Friday, May 27, 2016

Just a Spoonful of Peanut Butter

Peanuts
Original Image by Daniella Segura via Flickr Creative Commons


These little buggers may look like benign legumes to you, but something inside me twinges when I look at this picture. Even now. 

I stopped eating peanut products in April 2012 when my health was spiraling out of control. Back then, everything I ate brought on an allergic-type reaction. These reactions were growing stronger and stronger, and peanuts carried a reputation. Instinct told me to stay away. 

Peanut butter remained a staple in our home until April 2013. I was on a “make aaaaaaall the things” kick and decided to try my hand at making peanut butter—trans-fat and corn syrup free. 

I soaked my peanuts for the recommended 12 or so hours. Then I slow-roasted them in the oven for 24 more hours. Once they were thoroughly dried, I threw them into the Ninja with coconut oil, salt, and honey and let her whirl. But something happened.

The notch at the top of the blade didn’t center the lid. The force with which the blade was spinning caused the notch to cut into the lid and throw hot bits of plastic into the peanut butter. By the time I realized what was happening, so much plastic had mingled in, there was nothing to do but throw it all out. 

I cried.

As 36 hours of work and roughly $20 of product went into the trash, I noticed my ears were itching. I scratched them as well as I could and went about my business. 

Later that evening, I opened the trash can to throw something away. I pressed down, smelling peanuts. The reaction was instantaneous. 

My throat swelled. I began wheezing and coughing. I couldn’t think or see straight. I don’t remember getting into the bed.

In the flashes of memory I do recall, I’m lying in bed in our dark bedroom. My throat feels thick and hot. It’s hard to breathe. Brandon holds my hand murmuring pleas. I know I may not live, but I’m peaceful. If I die in that dark room, I’ll wake in a sea of Light. 

There’s a thermometer. Brandon takes my temperature and tells me my body temp is 94 degrees. He warns me if I lose consciousness, he’ll give me Epi and take me to the hospital. He knows I hate Epi. And hospitals. 

He makes me talk to him. I want him to leave me alone. Let me drift. But he’s so scared. The fear in his voice pulls me back. I return to myself. 

Not for me. Not for the kids. For him. 

I don’t remember rallying. I have no recollection of what else transpired that night. I only remember how awful I felt the days after. Like I’d been hit by a truck. 

After that, peanuts were banned from the house.

A year later, I had another near-fatal reaction after an accidental exposure to trace peanut particles. I wanted to treat the kids to frozen custard. We went through the Eskamoe's drive-thru. I was in the passenger seat. The reaction wasn’t as fast this time. 

We drove home. When I stepped out of the car, my legs didn’t feel right. My heart was working too hard. My head went fuzzy. And then my throat tightened. I almost fainted before I made it to the bed. 

This time, Brandon performed our at-home rescue treatment (EDT) Dr. Carolyne Yakaboski had discovered and taught us the previous summer. I didn’t get quite as bad this time around, but was down nearly a week afterward. 

What was alarming was the infinitesimal amount of peanut that had triggered such a strong response. 

We became super cautious. Whenever the kids came home with candy, B searched them with TSA standard scrutiny. Micah’s teachers probably thought we were half-mad with some of our requests. But I assumed a c’est la vie attitude about it all because—what else was there to do? 

I had one other reaction to trace peanut particles in May 2015. That was my last anaphylactic reaction ever. 

God began healing me in November 2015 after a miraculous moment in a prayer session. Over the next few weeks, I tested one trigger after another

In early January, I had a mild reaction after breathing in peanut particles. B brought the reaction under control with minimal effort and miraculous speed, but the old trauma was relived. Even after I had successfully tested all the old foods that were once dangerous to me, I continued to avoid peanuts.  

Enter Sara, my four-year-old daughter. 


A couple of weeks ago, I had a new friend over. I told the story of how God miraculously healed me, finishing with, “I can go wherever I want now. I eat just about everything. Except for peanuts. I’m still a little scared of peanuts.”

Sara dropped her crayon and turned to face me. 

“Why are you scared of peanuts, Mama? Der just peanuts, and Jesus healed you. You should just go over to Grandma and Pops’ and eat some. I don’t understand why you’re scared. You’re not scared of anything.”

I blinked. 

The kids had been coloring. I had no idea they were even listening, much less attentively. But let me tell you something—I had no. doubt. the Holy Spirit had spoken to me through my child. 

When I picked my jaw off the floor, I said, “Well…maybe I will.”

But see…there was still the trauma to deal with. Fortunately, I had the tools. Ever since my prayer session last November, I've implemented the techniques to address issues of forgiveness and emotional trauma whenever they arise.

Two days later, I recalled the night I lay dying in my dark bedroom. I asked Jesus to show me where he was. He appeared at Brandon’s side. Jesus knelt with him, a hand on his shoulder. 

I smiled. I knew he’d been there. 

I asked Jesus for the lie I believed about that situation. He said nothing.
I asked for the truth. Silence.
“So what do you want me to do?”

Jesus hands me a jar of Peter Pan peanut butter. Red label.

Okay, then. 

As instructed, I walk over to “Grandma and Pops’.” What do they have in their pantry? Red-labeled Peter Pan peanut butter. Enough for one spoonful.

The kids weren’t around, which was good. If something went wrong, I didn’t want them to know. Especially little Sara. But I had enough faith to walk across the yard without rescue medication and to ask Mom to video my little experiment. 

I opened the peanut butter jar and sniffed. Nothing happened. Good sign.
I scooped a generous helping into the spoon, scraping the sides.
Go big or go home, right?

I silently freaked as I drew the spoon up to my mouth, then opened wide. 

This is what happened:

video


So yeah...I eat peanut products now. The thing that almost killed me--more than once--I eat.

Someone recently asked me how I had the courage to do it. I wouldn't have without the encouragement of the Holy Spirit through my daughter combined with the encouragement of Jesus.

Without God's help, it would've been too scary. While my daughter may have delusions of grandeur about my supposed fearlessness, I can assure you--I feel fear just like everyone else. Lots of it. It just doesn't control me anymore.

I ate a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for dinner this week. It was delicious. 

Jesus still heals, y'all. Never doubt it. 

1 comment:

Talena Winters said...

So awesome. Wow. You inspire me in so many ways, Melissa. Thanks for sharing this.