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Saturday, October 30, 2010

#2 posting

This #2 writing under my mother's account. She asked me to write about how I feel about asthma, seeing as how it's easier for me just to write about having asthma instead of telling my mother everything and having her write it, heh.

So to start, I'm answering some questions, and I'll try to throw in anything else I feel someone may need.

#1. How do I react to having asthma?

Well, to be honest, it sucks. I hate it with the all the burning passion of 10,000 Twilight fans. But, I realize there are people with worse problems than me, and I know several of them (i.e. diabetes). There are some times when I wish that I didn't have it (I'd be insane not to), but most of the time I just kinda accept it and move on.

#2. Do I ever ask "why me?"

Sometimes. It's not too often, but most of the time it comes from having to miss certain events that I could attend otherwise, such as a Scout activity where we'd be going somewhere cold, and I had been having problems with asthma. Every winter it happens, and I get annoyed. But, again, there are worse problems, so I try to keep it in perspective.

#3. Am I compliant in taking medicine?

Yeah. It's not hard or annoying to take my medicine, and it doesn't taste bad (well, it doesn't have a flavor at all, which is kinda nice). Sometimes I don't want to take it, but generally that is when it is 3:00 in the morning and I don't want to get up and have a treatment. Most of the time however, I'm the one that get's my medicine, instead of waiting for my mom to say something about it. It isn't hard, and it is beneficial. Win-win situation.

#4. I'll be rolling all the Social questions into this one.

My friends know about it, and often they see me having trouble. But the great thing is, they never scorn or shun me because of it (could be most of my friends aren't exactly athletes...). They all knew about it within days of meeting me, just because it is so prevalent, but so far it hasn't pushed anyone away.

My friends and family are very supportive. I've had times where my friends and I will be doing something and I'll get an asthma attack. During those times, my friends will suggest to go inside and get my medicine. They understand and support.

I believe that is everything. If you have anything else, just ask. Son #2

Well, there you have it. That's Son #2 with the severe asthma, sharing about what it's like. If anyone has any other questions, please let us know! - Andrea

Friday, October 29, 2010

Insurance companies

Insurance companies!

Don't get me wrong, I love my insurance company - except for a few little details. They seem to treat asthma as a one size fits all disease, which of course it's not.

Their medical board has decided to no longer cover Xopenex (levalbuterol). It's more expensive than Albuterol, so of course they want everyone to use the cheaper version.

Son #2 (severe asthmatic) is sick again. Asthma Doctor was out of the office, so we went to the Pediatrician. He sort of squinted his eyes at Son #2 and said, "I know how he is, we better start him on Prednisone." I looked at our medical file in his hands, it must have been close to 3 inches thick! He's on to us....

He knows he has to be agressive in treating Son #2. The only problem is his Xopenex inhaler and nebulizer vials have just expired. And insurance is no longer covering them. Pediatrician suggested I call the pharmacies and ask for the cash price. A Xopenex inhaler will be $58, the vials for the nebulizer will run $130.

So, now what? They can write a letter to the insurance company and ask them to reconsider and cover this medication for Son #2, since Albuterol is not effective on him. But where do I come up with $188? I also need to get the Prednisone prescription filled, luckily that's cheap. Add to that a Z-pack prescription. (Plus $25 for the Pediatrician visit) I also need a refill on my Advair disc, as does Kitty for her Advair.

And I wonder where all my money goes?!

At least insurance is still covering his Xolair prescriptions - it used to be $1000 a month, but that's what it was when Son #2 started receiving injections almost 3 years ago, I'm sure the price has gone up since then.

Anyone else have fun with their insurance company? And what do you do? I think I'll take a deep breath and hand over my debit card from my flex plan. (We set aside thousands of pre tax dollars every year from insurance to pay for co-pays and presciptions). But we always end up using the money before our year is up. We usually spend it all in 4 or 5 months.

But, as I always tell the kids, "things can always be worse"! We'll figure it out. Even if we have to cut back on the grocery budget and eat 'creatively' until the next paycheck.

Well, time to finish last minute preparations for Halloween. And of course tomorrow night I'll be checking Son #2's candy, to make sure he didn't get anything with tree nuts in it. Fun times!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Stress and asthma

Stress and asthma

I just read an interesting little paragraph in Reader's Digest magazine. It was talking about a new book that had come out, called Stress Less: The New Science That Shows Women How to Rejuvenate The Body and Mind, by Thea Singer.

The article talks about repeated stress, and how most people know that it puts them at higher risk of multiple diseases. But here's the quote that caught my eye, "What we didn't know till now was that it actually physically ages us - all the way down to the DNA in our cells...Chronic stress literally gnaws at our DNA- it's tips or "telomeres" to be precise- speeding up the rate at which our cells age by an alarming ten years or more." YIKES!

I had heard that research years ago on one of the national news stations, but it's good to hear as a reminder.

So, what do we do as asthma moms? Find what works for you to relieve stress:
* lunch out with friends
* movie night with hubby or friends
* watching a funny movie
* getting a massage
* getting a pedicure or manicure
* chatting online with friends or on the phone
* deep breathing, relaxation exercises, guided visualization
* etc, etc

Everyone's different, you need to do whatever helps you relax. We have to take care of ourselves because who else will? And we need to be healthy and happy if we're going to take care of our kids and asthma problems.

I have 2 sick kids at home with asthma, I think I'll do my relaxation CD tonight. Ahhhh......

