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The Emotional Journey of Allergy Testing & How it Affects a Family

The Emotional Journey of Allergy Testing & How it Affects a Family

One person in the family may be diagnosed with food allergies, however, it is a diagnosis that touches every family member. In this panel discussion, we aimed to shed light on the emotional impact an allergy diagnosis has on all members of the family including those without food allergies. 

The panel features Patrice Robinson, whose family went through many emotions as one son outgrew his food allergy and her other two sons did not. She shares her story of allergy testing, along with a clinical perspective from Gary Falcetano, PA-C, AE-C, and family therapy-trained insights from Tamara Hubbard, LCPC (panelist bios are at the end of this article).

We have made it easier for you to navigate through the discussion with a breakdown of the subjects we highlight throughout. To learn more about Landon’s story check out our article about the journey of outgrowing or not outgrowing a food allergy.

Watch the panel discussion

This panel discussion is a part of our Empowered Patient Program.

The Emotional Journey of Allergy Testing Breakdown:

Patrice’s allergy journey

  • 03:52 Patrice shares Landon’s story and why he was retested.

“He was reacting to something else that mimicked peanuts so when we got the results back, clearly, we were happy that we took the journey. The results gave Landon his opportunity back. As of this day, he will be playing D1 football at the organization that he wanted to be and that is with a service academy.”

– Patrice

Allergy testing overview

  • 08:35 Skin testing
  • 08:52 Blood testing
  • 09:17 Component testing
  • 10:42 Oral food challenge

“It (compenent testing) really allows us to take a deeper dive to be more specific when we’re talking about sensitization.”

– Gary

Combatting allergy anxiety around testing

  • 13:04 What happened with Patrice’s other two sons once they learned Landon had outgrown his peanut allergy?
  • 16:51 Tamara shares thoughts on how: “anxiety is usually increased by uncertainty, unpredictability and ambiguity or things not being clear.” 
  • 17:24 Advice for parents of teens with allergies who want to get testing.

Preparing for allergy testing

  • 17:58 How often should someone get tested?
  • 20:38 How can we work together to prepare for a test? How do you get your kids involved in that? how do you create a more positive environment for you to go into that experience?

“Language matters – instead of ‘what if’ change it to ‘if then’: if this happens, then we’ll do this?”

– Tamara
  • 23:50 How Patrice and her family prepare for either outcome of their test results.
  • 27:02 How to prepare for a test from a medical standpoint.
  • 29:23 How to help your kids with food allergy testing before and after an appointment.

“Acknowledging and validating the kids’ feelings. Understanding and having empathy that this (testing or oral food challenge) is really hard for them.”

– Tamara

Managing food allergies and allergic reactions 

  • 31:37 Deciding whether to let peanuts in the house after Landon’s results.
  • 33:26 Patrice talks about heightened anxiety in her oldest son when he realized he’s allergic.
  • 36:13 What to do when you go a long time without a reaction or have never had an allergic reaction?

Working with your medical team

  • 39:48 How do you have a good conversation with your doctor so that you leave feeling empowered?
  • 42:00 Patrice’s advice for parents/caregivers who are feeling uncertain about the next steps in their child’s allergy journey.

What an empowered patient means for the experts.

  • 43:51 What an “empowered patient” means from Tamara’s perspective and tips on how someone can start that journey if they’re feeling that their food allergies are just completely taking over their life.

“It’s not about controlling everything around us, it’s about how do we influence the outcome and the process.”

– Tamara
  • 46:01 What an “empowered patient” means from Gary’s perspective.

“It’s about taking control of your own disease process, being an informed patient, finding the right clinicians that work for you.”

See Also

– Gary

Meet our panelists

Patrice Robinson, Supermom and food allergy advocate. SuperMom is what they call her. She is a fierce food allergy mother and advocate. Patrice Robinson’s fight against a peanut allergy diagnosis changed the course of her son’s life.

Gary Falcetano, PA-C, AE-C and Clinical Affairs Managers at Thermo Fisher Scientific. Gary is also a  tenured healthcare provider who has been dedicated to helping patients and educating other healthcare providers all of his adult life. With extensive experience as a PA in emergency & disaster medicine, primary care, and allergy & immunology, Gary brings a unique perspective to patient care and management especially when it comes to allergy diagnostic testing. 

Tamara Hubbard, LCPC is a family therapy-trained clinical therapist who created the Food Allergy Counselor website. A relationship builder at heart, she is always looking for opportunities to build and enhance patient resources or projects that lead to impactful change.

Kortney Kwong Hing, co-founder of Zestfull. She manages asthma, eczema, and environmental and food allergies. Kortney is a co-creator of the online community Allergy Travels and co-host of The Itch Podcast. She wants to spread joy in a community that can easily see the hard side of life with atopic disease and believes that you can have a full life with food allergies, it may just be lived a little differently!

This panel is in partnership with Allergy Insider. The stories within this program are personal experiences from patients shared with permission and are not intended to be direct medical advice.To learn how to share your #EmpoweredPatient story and join the community, check out our webpage

The Zestfull Corp. is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

© 2021 Zestfull. All rights reserved.

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