Last night we went to the Cheese Cake Factory for dinner. I have never been. I have heard amazing things about eating there. Going out to dinner is generlly a pretty easy task for most people. You can just pick any restaurant and go. It doesn't work that way for me and my family. I wish we could just be that carefree
Going out to a new restaurant means stress. When my sister told me where her son picked to eat for his birthday, all I could think is CHEESE = DAIRY. I immediately start to google the menu to see what the ingredients are...almost everything has dairy in it. I find a couple of things with no dairy, but they have peanuts or treenuts. UGH... I do find that they have a gluten free pasta he can eat but only with marinara sause. Regular pasta sause usually has dairy in it, the regular pasta has egg in it. This website shows there is a bread he can have and a teriaki chicken. OK, I'm starting to feel better about eating out. But I am going to call the restaurant just to double chekc that they can accommodate Luke's food allergies. He manager reassures me that they wait staff is very knowledgable and they will have plenty of options for Lucas.
As soon as tell Luke where we are eating, he swiftly turns his head and says "what can I have to eat there." His fear and worries are my fears and worries. I don't think people understand how challenging food allergies are emotionally. Going to a restaurant where there are endless options for others and you are hoping there is at least one for him. It breaks my heart.
We get to the restaurant, I immediately speak with the waitress about the food allergies. She doesn't write anything down that I say, this makes me nervous. I am firm with my instructions, I am sure I sound like a jerk, but I don't care. It is about keeping my son alive. I ask her to double check the pasta I saw on-line and one type of bread. She tells me that all the past has egg, then pauses and says "we have gluten free pasta, that should be ok." Well that response is not ok with me, "should be" doesn't work when you have an anaphalactic response to your allergens. People often think that Gluten free, means it is safe for everyone. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The waitress isn't really making feel comfortable with her knowledge, I ask her to double check, again.
The waitress tells me the pasta and one type of bread is fine for him to have. By this time I have triple checked to make sure I have his set of epi-pens. Lucas double checks with me that the bread he is going to eat, is safe for him. I reassure him that it is ok. Hope fully, he doens't notice my frequent checks to see if he is ok. I am looking for signs that he is having a reaction. He is smiling and enjoying his plain bread. I can breathe for a second. Then the pasta comes, he and I go through our routine again, reassuring him that it is safe and me checking for a sign of a reaction.
The meal was a success. No desssert here, birthday cake will be served at my sister's house. Of course we brought our own cake for Lucas.
When you don't live with food allergies, sometimes you don't understand the magnitude of the fear and anxiety that comes along with them. One bite of something with an allergen and it can quicly become a life or death situation. This is just small snapshot into the thought process of living with food allergies. It is a constant stream of thoughts in my head everyday, all day. We continue to be optimistic that he will outgrow his dairy, egg, peanut and treenut allergies. Honestly, even with the constant worries, we realize he could have more allergies.
#FoodAllergiesSuck #LukesSkywalkers #FARE