Won’t go into it too much, but food and farming runs in the family on my Mom’s side…especially Mangoes. I’ve kinda talked to death about my allergies, but this story has stuck with me.
Born with just a ton of allergies, the mango was the weirdest. I was eating it every day in my first 2 years of life (who wouldn’t, but especially with my family). Every day, I was getting sick. On one day while I was ~2 years old, my dad got fed up and locked himself in a library for a weekend reading up about allergies. He read through everything he could find and was about to give up (mind you, this was pre-Internet) until he thought about looking up tree nuts.
Glancing through the book, he found out that the Mango…is a cousin of the Cashew. That revelation meant that they were feeding their kid something, everyday in his early life, that was causing him to get sick…and wasn’t getting healthier. Lots of it too because it was so delicious.
That story carried with me when they told me about it. My parents + sis have been protective my entire life. How do you care for a sick child for an illness you don’t understand, isn’t hereditary, and that medical science doesn’t understand (back in the 80’s)? You protect.
For those that don’t know, I was in a bunch of hospitals or asthmatic and severe allergic reactions early on before the age of 5 that became rather formative and caused a lot of sadness. We always had to be careful. Bring a month’s worth of safe foods to India, if we go. Don’t eat anything or interact with anyone eating Indian food (e.g. family and cultural events). Eat safe food like McDonald’s and Taco Bell not as a luxury, but as a necessity. Etc.
That’s been a lot of burden for me personally for my family, friends, and anyone I go eat with. Also, kinda gave me a really unique and outcast-type of perspective in life with a lot of built up empathy. On the other hand, it brought on a lot of rules, restrictions, constraints, and moral frameworks I live off of (because I’m thinking of life-death with any interaction with food or people I’m uncertain of) that’s super annoying to others.
Wanted to share, but to me, this current serious sickness is just another one that I traded for, IMO.