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sgtiger
04-06-2007, 02:10 PM
My eyes are brimming with impending tears of relief after coming home from my son's doctor's appointment today. He was diagnosed with asthma just 2 days ago and proscribed a fairly aggressive treatment. We had his follow-up appointment today and the doctor said his breathing has improved greatly. On Wednesday I was told his trachea was swollen to the diameter no larger than his nostril, when it should be almost 3x that. Today he's almost normal.

I know it sounds weird to be happy to have a child be diagnosed with this disease, but I've been so stressed with worry every time he has a "cold." Two years ago during Spring he had a cold that wouldn't go away. He was hacking continuously and I could visually tell he was having difficulty breathing, not to mention the wheezing. Because of the longevity of his "colds" and the fact that they were so frequent I would take him to his then doctor only to be told that some children are more susceptible that others to them and it was not uncommom for children to have ten or so during cold season. And none of his doctors could hear any wheezing by the time I could get an appointment to see them 2-3 days after the fact. To make matters worse his regular doctor was bad about charting every symptom , so if I couldn't get in to see her I would have to explain everything over to one of the fellow doctors in the clinic. I would try to explain that his regular doctor had said that if he had another episode she would run some tests to try to find out what the possible causes might be. They gave me skeptical looks and said that the other doctor hadn't written that down so they couldn't do anything about it. :confused: :mad: Arghhh!

Last year at a new clinic with a new doctor he was finally diagnosed with allergies. Because it was the middle of summer the doctor suspected it was grass pollen allergies and recommended Claratin. After that his symtoms went away and we kept him on the Claratin until the grass died out and rainy season began. As soon as the sun started coming out, my son's nose started running and he would cough now and then so we knew it was time to start him up on his allergy medication. But a few days ago DS's coughing became worse, so we gave him some cough medicine. It wasn't very effective and his chest started heaving and he said that his chest felt like a boa (he's into reptiles) was squeezing him. This was his complaint the other times so I thought here we go again and this cold feeling settled into my stomach.:( :confused:

Well Wednesday I sent him to school, only to have his school nurse call a couple of hours later. Alarm bells started ringing in my head even before she had a chance to explain the reason for her call. She told me that he was coughing excessively and would it be possible to come by and give him something for it. I told her that I had already given him a cough strip that morning and that the directions said to administer at least 6 hrs apart so I didn't feel comfortable giving him another one so soon. She agreed that that wouldn't be wise. She asked if DS had any allergies and was he being treated. Both of which I answered in the positive. Then she mentioned that he sounded a little wheezy to her (you mean someone else can hear it too!) and that I should monitor it closely. That with his allergies it could indicate asthma or it could be one of the upper respiratory diseases going around his school. I brought him home and I could see he was struggling with each breath so I decided to call his doctor to make an appointment. When I mentioned that he sounded wheezy, they fit him in that day! His doctor had the day off so DS saw one of the other doctors. As soon as the M.D. saw DS he could see that DS's breathing was labored. The doctor then opened up DS's file which the other doctor had written down all of DS's symtoms from her previous examination of him (I would have kissed her if she was around). So the doctor was able to determine from his own examination and DS's previous symptoms that DS has asthma. DS's Claritan dosage was upped and he was prescribed Prenisolone (oral steroid) for three days, Flovent twice a day, and Combivent 4x day. He has been breathing so much easier and has coughed very little since then. After his exam today we're continuing Flovent 2x day for another week. And the Combivent has to be continued 1-2 times a day until all the trees stop flowering. Sigh.:o

I am so relieved to know what is wrong so that now we can get DS the treatment he needs. Even though as a mom, I would rather he not have to deal with asthma, but since he does, we are able to do something about it now. Since I have some friend who live with it, and they lead very active and otherwise healthy lives, I'm not too worried.:)

Thank-you so much for listening. I needed to get this off my chest and I am sorry this is so long.

sgtiger
04-06-2007, 03:20 PM
BTW, what kinds of questions should I ask his docs the next time I see them? Other than breathing difficulties, are there any other symptoms I should look out for and bring to their attention?

Dianyla
04-06-2007, 04:19 PM
I totally get what you mean about being happy to have a diagnosis, even though it may seem a little morbid to others.

BTW, what kinds of questions should I ask his docs the next time I see them? Other than breathing difficulties, are there any other symptoms I should look out for and bring to their attention?
My ex (of 8 years) had severe asthma that was triggered by a variety of allergens, including but not limited to: mold, plant pollens, animal dander, about 20 different food groups, dust mites, pollution/smoke, etc

Often, people with severe asthma also have other allergies (environmental and food) as well as skin problems like eczema. You should try to identify as many of your son's triggers as possible. There are some tests that allergists can perform, like skin prick tests. However, these don't always show everything and you may be better off keeping a journal of triggers and symptoms until you figure out what these are. A lot of these problems tend to cluster together and have a single root cause. For example, gluten intolerance can theoretically cause all of these problems in certain people. The best advice I have for you is to dig and dig deeper until you have found the root cause, rather than just medicating a symptom for the rest of your son's life.

While they are absolutely critical to shortterm airway management, longterm use of steroidal inhalants does have side effects. My ex spent several years using an inhaler 3x daily just to survive normally. However, he was concerned about the steroid side effects. He was also worried that, if he needed the inhaler just to live normally every day, would it be as effective when he was really in trouble and having a serious attack? He decided to eliminate or avoid as many of his asthma triggers as possible, and he slowly weaned off. He always keeps his inhaler around for emergency situations, but he no longer depends on it daily. Certain nutritional changes made a huge difference, such as cutting out sugar and completely avoiding the foods he is allergic to, insetad of cheating every now and then.

You have to decide how you want to manage his health needs while he's living with you, and he'll have to decide how to live the rest of his life. My sister prefers to keep a dog that she is allergic to, and takes medication every day in order to control her allergies to it. Others prefer to never willingly expose themselves to allergens, even though this is a tremendous sacrifice. It all depends on the severity of your problem and your life philosophy.

LBTC
04-06-2007, 09:19 PM
I was relieved when I was diagnosed with Crohn's last November. It's so much better to understand what the problem is, even if it is chronic, incurable, yada yada yada. I've tried a few things, I've gone through some crazy emotions, but my understanding of what I can do and can't do is growing now, and I am beginning to accept my body on its own terms. Yes, I would definitely prefer to be robust and healthy long term, but this is what I am, and I am doing what I can to deal with it.

You've had some good advice here. As you understand the triggers better, and can see the actual effects of each one, you and your son can begin to make informed choices about what you and he are willing to do to keep his body as healthy as possible, and to keep his quality of life. You may both be surprised at how some changes in diet and lifestyle may be a lot easier than you thought and may cause dramatic improvements!

Keep positive, keep giving him lots of love, and keep posting here whenever you want to and need a bit more support. It sure works for me! :D

Hugs and butterflies,
~T~

sgtiger
04-07-2007, 12:56 AM
Thank-you ladies for your support and input. The advice given has definitely given me some food for thought.


... The best advice I have for you is to dig and dig deeper until you have found the root cause, rather than just medicating a symptom for the rest of your son's life.

While they are absolutely critical to shortterm airway management, longterm use of steroidal inhalants does have side effects...

Yeah, DH and myself discussed some of them. We would definitely like to try to decrease their usage as much as possible. The plan for now though was to have DS breathing and back to his normal energy levels. Now that we know what the problem is we can look into better management of his asthma both through treatment options and lifestyle changes. Though I don't imagine he can avoid all contact with them because his main culprits are grass and tree pollen. I do think I read somewhere that certain foods can make symptoms worse. I'll have to dig around for that info.