Thursday, March 31, 2005

Lower Flovent, New Sinus Infection, New Symptoms

What an exciting 10 days since my last post.

On 3/22, we took Bryn to another pulmonologist (at the same practice). His lungs were clear, so the doctor lowered his Flovent from 220 to 110.

This past Monday (three days ago), Bryn woke up for school and begged me to keep him home. That's so unlike him. He loves school. He never wants to stay home.

That night, when I went to run an errand, he threw himself at me and begged me not to go. Again, totally unlike him.

Was it the Flovent reduction?

Besides that, he continues to wake up with blood-streaked mucus clogging up his little nose. He really hasn't had a clear day since the adenoid surgery. His face looks kinda puffy, too. this pleasant new mood related to what appears to be yet another sinus infection, or is it the Flovent reduction?

Being the mother of an asthmatic preschooler is so cool! (not)

Monday, March 21, 2005

Welsh Kids and Asthma

This is just weird. My husband is of Welsh decent, and both my kids wheeze. So is this environmental or ethnic? -- From BBC

Child Asthma Rates Quadruple
(12/1/04) Asthma rates among children have quadrupled since the 1970s,
according to a major new survey.
More than 2,700 children from schools across south Wales were involved in
the 30-year research project carried out by experts at Cardiff University.
The findings are being published at a meeting of the British Thoracic
Society (BTS) in London on Wednesday.
Dr Michael Burr, who led the survey, said more than 1.4m children across the UK suffered from asthma.
The first study, which was carried out in 1973, diagnosed asthma in 5.5% of the children.
Read the whole article.

And then there was this one:

Wales 'has highest asthma rate'
Asthma causes almost 30% more hospital cases in Wales than anywhere else in
the UK, a new report claims.
Asthma UK Cymru said one in 10 children and one in 12 adults in Wales are being treated for a condition - one of the highest rates in the world.

Read the whole thing.

Hmmmm. Bad genes? Or just coincidence?

New one for me: Xolair Proven Effective in Asthma Treatment

Maybe I'm out of the loop a little bit, but I hadn' heard of Xolair until I saw this article on HealthDay.

SUNDAY, March 20 (HealthDay News) -- Adding the drug Xolair to an asthma
patient's medication regimen helps cut emergency medical visits, new research
The research, a pooled analysis of seven prior studies, was
presented Sunday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Allergy,
Asthma and Immunology in San Antonio.
The fact that the pool analysis
contained more than 4,300 patients, about half of whom were on Xolair, does give
these conclusions more credibility than any single study, said study co-author
Dr. Phillip Korenblat, a professor of clinical medicine at Washington University
School of Medicine in St. Louis.

Let's, of course, keep in mind that the study was conducted by Novartis.

A few more tidbits on the drug:
  • It's a once-monthly injection (and the doctor'd better do, cos I won't!!)
  • Xolair (generic name omalizumab) is a monoclonal antibody that heads off allergy-triggered asthma
  • "Individuals who used Xolair on top of their usual treatment had a 47 percent reduction in total emergency visits. That meant a 52 percent reduction in hospital admission, a 61 percent reduction in trips to the emergency room and a 47 percent reduction in unscheduled doctor visits"
Don't know if it's for pediatric use....and thankfully, I don't even need to ask at this point as the Singulair/Flovent 220 cocktail seems to be doing the job for now.

Thursday, March 17, 2005

Study Links Autism and Mercury

...which has nothing to do with asthma, I know. But in a way, it has a lot to do with this blog.

First off, here's the article from the LA Times.

Now, here's the connection. Throughout this blog, I've ranted time and time again about pharmaceutical companies -- how they encourage unnecessary vaccines, etc. It may not seem like a bad thing that they're incouraging vaccinations for things like chicken pox and the flu, but in fact, it may be. Read on.

While this study (funnily enough) doesn't specifiy it, skeptics like me have been questioning the link between autism -- and other disorders (like asthma) -- and vaccines. Both asthma and autism have reached epidemic proportions over the last generation or so, and many blame the last version of the MMR vaccine, which contained a mercury binding called thimerosal. (Thimerasol also binds the flu vaccine)

Since the speculation began, pharmaceutical companies have denied any connection. Which, to me, seems ridiculous. If you're injecting your baby with a known neurotoxin like mercury -- I don't care how small the amount is -- bad things are bound to happen.

Finally, this new study, which links the two. They do chicken out a bit, citing mercury in the air and water, and funnily not in injected vaccines. But at last, a connection. In writing.

And according to the article, autism rates over the last 20 years have jumped from 1 in 2000 to as high as 1 in every 166 children. Terrifying.

I'd love to see where asthma rates are today. And a study brave enough to reveal what's really causing the epidemic. (Vaccines? Latex paint? SUVs?)

Monday, March 14, 2005

Sleep Apnea and Night Terrors?

