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Kathy Thornburg

When we first received our son’s diagnosis, I felt so alone. We left our meeting with our pediatrician with an EpiPen training DVD, a prescription, and the instructions to avoid peanuts, tree nuts, eggs, and wheat. We were told our son would not need to see a specialist yet and were handed a list of his blood test results filled with numbers we did not understand

I remember very clearly driving straight to the grocery store to get our prescription filled and looking at the foods we needed to start buying. I felt completely overwhelmed about the many changes we needed to make and worried about keeping my son safe. Weeks and months went by and I continued to feel a need for more. I needed help. I needed advice. I needed to know people who understood how I felt. I needed support. I started to search online for places where this kind of support could be found. Within an hour from our home, I found a support group (FEAT) that had monthly meetings, special gatherings, and an online Facebook community.

Attending that support group meeting with my husband was just what we desperately needed. In that one decision to reach out to this group, everything changed. I went from feeling alone to feeling a sense of community. I was able to make a huge step from feeling self-pity to feeling empowered. I left the meeting with the advice to meet with a pediatric allergy specialist, and within a couple of weeks, we were discussing our son’s food allergies with our wonderful allergist, Dr. DeBrosse. Our allergist was able to explain our son’s test results to us and guide us through the journey we had before us. Because of his review of the results, we were able to give wheat back to our son with no issues. Now, when we face new issues and have more questions, we have a support group and an allergist who are there to help us.

Even though we have rarely been able to attend the monthly meetings, I love that I have a positive and supportive group of people always there for me. They are comforting when you experience a food allergy low and are eager to celebrate your food allergy successes. They become more than just your support group. They become your friends.

I am so thankful for friends like Rachel from Mom Versus Food Allergy who have been there for me countless times and whose involvement in the food allergy community is encouraging and inspiring.