My name is Starlene, but I go by Star. I am just a regular mom, trying to be a super star and raise 3 kids and a hubby with multiple food allergies and other gastrointestinal illness such as eosinophilic esophagitis (EOE). Although I am praying that one day there will be a cure for all the food allergies and the diseases that are related to them, right now I am just trying to make it through each day.
Our story is complex and long. I have a son and 2 daughters. All three kids and my husband have EOE, multiple food allergies and my 2 girls have microscopic colitis on top of all that. The microscopic colitis is extremely rare in kids and have 2 special girls with it. The doctors are saying that it is an autoimmune disease for them. All three kids have to endure an endoscopy, and the girls get both an endoscopy and a colonoscopy every six months. There is no cure for any of these diseases so the doctor just likes to keep an eye on the severity. My 10 year old daughter had a scope in July and the doctor found early Chrons on top of the colitis and EOE. This was not there when he did a scope in January.
My goal is to help others not feel so lost when they get diagnosed with food allergies or the related GI diseases that can go with them. I was standing in the grocery store about 5 years ago and just stared at the Gluten free, allergy free options. I had no idea where to go, or what to do from hearing that my baby who was 3 at the time also had EOE and that I would have to be more aggressive with all my kids’ diet. I stared at the food and literally cried. My husband wasn’t sure how to handle my freak out moment.
I could not believe how many options there were as well as how pricey the food was. I am now used to the price but at first it was a shock to get used to. I felt lost. I had no direction from the doctors, no advise. All they said was avoid the top 6 allergens for the next 4 weeks to start with. What the heck were the top 6 food allergens? Although I have a bachelors degree in nutrition education, I was not as familiar with food allergies as I was with my hubby’s type 1 diabetes.
After much research and crying and fighting the kids to try food that was foreign to them. Gluten Free, Dairy Free, Egg Free food is not all that great sometimes. I depends greatly on the ingredients that are used to replace those 3 foods. We wasted a lot of money over the first 6 months, trying different products and finding my kids just couldn’t stand to eat them.
I work as a Medical Assistant for an Allergist at the moment. I did not originally apply for the job, it kind of just fell in my lap. I decided to take this as my chance to help other kids and families that had the diagnosis of mainly EOE and Food Allergies. I refuse to let our patients and or their parents to feel the way I did when I walked into the store and just stared at the “special diet” isle. So this is my life 24/7….dealing with food allergies (and other diseases) and EOE all day long and then come home to my amazing kids and try and think of what to feed them for dinner. I have a very supportive husband especially since he has the same EOE and food allergies that the kids do. I am the only one that can freely eat whatever I want. However, I choose to stick to the same restricted diet that everybody else has to eat….It’s so much easier.