About Me


Southern New Jersey

I am a Mom to 2 amazing and fun daughters and wife to a great guy and a wonderful father!

My Complete Profile

Email Me

Kayla, my oldest. She is 4 1/2 and is a sweet, loving and silly little girl. She took us 2 ½ years and 3 IVF’s to conceive. Kayla is allergic to dairy. We manage her allergy and work to balance her safety with giving her a normal childhood. Kayla loves to read books and play games - she amazes me every day.

Alysa, my youngest. She is 3 years old and is a silly little spitfire. She’s our monkey and loves to climb on everything. She was a “natural” baby, but it was only b/c of my wonderful doctors that we were able to stop an impending miscarriage. Alysa suffers from Acid Reflux Disease and sleep apnea. She may be little, but she has a big personality. She adores her big sister and is so much fun to be around. She keeps me laughing every day.

Our Daily Reads
On My Nightstand
Photobucket Photobucket
Mothers Day 2009

Tuesday, April 28, 2009
FAAN Conference - FINALLY!
I finally got my info from March's conference finished. Just a month late, but who's counting?

So Saturday was my trip to Baltimore for FAAN’s Food Allergy Conference. I was up bright and early at 4:30 am and left my house at 5:30. Thankfully, I was not alone for the drive and it was a traffic-free one. It was raining, but it was all pretty light so it did not hold us up very much.

The conference began at 8:30 and went until 4:45. We arrived at about 7:50 which gave us ample time to register and look at the information they had available. They had on display many of the informational pamphlets they sell through FAAN as well as their epi pen pouches and children’s books. The children’s books are teaching tools not only for the children with allergies, but also for friends, family and they even have a book for non-allergic siblings. The great part was they had the items there for purchase, so I was able to come home with a few things without paying any shipping costs. I purchased 3 pamphlets – one that is a parent’s guide to schools, a teacher’s guide and one on laws for schools – I also got two of their children’s books – Lenny the Lion learns to read labels (Lenny just so happens to be allergic to dairy) and Susie’s Sister has Food Allergies (obviously a book for Alysa). They also had a little stuffed Lenny and his t-shirt says, “Lenny the Lion allergic to milk”. That was a little splurge for Kayla and it made her day.

I have to say FAAN did an excellent job with the conference. They took a long day of 8 hours and made what could have been a very boring day very interesting with a lot of information and broke it up and changed it up so that it was anything but boring. There was a good mix of practical and factual information on diagnosing and voiding reactions as well as what studies are going on currently and what is on the horizon. Aside from the informational aspects they had a dietician speak with some tips on eating well in spite of food allergies as well as a person from the restaurant industry who helps her company focus on giving the food allergic a viable and safe option for enjoying a restaurant meal. There were also two fathers who spoke and gave some insight into the emotional aspects and coping mechanisms. Another great speaker was a 17 year old with a peanut and tree nut allergy. It was great to see a teenager who has lived with her allergy and all that she is involved in and accomplished – groups, clubs, travel and a fulfilling life. What parent doesn’t want that for their child?

The speakers and schedule was as follows:
- Dr. Robert Wood – Director of Allergy & Immunology at Johns Hopkins University – he is not only top in the field but a peanut allergy sufferer himself.
- Lori Enriquez – Registered Dietician
- Christopher Weiss – Director of Legislative and Regulatory Research at FAAN
- Tony Mussorfiti – a Firefighter and Emergency Responder and a father of a dairy allergic teen
- Chris Ryan – a father of a 19 year old who is allergic to eggs, tree nuts and shellfish
- Caitlin – 17 year old allergic to peanuts and tree nuts
- Victoria Griffith – Director of Quality Assurance at Clydes Restaurant Group


- What Everyone Should Know About Food Allergies – Dr. Wood
- Eating Well With Food Allergies – Lori Enriquez
- Anaphylaxis: How to Take Action – Dr. Wood
- Reactions in Schools – Lessons Learned – Christopher Weiss
- Emergency Preparedness for People With Food Allergies – Tony Mussorfiti
- From Crib to College with Food Allergies: A Father’s Perspective – Chris Ryan
- Food Allergies Don’t Define Me – Caitlin
- An Insider’s Views on Dining Out – Victoria Griffith
- Research Update – Dr. Wood
- Question & Answer – two sessions

And now for some things I got out of the meeting:

Christopher Weiss gave data on an informative study done in Massachusetts on epi pen usage and reactions in school. They have been collecting data in recent years and have published the data from a 2 year period in (I believe) 1994-1995 (my allergist currently has my pamphlets). They kept track of every time an epi pen was administered and where the reaction occurred. I believe it was very telling to see that only 8% of reactions occurred in the cafeteria. This is the place where you would think the highest risk would be with food everywhere. But even in the absence of food bans and the high presence of food, as long as proper procedures and controls are put into place, the risk can be very low. Kayla is a perfect example of this in her classroom at school. The highest rate of reactions occurred in the classroom at 46%. For any parent of a food allergic child, this will probably not come as a surprise. Food has become, for some ridiculous reason, an intrical part of the classroom and curriculum. Although I do not support overall food bans in schools, I do support allergen “bans” in classrooms (within reason and when warranted) or an overall food ban if the people in charge do not manage the food well. Again, as long as it is managed well, there is no need for too many food restrictions. But I ask you, what is the need and purpose for food in the classroom? Parties, if needed, can be held in the cafeteria.

