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An Asthma Story – From ER Frequent Flier to Letterman in Track – Naturally
Asthma, a chronic disease that affects your airways (the tubes that carry air to your lungs), can be a very scary disease for the person with asthma and the people who love them. More than 14 million people in the United States have this lung disease. About 5 million of them are children.
As a parent of a child with asthma, I have learned a lot about the disease. And, being a practitioner in the natural health care field, I have found many methods that have worked beautifully for my daughter.
Caitlin, who is now almost 18, was on the “Frequent Flyer Program” at our local hospital from ages 8 to 14. The frequent flyer program meant I could pick her up any time of the day or night and go straight back. Doctors and nurses for immediate care – no check in, no forms, no waiting. This is due to the fact that when Kait was in an “acute asthma phase” with her cough-variant asthma, we would typically be in the ER 2-4 times a week, sometimes getting there by ambulance.
It was terrifying to say the least. After an emergency room visit when she was 14 because her oxygen saturation was less than 75 (which never happened), I confronted her doctor and threw a ‘mommy tantrum’. ‘ “How can we stop this? This is ridiculous! We can do something to find out this is coming and stop it! Something to prevent this!!”
According to the doctor, there was a new round of drugs that were ‘fresh on the market’ at the time – Singulair and Advair. This, combined with a peak-flow meter (which measures airway patency by how much force the lungs use to push air out) gave us our first handle on Kate’s illness. ER visits were reduced, but not stopped. Still, the reduction was a good thing.
The sheer exasperation and helplessness I felt when I saw my daughter struggling to breathe was reason enough to send me looking for natural ways to help her. And, I found it. Please don’t misunderstand me here. I have never ‘thrown the baby out with the bathwater’ and given up on allopathic medicine. I never told her doctor to ‘go to Hades’. And I took her to a medical professional whenever necessary. I implemented these natural remedies *on the side* as prescribed by the doctor.
Here’s what we did (and remember, this started at age 14, with Advair and Singulair):
Whenever her peak flow meter dropped below 350 (this was her ‘line’ based on weeks of recording peak-flow numbers that indicated an asthma attack or attack was imminent), or at the first sign of a runny or stuffy nose:
1) We started foot reflexology treatments twice a day on reflex points related to the lungs and respiratory system, as well as the lymphatic system (for immunity because her asthmatic episodes were triggered by common things like the common cold). You can find reflexology hand and foot charts at http://www.remedies4.com/
2) During the reflexology treatments we used a blend of Ravensara, Eucalyptus, Pine, Myrtle, Cypress and Peppermint oils – I placed the blend directly on the pressure points I was massaging and had her inhale the scent of the blend (3 deep breaths, holding as long as possible) after each treatment. With a hand on the nose.
3) She drank herbal tea 3 times a day which contained herbs like eucalyptus, licorice and peppermint. We used this blend until I found the traditional herbal blend “BreatheEasy” – which is a very solid herb and works even better than my own blend. I cannot recommend this highly enough!
4) We invested in a product called Biovent (you can find more information about this product on my blog) and used it as directed. This isn’t the first product I’ve bought and tried from them – I even used their ADHD solution for my son (which worked wonders!). They are a solid company with an unconditional guarantee and all their solutions 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 a combination of reflexology/aromatherapy treatments 3 times a week and continued Biovent’s herbal/homeopathic combo medicine. We could tell when she was heading into an asthma attack or phase by the tenderness of her leg lung reflex points.
“Mom! I got my letter in track, can I have a letterman’s jacket? Please?”
As I said before, Kate is almost 18 now. The youngster, who was told as a 10-year-old that she would ‘never play sports or play like other kids’ because of asthma, has now written a letter in track. Has been attack and symptom free for the past three years and almost 3 years.
During her sophomore year, during her physical for track, her doctor asked the usual questions, but then decided that she was healthy enough for track that he wanted to do some lung tests. So, we went to the hospital for a complete pulmonary work-up.
Two days later he called me to say that her physical was signed and ready for pickup. When I asked what the tests showed, he said “I’d love to know what you did. Her lungs are stronger than 80% of healthy children her age and in the top 10% of children with lung capacity. Her tests show she is. Still asthmatic.” There is, but her lung strength and capacity are almost perfect. She is a healthy girl.”
I just smiled and said a quick prayer of thanks.
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