Going Gluten-FreeAugust 24, 2010

Tuning In

Recently, my kids and I were running errands in the car and rocking to Canadian musician Kyle Dine's latest CD, "Food Allergies Rock!" (I received an advance copy of this children’s CD, expected to be released in September, because I’m writing an article about food-allergic Dine for an upcoming issue of Living Without magazine.) Listening to my 7-year-old son Joseph happily sing these lyrics was music to my ears.

"I’ll be strong and reach my goals 'cause I’ve got allergies under control!"

I’m so happy that Joseph has grabbed hold of this song. He’s getting the message that his severe allergies to peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, milk, egg and soy do not have to stop him from achieving his dreams.

Dine’s CD also includes a song about epinephrine. This one repeats the first part of the word several times: “Epi, epi, epi, epi.” My 2-year-old daughter Pamela doesn’t understand the lyrics, but she sings along anyway, shouting gleefully: “Happy, happy, happy, happy.”

Ironic, isn’t it? “Happy” isn’t the first word I’d associate with epinephrine, given that Joseph must have the medication with him at all times because of his potentially life-threatening food allergies. And I can certainly attest to the unhappiness I felt when I had to use his EpiPen to stop a life-threatening anaphylactic reaction to milk.

But as my 2-year-old belts out her funny version of the lyrics in the back seat, I find myself listening closely to the other words in the song. Dine sings about how you might not want to ever need epinephrine, but “it’s a buddy who will always be there.”

Exactly. And you know what? Epinephrine is a happy word because it has--literally--saved my son’s life. And it could do it again in the future. What could be happier than that?

I’m feeling pretty glad to hear upbeat tunes with positive messages about a medical condition that can at times be overwhelming to me as a parent. Listening to my son sing about his food allergies with such confidence helps me feel strong, too.

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