Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bad things can bring good -- by Cynthia Reese

A few years ago, my daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening food allergy to, of all things, corn. Corn is in everything -- and I remember standing in my kitchen that day, having no clue what I could safely feed my child.

I'm a champion Googler, and so off I went, in search of some website that could help. I found that help at www.kidswithfoodallergies.org. It's an online community that's part of Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), the largest and oldest advocacy group for asthma and allergy patients and their caregivers. 

Fast forward to this March, when the dayjob I'd had for five years was eliminated due to budget cuts. I thought it was a catastrophe. I moaned and groaned to my Heartwarming sisters and to my fellow "POFAKs" (that's parents with food allergy kids) on the Kids With Food Allergy community. 

But then something wonderful happened: AAFA came to me and told me about some job openings ... job openings that were perfect for me. It was a job I could do, with an organization and a cause I believed in. So I've accepted a position as a community outreach specialist with AAFA. 

Part of the reason I was offered the position was my experience being a "POFAK." If my daughter had not had a food allergy, I would have never known about AAFA, never developed the skill set needed for this job. Whodathunkit?

Sometimes bad things happen -- and sometimes out of those bad things come wonderful opportunities. In my novel SWEET JUSTICE available this month, my heroine faces just this sort of situation. Out of the worst possible disaster comes her chance at love ... If only she will open her eyes to the possibilities. 

I want to be able to see those silver linings. I want to be a Positive Polly and not a Negative Nellie. Maybe the next time disaster strikes, I'll remember this and remember the story I crafted in SWEET JUSTICE ... bad things can bring good, just like sunshine after the rain. 

PS: If you have asthma, share a photo of how you #tackleasthma at www.tackleasthma.org and you'll get a chance at winning an autographed football by NY Giants running back Rashad Jennings!

18 comments:

  1. I'm so glad your silver lining popped through, Cynthia, and hope your daughter's doing okay, too. In KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT AND WEAR BEIGE, Kathleen Gilles Seidel had a character with a corn allergy. It was the first time I'd ever been introduced to the gravity of it.

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  2. Cynthia - am so happy to hear about your reversal of fortune! Life leads us along the most amazing paths to take us where we're supposed to be. Sounds like you're the perfect advocate for all those people who find themselves where you were and don't know where to turn. And luckily for writers, all that bad stuff seeds stories. Wish you happy trails from here on out! And congratulations on the book!

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  3. I'm glad things are working out for you, Cynthia!

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  4. My mother has celiac disease, so for good or bad, food has always been a pretty big issue in my life. The good part of it is that switching to a gluten-free (really, grain-free) diet myself lately is actually super simple, because I already know a lot about the hidden sources of wheat in our food. Like corn, wheat is everywhere!

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  5. So glad you found your new job, Cynthia. Sounds like you are a perfect fit. And congratulations on your new book!

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  6. Cynthia, so happy life is finally working out for you and your family. Look forward to reading your story.

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  7. It's always amazing to me how things just seem to work out the way they should! I am glad that was the case for you :)

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  8. Congrats on the new job, Cynthia! Sounds perfect. Fate had this in store for you all along. Amazing how life works out! My husband is gluten-sensitive and you're right. It's not that hard to make adjustments once you're aware. Hope your daughter is doing well.

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  9. I love these unexpected reversals, and the people with positive attitudes who recognize them when they come. You'll be great in the new job.

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  10. Glad a bad situation turned into a good one. It's great when we can look back on seemingly negative circumstances in life and realize they were actually a blessing in disguise.
    Corn IS in everything!! I hope you've found some good alternatives for your daughter.

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  11. Such helpful advice, Cynthia! Thanks so much for sharing your story...and your research. Who knows how many people you've helped! Wishing you a wonderful Wednesday!

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  12. Cynthia, after all you've been through...you deserve lots and lots of silver linings. I just know you'll have them. I look forward to the new book! Congrats on it and the NEW JOB!!!

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  13. Cynthia - This is SO wonderful, and what a great opportunity to be able to help those in need. I commend you. My son was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in March 2012, and we've been able to use the knowledge we've gained about the disease to help other families living with it, especially those struggling during the first horrible (terrifying, life-changing, etc...) days following diagnosis. Congratulations on your new job!

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  15. What an inspiring post! Congrats on the new job! My oldest daughter was diagnosed with asthma after she was grown, but it is very mild and rarely bothers her, but I've had students that struggle with it on a daily basis. My son was diagnosed with exercise-induced asthma when he was in middle school, but the inhaler our family doctor gave him didn't help him at all, so we went to see an asthma specialist. It took her about 1 minute to inform us that he didn't have asthma, he has vocal chord dysfunction, which is often mistaken for asthma. With the correct inhaler and learning some simple breathing techniques, he was able to return to sports with no issues...I wish asthma could be so easy to fix. :(

    My middle daughter was eating a banana in high school...something she'd done a million times. And her throat closed up. She is now allergic to most fruits, especially tropical ones and has to carry an eppy pen with her at all times. But allergies like that are easy to avoid...I can't imagine having an allergy to something that is in almost everything, like corn or wheat. All we had to watch out for was coconut oil which occasionally is used in foods.

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