On Tuesday afternoon we took Leo to the doctor for a follow-up from last week’s sickness and to also talk about next steps with his breathing issues. The doctor thinks that Leo does have asthma and recommended a couple steps:
- We are starting twice-daily inhaled steroids. These are a much less potent dose, so we shouldn’t see any of the side effects (sleeplessness, ‘roid rage) that we had before. (If we do she’ll adjust the dosage down some more.) Thankfully we were also able to get a valved holding chamber inhaler, which means he can breathe in the steroids in 5 or 6 breaths rather than spend 7-10 minutes on the nebulizer every morning and evening. We’ll do the steroids through the winter months and then meet again with the doctor. Depending on how Leo’s done (if he’s had flare ups, how many, etc.) we might be able to lay off the steroids for awhile or keep them going.
- If Leo has a flare-up we’ll also add in albuterol breathing treatments with the nebulizer. Basically the steroids keep inflammation in the bronchial tubes down. Albuterol relaxes the muscles around the bronchial tubes. If he has a flare-up that albuterol can’t manage, we’ll have to do some oral steroids again.
- Leo’s case is a little perplexing in that neither Dave or I or either of our families has a history of asthma. But the doctor said she typically does see kids grow out of this (needing treatments less and less as they get older). I’m thankful that his asthma is clearly not exercise-induced, as the kid loves to be busy and moving. And I’m hopeful that his activity will actually be a big strength for him in keeping his lungs strong.
- I’ve started keeping a breathing log for Leo, chronicling dates we’ve used the nebulizer and any triggers we saw. Thankfully I blog, so I was able to find ALL the previous times we’d used the nebulizer and what his symptoms were beforehand. In every other case Leo started off with a cold and then spiraled into wheezing. This last time he had no cold symptoms but we had cleaned out the garage the day before and there had been a lot of dust.
- Leo still has some junk in his lungs from this last round, so we’re continuing twice-daily albuterol treatments for a few days as well as adding in the steroids.
The most helpful thing in all of this was our awesome neighbor, Amanda. She’s a good friend and our boys love to play together. Her son has asthma as well and does inhaled steroids and nebulizer treatments. She talked to us on Monday about what they do for their son and things they’ve learned from doctors. It was hugely helpful for us to have that resource and to be prepared going in about what the doctor would say. Definitely minimized anxiety and also just added clarity to the situation.
So that’s the update on Leo. Thankfully the steroid symptoms wore off as soon as he stopped taking them. Now we’re just trying to work through the time-change adjustment. Leo’s internal body clock seems stuck in the old time… which means early wake-ups and skipped naps. He’s definitely prepping us for a newborn!