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!