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About Tammy

It all began with a mango...

A mango... Actually, make that about 7 mangoes!  Several years ago, my husband and I were literally sailing into the sunset in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge near Portland, Oregon, when, little did we know; a bag of dried mangoes would change our lives forever.  During our relaxing boat ride, I ate a good portion of a delicious bag of dried mangoes from Costco (what we now know to be equivalent of 5 to 7 fresh mangoes).  By morning, I was in the emergency room receiving heavy doses of medicine to help me breath.  I was told to stay far away from the tasty, but life threatening to me, fruit.  Well...3 weeks later...After a bite of chips and salsa (little did I know was mango salsa), I was back in the emergency room with an even more severe reaction and was even admitted over night for fear they would have to tube me to breath.  For the next 4 months, I was covered in welts, head to toe, and couldn't escape my allergic state.  My life had been taken over by my allergies.  I was in such an allergic mode (My IGE levels were over 1,000 - normal is around 20), I became allergic to almost everything…

 

Shortly after my welts disappeared, we became pregnant with our beautiful daughter McKenna, who inspired me to open my business Allergy Navigator.  Fast forward to today, you wonder how those infamous mangoes are affecting our lives.  Well, mangoes are in the same tree family as pistachios, cashews and poison Ivy.  Little did I know that having such a bad reaction to mangoes, so close to our pregnancy, would affect our child's life forever.

 

Celiac Disease & Nut Allergies meet... At the age of 3, our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. The call from our pediatrician overwhelmed me.  After countless doctors’ appointments due to gas, bloating, stomach pain, distended belly, low weight, slow growth, unusual looking stool, and a dislike for pizza, hotdog buns, crackers. Toast, etc., our daughter was diagnosed with Celiac Disease.  I broke down in tears sobbing in the middle of the grocery store isle so overwhelmed. What am I going to feed my child? Gluten is everywhere.

 

After being scoped at Children's Hospital of Chicago and McKenna's Celiac Disease officially being confirmed, I worried about her getting all the nutrients her under nourished body so desperately needed.  I already knew she had a peanut allergy from blood tests, but just assumed she would be safe with other nuts. I was so horribly wrong.  After feeding her a small bite of a pistachio, which she immediately spit out, nuts would become her enemy. Her anaphylactic reaction came within minutes of taking a bite of that pistachio.  She was complaining of horrible stomach cramps when the vomiting set in. She then went limp and she starting welting.  We called 911.

 

Now we never leave home without our Epipens.  We analyze every food label. We are hyper vigilant about cross contamination.  We are constantly looking for welts.  We are always prepared and on guard. It's just what we do. Anything to protect our child, our love...like so many other parents out there have to do! 

 

Allergy Navigator - So here I am, years later, wanting to be the shoulder, the educator, the friend I so desperately needed those many years ago. But most importantly, I wanted to help protect our kids from the foods that could so seriously harm them.  It’s impossible to keep kids in a bubble, and many are too young to be their own advocate.  I knew I needed to do something to help our kids.  Something fun to wear and use, but also serves a very important purpose.  So, I created Allergy Navigator to help people navigate through life with food allergies and Celiac Disease.  I wanted families to know they are not alone…