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Worried Moms Do Better Research Than The FBI!

I’m watching a new streaming series, called “Diagnosis”. It’s about a doctor who writes about true medical mysteries for the New York Times and uses crowdsourcing to try to solve them. She interviews patients, pours over their medical records, then has the patient film a short video explaining their medical mystery.

She publishes it online in the New York Times and then asks for people across the world to chime in with their own video of what they think is going on. Some ideas come from patients and some come from doctors, and they sometimes help solve the mystery.

The funny part came during an episode when the person on camera said: "A worried mom does more research than the FBI." My husband swung his head around and looked at me and I burst out laughing--because it's true!

My son's asthma diagnosis

Almost 20 years ago, we began our journey with asthma. I felt something wasn't right with my middle son. He was sick ALL the time - and he seemed to get sicker than his older brother. Each illness lasted longer, too. After reading an article about asthma in a magazine, I told the pediatrician I suspected my son had asthma. He assured me that it was just a virus. I wasn't so sure.

Shortly after that, my son was sick AGAIN - so we went back to the pediatrician. This time, he sent us to the pediatric ward of the hospital.

The respiratory therapist (RT) in the hospital said something about my son's asthma. I was confused and told him that the pediatrician said my son doesn't have asthma. The RT laughed and said that my son does have asthma--and that's why he's in the hospital.

Starting my asthma education as a parent

In a panic, I told him that I didn't know anything about asthma. He said he would be right back, and dropped off 30 pages of asthma articles at my son's bedside.

I read every single page. I underlined, highlighted and dog eared certain pages. I peppered the RT with questions and asked him to explain things in detail. When the pediatrician sent us to a specialist, I grilled him with questions.

This was before the internet, so I had to find literature in the asthma specialists' office and ask a lot of questions to educate myself.

Using my asthma education for my son

My son's asthma was hard to control. After his 7th hospitalization, I was frustrated. We had already made our house allergy & asthma friendly, made sure he took his controller inhaler daily, was up to date on his flu and pneumonia shot, had allergy shots to help control his asthma triggers, and disinfected everything.

Nothing helped.

One day in 2007, I was watching the news when they had a story about a new treatment for asthma - a biologic (a medicine given by injection for those with severe asthma). I quickly made an appointment with the asthma doctor, and found out the biologic was approved for those 12 and older. We were in luck since my son just turned 12! I begged the asthma doctor to start my son on the biologic.

Finding a solution

And - it worked! Normally, when my son started a cold, I would just pack our bags for the hospital, because I knew we would end up there anyway (usually with pneumonia). But once my son started the biologic, he would actually feel better! I was so glad I saw the story on the news and could ask my doctor about the biologic treatment for my son.

Fast forward to today, and I am still educating myself about asthma! I read medical journals, attend asthma education conferences, watch webinars, and follow the national allergy and asthma organizations on social media.

New inhalers are being released every year - look at all the medications available now! Global asthma guidelines are updated every year, too, and we now know about phenotypes and endotypes.1 The asthma world is changing fast and there is a lot to learn!

So, if you are a mom (or parent) of kids with asthma - do you do better research than the FBI?

Are you a parent who has done some asthma self education? Share your experience with us!

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