Parents are tested in many ways, but my husband, Chad, and I never expected that a tiny little nut – literally a peanut – would become one of our biggest challenges.
Our 7-year-old son, Colton, has a life-threatening peanut allergy, which we discovered when he was 18 months old and went in to anaphylactic shock. Fortunately, when Colton began to struggle for air after consuming a few peanut butter crackers, I was 10 minutes from one of the best allergy teams in the country. This was, indeed, an enormous blessing, because we also discovered that Colton was allergic to eggs, sesame seeds, garlic, shrimp, and the list goes on.
From my very first interaction in the emergency room with Dr. Dan Atkins, and my many interactions throughout the years with other team members like Dr. David Fleischer and Dr. Matt Greenhawt, I felt there was something special, something different, about the care at Children’s Hospital Colorado.
One thing that is different at Children’s Colorado treated me as a critical member of Colton’s care team.
My worries over sending Colton to school for the first time, eating out at restaurants, and traveling internationally – to name a few – were never dismissed as concerns of an over-reactive mother but were treated seriously. Our doctors care as deeply as we do about preserving our freedom as a family and empowering Colton not to be afraid of the world around him. And with any new hurdles that may arise in the future, I know I can count on the expertise and deep compassion of these incredible physicians.
Another thing that is different at Children’s Colorado is the heart and dedication of the caregivers.
Recently, Dr. Fleischer worked with me to enroll Colton in an exciting new clinical trial. Patients wear a patch that delivers trace amounts of peanut protein through the skin to train the immune system to build up a tolerance that will, presumably, protect Colton if he were ever to accidentally eat peanut.
After so many years of me warning Colton never to go near peanuts, he had unsurprisingly grown wary of peanuts, and because of our vigilance, he hasn’t had a reaction since his first one when he was 18 months old. But Dr. Fleischer knew how scary it would be for Colton to eat a peanut in the trial. After a long day of seeing other patients, Dr. Fleischer took it upon himself to drive to our house at 7 p.m. to talk with Colton about what to expect if he decided to go ahead with the peanut challenge. In a million ways, Dr. Fleischer has shown his dedication to Colton’s care, but this gesture really did blow me away and reinforced for me and Chad that Colton is in the very best hands.
It is important to Chad and me that Colton knows we have done everything in our power to give him the best life possible.
Part of this is making sure Colton has the very best medical care. And part of this is doing what we can to support and accelerate the research that will change the future for kids like Colton. This is what inspired us to make our own gift to the allergy research program at Children’s Colorado and to commit to matching additional gifts that the Foundation is able to raise from the community. We could not be happier with our decision to trust Children’s Colorado with Colton’s care, and we could not be happier to trust Children’s with our gifts. For us, it is money well spent.
If you agree, please consider making a gift to the allergy research program at Children’s Colorado. Join us as we support the quest to discover new ways to prevent and treat allergies.
Colton’s mom, Misty