Nuts Drive Me Nuts

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

At a Bat Mitzvah I attended in eighth grade, an encounter with seemingly innocent Japanese cabbage-which I did not know was marinated in peanut oil-produced an unparalleled wrath. Upon putting a mere spoonful into my mouth, I went into anaphylactic shock. This taste of hell enveloped my entire body in quarter-sized welts, sent excruciating pains darting up and down my spine, inflated my eyelids and lips so that I resembled a grotesque blowfish, and virtually disabled me from breathing. Calling this treacherous event a near-death experience is not a hyperbole by any means. The maximum safe dosage of Benadryl was a life-saving intervention, pacifying the reaction rapidly enough to prevent the need for an Epi-Pen injection and a visit to the emergency room. If I had not taken any measures, that morsel of lethal cabbage could have taken my life.

A trait that has distanced me from most of my peers is my severe allergy to nuts. Nothing else could garner the bewildered gaze at my Medic-Alert bracelet as people guess the identity and magnitude of the medical anomaly engraved on the reverse side, or the sophomoric chuckles when they hear "nuts." I take the jokes in stride, but few comprehend the burden of living with such a...

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