Monday, April 20, 2015

Stella Health Update/Kaiser's Birthday

Just wanted to do a quick update on Stella's health since we saw the Pediatric Allergy and Asthma specialist in Rockford a few days ago. 

The doctor was to the point, but nice.  He is treating her for asthma, but she is too young to officially test for asthma and allergies.  Since she responds well to asthma treatment, it is more than likely asthma.  He did say that sometimes after being sick little kids can wheeze for weeks.  Given that Stella has had croup, the stomach flu, 2 colds, a double ear infection and pneumonia in the past 7 months (she's basically been sick since she turned 1) I am sure that this is a possibility.  We are hopeful that in a few months we can try to take her off the asthma medications and she will be cured.  However.  I don't think that is going to happen.  I am hopeful yet realistic.  I didn't know much about asthma before this, but after a little research and talking to some who have it and have little children with it, I think Stella fits the bill.  Allergies, asthma and eczema often go hand-in-hand.  Stella has all 3.  I mentioned before that her regular doctor put her on Zyrtec and Similac after I told him she seemed to sneeze constantly.  She also used to dig her fingers in her eyes every day.  If you really know me you know how bad this is.  I have a true eye phobia.  I wear glasses and could NEVER put a contact in.  When I visit my eye doctor it's on my chart to bring the nurses in to hold my hands down.  Yes, even still at 31 years old.  So I hated this "habit" of Stella's.  I had to discipline her for it, which is never fun (yet necessary).  I didn't want any long term eye damage.  Anyways, now I think her eyes itched from allergies and she didn't know what to do.  Since being on the allergy meds I haven't seen her touch her eyes.  I tried to go without the allergy meds for a couple days to see what happened and she was back to sneezing and digging.  So for now we're sticking with those.  I have bad seasonal allergies as well, but didn't develop them until later in life.  Poor Stella.  She also has eczema on her legs.  We got a topical steroid cream to apply at night so I am excited to get that cleared up.  He said the bad cradle cap she had as a new baby was probably eczema as well.  So given all these facts, I am pretty sure we'll be battling this asthma crap for a while.  Or forever.   

OK, so the treatments.  They are MUCH better than what we've been doing.  She got an inhaler with a chamber since she's so young.  We do one medicine everyday twice a day when shes healthy (along with her allergy and eczema meds).  This is called the "Green Light" stage.  If she starts wheezing we have a different inhaler med that we give every 20 minutes for an hour (or before a big event/exercise as prevention).  This is the "Yellow Light" stage.  If she gets better we stop, but if not we move on to the "Red Light" stage.  Here we give her the liquid steroid (which I filled the prescription for and keep on hand) and consult her doctor.  She HATES the inhaler (mainly the mask that goes with it).  The first few times were a nightmare.  She cried so many tears, it was heartbreaking.  We're just trying to keep her healthy and she thinks we're being mean.  It sucks.  But like anything in life, it gets better with time.  The first few times it took both of us (one to operate the inhaler and one to hold her down), but now we do it in her high chair before breakfast and dinner.  We put on her favorite show and she only cries a little.  It only takes a minute.  2 minutes a day compared to an hour a day on the nebulizer is great!  An extra hour a day for us!!  Plus the best part...he had a free sample chamber for us (they retail for $70) and gave us enough sample inhaler medicine to last a month so we aren't spending the $100 a week on the dang nebulizer medicine.  A silver lining to this gray cloud.

There are several worse illnesses out there than asthma.  Several parents have it worse than us.  But let me tell you I FEEL for them.  Until you realize how scary, stressful and expensive a chronic illness is you can only imagine.  But when you live it, on whatever level, you sympathize with them.  For the most part I feel confident with our plan and ability to execute it, but I have known people who died from asthma.  What if a smell sets her off?  What if it gets worse?  What if we forget her inhaler?  There are additional horrible fears that run through our minds every day.  But like any other fears parents have, we do the best we can to raise her healthy and capable and give the rest up to God.  

We go back to see the doctor in a month.  The drive is a little less than 2 hours, so it's not really that bad.  We enjoyed our morning this time.  After the appointment we had lunch at Cracker Barrel and stopped at the house we used to live at in Amboy (we know the people we sold it to) so Stella could see their horses.  We got back home a little before 3:00 because Mark had to go into work.  Stella was pretty wiped, so we watched a movie and had an early dinner and bedtime.
Loved the train table in the waiting room, and kept her entertained in the office with some milk and (OF COURSE!) the plastic fence she's been carrying around for about 6 weeks.  Silly girl.

And a quick side note, last Friday was Kaiser's 6th birthday.  I usually make him a (doggie) birthday cake, but Stella and I had to run to Peoria for my doctor appointment so we swung through the dog bakery (yes, that exists) and picked him up a birthday cookie.  He enjoyed it, of course!  Mark worked late so we weren't able to go for our traditional birthday walk (I can't handle a stroller and our 90 pound I'm-a-puppy-and-am-going-to-pull-you-all-over-the-place-while-on-the-leash dog yet on my own!) but it was a beautiful day so Kaiser got plenty of sunshine and fetch time in the backyard.
Waited so patiently!
Kaiser and Stella are the best of friends.  They don't like to be apart and I often find them laying together on his dog bed!  His birthday was no exception :-)  Kaiser is a wonderful dog and our family wouldn't be complete without him.
Now that we have our health under control I don't know what I'm going to write about ;)  Just kidding, I have lots of fun post ideas coming up.  So see you soon!

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