My Name is Erika Keiswetter (pronounced like a “key” in a door and a “sweater” that you wear).  I’m a wife and proud mother of two anaphylactic food-allergic boys.  We live in a small Northern resort town on Lake Michigan.  My boys are 9 and  7 years old.  We have been on a long food allergy journey since my oldest son went into anaphylactic shock after eating cow’s milk yogurt for the first time at 6 months of age.  It’s hard to believe this first food allergy exposure was over 8 years ago-  boy does time fly!

My oldest son has life-threatening food allergies to Peanuts, Tree Nuts, Dairy and Eggs (oh and penicillin too.)  And our youngest also has life-threatening food allergies to Dairy and Eggs.  He is also asthmatic making the possibility of an enhanced reaction that much scarier.  That said, our home is completely FREE of all of the above allergens listed.  This is to ensure the utmost safety of our boys throughout their every day life and to prevent accidental exposure within our home, as well as cross-contamination.

During a ski trip to Vail, Colorado during February of 2016 we experienced a new medical discovery with our youngest son. (This is discussed in greater detail in one of my blog posts from 2016.)  Our little guy had a fever-induced seizure the last night of our trip and was rushed to the ER.  Thankfully, it wasn’t more serious.  When we returned home, he had many rests performed at the University of Michigan Pediatric Neurology Department.  His brain EKG yielded results that marginally abnormal but we were unable to thankfully rule out epilepsy.  That being said, his pediatric neurologist recommended a brain MRI which was thankfully normal.  Christopher has had one more febrile seizure since the original episode and we’re still calling them “febrile seizures” due to the strong family history on my side of the family, and the fact that both incidences were provoked by high fevers….ugh!

Now, back to the topic at hand- FOOD ALLERGIES.  Unlike living in a major metropolitan area, managing food allergies in a rural community can be more challenging.  This is due to the decreased overall population of the area, and thus the lower percentages of children with food allergies.  National statistics state that 1 in every 13 children have food allergies which equates to roughly 2 children per school classroom.  Here in our community, I bet the statistics are less than 1 child per classroom or 0.5 per classroom if you want to get technical.  A combination of these factors leads to an overall “lack of awareness” in the eyes of the public which makes my job as a parent advocate more important!

I currently sit on the Advisory Committee to the Mary H. Weiser Food Allergy Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  I am blessed to be part of such a wonderful organization that is pioneering research within the food allergy community through education, awareness, research, advocacy, clinical treatments and outreach.

Additionally, I have worked with many organizations throughout the state of Michigan, and my area locally to help increase food allergy awareness through advocacy, volunteerism, cooking demonstrations and seminars, trainings, consulting, etc.  I have become somewhat of a local “go-to” if you will, for food allergies within my community and the surrounding areas.  I’m happy to call myself a Food Allergy Expert!   Cooking has been a passion of mine for decades and I have created a large recipe bank of dairy, nut and egg free healthy meals!  Many of which are uploaded onto my blog.  I love sharing my delicious recipes with everyone!

I am  the #1 food allergy advocate for my boys and I will always do everything in my power as a mother to ensure their safety and well-being as they encounter life’s many wonderful experiences!

Thank you for stopping by my blog!

~Erika

8 comments on “Profile”

  1. Looking forward to reading this blog
    I’m a mom of a 2 yo son with peanut, tree nut, egg, dairy, and soy allergies.
    I live in rural northern Indiana and struggle to find support and people that understand or take my sons allergies seriously. It’s very hard and a lot of work planning meals and making sure he has good variety. Not to mention the fear and anxiety I feel about the possibility of a bad reaction.

    • Chelsy,

      Thank you for reaching out to me. You are not alone! I just started my blog a few months ago and have received an enormous amount of support. I’m still working out the kinks if you will with my blog but I hope to be running full speed ahead hopefully by the new year. I completely agree with you that there is a lack of sympathy and support especially living in a small town. I have re-invented the wheel at pre-school and my oldest son’s school (he’s now in 1st grade). I have to say that it does seem to be getting a bit easier as he is getting older. However, my youngest is still only 5 and has multiple anaphylactic allergies as well…the anxiety will never go away I’m afraid. I hope to have some recipes uploaded onto my blog in the near future and hopefully that will help. I have learned to prepare foods in advance, ie. bake cupcakes and then freeze them individually so I can pull them out for birthday parties my children get invited to…that seems to help. Although the day to day cooking from scratch is exhausting I agree. Have a Merry Christmas!

  2. Thank you for the response

    I figured the anxiety never goes away 🙁

    I look forward to reaching out to you and other moms when I have to battle the school thing. My son is only 2 but I told my husband that I hope he knows he’s married to that woman that will do everything in her power to change things if need be 😉
    You just always see posts from moms that they struggle to get the school on board. I guess thankfully one good thing about a small community is I know many teachers personally and I feel if needed I could get some support from them.

    If you have good cupcake, cake and other baked recipes like that I’d love to know them!
    I can usually alter our dinners for him at this point but those treats are hard to come by. His first birthday cake just didn’t set right and was awful!
    His birthday is in January and I was thinking of just making him a rice Krispy cake.

    • Chelsey,

      I sincerely apologize for taking so long to respond to your post…things have been a bit hectic around here with the holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, etc during the month of December! Anyhow, these cookbooks are literally my bibles and with your son having a soy allergy I’m sure you could alter any of the soymilk ingredients with either rice, coconut or another applicable milk: The Food Allergy Mama’s Baking Book, by Kelly Rudnicki and The Divvies Bakery Cookbook, by Lori Sandler.

      Additionally, I have many of my own recipes I can send you. I have perfected my chocolate cupcake recipe over the last 5 years and although I use soymilk I’m sure rice milk would be a good substitute. They are moist and delicious and everyone ALWAYS raves about them…plus the recipe is easy to make. Do you have a stand up mixer like a Kitchenaid? It’s a big help. If you can please send me your email address it may be easier for me to attach a few of the baking recipes rather than cutting and pasting them into the body of this response. I have good cake recipes also.
      Thank you and I’ll look for your email address and then forward the recipes 🙂

  3. Hi Erica, just had a chance to read your blog. My sister abd her husband, who are visiting from DC suggested to try desensitization for the boys. Any major medical center, like Johns Hopkins or even probably university of Michigan offer that. Have you heard of it or thought of trying it?

    • Olya,

      Interesting….our food allergy specialist at U of M does not recommend desensitization because of the relapses that have occurred in many of the cases nationwide. I have looked into it but unfortunately the data is not conclusive for our boy’s food allergies since they are so very allergic to nuts, dairy, eggs and anaphylactic. Maybe there have been great strides for patients whose food allergies are not as severe? Please let me know how the progress moves forward with your nephew and the treatment…I’m eager to hear. Hope you are having a wonderful visit with your family and Happy New Year!

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