Monday, October 10, 2016

Teal Pumpkin Project

It's almost Halloween. Just a few more weeks to go.  The last couple of years, we've participated in the Teal Pumpkin Project.  The goal of the project is to make sure that there are non food treats on hand for kids with food allergies.  I have pencils, stickers, bubbles, and other trinkets.  We have yet to get anyone at our door who has asked for the non food treats, but I keep them on hand just in case and because it lets Middle Man know that we support him and that we know that Halloween can be a difficult holiday for people with food allergies.  But it doesn't have to be!

1.  Purchase your non food, allergy friend treats.
2.  Put a teal pumpkin on your porch (I got mine at Michael's)
3.  "optional" - Download and post one of the posters from the Teal Pumpkin Project site and post it somewhere that is visible.

That's all there is to it!

Have a safe and wonderful Halloween!!

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The Price Of The EpiPen

This is a topic that I have been on top of, but have not shared here.  Getting the boys ready for back to school just didn't allow me to devote the amount of time to this topic that it deserves.  Unless of course you are one of my non-allergy Facebook friends, then you're probably wishing I'd shut up about it.  Sadly, for them, that is not going to happen.

I'm concerned about the increased price of the EpiPen.  It has been going up steadily the last several years and took a giant leap this past year.  The price has increased from $57.00 (I believe that's the price for 1 pen) to $600+ for a two pack.  Insurance companies are doing away with their low deductible plans because the cost of Obamacare is too high for them and they are passing along those costs to the consumers (I can speak of this as knowledge because we are being told that this is exactly what is happening to our current plan at the beginning of 2017).  So people who had low deductibles are now faced with a deductible of several thousand dollars.  That means that until the deductible is met, the insured is responsible for all health care costs including that $600+ bill for the EpiPen.  And all people who have a prescription are encouraged to have more than one 2 pack on hand.  We have 5 two packs.  One is at the school nurse, 1 is on my son, 1 is in my purse, 1 stays and home, and my husband carries one when he has my son at scouts or at sports.  Many people can not afford to pay these high prices so they are starting to go without.  Without the EpiPen that is.  Or in the case of some people, without food or clothing because they can not afford both.  None of these options are ok!  People should not have to put their health at risk because life saving medication, that has not changed in 20 years, has increase drastically in price.

This is not new.  Elderly have been dealing with this for years.  They go without medication.  They cut pills in half.  It's sad.  THIS is the health care reform I was hoping for, but it only seems to have gotten worse.

I'm no expert on all of this.  But I will share all of the articles and posts that I have been reading and you can come to your conclusion.  And if you want up to date, accurate information, please follow Robyn O'Brien on Facebook.  She is all over this and even started the hashtag #epigate

Bloomburg: Mylan Top Earnings Estimates, Maintains Full Year Forecast

CNBC: Pro- Heather Bresch Made A Big Mistake

CNBC: Mylan's Heather Bresch says no one is more frustrated than her

Fortune: Why Wall Street loves to hate Mylan's CEO

US Uncut: Pharma CEO gave herself $18 million dollar raise after hiking price of EpiPen

NBC News: More on the Mylan Execs raises

GMA: Outrage over EpiPen price hike

Mylan: Mylan taking immediate action to increase access to EpiPen

NYTimes: How parents harness the power of social media to challenge EpiPen prices

Yahoo Finance: Mylan says it cut the price of EpiPen in half, but here's the fine print

Stat News: Mylan may have violated anti trust laws in it's EpiPen sales to schools  (I'm no expert in law so I have no knowledge on how this would work or if it's true)

Forbes: Has EpiPen price gouger Mylan silenced allergy advocacy groups? Parents share price points and sticker shock

STAT: High price of EpiPen spurs consumers, EMT's to resort to syringes for allergic reaction


HuffPo: Sarah Jessica Parker ends her Mylan partnership over EpiPen price hike

This is what it is.  It's price gouging.  I love our capitalist system.  This is not capitalism.  They have a monopoly and they are price gouging.  But please believe me when I tell that there is more to this.  Mylan is not the only culpable source here.  Insurance companies, pharmacies, and government itself all have a hand in the till.  But accountability has to start somewhere and right now it's with Mylan.  I really hope that the microscope stays on this and that it not only shines a light on the situation but all the questionable practices that permeate the the health care industry.

Information is coming in fast and hard at this point.  You can also follow this blog on Facebook and I will be sharing the information there too.

Our Story: The Good, The Bad, and The Food Allergies on Facebook

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Back To School Time

Yesterday was Middle Man's first day of 7th grade.  First of all, how is this child in 7th grade?  Wasn't he just in preschool?

Second of all, I feel like I've got the food allergy back to school routine pretty down pat at this point.  He goes to Catholic school so the school is K-8 so he didn't actually change schools to go to junior high.  That made it super easy!  And his teacher from last year moved up a grade and he got her again this year (for home room, he will switch classes) so there is an added bonus.