Monday, October 18, 2010

Another asthma attack

Another asthma attack

This time it wasn't me, it was Son #2. I have to rewind a little.

I don't go to the salon that often, but my naturally curly hair is getting a little wild, so I decided it was time for a trim. I had an hour where I thought I could fit in a trip to the salon.

Well, no sooner was I under the sink and had a sudsy head, then my cell phone started to ring. I apologized and told the stylist I needed to check my phone because my kids have asthma. (I was sure it was Hubby calling, or a friend but thought I better check just to make sure). But, alas it was Son #2. Once in a while, he will send a text from school during lunch if he needs something. This was a phone call I missed, so I knew something was up.

I called him back, and he was having problems and some weird symptoms. So, now what? I'm sitting in a cape with dripping wet hair. He is pretty good at mangaging his symptoms, (he's in high school) so I told him that if he didn't feel better after using his inhaler, to call our neighbor (who is like a 2nd grandma) or his grandma or grandpa to come pick him up. At the beginning of the school year, I always list 4 or 5 people, besides Hubby and I, on the form that allows someone to check him out of school.

Luckily, Neighbor was home and could pick him up. What do you do if a son or daughter has an asthma attack and you are in a meeting/ can't leave/ don't hear your cell phone, etc?

Make sure you have plenty of people around who know what to do and can 'pinch hit' for you. Many friends and neighbors know about our kid's asthma. They know what to do, where the kid's medication is kept, and who and where the Asthma Doctor's office is.

We also have a letter on file in case Grandma or Neighbor needs to take them to the doctor if we're out of town.

Everything turned out fine today, but you never know what can happen. It's nice to know that I'm not alone in this battle against asthma. Make sure you have help as well.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Asthma mom

Life with kids with asthma!

Well, I was wondering if any moms would comment, I know the blog is new and getting up and going.

Some of the things I find in common with other moms is that asthma really controls all aspects of your life. You can plan a vacation, night out, family outing, etc - and all that can go out the window when one of the kids has an asthma attack or is sick with a respiratory infection.

I still have times that when I hear my kids cough, my heart starts pounding. I say, "Who's coughing?!" Sometimes the kids will say "Mom, chill! I just swallowed wrong!" Other times, I can see by the worried look on their face that something is seriously wrong.

Things aren't as bad now, but when they were little, I would have to carefully screen who came over to the house to play. A friend with a runny nose? Coughing? Sneezing? I would have to call the parent and say, "please come get your child." I would try to explain that a cold to a 'normal' person is just that, a cold. For someone with asthma, it often times can turn into pneumonia. In fact, almost all of my kid's 12 hospitalizations (for #2 Son and Kitty) were due to pneumonia.

Once we started having repeated hospitalizations, and my friends could see first hand how sick the kids were, then they 'got it'. Not everyone does. They would say, 'can junior come over and play? he has a runny nose?' I would thank them profusely for letting me know junior was sick and ask if we could postpone it a week until they were better.

My number one job as a parent is to protect my kids from all harm. You find out during that time who your friends really are. Some people support you, others think you are a hypochondriac. But they most likely haven't been pacing the floor night after night with a sick kid. Doing nebulizer treatments, watching for retraction, using the oxygen saturation monitor. It's a strange world.

Let's hope this winter goes a bit better. And for all you moms out there, your kids come first. A few people may get their feelings hurt, but better that then your kids ending up in the hospital because you didn't want to offend another parent.

Friday, October 8, 2010


Calling all moms!

I would like to hear from any moms of kids with asthma. I would like to hear your stories of dealing with your kids.

I was visiting with two friends the other day whose kids have asthma, we found that we were all experienceing similar things with asthma and our kids. I would like to hear what you think and feel.

Do you feel uneasy when the kids start a runny nose, thinking 'I know what's coming next, asthma problems!'

Do you sound like a paranoid, hypochondriac mom that won't let other kids come over to play if they are sick? (We don't want our kids sick again). And do other moms understand why we worry? Do they think we're over reacting?

Feeling unsure about 'should I take the kids to the asthma specialist now? wait? start their prednisone?'

Should I skip the doctor and go straight to the emergency room?

Why did the kids end up in the hospital again? Do you rack your brain to see if there's something you could have done differently?

Please comment and tell me your story. It helps to know that we're not alone, and we're all experiencing similiar stories.

I look forward to hearing them!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Vitamin D

Vitamin D again.

Well, test results are in for Son #2, looks like he is way below where he should be for his Vitamin D level. Average numbers are between 30-60, he's below 30. It can only be diagnosed from a blood draw, but not a bad test if you can handle getting pricked by a needle.

Asthma Doctor recommends a Vitamin D supplement twice a day for Son #2. We are also having him spend as much time outside as possible. This should be an all around 'win' for my pale son who rarely sees the light of day. What?! Leave the computer and World of Warcraft?!

For the record-we don't allow computer play on school days, and limit the time on weekends. But he also likes to read, but he can read outside, right?

It will be interesting to see what happens, this is the newest research in asthma-the link to deficiency in Vitamin D. If it can slow down the 'remodeling' in his lungs (scar tissue building up from repeated inflammation). At least that's the way I understand it. I would like to keep what lung capacity he has.

Maybe I should start him on the bagpipes like Son #1. Talk about hot air! He's full of it and his lung capacity is almost double what Son #2 has. Hhmm, more than one way to skin a cat. A new therapy for improving lung capacity? It's worth a shot!