Because we needed more to worry about...

On Saturday night, I paged the pulmonologist because Bryn was breathing really badly when he went to bed. It was odd, because he was so happy and totally fine before then. ( Okay, he coughed a few times and was a bit congested, but that's it.)

When I gave him his Flovent before bed, I thought I heard something funny, so I asked him to take a deep breath for me. When he did, I was surprised to hear an audible whistle. My husband is *sure* this was due to nasal congestion, but I'm almost positive he was breathing through his mouth.

Anyway, I gave him some albuterol.

When he fell asleep, he breathing was very noisy and he was retracting like mad. I gave him another shot of albuterol less than an hour after the first, which our doc has told me to do if he's unresponsive.

It didn't help, so I paged.

I got the oldest doc in the practice, who asked a battery of questions. He then told me that what I was seeing may be a result of continued swelling from the adenoid removal, but that he was probably suffering from sleep apnea, and that I should consider a sleep study.

(We did a sleep study last year. It sucked harder than anything I've known as a parent.)

But he may have hit on something. The night after the surgery, Bryn had a night terror. He used to get those a lot, but this was the first in well over a year. It was also the most intense, lasting at least 10 minutes.

Funnily, my mother-in-law was convinced it happened because we'd let him watch Shark Tale, which she instead was too scary and too intense for him. And while I'm not a huge fan of the film and won't let him watch it again anytime soon, I know that night terrors aren't caused by external stimuli.

I figured it was from the anesthesia, possible combined with albuterol. But I guess I was wrong too.

Either way, looks like we may have something new and exciting on our hands. Better hit the books (and the Web) again.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

Elidel can cause cancer?

This is exactly the kind of news asthma moms have nightmares about. Yikes. Elidel, the non-steroidal eczema medication reportedly carries a cancer risk. (Protopic is at risk of black box, as well.)

I just heard this on the WB 11 News at 10 and I feel like crying. The FDA even says the products should *not* be used on babies at all!

Here's the Reuters Report.

Y' try to do what's best...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

RSV- Obsessed

This is what helplessness does. Because we caught the baby's RSV early, I feel like I'm just sitting around, watching him get sicker. Every night, I've been CRANKING the monitor, counting his respirations. I listen carefully to the pitch, tone, and resonance of every cough.

Do sane moms do this, or is it just me?

Honestly, he seems well. He's congested and coughing a bit, but he's happy and eating well. I'm probably making myself crazy for nothing.

Sunday, March 06, 2005

Definitive RSV Resource

Alarming but accurate. Big "duh" on my part -- I don't know why I never thought of checking the American Lung Association site for asthma info before. (I was a blonde once...)

Here's the RSV fact sheet.

The Baby Has Bronchiolitis...

...and maybe RSV.

I brought him to the pediatrician (for the second Sunday in a row) because he had a rash. And while he seemed fine and happy, the doc was surprised to hear a wheeze when she listened to his chest. She'd recognized the rash immediately as viral, but she was as shocked as I was to find that he had bronchiolitis.

He's on Albuterol exery 4-6 hours (you can imagine how he loves the nebulizer), and he seems to be okay...but of course I'm checking on him every 45 minutes to make sure he's breathing normally.

Hopefully, it won't get any worse this. He's already high-risk for asthma; I'd rather not have another RSV situation like we had with his older brother.

While I'm sure I could take care of another asthmatic baby...I'd really rather not. One healthy kid would be nice.

My friend, the wise wife of a rabbi, once told me that I shouldn't ask why I was given a little boy who was so sick. She said I should look at it differently. It's a blessing, she said, that God gave us the tools, patience and love to care for a child as special as ours. Imagine if, with all his health problems, he'd been delivered to another family -- one without the caring and (frankly) the insurance coverage to look after him.

She's right, of course, and it is helpful to look at that way. We have wonderful, beautiful, and very special sons. And we'll do absolutely anything we have to to make sure they stay happy and healthy.

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Adenoidectomy: The Jury's Out

Sorry I haven't posted in a week -- UNBELIEVABLE, the mess that's been my home!

But to the point: Bryn's doing really well. He can barely move his neck, but he hasn't complained at all. He hasn't developed a major post-op asthma attack or hemorrhaged as I feared (I'm totally paranoid - I admit it) and I still have a full bottle Tylenol with codeine. He's said once that his mouth hurts, and he cried once because he hit his head, which apparently hurts more than it would if he hadn't had the surgery.

But he's coughing like mad and he's *still* breathing through his mouth, so we'll see... I'm just not convinced this was the best (or the only) option.

The real kicker...when we got home from the hospital with Bryn, the baby was running 102. Turns out he had strep...and so did I. We both went on Amoxicillan (so all three of us were on it) and while I got better, his fever continued for days.

Turns out, he's allergic to Amoxicillan. Does this bode well?