We did get a new school nurse this year, so I met her on orientation day and we discussed his food allergies and asthma and all of his action plans.

I feel pretty good about sending him back.  I don't think any food allergy parent feels completely great sending their child off to the care of others, but I think I feel about as good as I can.

All of meds are packed and labeled.  All of our paperwork is filled out.  And our safe snack box is packed and ready for the classroom.

I hope everyone has a wonderful and food allergy safe school year!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Cleveland Food Allergy Walk 2016

Yes, we walked again this year.  Well, at least most of us did.  Older Boy had a football scrimmage so Hubs took him to that and the rest of us went to the walk.  It was at a new location.  It was nice, but I did miss walking at the zoo.  We raised a few dollars thanks to generous friends and family, but most of all we supported Middle Man.  He really appreciates it and thanked me profusely for taking him.  He said he likes to know that he is not alone (and he really loves the Enjoy Life Foods samples.  I think that's truly his favorite part).  But that's why walk.  As a team we don't raise the most money, but we lavish love on Middle Man and show him how much we support him.  And that's why we'll walk for years to come.

To find a walk in your town go here

Friday, August 19, 2016

Enjoy Life Foods Has a Big Addition

Enjoy Life Foods has a new addition to their product line.  And while it is Big news, it's actually a mini product.  They have taken the cookies that we love and made them mini and put them in snack bags.

I love this!  We love the big boxes too, but the snack bags are going to be so much easier to take on the go.  And I can put them in Middle Man's safe snack box that I send to school each year.

Enjoy Life sent us an amazing sample box so that we could check out the new product and share it with you.  I didn't have any idea it was coming and Middle Man saw that it was delivered and ran inside to have me open it (he gets very excited about Enjoy Life snacks!).  So this is what we found:

There are 6 snack sized bags of cookies in each box.  These are perfect for lunches or to grab and keep in my car for "emergencies".

Middle Man shared a bag with his non allergic friends that were over at the time and all three boys thought they were great!

As usual, all products are free-from the “top eight” allergens: wheat/gluten, dairy, peanuts, tree nuts, egg, soy, fish and shellfish. Products are also made without casein, potato, sesame and sulfites.  They are non GMO and produced without artificial ingredients.

So thank you Enjoy Life Foods for another great allergy friendly product!

(the snack box was sent at no charge for review purpose only)

Monday, July 18, 2016

Reading Every Label, Every Time

Last Friday I went to a certain "Mart" for school supplies.  While there, I thought I'd pick up a few items, mostly pantry staples.  I had just stopped at the butcher and picked up our CSA box the day before, so I really needed "supplies" for meals and snacks for the kids.

One thing I needed was corn.  I usually purchase frozen corn, but the "Mart" was out of frozen corn except for it's store brand which is labeled "may contain wheat, eggs, and nuts".  So I went over to the canned food section to see if I could grab a can of corn.  It's going to be used in this slow cooker chicken taco recipe which is a family favorite.  Much to my dismay, I found this.

So I ended up at my regular grocery anyway to get my usual brand of frozen corn.  But this was just another reminder that it's really important to read every label, every time.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Post Allergic Reaction (Originally posted 4/24/2014)

Thank you all for your kind comments and concern for Middle Man.

He is doing excellent and is fully recovered from his asthma/allergy hospital stay.

I hesitated to share the story because I knew that there would be judgement on how we handled all of this but it was minimal and mostly confined to Facebook.  I think in hindsight of these types of situations, we all wish we would have done things differently.  But I shared the story so that others can learn from the decisions that we made and from the mistakes the hospital made.

Middle Man has seen both his Allergist/Pulmonologist and his Pediatrician for follow ups and he is doing well.  The Allergist did switch one of his asthma medications but other than that we are keeping on the same action plan.  We just wish we knew what threw his asthma so out of control.  He has always been so controlled and this was a big shock.

The boys are on spring break this week and although we had a short trip planned, we cancelled all plans and are keeping things quiet and close to home.

Some things that have come out since we left the hospital:

1.  The gluten free kitchen was shut down as of last Tuesday.  They contaminated it by using the non gluten free product.  I'm hoping that it's still shut down...

2.  I asked the Allergist how a hospital doesn't have emergency epinephrine on the floor and he said that it has to be there.  He thought that it was probably on the crash cart and the Resident wasn't familiar enough with an emergency situation to call for the crash cart (but we don't know for sure that it was there but that's where it's usually kept).

3.  I asked if I should have overridden the medical staff and used my Auvi-Q.  No one wants to say yes or no because it's complicated.  There are a lot of things to consider then taking over your own medical care especially in a hospital setting. Giving too much epinephrine isn't going to hurt, but not giving it will.  Even though I could have caused some issues, in the future I would give it myself or give it to the Resident and make her use it.

Thank you again for all your concern and prayers.  We appreciate it!!