Peanut Allergy, Shmeanut Allergy

      Last Tuesday Lilli's doctor repeated her blood-work for her peanut and tree nut allergies, all of us carrying the hope that things had gotten better. However, we learned today that not only was there no improvement, but the allergies have worsened significantly. There are two sets of numbers; the first is the allergen's severity which is measured on a scale of 0-6, 6 being the worst an allergy can get. Second is the IgE number--that is, the level of immunity against something, in Lilli's case, nuts. This number ranges from 0-100, 100 being the worst.
      Today we found out that Lilli's peanut allergy went from 73 to well over 100, making her severity level a 6. Her pistachio and cashew severity levels are now at 3. The GREAT news is that her walnut allergen severity has moved down to a 1. This gives us a little bit of hope, even if it's only the size of a mustard seed. ;)
      Obviously we are a bit discouraged. We're only human, after all. Lilli hasn't had a single reaction in over 2 years, and we're always very careful of this as an allergy has the potential to worsen with every exposure. She's conscious of always keeping her meds on her, and her classmates, teachers, and of course our family and friends are always watching out for her.
      There's so much we have to be thankful for in the way of her health--we're so blessed that she's such a healthy baby! Regardless, this nut allergy is very difficult for her to understand, and disheartening. She often asks, "Why did God pick me to have a peanut allergy?" What can a momma and daddy say to that? I often find myself asking, "Why did God pick me for MS?" Then I remind her as I am reminded, "It's not by your strength that you can handle this, but through GOD, you can handle anything." What a testimony of faith and trust she has for other kids, and what glory goes to the Father because of it!
       I know some people say that it's "just" an allergy. We're not taking for granted the blessing we have in a nut allergy, and Lilli knows and understands just how much worse it could be. But it's hard to trust that something unfamiliar is safe to eat, knowing that if it isn't, it could possibly kill you. It's hard to feel immediately comfortable at big family and church gatherings, even though you know in your heart that no one would allow anything to harm you. But the parties involved have always gone the extra mile to create a safe haven for her and so many other food allergic kids. It's also tough on outside parties; her friends' parents, teachers and even our closer relatives get a little jittery when Lilli visits. They furiously wipe down their houses and classrooms and call me to ask if she's got her Epi-Pens on her and to say, "I bought a brand new bottle of Benadryl! We're all set!" It's funny to watch them freak out (I have to tell them to simmer down), but at the same time it's so humbling that they take so much care in double checking her safety. We owe so much to so many different people for helping to keep her safe! Food allergies are a big responsibility, especially when you're only 8. But it's all she's ever known, and Jordan and I are so thankful that, somehow, Lilli is wise beyond her years in being conscious of her surroundings and making good decisions. (Hopefully that will last into adulthood!)
       "We know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose," as Romans 8:28 tells us. We also know that "every good and perfect gift comes from above..." James 1:17, and that "He who began a good work in [us] is able to complete it until the day of Christ," Philippians 1:6. God is certainly not finished with Lilli Griffin, and it's no secret that she's supposed to be on this earth giving glory and honor to His name. We gave her to Him before she was even born because we knew God had and has a very special plan for her life and the testimony she's been living out since conception. Because of this, we're trusting in the Lord with all of our hearts and not depending on what we know and understand, but what HE knows. (Proverbs 3:5-6) Through Him, we have strength, and praise God, Lilli KNOWS this!!! My prayer is that through her faith, Christ and all of His glory will shine through her and her little life; I pray that He is glorified, magnified, and exalted so that no one sees her, us, or a peanut allergy, but the wonders and miracles God can and does perform through his grace and mercy. Through this, may we all be strengthened in Him.
     

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