting everyone’s air supply—water supply & food supply— some day the light is going to go off– or their health will hit bottom– & then the light will go off– & they will understand!!!
    Just keep doing what you know is right!!!! 🙂

    • Thank you. You’re always so encouraging. And you have a great attitude when it comes to dealing with people who don’t understand with MCS. It’s hard when people don’t understand, and can sometimes be so hurtful, but you’re right that all we need to do is keep doing what we know is right. 🙂


  2. I couldn’t believe how nasty some people were. I’m very interested in seeing how college is going to work out for you. I haven’t figured out college yet due to my own food allergies and other health problems (can’t get stressed out or I end up sick) so I’m hoping to get some tips from your posts =)

    • Jasmine, I couldn’t believe it either! Craziness.

      It isn’t for everyone, but have you looked into online classes at all? I’m currently looking into finishing up my BA through Washington State University online. The degree just says WSU (and the fact that it’s UW, my former university’s rival, adds a nice touch of irony to the mix). WSU has online classes (enough that someone can do an entire degree starting as a freshman but they work well with transfer students, too).

      While I could likely finish off a degree in class, after my problems with UW I just don’t really want to have to deal with it again. So finishing off my last year and a half online sounds relaxing. But it’s not for everyone.


      • I tried once and it didn’t go well. I was sick off and on for months. Didn’t help my computer died during the semester and then my backup computer (littler brothers computer) died.
        For now I’m working at our family’s store while I try to figure things out.

        • That’s definitely one of the major downsides to online school–dependence on undependable computers.

          And I can really relate with the working while trying to figure things out. I’m an English composition tutor, so focusing on that and getting married this August. And I’ll figure out school stuff in a few months, or at least that’s what I’m hoping.


          • I have a few options that keep popping up so I’m waiting to see if it might work out. I don’t know how on earth it could work but we’ll see.

            Wow. English tutor? That has always been my worst subject. I despised it. Hope the planning is going well for your wedding!

            • Good luck, Jasmine! Figuring out school is super tricky–and messy–when anaphylaxis has to be taken int consideration, too. Would you try to live on campus or get an apartment near by? I started off at a community college, and that actually went really well because I didn’t live on campus and the school had no-food policies in the classrooms and library buildings. Of course, not everyone followed them but overall it went great.

              I’ve been tutoring English composition for three years now (basically I’m a writing companion). So much fun. I work at a local community college but I’m hoping to do it more out of my home, too.

              And wedding planning is coming along. We’re doing a picnic-style elopement ceremony (10 people total including us). It’s fun, simple, and safe. 🙂


              • That;s where I run into a problem. The nearest colleges are over an hour away. And I have work and TKD classes in my area. So I’d have to do on-line classes, but what I’m interested in isn’t an online class -___-
                So I’m waiting. The timing doesn’t feel right anyway so I’m just watching for opportunities while focusing on work.

                Sounds like a great wedding plan! Simple is the best way to do anything!

  3. Ah yes. I forgot to say that if your interested in a peanut detector dog and have any questions feel free to ask me. I can also give you the name of the person who trained my detector dog and Chef Froggie I know has talked to some of the other detection dog trainers.

  4. So I set out to a few of the news stories to comment and help set these people straight. I got to angry (to the point of it messing with my blood pressure and making my dizzy) and had to stop. They do not get the difference in severity between someone who goes into anaphylaxis from actually eating a peanut product versus someone who goes into it from just being in the vicinity of a peanut product. Ugh! Just know there are some of us who do care and understand and don’t think you are attention seeking, high maintenance, or expecting the world to meet your needs. Keep writing! For every idiot, there is another person who will see your story and think “I didn’t realize food allergies could be so severe — learn something new every day!” What is the matter with these people? I’d love to see them live with what you do for a WEEK let alone a lifetime.

    • Thanks, Jackie. You’re awesome. I felt sort of leery about starting up posting again on my blog after all the troll-related drama, so I greatly appreciate your encouraging comment welcoming be back to the world of blogging. 🙂


  5. Sorry about the trolls, many of them are paid, hard to believe but true. The message you received about smoking grass in class was, I’m sure, tongue in cheek, I highly doubt truth.

