Last week, we received the results of our younger son’s most recent allergy tests. For those of you who don’t know him, he has quite the laundry list of sensitivities: milk, wheat, egg, soy, peanut and more. Each year his blood is tested for the antibodies that indicate whether or not he is still allergic to those foods.
This year, the doctor added tests for cashew, pistachio, and almond, after our son had a reaction to a snack bar containing those three nuts. You might think, “Shouldn’t he have stayed away from those anyway? He’s allergic to peanuts, right?” Well, peanuts are legumes, not tree nuts, so a peanut allergy is a bird of a different color. People who are allergic to peanuts usually have to stay away from the others because they’re often processed together, and the risk of cross-contamination is high. The bar he ate was from a peanut-free company. He had safely eaten almonds and pistachios before, so we thought he’d be fine. He wasn’t, though. The recent tests showed that our boy is now quite allergic to pistachios and cashews.
Here’s the really nutty part, though: he’s not allergic to pecans. Four years ago, when we bought our house, it did not occur to us that the two, large pecan trees in the back yard might pose a threat to our son’s health. His first allergy test was done two months after we moved in, and Katherine asked the doctor to test specifically for pecans. The result? Negative; the boy regularly enjoys pecan butter on his wheat-free bread.
We don’t know how common it is for someone to be highly allergic to some tree nuts and not at all to another, especially the one that happens to be right above his head. Katherine and I look at it as grace given straight from God to our precious little boy. The next time you see pecans in a bag at the store or in the pie on your plate, take a moment to thank God for such grace!