Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Sane Woman Turned Wolverine

My pediatrician has challenged me to write a book about my personal journey with Adam, discovering his food allergies and how we live with them. He's requested that I include a section of recipes as well. At first when the idea was mentioned, I thought he was joking. But each time I enter his office he asks how the book is coming and if it is finished. So I've decided to take the challenge. I'm not quite sure what the final product will look like, but my audience will be parents, relatives, and friends of those with food allergies. There are a lot of books about food allergies, but this one I'm guessing will be very different than others we've read. I want to focus on how we cope with food allergies. There's the information portion, but then there's life. That's the hard part. I'm hoping to combine my diet expertise with my husband's counseling expertise (he's a mental health counselor), along with entertaining descriptions of my feelings and thought processes. Please feel free to contribute and/or suggest different aspects of your journey you'd like mentioned or discussed.

This weekend I received my first real inspiration for the book. Tonight I wrote a page and wanted to share. Hopefully you find it entertaining. The feelings are definitely real, but as I was processing these feelings before another dreaded event this weekend, I started noticed my son's super heroes on the floor. It triggered an image of myself as a super hero. Quickly I ran down the list of familiar super heroes, their powers, weaknesses, transformations, etc. It was then I realized, imagining myself as Wolverine, really helped me feel better and cope with the anxieties and frustrations I was feeling inside. When I shared this imagery process with my husband and best friend, they both laughed, but also expressed that the explanation of the imagery helped them to understand me so much more! Enjoy!

Sane Woman Turned Wolverine
My jaw begins to tighten up. Breaths shorten and become shallow. Muscles throughout my entire being feel the familiar surge of energy. Tension shows in ripples across my forehead. Adrenaline has kicked in. It’s time to leave. Safety is gone. The life guard is on duty.
Our destination is supposedly “safe.” Deem it what you may, but no place is ever “safe.” There is always a threat. I plead mercy for the inflicted and for myself. We’re almost there.
“Deep breaths,” I remind myself. “Stay calm.”
And then it happens. We enter. I am provoked.
There is a delicately decorated candy dish filled with luscious chocolate covered nuts of every kind beautifully presented on the coffee table for all to enjoy.
Teeth clench. Fists tighten. It’s as if my heart stops beating. Claws emerge ready to kill.
With all of the muster in my being I try to contain myself.
“Would you mind removing the candy from the room please? My son is allergic. It is very dangerous to have it around while he is here.”
“Oh, he’ll be fine. We’ll keep an eye on the little guy. Besides, the candy is wrapped. He won’t get into it.”
“No, really. It is too dangerous. We will not be able to stay if it is here.”
“Stop being so paranoid! He’ll be fine. Sit down and make yourself comfortable.”
I can’t reign in the urge to kill any longer. I bite my tongue to prevent the words from being heard.
“Why can’t you understand this? I have spoken with you about this before! Are you trying to kill my kid! If you are going to have this stuff around, we will not be coming here again!”
After the brief pause to contain my urges, I am quick to respond, “I’m sorry, we can’t stay.”
Quickly, I scoop up my son and head out the door. One more place we are not welcome. There are so many.
How long did it take extended family members to take me seriously? Friends? Acquaintances?
When did I turn from being a sane woman into Wolverine?
The answer comes too quickly-when my son was diagnosed with severe food allergies.


  1. Good writing. Thoughts, by the way, are no longer in quotes or italicized. It's a fairly recent change.

  2. I love it!! I think the book is a great idea - especially with the rise of allergies among children I bet it would help a lot of parents with their situations. Your blogs will be a great resource of ideas for your book to see where you started from.

  3. OK - so I'm a pretty critical reader/editor/whatever you wanna call me.

    As a beginning to a book it does draw the reader in. But it does paint you as a fairly angry person. I'm not sure the Wolverine reference works, he is VERY fierce and violent sounding. Which are things that I KNOW are NOT you. While you are a fierce protector of your children, I'm not sure you want readers to think of you being hateful.

    Stick a question mark on the sentence "Are you trying to kill my kid?"

    Who's house are you at? It's a little confusing. Is it a relative or a friend or an acquaintance? You write that you've explained these things to people, but then it sounds like (from what you say to them) they don't know about the allergies. If they don't know - how can they be held responsible? Why would it make you mad instead of just fearful?

    Change, "Feel THE familiar surge" to "Feel A familiar surge".

    The second half of the first paragraph is a bit confusing. Almost where?

    Now that I've picked it apart (blame my Mom and her red pen as I grew up). Wow could she really rip something to shreds! But she was always right. Not that I'm saying I'm right! These are just the things that immediately pop out at me.

    I think the book idea is AWESOME. And I know that you can do a great job. It will be such a great resource for so many people. Keep it up!

    luvs, aby

  4. Okay, so I wanted to clarify a few things. This is definitely not the beginning of the book, but just an exerpt that will have much before it and much after it.

    I so appreciate the critiques and especially the comments from Mom's of kids with food allergies.

    This is an abstract exerpt from the book. It is meant to provoke a lot of questions like where, why, how, etc... Much will be explained afterwards, but for those of us mothers who have experienced this same scenerio, but with differnt foods, it really doesn't matter where, because it happens so much with people we thought we had explained things to.

    The comparison to Wolverine I believe is very accurate, not that I want to literally tear someone to shreads using my bloody claws, but the rage that Wolverine feels, is very much the rage that I tend to feel along with other moms as we CONSTANTLY are having to fight for our kids. I am not a violent person, nor are mom's of kids with food allergies, but if people only knew the feelings we experience in these situations. There is fear when the people we are with have no idea about our kids allergies. But once we have educated people, it is anger that is felt, not fear. It's almost like a slap in the face...rejection... It's not fun.

    Oh, and I apologize for the spacing. Blogger drives me crazy sometimes!