    My 19 yr old daughter just finished her first year of college. As she has a highly rare, life threatening milk allergy I sympathize with your situation, yet you are more fortunate in that there is far more awareness about peanut allergies, peanut free grade schools, restaurants employees more educated, doctor awareness and there are far fewer derivatives made from peanuts to watch out for. I have spent the last 19 years educating skeptic family members, doctors, educators and other parents, some even endangering her life after they were told, simply because they didn’t believe us (this by a Doctor friend by the way). Her allergy is so severe a minute amount can put her into anaphylaxis.

    I taught her from a young age not to take food without checking with her parent first. By the time she went to kindergarden she was well prepared. Yes, they served her a cheese sandwich and no she did not eat it even at the insistence of the lunch monitor. When I checked with the school lunch coordinator I was told that her doctor had put down lactose intolerant on the form he had to fill out (same doctor friend who gave her a cheese fish when she was two).

    It took a curt letter from her allergist to convince him of her allergy as well as the severity. It has created problems finding medications that are safe as many contain milk derivatives. With all the problems and some emotional scars growing up with a severe milk allergy, she is well prepared to bend to a world that would refused to bend to accommodate her needs.

    My goal from the time she was young, was to teach her to protect herself without creating fear of the world in which she still had many many years to live in. She has learned to cook in her room and has asked her room mates to keep cheese covered chip type snacks out of the room. Yep, those cheesy coatings go airborne and in such close quarters pose a problem of cross contamination. She will not cook in the kitchen available in the dorm, it’s just too dangerous due to cross contamination. Our request for her to live off campus in an apartment was denied so she has one more year in the dorm.

    She considers herself special because only 1% of the population of the world is like her. Overall her first year of college was great, although the food left something to be desired, lol.

    I do have one question though. When I was told by a parent of a peanut allergy child that he could not be around peanuts because he would react just being around peanuts, I asked my allergist (studied at Mayo clinic)he said that that was impossible. He said the reason children will react that way is that their parents put so much fear into them of the allergen, that just being around peanuts the child would create the symptoms because of their fear. He now gives classes for parents of food allergy children and how to teach them about their food allergy so as not to induce this fear and therefore the self induced reaction. I can’t say that your situation does not have validity, but it does explain some of the responses you received on your blog. I will tell you exactly what I told my daughter each time she encountered a roadblock. Use your head and figure out a way to get around it even if it’s never been done before.

    My own suggestion would be to wear a surgical mask to class and to hell what anyone thinks. Good luck and don’t give up.

    • Clara, thank you for your comment. And I’m sorry to hear about how hard things have been for your daughter. Sounds like you’ve done a good job of helping to keep her safe while also keeping the world open to her, which I’m sure is a hard balance to strike for a parent.

      Perhaps it wasn’t clear, but I was being tongue-and-cheek about the weed allergy, myself. 🙂


    • And in answer to your question, some of my very worse reactions have happened when someone was eating something peanut-y near me and I had no idea until I started to choke (my throat begins to close up and I’ll stop breathing if immediate action isn’t taken). I’d look around quickly while reaching for my emergency Benadryl and Epi-Pens, knowing that I was reacting to something because I couldn’t breath. And then I’ll spot a peanut butter cookie or PB and J near me.

      This has happened countless times—on the train, in a college classroom, at the ballet (the person behind me snuck a peanut butter sandwich in), standing in line at Disneyland, and all kinds of other places. It’s always scary.

      I don’t have to smell the peanuts or even be aware that they’re in the same vicinity as me to react. And, unfortunately, I’m so sensitive to the peanut protein I’m allergic to that it doesn’t require much exposure at all to send me into anaphylactic shock.

      Hope that’s helpful.


