Shortly after our son Skyler turned one year old, he began to have severe coughing spells. These went on for several months and during that time his pediatrician tried virtually every cough suppressant under the sun. After about three months of this continuous coughing and many attempts by the pediatrician to get it under control, we were asleep one night when Skyler woke up coughing and gasping for breath; at one point he even stopped breathing for several seconds.
The next day, we took him to his pediatrician who finally let us in on something that she had suspected all along – Skyler had asthma. This was not only one of the scariest days of our lives, but this was also the first day of a year that would prove to be very frustrating for our family.
After the appointment with our son’s pediatrician, we purchased a nebulizer and began what would be the first of countless breathing treatments. From the time Skyler was 14-17 months old, he was on breathing treatments every 3-4 hours, virtually around the clock, for months at a time. In addition to the breathing treatments, Skyler was frequently sick and put on antibiotics as often as 1-2 times per month. (Not to mention that he was also being treated for severe allergy symptoms, even though tests revealed that he did not in fact have any allergies at all.) His medication list was so long and involved, that we had to make spreadsheets on the computer so that we could keep up with them all. At the worst of it, Skyler was on seven different types of medication, including steroids. I will never forget the first time I went to the pharmacy and the total bill was over $500.00. I didn’t know whether to cry because of the cost or to cry because our baby “needed” so many medications.
The next year and a half was very difficult because we never knew when the asthma would hit. We lived in constant fear that if we left the house and did not have a nebulizer within reach that Skyler would have a major attack. We were even afraid to leave Skyler with any of our family members for fear that they would not be able to properly handle or recognize an attack.
By November 2007, we were at the end of our rope. We had just taken Skyler to an ear, nose and throat doctor who advised us that our only remaining hope was to remove Skyler’s adenoids. However, at this time the doctor also informed us that even with the surgery, Skyler might still have asthma. I remember going home that day and reading about how painful the surgery could be and I vowed that there had to be another way. We weren’t going to put our son through a surgery that “might or might not” help him.
After scouring the internet for alternative ways to treat asthma, it hit me – I myself had been a patient of Drs. Ray and Mary for almost 10 years, why couldn’t he also help Skyler? Why did it take so long for me to think of it? I called the office, spoke with the receptionist, and inquired as to whether or not they had seen success in small children with asthma and she firmly said, “YES.” As the saying goes, the rest is history!
Skyler has now been under Drs. Ray’ and Mary’s care for about eighteen months and he is doing better than we could ever have imagined. In the past eighteen months he has had maybe half a dozen breathing treatments. These breathing treatments were either still early in Skyler’s treatment with Dr. Ray or during the spring or fall, when Skyler’s asthma is typically at its worst. In addition, Skyler has not taken antibiotics once during his treatment with Dr. Ray!
Now, we no longer live in fear of when and where the next attack will hit. We know that during the spring and fall when the asthmatic cough appears to be faithful in our visits to go see Drs. Ray and Mary. If we keep up with our visits to see Drs. Ray and Mary, the asthma is under control and little or no breathing treatments are needed, compared to the treatments we used to do every 3-4 hours for months at a time.
Instead of weekly or daily trips to the pediatrician’s office, we have been only a handful of times in the past eighteen months; twice for routine checkups and a few times to monitor Skyler’s asthma – or lack of.
During the fall of a previous year we had not kept up on Skyler’s visits with Drs. Ray and Mary like we should and he developed a cough (not bad enough for treatment though) and we took him to the pediatrician to have him checked out. The pediatrician listened intently to Skyler’s lungs and could not believe the progress he had made. When we told him about Drs. Ray and Mary, he looked at us skeptically, shrugged his shoulders and said, “Whatever works!” Isn’t it a shame that more pediatricians don’t recommend their patients to doctors like Drs. Ray and Mary? Imagine how many well children there would be in this world…
With all that said, I cannot convey what a blessing it is to have a healthy son, not only a healthy son, but one who can breathe freely. Thank you Drs. Ray and Mary for the compassion and care that you have shown our family. Thank you for allowing us to live our lives without fear of asthma!
Sarah and Skyler A.