I respectfully submit, here, my application for Mother of the Year.

The prevalence of childhood asthma has increas...
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Shortly before she turned ten, Princess Girl began complaining of chest pains. Like all good mothers, I promptly imagined all sorts of horrible defective things that could be wrong with her. And the myriad of equally horrible treatments she would have to undergo. I scheduled an appointment with her pediatrician. He didn’t make me feel one bit better. With his medical knowledge, he informed me of all the things it really could be. And then we made appointments with the heart specialist and the pulmonary department at the hospital to have her tested for asthma.

At the time, I was thankful her diagnoses turned out to be exercise induced asthma. Frankly, I still am. There were countless options it could have been that would have been so much worse. Exercise induced asthma was something we could live with. Something we could treat. Something, if we were lucky, she could grow out of.

Her pediatrician put her on an inhaled steroid and prescribed a rescue inhaler. For the most part this seems to solve her issues. If she remembered to take her rescue inhaler before exercise she would be fine. Sprinting and playing basketball were the big offenders. Over the course of the next year and a half we visited the emergency room three or four times for asthma attacks we just could not get under control. Her doctor adjusted the dosage of her inhaled steroid and things seemed better.

In middle school she joined the track team. As her mother I thought this was silly. She had enough trouble with the sprints in basketball. But of course what did I know. Besides, she was going to be a jumper. Imagine my surprise, at the first meet, when she lined up to run the 200 meter dash. Imagine my distress when, as she rounded the corner of the track, I could see her little chest heaving from lack of air. I put my foot down. She could not run that far. Her asthma would not allow it. So she adjusted. She set her mind on the fact she was a sprinter, not a distance runner.

This past spring we transitioned Princess Girl from the pediatrician to a family doctor. The new doctor, who is also my physician, reviewed her charts and discussed with us the asthma situation. She thought with an adjustment of the inhaled steroid we could even better control the asthma. It worked. Princess Girl was using her rescue inhaler less during cheer and tumbling.

Then high school started. In high school PE 80% of your grade is participation. In high school PE you run either three minutes in the gym or 400 meters on the track every day. In high school PE if you don’t run the entire time you are deducted 1-2 participation points every day. Within a few short weeks, Princess Girl’s participation grade was on a downhill slide. I worked with Princess Girl to give her key words to use to speak with her PE teacher regarding her participation grade. Even though her asthma diagnoses is on her school physical the teacher required a note from the doctor listing specific restrictions to have the grades reconsidered.

Conveniently, we already had an asthma re-check scheduled with the doctor. So this week we attended the appointment. We proudly discussed how well Princess Girl was doing. She bragged about the fact she had only used her rescue inhaler during two games this cheer season. Then we began discussing the PE issues. Princess Girl explained the daily running requirement she could never complete. She talked about the timed mile she could not finish with a grade higher than a “C”. I told the physician how you can see the asthma kick in at 200 meters as she sprints across the track. We finished with the request of a note to the teacher to excuse this lack in Princess Girl’s abilities.

The doctor’s response? “You are athletic. You should easily be able to run a mile.”

Good thing I was sitting down. I know the doctor could see the confusion on my face. I told her I have witnessed what happens to Princess Girl when she runs. You can see the point where she can no longer has enough air. She can’t run 1/8 of a mile.

We have two options. The first is she needs additional medication to regulate her asthma. The second is there is something else going on besides the asthma. Do you know that statement put me right back to the place I was in when she first started having chest pains? That nightmare feeling of “What horrible thing is wrong with my baby???” Obviously, we are tackling option one first. We are trying a new medication.

I have all my fingers and toes crossed that this will solve everything. At least that would mean I have only tortured my child needlessly for the last three years by not having her asthma treated adequately.

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