Violet Barnett - My Personal Experience With Food Allergy


Violet Experience

September 30th, 2020

Violet Barnett – My Personal Experience With Food Allergy

I would say I am a pretty rational teenager—or at least as rational as a teenager can be! I go to school, play sports, hang out with my friends and try my very best to listen to my parents. I can say with complete confidence that I am not a drama queen. That is, until I eat a tree nut.

I still panic when I eat nuts, but I wanted to share that they are no longer life-threatening.

I am so incredibly fortunate to have been a part of Dr. Kari Nadeau’s clinical trials in their earliest stages.

I have been allergic to tree nuts my whole life and have had over thirty allergic reactions. Each time just as scary as the last. The panic and fear I experience when I eat a tree nut is incomparable to anything I have ever felt.

Now, imagine repeating this experience every day. More specifically, every day at 5pm!

Dr. Nadeau treated me with a series of Xolair shots—a drug typically used to treat asthma patients that increased my ability to safely consume my allergens. After several rounds of the drug, I ate multiple tree nuts a day in order to maintain my immunity.

That journey began almost five years ago and it continues today. I start worrying about eating my prescribed amount of nuts the second I wake up. I wonder if today my throat will feel like it’s on fire or if stomach pain will keep me up at night.

BUT here are a few things I no longer have to worry about:

Eating at a restaurant with my friends—“safe” foods being fried in nut oils, not being able to clearly communicate my allergy to servers, the people around me eating tree nuts, the list goes on…

Going to college—although rapidly improving, the buffet-style of college dining is notorious for cross-contamination.

“May contain” labels—They are everywhere. Even on tortilla chips.

Boys—I no longer have to wonder if the boy I liked ate Nutella an hour before we hung out (in which case I would have to kindly ask him not to breathe on me!)

Dr. Kari Nadeau has changed—and even possibly saved—my life. Nothing about being a part of her clinical trials was easy or even that pleasant, but it was so worth it. To anyone suffering with food allergy, I understand your struggle and I am here for you. I am so excited by the rate at which science is progressing and the many new developments designed to improve our quality of life.

I thought this was a good article for explaining some of the treatment:

Or, if you’re interested in hearing more on immunotherapy, here’s an interview with Dr. Nadeau.

The End of Food Allergy

Available Now

Our daughter’s world changed dramatically after Dr. Nadeau successfully treated her life‑threatening food allergy. If you suffer from food allergy, or have a loved one who does, this book is a must-read!

Nancy and Steve Carell

The End of Food Allergy…provides hope for treatments that may liberate many children and adults suffering from this epidemic. I am grateful…

Sheryl Sandberg

As a mother of children with a history of food allergy, I am grateful for the hope that this book gives families: that we no longer have to live their lives in fear of accidental exposure. Thank you for changing our world.

Priscilla Chan, MD

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