By Amy Lee

#OhhMoments _ Kiley Oesterreich shares her daughther Lylah's story and how it affects the family

" Hello, my name is Kiley and I am a stay at home mom of three wonderful kiddos. Only one of our children, Lylah, our only girl, who is six years old, suffers from allergies as well as a disease called Eosinophilic Esophagitis. She is allergic to many things including dairy, wheat, soy, eggs, tree nuts, bananas, pineapple, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli, honey, rice, oats and a few others. It’s easier to name the foods she can have rather than can’t!

Lylah was sick as a baby, she suffered from acid reflux, needed to be on a special baby formula that didn’t have the cows milk protein in it, and was somewhat unhappy a lot of the time. When she became older, around the age of 1, she started vomiting a lot. There was no pattern, no rhyme or reason why she was. Trips to the doctor over and over and we were turned away saying she just must do it when she doesn’t feel well. After a year of not giving up, we finally got a referral to a GI and a pediatric allergist. Her tests came back and she had this long lost of allergies and her doctor suggested we have an endoscopy to check for Eosinophilic Esophagitis or EoE. After what seemed like forever, we finally had answers. She was allergic to so many things, it was so overwhelming and on top of it she had this chronic disease that was causing all her vomiting and the reason she didn’t feel good. Thank goodness Lylah was only two at this time and it was easy to remove foods from her diet, so she has known from a young age she has a special diet and there are many things that she cannot have.

This impacted our family in a big way. It was honestly very stressful for me as a mom. My life obviously was in her hands, but now she depended on my husband and I to keep her 100% safe all of the time. Keep her away from unsafe foods and never let our guard down at parties or around other people who didn’t understand her condition. Things have become such a norm for us, that now it seems almost easy and just our way of life. Now that Lylah is in school and getting older, it can be hard since she’s around so many other kids and their food. She packs her own lunch each day for school, and isn’t allowed to have any food unless we bring them from home. Her school doesn’t allow food treats for birthdays or special occasions which has been so helpful, and we really love that idea.

In the future I’d love to see food just completely shut out from school activities and lessons. I think there are plenty of ways to learn and food doesn’t necessarily have to be included in there. I hope to see more allergen friendly restaurants around. Some places are so good about it, but some places do not have the knowledge to keep someone safe while eating there. How awesome would it be if there was a restaurant every food allergic person could feel 100% safe eating at?! I could get on board with that!

" My hope is that we would keep spreading awareness about food allergies and educate others on how dangerous they are. Some people literally have no idea, and that isn’t their fault, but I do think the nation as a whole needs more education on food allergies and keeping people safe" - Kiley Oesterreich

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