On Living Life
Each week on my instagram, I look for a quote that I feel connects with my food allergy journey, and I briefly describe why. My Quote of the Day series is a repost of what I put on instagram.
When I first saw this quote, I was surprised with how it challenged a popular saying in such a positive way. I’ve heard so many people say “live like it’s your last day on earth,” and honestly I always sort of found that a depressing way to live. Life is not a guarantee for anybody in this world regardless of what illnesses and conditions they may or may not have. The idea of living in a way that you are preparing for death tomorrow seems really scary.
I think any kind of medical condition can be pretty isolating. In my search for managing my allergies on my own, I have gone through some big ups and downs. I have gone through phases where I literally felt like I was fighting for my survival. The impact food allergies can have on mental health is insane, and most people don’t realize that unless they experience it or know someone who does.
At my most anxious, I became convinced that I was going to die young from my allergies. It was a scary time. I kept hearing phrases like “live your best!” and “live like it's the last.” Phrases like that didn’t help me at all. I was seeing posts about people my age dying from their allergies. And I kept hearing that my age group was the most at risk. It terrified me.
It wasn’t until later that I did some research and found out that people weren’t just dropping dead from their food allergies all around me. Often times when people pass away from food allergies, it is because they didn’t have their epi pens with them, or they don’t use their epi pens in time. There are exceptions to this, but for the most part, having the right medications and knowledge to use them can prevent a tragedy like death from anaphylaxis.
The Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology states in their article, “Fatal Anaphylaxis: Mortality Rate and Risky Factors,” that “Up to 5% of the US population has suffered anaphylaxis. Fatal outcome is rare, such that even for people with known venom or food allergy, fatal anaphylaxis constitutes less than 1% of total mortality risk.”
Allergies are scary, and it’s okay to be scared. But the proper education and awareness can help keep us all safe. Instead of living like it’s our last, we should be living like it’s our first. Embrace the day the best you can. Allergies call for adjustments, precautions, and planning. But they don’t mean that we can’t look forward to having a future. Love who you love, be thankful for all you have, and plan for a beautiful future.
Turner, P. J., Jerschow, E., Umasunthar, T., Lin, R., Campbell, D. E., & Boyle, R. J. (2017).
Fatal Anaphylaxis: Mortality Rate and Risk Factors. The journal of allergy and clinical
immunology. In practice, 5(5), 1169–1178. doi:10.1016/j.jaip.2017.06.031