There are not many questions that I hate to be asked. I am pretty much an open book, as you’ve probably noticed if you read my blog regularly. I can sit down with a complete stranger and talk about my childhood, my biggest insecurities, my most embarrassing moments, and my life goals and aspirations. After a colonoscopy last year, I took the high-resolution pictures I received of my colon and intestines and made them into a birthday card for my father-in-law. He loved it. See? No shame.
People can pretty much ask me anything and I’m willing to answer. There is one question, however, that makes me feel a little annoyed.
“Oh my gosh, you’re allergic to egg?? Isn’t is so hard for you to not eat omelets, cookies, cake, and creme brulee? I don’t think I could do it, I would never survive if I had food allergies.”
Is it hard for you to not go swimming in shark-infested waters with raw meat strapped to your body?
Is it hard for you to not grab a knife and stab yourself in the neck with it?
Is it hard for you to not go skydiving without a parachute?
…No, it’s not hard for me to avoid something that will kill me.
I’m not trying to be a jerk, I get that people are fascinated and confused by food allergies, especially life threatening ones, but come on. Telling me that you “just couldn’t handle life if you were allergic to egg” is a little dramatic, and maybe even insensitive. I never give these people a hard time because I know they don’t mean to be rude or annoying, I’m just surprised sometimes by their lack of tact. I do often want to ask “do you have nothing in your life that is challenging, nothing that inhibits you in some way? Is your life easy, perfect, and always operating according to your plan? If yes, I feel sorry for you (and I don’t believe you).” I firmly believe that life’s struggles and hurdles build character, they make a person unique. My struggles are food allergies and minor medical issues, others have their own demons to deal with.
I enjoy it when people ask real questions about my multiple anaphylactic food allergies. When they ask what I eat, how I avoid the emergency room, and how long I’ve had them. I could talk all day about that stuff, it is a major part of my life. But I am getting just a wee bit tired of assuring people that “no, I don’t sometimes cave and eat a brownie because I just can’t stand it anymore.” To me? A brownie is a little magical treat that closes my airways, shuts down my organs, and earns me a trip to the hospital and several thousand dollars in medical bills.
So no, it’s not hard to avoid food that my body knows is harmful. It is only frustrating when one of my allergens is hiding in a food that is unexpected (like the egg in my martini that one time), but it is never hard to avoid something that is my kryptonite.