So, I don't really blog obviously. We used this heavily during our first pregnancy and haven't really come back to it in a while. I thought I would pick back up as a way to document our new adventure. It keeps a log and keeps us accountable which is great! So, Team Wagoner has been down in the dumps lately :(. We suffered a miscarriage, battled multiple asthma attacks, and put our two amazing kitties up for adoption. I think life thought it could break us. Well, I guess life has never met an Italian. Nothing breaks us really. We will at least pretend it doesn't break us out of spite. Eventually you begin to believe you aren't broken. We are sort waiting for that part to sink in but it is coming! So, sob story over! What is this new adventure??? Well, as noted above we have had a rise in the number of asthma attacks recently. I believe this is a combination of a few factors - cold/flu season, poor indoor air quality, and poor nutrition. Here is what we are doing about these factors:
1.) Cold/Flu season
Well, Charlotte goes to school so avoiding illness and viruses is not possible. What is possible is strengthening her immune system to combat those illnesses. Our plan is to do this through nutrition, hygiene, and using essential oils. We have recently started incorporating essential oils into our lives. The majority of our cleaning products are made from oils (this will be discussed below) and we have started using them in our "beauty" products and for our overall well being. We use Young Living oils and I'm starting to really get into them! The oils could be a whole separate post but for now I will focus on immunity. They have a blend called Thieves. This smells like fall in a jar!! We use this on the bottoms of Charlotte's feet when we think a cold is coming on. I like to consider it my natural form of Zicam or Airborne!! When I'm getting sick, I will actually take this internally. The taste is horrendous but I know that it helps cut my sickness time way down!! (If for some reason someone is reading this, you can always contact me for more information about the oils and how to get them. As a nurse, I have to say, do not use anything - holistic, herbal, etc. - before contacting your physician. There are a lot of holistic treatments that interact with medications and you don't want to have an adverse reaction). :) So, we are using our oils and using nutrition to help boost her immune system - STEP 1.
2.) Indoor air quality
Well, this is why we removed the cats from the home. We had those beautiful girls for almost 8 years. It has been the worst not having them here. We expect, though, that this will help our asthma and allergies. Robbie has had a cat allergy all this time and we are hoping that this will help him too. We are planning on getting the dust in the home to a minimum and making sure our filters are allergen appropriate and clean. Keeping the indoor air quality good is a weekly if not daily task. One thing that folks don't really think about is the impact our cleaning products have on the air quality in our homes. Some many of the traditional cleaners release dangerous respiratory irritating chemicals into the air. It's Wisconsin and winter is coming quickly. This means our windows aren't open so there is no real air movement going on. Those chemicals just sit there waiting to irritate us!! (I'm a little paranoid). This is why we have begun switching to natural and homemade cleaning products. Again, I use my essential oils for this and it is great! Furniture polish with water and lemon oil is amazing!! No fumes, Charlotte can use it, and my brand new bedroom furniture still looks brand new over a year later! We have an amazing all-purpose cleaner too that is fume and chemical free. This is another post too but let me know if you are interested in more information and I can contact you directly. (again, I'm assuming no one is reading this but you never know!). So, decrease indoor allergies and irritants - STEP 2
3.) Poor Nutrition
This is the hardest step of all - decreasing our reliance on processed food filled with chemicals and adopting a REAL food diet. I have been doing a good bit of research lately and there are a lot of studies that link asthma with sugar and chemicals in our food. We all have heard about the studies linking these things to behavior, but they can also exacerbate asthma symptoms! This is crazy!! I read a study recently that discussed the rate of peanut allergies and the use of Soy based formulas. Charlotte had a lot of belly issues as a baby and we finally found a soy based formula that she could tolerate. I'm not saying this caused her allergy but I am saying, "we are what we eat". And we want to be REAL and HEALTHY. So this is going to take time. We have relied on traditional processed foods for a long time but it is time for a change. Our challenge starts today. Our goals this week will be to make sure we have two servings of fruits and/or vegetables at every meal and to eliminate all chemicals/artificial dyes/things we can't pronounce from our diet. This isn't going to be easy but it is necessary. The links between dyes and chemicals in our food and asthma are there. Asthma is an inflammatory process within our airways. It makes perfect sense if you bombard your body with chemicals and irritants an inflammatory response will result. For someone that already has a hyperactive inflammatory response, reducing those irritants has to help!! So, over the course of the next few weeks or months we will be adding new challenges to adjust our diet. My goal is to eliminate processed sugar (a big asthma irritator), switch to only whole grains, and to avoid all processed food. Depending on the reaction we have to this I may tackle traditional cow's milk too. I know dairy is an "inflammatory food" so we may need to consider finding alternate sources. I know many folks may say, why not eliminate gluten. Well, I don't necessarily think gluten is the issue. I do think we over rely on gluten as a food source. We do not have Celiac's disease so I don't think we need to eliminate it completely. Reducing our consumption isn't a bad idea but I think that will come as you incorporate more REAL food into your diet. OK, increase REAL food and decrease crap in our diet - STEP 3.
So there you have it our master plan. I'm hoping to use this blog as a place so document our progress and to keep me on track. It will also be a place for me to note the meds we are on and whether or not we have decreased those over time too!! I guess because this is on the internet anyone can see this. Know that I am a nurse but I am making decisions based upon my own knowledge and my own research for my OWN family. You should do the same. I do not claim to be a physician and some of these ideas may not work. At this point it is worth a try!
Medication Summary for the month of October:
Robbie - allergy medications - flonase
Charlotte - Xopenex (rescue), episodes of rescue - 8 days, Pulmicort (controller twice a day), episodes of prednisolone - one, antibiotics - one
Dena - I have relied on Lavender oil for my allergy medication and Thieves for when I am sick.
Illness Summary for the month of October:
Dena - two colds
Robbie - one cold (honestly he never gets sick. he is super immunity man or something so this was rare!)
Charlotte - two colds (doesn't sound like much but with asthma her symptoms last at least a week if not two. two in a month means she has symptoms almost the whole month) :(