      • I wasn’t doubting you, I do believe we know our own bodies and we need to listen to them. What I was trying to point out was that even well schooled allergists pooh paw this and if they do, well, then you can start to understand how the general population thinks. I truly understand, I sat in an Allergists office (not the one I have now), my daughter was in first grade and just was not acting like herself. After days of coming home from school and sitting around I finally demanded that she go outside and play. She started crying and said she couldn’t breathe. I got in to see a doctor that same afternoon. Without looking at her, no testing, he argued with me about her milk allergy, most kids out grow them by her age he said, told me she was fine, acted as if I was a nutty mom and was ready to send me home. The nurse, thank God, said “Doctor aren’t you at least going to test her breathing?” He said, Oh, OK. Did the test and started freaking out, telling me she could die any minute she was getting so little air. Took blood work, put her on high dose of steroids and said to take her to the emergency room if she got worse during the night. I called another Dr recommended by a friend the next day. That afternoon the nurse from the other Drs. office called and said, whatever you do, don’t give her any milk products, her blood work is off the charts. Dr’s never seen this before. Well Duh!!!!! A**H*** . After more tests at the new Dr, ends up she is highly allergic to mold and to a lesser degree other things. The school was remodeling and the mold spores were off the charts. We had to enroll her into a new school for the rest of the year, and keep her on steroids for a few months. There have been other health challenges that we have dealt with, she had to give herself shots for 3 years. She’s one strong woman now. Imagine being asleep and having someone put whipping cream on your face as a practical joke. When I saw my daughter the next morning with eyes swollen shut and face puffy and red I was so angry, but I bit my tongue and told her she needed to remind the people she is with not to touch her with milk products (heaven forbid she got it in her mouth, eppi then as fast to the hospital as possible), gave her my sympathy and told her this was a life lesson she can now use to keep this from happening again. I always tried to stay calm and deal with each situation as it came up. Sitting in the hospital for several hours watching her being treated with IV meds and breathing treatments was not fun. She has learned to anticipate situations. Two hospital trips isn’t a lot but two more then she or I would have liked. Imagine the talk I had to have when she was a teenager and she might get kissed lol. No kisses unless he brushes his teeth well and rinses out his mouth lol, so much for spontaneity. Believe me, I understand almost as much as someone who lives with a life threatening allergy. You’ll forever have my sympathy, what you won’t get is coddling… yep, I’m that kind of Mom.

        • My goodness! That must have been scary for your daughter to get pranked like that. And very upsetting for you as her mother.

          As someone in their late twenties, I’m really way too old for being mothered, haha. It’s just nice when people that I know, especially friends who I have in person, understand more what my life is like. I don’t want coddling or even sympathy, just for family and close friends to understand an unusual part of my life. And for the most part, I’m very thankful that they do. 🙂


          • Empathy might have been a better choice of word for me to have used. Sympathy would imply feeling sorry for you. We all come to this world with challenges and a food allergy is just one of them. We take on those challenges for a reason. A challenge can be a gift or a travesty, it’s our choice. I expect you will not give up on getting that education :-), you’ll figure it out.

  6. Ah! What a crazy campus! I’m allergic to peanuts, as well, only not as severely. I can be around them for the most part, but I have had breathing problems and hives in the past if someone I’m talking to is eating anything peanuty. My first day of college, I was sitting in class when the teacher starting passing out something on the other side, without telling us what it was. It wasn’t until my mouth starting itching and I began to get hives on my hands that I found out she was giving everyone reeses. I stood up and said, “I’m allergic to peanut butter and I’m having a reacting, I need to go to the clinic.” I immediately left and walked next door where I was treated with benedryl. Later that day, I got a very rude email from the teacher saying that it was my fault for not informing her ahead of time and that I would be losing points for missing class that day.
    Now I understand that there was no way of anyone in the room knowing about my allergy without me saying anything, but I have never before been in a room with 40+ people eating peanutbutter at the same time. As an Educator, my professor should have at least known to verbally tell us she was passing around a candy with a very common allergen in it.
    Lastly, we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or bad about our allergies. The blame should not be consistently placed on us, nor should people tell us that we are an inconvience.

    • I’m sorry it took me so long to reply, Madi! I’ve been working on getting over the flu.

      I’m so sorry to hear about your problem with that teacher. How frustrating! Your teacher handled that whole situation so badly. I can’t believe you lost points for having a reaction and having to leave when it was because of something she passed out! I completely agree that we shouldn’t be made to feel guilty or bad about our allergies. It’s too bad your teacher did that. =/

      Thank you for taking the time to write such a nice comment. I hope to hear from you again. 🙂


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