A winter with Asthma.


In the last few months we have had an absolute mozza with our 7yr olds asthma.

I am telling this story to give insight into one episode in our lives, not to garner any sympathy or make comparisons.

As I have mentioned many times before, it’s important that we don’t adopt a “victim” attitude to these ailments.

We don’t suffer from it! That infers it controls and even defines us.

We own it, he [Zac] owns it and he deals with it -minimal fuss. It will never define him.

He has what they call periodic episodic asthma. This means its generally no problem but he gets triggered by colds and environmental change of season. We have been through various drug preventer options with little effect.           He is either 100% or not.

In May he got that wonderful flu that sticks with people for weeks. For him, asthma comes with that.

We modify lifestyle and carry on. Within the first two weeks he got to the point of requiring prednisone. A strong steroid drug that is a 3-5 day course. After that a second course and antibiotics with the first hospital visit.

This for most asthmatics is a 1-3 day admission.

After several hospital visits, a best guess cocktail of strong antibiotics and continuous prednisone we [specialists] were no closer to a solution. We heavily managed him with changes to normal drug administration and energy management [try that with a 7yr old!]. Also did all the tricks …

Vacuumed incessantly
Dust busted – wiped all the surfaces and walls in house with bedroom done every few days.
Constant peak flow [a small device that you blow into to measure your puff] measurement before and after drugs/activity/sleep/food/any change to your day, to measure effectiveness or effect.
All the good nutritional stuff, even though the effect was made more than redundant by the drugs.
All the anti-inflammatory foods and supplements eg turmeric, vitamins, garlic, honey- lemon drink etc.
Managed his energy eg a little movement in the morning to get the physiology moving and not too long periods in a sedentary state. Keeping the mind amused and focusing on the small goals/ steps to improvement.
Attended other specialists, immunologists etc.
Its important he owned the processes too. He is 7 so we could just tell him what to do but if he shares in the process he comes through the tough times stronger and with a management skill set. Even though, it’s not easy at times and a parent just wants to feel useful.

The prednisone had put 4kg on in two weeks. It gave him stiff joints, cramps, moonface, increased appetite, night terrors, decreased sleep, fatigue and took the edge off the normally sparkly eyes.

It sucked! There are parents out there who deal with a lot worse daily but feeding your kid a drug with such visible consequences is shit.

It was about two months of hospital level management and then we managed to finally ween him off after 3 months of prednisone. This is highly irregular.

Once we got him back at school after two months we started him swimming.

Just 10mins every second morning then progressively to stretch the lungs and start the physiology.

To be honest, swimming was by far, the most measurably effective thing we did for his asthma including any drug we reluctantly threw down his gullet.

It helped him ween off the prednisone and over several months, reset his body to normal although he still cant run himself into the ground playing [as 7yr olds do] and then recover without risk and we still put uncomfortable amounts of preventer drugs in him.

He feels normal with the usual 7yr old issues – how to illicit more TV, sugar and toys.

We will carry on and give him a managed aerobic program [disguised as fun] and hope growth does its bit. Control the controllable and make the rest normal.

We all know someone with asthma!

Try to comprehend the prominence of asthma in NZ 1 in 7 children and 1 in 9 adults and 1 in 9 people in Australia.

Consider “storm asthma”, COPD, allergy and the stats will rise.

It exists as a change in management through to lethal. [421 attributed deaths in 2015 in Aus]

There were 9 bushfire fatalities in the 2015-16 season.

No deaths are comparable, but I wonder how many deaths are influenced by backburning and filling the air for months on end – I know it affects us.

I understand the financial implication but there has to be better solutions!

I hope our story has in some way elicited a raise of an eyebrow or a nod.

If it has and you are able please reach into your pocket help our crew to help asthmatics manage their issue better and even find some answers.

Click on the logo to donate