“You’re not like the other kids,” I said to my son. “I mean in all the ways that matter, you are. In your hopes, and dreams. The things you want from life. That stuff.”
“What do you mean, dad?” he asked. “If I’m the same, how am I different?”
“It’s like this, son: sometimes your mother and I, we forget. We forget, and take you to the movies, or out to eat… We forget how sick you can get. About the headaches, the nausea, the indigestion. All that stuff that comes from eating food with corn in it. I think you forget, too. Or maybe you’re fed up with not being able to eat what all the other kids eat. So you cheat.”
This is a journey that my family and I have been on for the past several years. I wrote of it in a post entitled How Blue Like Jazz Saved Me, which was about the journey of finally coming to a diagnosis regarding my son’s corn allergy. Nobody knew anything, and the detours along the way included seeing a pediatric oncologist…
I know, it may not seem like such a huge deal, but just try to avoid corn-containing foods (or drinks), and get back to me. Like Mr. White in Quantum of Solace, corn has people everywhere. It’s in everything! Plastics are made from it, soft drinks are sweetened with it, and even MSG is synthesized from it.
Say what you will about Chick-fil-A (they use MSG), but it’s one of life’s cruel ironies that it’s not something I can share with my son. Something as simple as a chicken sandwich! I know that’s not huge, but it is one of my (dwindling list of) guilty pleasures.
And as he gets older, the consequences just mount up. Lest you think I’m overststing things, he’s had both a colonoscopy, and an endoscopy, and both showed lesions–lesions where linings were irritated because his diet consisted of foods his body rebelled against. The price of indulgence maybe be small now; later, he could be looking at Crohn’s, colitis, or worse…
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
So I write this today more for him, than I do for you, constant reader: take this seriously now before you wind up in a world of hurt. I know it’s not fair. I know you want to be like the other kids. I know eating, or drinking, these things won’t kill you now (like someone with a peanut allergy), but what about down the road? Do you want to shorten your lifespan over things you can avoid?
I guess what I’m saying, son, is that you’ve got to learn to think long term. Think about consequences. How will this effect you in the future when you’re a husband, and dad?
These are the cards you’ve been dealt; how will you play them?
And how about you, constant reader? Do you have food allergies? How do you handle them? Is there anything you can’t eat?