Sunday, May 22, 2011

Allergies are no fun!

Our new daily meds
As a result of a recent visit to the Asthma/Allergy specialist we Boyer's are having to implement some lifestyle changes around the ole homestead. My Peyton has had asthma since he was a baby but for the most part it's been very manageable with no medications. I'm a "hate to take medicines" kinda person so it would follow that I'm a "hate to give my children medicines" kinda person! So anyhoo, other than the first couple years of his life we've been skipping along very happily non-medicated. A few flare-ups now and again but even those were manageable enough that daily meds weren't needed.

Flash back to about 6-9 months ago.

I started noticing that he was having difficulties breathing on a daily basis. He's DEFINITELY an outdoor kid and often he would come inside from doing some odd job around our "mini-farm" and need to lay down because he was so worn out and breathing "wrong". He was also having to increasingly use his nebulizer machine more and more.  I do have to admit that the first several times (more than I'm willing to admit so let's just use that ambiguous word "several") this happened I was not very nice about it. My response was something like this, "You're WHAT? Coming inside to lay down in the MIDDLE of the day??? Just because you're a little tired from, fill in with whatever odd job/hobby he'd been doing. You're 13 years old! You're in the prime of your life; you should have the most energy now that you'll ever have. Are you just trying to get out of chores???!!!!" Even looking at this typed on the screen I cringe a tad with guilt; especially knowing what I now know from the specialist appointment and all the tests.

After several weeks  ok, maybe a couple of months (hey, I'm a non-medicating, non-alarmist kinda mama!) I decided that this couldn't continue. The thought occurred to me that perhaps things were getting worse....UH, YA' THINK????!!! And furthermore, the thought crossed my mind (and being the type person I am, I KNOW this thought was planted by my Heavenly Father) that perhaps what we'd come to accept as "daily normal" for Peyton wasn't really "normal" at all. That maybe, just maybe, we'd conditioned ourselves into thinking that because he wasn't having flare-ups and requiring trips to the ER that everything was fine. But what if it wasn't? What if in actuality his lung capacity was sub-normal and to continue in this way was doing permanent damage to his lungs? What if by the time he was 30 he would really have the lungs of a say, 50 year old man due to the years of breathing with inflamed lungs? So, off to the doctor we went!

After the standard visit to the primary care physician, for no other reason than to purchase (well, that's what I call plopping down my $20 copay for her to just hand me the referral papers)  the referral to the specialist (don't you just LOVE our healthcare system with all it's hoops to jump through?? That is SOOO another topic for another day!) we were on our way. We spent over 2 hours at the asthma/allergy specialist's office last week going through all the various breathing and allergy skin testing. They were so thorough! One of my biggest pet peeves is doctors who try to rush you out of the room; she spent so much time with us. She let me ask tons of questions and just ramble away to my heart's content never once making me feel like I was taking too much of her time. Thank you, Dr. Stauffer!

So here are the results of the tests:
  • Current lung capacity: 75% (that's out of 100% , folks...guess he really needed those afternoon rest times, you reckon?)
  • Allergic to practically everything they tested him for and some allergies are so severe he was off the chart on their numbering system.
  • She asked him if he was having any trouble breathing currently and he said no, not really. She then got the scope to look up his nose and said, "WOW! Your nose is so swollen and mucousy I don't know how you're breathing!" (he had conditioned himself to breathe through his mouth and didn't even realize he was doing  it!)
So, immediate lifestyle changes are on the horizon for us. Here's what needs to be done; some of which we've already accomplished:
  • No animals (we have two dogs and three cats) in the bedrooms. This requires us to re-train ourselves into remembering to close our bedroom doors every time we leave them. This is already proving hard but it's good training in learning how to break habits!
  • Will need to eventually look at making the one dog (who sheds the worst and is large) an outdoor pet (this is HARD; he and my son are almost inseparable)
  • Allergy covers on his mattress and pillow
  • Move his bed so that head of bed is not near window
  • Air purifier in his bedroom 
  • Special allergy air filter for our central A/C
  • Daily inhaler use twice a day
  • Daily nasal spray once a day
  • Must use mask when mowing the lawn and various other outdoor activities
  • Need to pull carpet up in his room (eventually the whole house) and lay down hardwood flooring 
  • Filter on the A/C vent in his bedroom
  • Change venetian blind in his room (eventually whole house) to window shades that are more easily dusted on regular basis
  • Eventually switch out our upholstered furniture in the living room for leather furniture
His biggest concern with all of this, as you can imagine with him being a "tough, becoming his own man 13 year old", is that we'll (and others) start "babying" him. He wants NONE of that! I told him that there is a difference in me "babying" him and me "acting responsibly" towards him. I told him we'll just take it a day at a time, making changes as we can and seeing how much his breathing and overall quality of life improves. I will tell you that my FIRST reaction upon seeing the test results that day in the dr.'s office last week was to come home and GUT MY HOUSE! (I'm kinda an all or nothing type gal) However, that is neither financially feasible, nor would it go a long way in "not babying him".  

So, I'm just going to treat this as yet another adventure my family gets to go on together. We'll learn along the way, make mistakes here and there, all the while knowing that our Heavenly Father is right beside us "working all things out for our good".

I would LOVE any comments from others who have been down this road before who could offer suggestions, advice, empathy, etc.!

Psalm 139:13-14a "For Thou didst form my inward parts; Thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;"


  1. I remember going to the hospital when I was 7 because of a severe asthma attack. Thankfully inhalers worked for me after that. I took 63 shots over the course of a couple of years, and now I'm no longer allergic to anything. Yes, a severely allergic person (I broke out in hives once from the cat) can be cured of allergies. There is hope for living a normal life eventually.

  2. Susan, I realized after completing this post that I totally left out that the doctor thinks he's a great candidate for allergy shots! We are in the process of praying about it right now as well as trying to find out how much of the cost (if any) is covered by our insurance. Thanks for the testimony of how they worked in your life!


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