In June of 2014, I had the pleasure of meeting Julie Sane. She is a fellow No Nuts Moms Groups Support Group Leader, and we connected at the FARE Support Group Leaders Summit in Chicago. Being from Georgia, she’s got that Southern charm that makes her an instant friend.
When you meet another food allergy mom, there’s an unspoken understanding of what each other is going through. You both “get it”. There’s such comfort in knowing that someone else understands the trials of raising a child with food allergies. I have to admit, it was such a relief to be around Julie and other mothers that could look me in the eye and know exactly how I felt.
Julie and her husband, Jake, have two daughters, Harper and Sarah. Harper has food, medicinal, and environmental allergies. I’ve asked Julie some questions about Harper, how they are currently managing her allergies, and what the future holds for them. I’m sure you’ll be able to learn from their life in the food allergy community.
Q. Tell us about your family’s food allergy diagnosis.
A. When Harper was 11 months old, she developed a life threatening peanut allergy. She is now what the doctors refer to as atopic and is in the allergic triad. Over the years she has added eczema, additional food allergies, medicinal allergies, and has recently tested positive to all but 17 possible environmental allergens. She is also on the cusp of developing asthma which will only complicate food allergy reactions. Her immune system is on an allergic path and she will continue to add allergens unless some type of treatment is sought. The plethora of environmental allergies will lead to a loss in quality of life. The life-threatening nature of food allergies can lead to a loss of life.
Q. What is the hardest thing about food allergies for your family?
A. The hardest thing is the emotional toll that it takes. There’s not one single aspect of life that isn’t touched or impacted by a food allergy diagnosis. Every coughing fit or random hive throws me into high alert mode. There are times when I want to raise the white flag, admit defeat, and move on, but with food allergies, you can’t do that.
Q. What has been a “blessing in disguise” while dealing with food allergies?
A. We are so much more aware of what is in our foods. We eat healthier because many processed foods contain hidden allergens. I have also found an amazing set of friends that understand what we live with.
Q. How do you feel about Harper’s future?
A. Hopeful. I feel so hopeful not only for Harper’s future but for every kid and parent that are going through this right now. We have great researchers and multiple treatment options that are in experimental stages. I just feel hopeful.
Q. Tell us a little about Dr. Li’s treatment and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM).
A. Dr. Li provides a collection of herbal medicinal treatments, which are currently going through the FDA approval process, but are available to some patients via private practice. They seek to return balance to the immune system, in a way that is not allergen-specific, thus ideal for those dealing with multiple food allergies and other “atopic” conditions, but is also effective for mono-allergic individuals. They have an excellent safety profile. In her private practice, treatment protocols are highly individualized, based on unique needs and priorities.
When learning about TCM, Food Allergies: Traditional Chinese Medicine, Western Science, and the Search for a Cure by Henry Ehrlich is a must have resource and is available on Amazon.
*Read a few quotes that Julie found helpful while doing research on TCM.
Q. Why are you seeking a treatment for her allergies?
A. There are many reasons. We don’t want her to continue down the allergic path. We want her to be proactive and find a way to stop this.
Q. How can we help?
A. Thank you so much for asking. There are multiple ways that anyone can help.
1. We have a Facebook page so you can join us on her journey to healing: Hope4Harper.
2. We have a YouCaring (donation) page.
3. We are selling t-shirts. The sizes range from Youth XS – Adult 3X . February 28th, 2015 is the last day purchase a t-shirt. See the Hope4Harper Colletion HERE.
4. We have added “bravelets” to our collection. These are bracelets that raise awareness and funds for our cause. See the Hope4Harper Bravelets Colletion HERE.
5. Most importantly, please, please keep us in your prayers. Please share our information. Thank you so much for taking the time to read. #Hope4Harper
Q. What’s one message you’d like to share with others about food allergies?
A. They are real and they are serious. Receiving a food allergy diagnosis is truly a life changing event but you don’t have to go through it alone. There are No Nuts Moms Groups (open to all food allergies) across the US, Canada, and UK. We are part of a fabulous community and are here to support each other.