One thing I really loved about the conference was it was not all technical. There was plenty of information and stats and facts. But they also added an emotional and coping aspect to it. They had two parents of food allergic children speak. One was the fireman who spoke of the extra importance of emergency preparedness when you have a food allergic child and he was also a father of a 19 year old with a food allergy. So he brought the perspective of a parent and that of one as an emergency responder to his talk which added more to what he had to say. The other father has a child in college as well. He spoke of all the issues we face as parents both the logistical ways to keep our kids safe as well as the emotional ups and downs. He added quite a bit of humor to his speech as well. Let’s face it, some of what we do is comical. Like feeding our children out of our purses when we are in a restaurant (if and when we go to a restaurant). When you’re in a room full of people who truly get it, it’s quite easy to let go of some of the tension and see the humor when their usually is none to be seen. You know there is no animosity or ignorance – just camaraderie and understanding. Nothing is intended as a way to make you feel bad or inadequate, but just looking at how we live daily. The good, the bad and the humorous. The teen, Caitlin was an excellent speaker. She is what I hope Kayla (and Alysa) grow up to be. She has taken charge of her life. She is very active in extra curricular activities and has even traveled (by 17) without her parents, which I’m sure was no easy thing for her parents to let her do. I give them so much credit as well. They have raised a young woman who is responsible for her own safety and has an excellent and bright outlook on her life and future. She doesn’t let her food allergy define her and she has surrounded herself with friends who care enough to keep her safe. She made the wonderful point that if someone won’t be good for her and help her or understand, she will not be friends with them. She knows who she can trust and who she can not.

Dr. Wood, whom I have heard so much about, was great. He was an excellent speaker and gave us a lot of information. It was pretty scary though to see some of the pictures he showed. On boy in particular was probably around 6 or 7 and was covered in head to toe hives because a classmate thought it would be funny to spit milk at him through a straw and he was contact-reactive. It really sent chills down my spine.

With two 45 minute question and answer periods, there was plenty of time to answer many questions. One person posed the question to Caitlin if she had ever been bullied. She said she has not, but one of the fathers said his son was once threatened with peanut butter in school. His way of dealing with it was to go the Principal and simply ask him what the school’s policy was on dealing with weapons in school. The incident was then dealt with to his satisfaction.

Dr. Wood was able to touch on some of the studies being done on food allergies. Many which we’ve heard about. Many of the studies are around vaccine development or desensitization. Some of these studies are ones he is directly involved in and really need a separate post since this one is already pretty long.

It was a great conference and I highly recommend it to anyone affected by food allergies, whether in their every day lives (self/parent/care giver) or if you have a friend, friend’s child, relative, child’s friend or even if you just want to learn more. As someone who is directly affected, I know our best defense is accurate education.

posted at 8:00 AM  

At 8:19 AM, Blogger Nowheymama said...

I'd love to go sometime....

At 7:01 PM, Blogger Sue said...

Sorry Janeen - instead of hitting publish, I hit reject by accident. :)

"Thanks for posting! It sounds very interesting and informative. Our local support group put on one locally with local Dr's this past weekend, but I couldn't go. We have something EVERY Saturday this month and I couldn't schedule something one more Saturday.
Food in the classroom terrifies me. We can navigate every other place, I believe. But this is one area I feel I have less control and less knowledge of what is going on. I'm really nervous about it and they do AT LEAST 2 food crafts a month with a parent from the class (a different parent every time so it's not like I could bogart that classroom activity). "


Post a Comment

<< Home


Make your custom magnet at SupportOurRibbons.com
Blogs I Visit
Allergy Moms Blog
Are We There Yet
Big Blueberry Eyes
Check My Tag
Food Allergy FAQ
Fruit In Season (my Sister's blog)
Go Dairy Free
I'm a Drama Mama
Irish Triplets
My Daughters' Site
No Whey Mama
Our Story
Parenting a Child with Food Allergies
Parenting Solved
Pink Explosion
Principled Perspectives (my Father's blog)
Tuesday's Child

Blogs I've Designed
Fruit In Season
Principled Perspectives

Digi Scrap Blogs
Digi Treats by Pamela
Lindsay Jane Designs
Peppermint Creative
Sworda Scrappin
Tracy's Scraps


Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Family Friendly Blogroll []

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting
Sat Phot Hunt Blogroll []

Recent Posts
She had a rough weekend
My worst nightmare
And so it begins
Things I'm grateful for...
Easter Bunny Train
Glad to know I'm loved
Potty Training Update
Sad Days
Must be doing something right
American Tea Party

August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008
October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009

I'm Proud Of
Photobucket Photobucket

Mom Blogs The WeatherPixie
Subscribe with Bloglines

Blog Design by:

Image from:

Powered by: