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An Asthma Story – From ER Frequent Flier to Letterman in Track – Naturally
Asthma, which is a chronic disease that affects your airways (the tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs), can be a very scary ailment both for the asthma sufferer and for the people who love him or her. More than 14 million people in the United States have this lung disease. Of these, almost 5 million are children.
Being a parent of a child with asthma, I’ve learned a great deal about this disease. And, being a practitioner in the natural health care field, I’ve found several methods which have worked beautifully with my daughter.
Kaitlyn, who is now nearly 18, was on the “Frequent Flyer Program” at our local hospital from the age of 8 to 14. The Frequent Flyer Program meant I could tote her in at any time of day or night and go straight back to the doc and nurses for immediate care – no check in, no forms, no wait. This is due to the fact that when Kait was in what is called an “Acute Asthma Phase” with her cough-variant asthma, we would typically be in ER 2-4 times a week, sometimes arriving there by ambulance.
It was terrifying, to say the least. After one emergency room visit when she was 14 during which I was actually shooed out of the room (this had never happened before) due to the fact that her oxygen saturation was below 75, I faced down her doctor and threw a ‘mommy tantrum.’ “How can we prevent this? This is ludicrous! There has to be SOMETHING we can do to figure out this is coming and head it off! Something to prevent it!!”
According to the doc, there was – a new round of drugs which were ‘fresh on the market’ at that time – Singulair and Advair. These, combined with a peak-flow meter (which measures the openness of the airways by how much force the lungs use to push air out) got us our first handle on Kait’s disease. Visits to ER lessened, but didn’t stop. Still, lessening was a good thing.
The total exasperation and helplessness I felt whenever I watched my daughter struggle to breathe, was more than enough reason to send me on a search for natural ways to help her. And, I found them. Please don’t misunderstand me here. I never ‘threw the baby out with the bath water’ and gave up on Allopathic Medicine. I never told her doctor to ‘go to hades’. And I always took her to a medical professional whenever it was warranted. I implemented these natural therapies *along side* what the doctor ordered.
Here’s what we did (and remember, this started at age 14, along with the Advair and Singulair):
Whenever her peak flow meter dipped below 350 (this was her ‘line’ based on weeks of recording peak-flow numbers which indicated that an asthma phase or attack was nearing), or at the first sign of a runny or stuffy nose:
1) We began twice daily of foot reflexology treatments of the reflex points corresponding to the lungs and respiratory systems, as well as the lymphatic system (for immunity since many times her asthma phases were triggered by something as simple as a common cold). You can find reflexology hand and foot charts at http://www.remedies4.com/
2) We used a blend of the oils of Ravensara, Eucalyptus, Pine, Myrtle, Cypress and Peppermint during the reflexology treatments – putting the blend directly on the pressure points I was massaging, and having her inhale the aroma of the blend (3 deep breaths, held as long as possible) with my hands cupped over her nose following every treatment.
3) She drank an herbal tea 3 times a day which contained the herbs Eucalyptus, Licorice, & Peppermint. We used this blend until I found Traditional Medicinal’s blend of “BreatheEasy” – which is very solid herbally and worked even better than my own blend. I can’t recommend this one highly enough!
4) We invested in a product called BioVent (you can find more info about this product on my blog) and used that according to directions. This isn’t the first product I’ve bought and tried from them – I’ve also used their ADHD remedy for my son (which worked wonderfully!). They’re a solid company with unconditional guarantees, and all of their remedies are FDA registered. So, needless to say, I highly recommend them.
5) When she was not symptomatic, and her peak-flow numbers were in the acceptable range, we maintained the combination of reflexology/aromatherapy treatments on a 3 times weekly schedule and continued the herbal/homeopathic combo medicine of BioVent. It actually got to the point that we could tell when she was starting to dip towards an asthmatic attack or phase by the tenderness of her foot lung reflex points.
“Mom! I earned my letter in track, can I get a Letterman’s jacket? Please?”
As I said earlier, Kait is now nearly 18. This young lady, who was told as a 10-year-old that she would ‘never play sports or be able to play like other children’ due to Asthma, has now lettered in Track for the last three years and has been attack and symptom free for nearly 3 years.
In her sophomore year, during her physical for track, her doctor asked the usual questions but then decided that before he signed off on the fact that she was healthy enough for track that he wanted to run some pulmonary tests. So, over to the hospital we went for a full pulmonary work-up.
Two days later he called me to let me know her physical form was signed and ready to be picked up. When I asked what the tests showed, he said “I would love to know what you did. She tested out as having stronger lungs than 80% of HEALTHY kids her age and a lung capacity in the top 10%. Her tests show she is still asthmatic, but her lung strength and capacity are nearly perfect. She’s a healthy girl.”
I just smiled and said a quick prayer of thanks.
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