Hello, my name is Harrison, and I am a grade 11 student. I am allergic to: eggs, dairy, soy, all seafood, all nuts, apples, pears, cherries. In other words, any food that ends in the word -chip, -cake, -muffin, -pie, -cream, or -&M. So for me, the problem isn’t what I can’t eat, it’s what I can eat. Despite all this, I think my allergies are a gift, not a hindrance, and I’m going to give several reasons why I choose to see it that way.
When I was in grade one, my mom told me I had a “special tummy” and it couldn’t eat certain foods. Then she piled the list on me: eggs, dairy, soy, seafood, nuts, apples, pears, and cherries. My first thought must have been “are you kidding me? How am I supposed to memorize all that?!”
However this taught me at an early age how to be responsible for my own health and well-being. So there I was, a grade one student who already knew the importance of taking care of myself and to always have my auto-injector with me. I was so proud of myself 🙂
Fast forward to grade eight. This is where birthday parties, Halloween, loot bags, and many other candy-giving events were among the main social activities of my age-group. My Halloween candy was sorted into 2 piles; friends & family, and donations. At least I could make others happy with what I couldn’t have myself! Of course, I was somewhat upset that I couldn’t have all of the candy I collected. However, now I realize that my allergies help me avoid junk-food such as pretzels, chips, ice cream, pizza, chocolate, lollipops, gum and many greasy foods – what a blessing! From a young age, I was already a pro at healthy eating.
Next came high school. You have to be true to yourself when you are a teenager. It’s tempting to take risks when you think it will make you more popular, but staying safe with my allergies were always my top priority. I have found that teens tend to be very accepting of other’s allergies and protective as well!
Do not worry about being embarrassed about allergies. For me, I ran into a group of amazing friends who would go as far as wiping my pencil down with a tissue before handing it back to me. Sometimes I feel like they are more cautious about my allergies then I am! I’ve found that friends who really care about you will treat your allergies seriously. If someone decided to tease or make fun of you, they aren’t worthy of your friendship. True friends will stick by you no matter what health conditions you might have.
In the end, I have decided that complaining and worrying over my allergies does not do much good. Instead I’ve decided to think of all the ways that they have benefitted me and provided me advantages. How do you see your allergies?