Meeting Meg Faure of Allergy Sense
From occupational therapist to speaker and writer, Meg Faure wears all the hats. She is a mother, an entrepreneur and passionate about wellness in families. Truly a woman after my own heart. I was nothing short of honoured to meet her this morning at the launch of her latest book, Allergy Sense.
Published locally by Quivertree Publications and Co-Authored with Kath Megaw of Nutripeads and Peadiatric Allergist Dr. Sarah Karabus, the focus of this book is to help its readers learn how to live a full life despite allergies. To quote Prof Michael Levin, Head of Division Paediatric Allergology, Red Cross Children’s Hospital, ‘the focus of this book is not how to limit your life due to a food allergy, rather it will help you learn how to live your life to the full. An excellent guide, immensely beneficial for all those living with food allergies.’
Allergy Sense & Understanding my Journey
For as long as I can remember, I have suffered allergies and, subsequently, allergic asthma. From eczema to swelling airways, I have experienced it all. Growing up, my traveling staples were my nebuliser, asthma pumps, antihistamines and cortisone creams. After 8 years of, at worst, generally “mild” allergy symptoms and being on no chronic medication while living in Sea Point, it all came to quite the startling peak of its severity in the last few years when I was living in Noordhoek.
Beautiful, quaint and quiet “country town” of sorts, Noordhoek is home to all my worst allergies – horses, dogs, grass, pollen, mould, dust, you name it. Not to mention the density of Fynbos on the mountains near there. Despite the beautiful friendships and memories we made, by the end of my two years in Noordhoek, I was so riddled with urticaria and eczema that I looked like a war victim to say the least.
Existing on quarterly cortisone injections, 3 daily asthma pumps (also containing cortisone), daily prescription grade antihistamines, a variety of cortisone creams and yet, despite all this, still suffering asthma attacks and eczema so severe I was bleeding, my doctors advised I move back to the area where I suffered less. Note, I did try to go for immunotherapy ie “desensitization treatment,” however, I was suffering so badly with high IgE levels and allergic to so many environmental allergens that I was not a candidate for this solution. Fortunately, after a year in Sea Point and many lifestyle changes later, I find myself back in good health. I take no chronic medications for allergies or asthma nor do I use antihistamines.
I’ve read, and it was re-iterated to me today, that allergy sufferers have a 40% chance of passing on the gene to their children; and a 70% chance if both parents are sufferers. Fortunately, my husband is completely allergy free. Not so fortunately, my second son inherited my allergy gene. He suffers from allergies to egg, banana, kiwi, tree nuts and, the worst, dust. I say “the worst” because, as you will come to learn if you or someone you know is an allergy sufferer, the first action you need to take is avoidance. While you can avoid eating bananas because you’re allergic, dust is something that exists EVERYWHERE and is thus very difficult to avoid. As such, we change our linen thrice weekly, iron everything, wash in hot water, spray with allergy dust spray, etc.
So, as a severe allergy sufferer and a mom to an allergy sufferer, I am grateful to have found leaders in the medical community who have made it their mission to educate society and families around this so widely misunderstood phenomenon. I can’t wait to read my new copy of Allergy Sense and, most importantly, to feel connected to all the other families who have stories like mine. I truly believe that, like with any suffering, it is through community and connection we overcome our pains. And, as silly as it may sound, allergies is no different. It is easy to feel blamed or ostracized for this medical disability, and a medical disability it truly is. It’s debilitating, especially when it’s difficult to avoid the allergen or, worse, you have a fatal allergy. So thank you, from the bottom of my heart, to Quivertree Publications, Meg Faure, Kath Megaw, and Dr. Sarah Karabus.