Friday, July 1, 2016

A Little Experiment

Our boy is playing hockey again. He fell in love with it after the summer session he trialed & was keen to sign up again for the winter session. Sports aren't an easy venture for someone with VPD/SSS, especially when the sports are played with small white balls. Our boy holds our own though, & does remarkably well considering..

The entire group was willing to happily use a blue ball one week, just for him. Which was not only incredibly kind, but really boosted his morale. It's not that he can't play with the white ball, he can. He's managed to assist in many goals & block many too. All though his response when asked how he saw that ball coming towards him, is always, "I don't know, it was just a bright light & I went for it."

The organiser for the winter sport is even very familiar with the whole VPD/SSS thing having a sibling who also has it. This caused a lot of excitement for our boy to meet a "real live person" who got it.

But, our boy was still struggling with asthma. This has been a problem nearly his entire life. At a very young age he went form having a cold to being hospitalized for several days due to breathing issues in a matter of a 24h period. It's always made me overly protective against people with colds or upper respiratory "junk" around my family. What may be a sniffle for one person is life threatening for another, quite literally.

Late last year he was finally given a diagnosis of asthma, a small "plan of action", & a puffer with strict instructions to come back in if things got worse then they currently were. There was also discussion of removing adenoids to help with some of the issues he was dealing with, & a great many other suggestions.

This boy of ours struggles with excess mucus like you wouldn't believe. We've learned to mentally block out the snorting & snuffling. His Dr put him on a nasal allergy medicine which does wonders for the snorting issue, but only half the day through. This same kid really struggles swallowing tablets thanks to a high gag reflex so some of the other natural helps we could offer him are ruled out.

A couple of weeks back my high powered blender broke. Thankfully it's under warranty, but it was just such a punch to our lifestyle. Due to other allergies our family has had smoothies for breakfast for the past 4 o 5 years now. With no idea what I'd do I sent Mr S an SOS to pick up some cereal on his way home for the kids to consume. It was rather exciting for kids who don't generally get cereal, especially the gluten-free child.

The downside was, as the cereal solution fixed the breakfast problem it created a new issue. Our asthmatic boy was getting worse. He was choking on mucus while just laying on the sofa, he needed his puffer twice as much during sporting events, or home exercise. I was concerned about the situation & debated setting up an appointment to get him in right away, when a thought struck me.

The milk allergy that plagues the majority of the people on my side of the family had likely struck the second child. This kid loves dairy. He's not a big milk drinker, but he makes up for it in his use of cheese & sour cream. After consuming his daily bowl of cereal the following day he sought me out to say he felt like he was choking on the excess sludge in his throat & wondered if we had anything that would break it up. He'd all ready taken all his allergy items. I suggested he pick a lemon & try a quick glass of lemonade, & then I broke the news to him.

"I think the problem is milk."

He stood there for a moment before abruptly leaving. I've hinted at it before that it might help him to give it up, but it's always been met with an extra dash of cheese on his plate or something equally silly. But this time, I decided we needed to try an experiment.

When he'd calmed down from the initial blow I sought him out, with the glass of lemonade, & challenged him to a month of no dairy. I told him the choice was his, he didn't have to do it, but I suggested that if he did what health benefits we might see. If we didn't see any we'd go back to the Dr & see what the next move should be.

He agreed to the challenge, & to make it a little easier on him I removed meals from our plan that would normally have him reaching for the cheese our the sour cream. His first week at hockey he'd only been dairy free for 3 days & we realised afterwards that his allergy tablets have lactose in them. I should have known, I had to switch medication too for the very same reason. His results at hockey weren't fantastic, & I wondered if he'd throw in the towel on the whole experiment, but he didn't.

That weekend as a rare treat the guys went out to lunch together. I got an SOS from Mr S asking what on earth Morgan could eat, "He says no dairy, what do I order him?" "A chicken sandwich with no cheese." Mr S was relieved, but ended up ordering a milkshake. Morgan accepted it, but didn't consume a single sip, which was the moment we realised just how seriously he was taking our challenge.

As the days ticked by, we started hearing him say things like, "Did I take my allergy medicine today, I can't even remember?" Friends, this kid could barely make it form one day to the next without relying on it.

I stopped finding Jayden sleeping on the sofa because the snoring in the bedroom had been so unbearable. Morgan could go on a normal walk with us without feeling winded less then a kilometer into the walk.

He had his second hockey match this week, while still being dairy free. I was excited to see how he'd go as he was no longer taking the lactose laden allergy tablet, his system was considerably clearer, & this kid wasn't in need of 2 allergy medications every day. In fact, the very expensive nasal medication was something he was rarely using now.

Due to having sports induced asthma it's imperative that he take his puffer prior to starting, so he did. He took his normal 3 puffs & ran out on the field. He played a full first half of the game in a position that had him running up & down the field like a crazy man. He came off the field at halftime sighed & sat down. Then off handedly used his puffer for one puff. I asked if he was okay & he shrugged & said he was fine, just annoyed they couldn't score.

After the second half of the game {a win for his team}, he came off the field after telling everyone good game & looked really grumpy. I was worried his asthma was acting up, because with this kid deciding between grump & fear these days can be iffy.

"Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," he snapped.
"No issues breathing?"
"What? No, of course not. I'm fine."
"Okay, it's just you don't seem fine, so I was worried about you."
"I just can't believe that ball hit me in the leg & no one called it!"

I laughed, which he didn't appreciate.

"Sorry,  I just thought you were struggling to breathe not that you were upset about an umpiring call. Umpires miss lots of stuff, they're just people. Besides, at least it hit your leg & you've got guard on. Poor H got hit in the hand, he's lucky he didn't break a finger!"
"Good point."
"So, how do you think you went with your breathing?"
"The same I guess."
"But, you haven't even used your puffer yet. You even hung around without it for the team meeting afterwards."
"Did I? I guess I did, I hadn't noticed."

I'm not going to say he's in love with the experiment, but he's in love with the results of the experiment. He commented that it's so nice not having to use the nasal medicine, mostly because he always felt like he needed it 2x a day & it's a 1x a day medication.

He can go a whole day without the allergy tablet & be fine. It was suggested when he was only 5 or 6 that we give him Zyrtec daily for some nasal issues he was having way back then. It was something our boy couldn't go a day without or he'd be tearing his skin up. He's got other minor environmental allergies so it's unlikely he could go forever without an allergy tablet, but it's a relief to see he's not so heavily reliant on them.

To clarify, I'm not saying my child doesn't have Asthma, I absolutely believe the Dr that he does. However, I also believe that there are things we can do to help our bodies cope when they are dealing with situations of overload. Milk seems to be one thing too much for our boy & by removing it he can better cope with his asthma. He's pretty excited by the progress & can't wait to meet up with his Dr to share the good news, & that, that makes me smile.

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