Karen, 35 (a veterinarian with pet allergies)
I was diagnosed with asthma around the age of 5 or 6. My early memories of
asthma revolve around not being able to run as much as my friends, and worst
of all not being able to horse-back ride without having an attack. There was
also the constant threat of my pets being taken away because most of the doctors
highly recommended that. My parents never gave in to the pressure, and for
that I was grateful.
At the time of my diagnosis, I was put on various oral medications that left
me feeling either sleepy or jittery. Later on, an inhaler was added to my medical
regime, but all of these medicines still left me extremely jittery. They did
not seem to help much -- there were many times that we had to go to the emergency
room for epinephrine injections during a severe attack. The worst period was
when I was 11 to 13 years old. During one severe attack, I was actually afraid
I might die. Of course that didn't do much to help my breathing.
Veterinary school was a challenge. My asthma was still not under great control,
and working constantly with animals did not help. My rotations through large
animal medicine and surgery triggered multiple attacks. I was using an inhaler
and oral theophylline at the time.
About 5 years ago, I changed physicians. The new doctor prescribed Serevent
and a steroid inhaler, instead of my oral medicines. Since that change, I have
done very well. I rarely use my rescue inhaler, and I am able to enjoy the
outdoor activities I love most. Horses and barns no longer trigger an attack.
I use an air filtration system in my home and have one room that is off limits
to my cats. (They cause me more problems than my dogs.)
I am very pleased with the control I now have over my asthma.
Review Date: 5/16/2007
Reviewed By: Alan Greene, M.D., F.A.A.P., Department of Pediatrics, Packard Children's Hospital, Stanford University School of Medicine; Chief Medical Officer, A.D.A.M., Inc.
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