When Mason lay down I noticed his stomach was moving too fast for me. So I called my mom, and she said that it wasn’t normal. I called her because in our family there’s a lot of asthma. My brothers and sisters they have asthma so my mom already knows what it looks like.


I’ve been around asthma my whole life
When I was a baby, and up until I was six, I had asthma, but my asthma calmed down after that. So my mom was already used to someone having it, which is good because she watches Jason sometimes. And I have a cousin who has had severe asthma his whole life, so basically I’ve been around it.


I knew about asthma, so I wasn’t surprised
I don’t think I was surprised when I found out Tyson had asthma – I’ve heard from other people what asthma is, I have cousins who have asthma, Tyson’s father has severe asthma, and I personally have a little bit of asthma – so I knew about it.


My dad, my sister, and my sons have it
My dad has asthma, and my younger sister also suffers from it. Both of my sons have asthma. The good thing about it is that they don’t get it at the same time. I guess they both react differently. But it is not fun.   Andrew, my oldest, doesn’t get it as much Caleb, maybe because he is on all types of medication.   He has Albuterol in both forms, an inhaler, and the nebulizer.   He has to take Singulair, which helps him a lot because that helps prevent it. So he has the Singulair, the Allegra, Claritin, Benadryl, eye drops, a whole bunch of things! He’s very well trained to whenever he’s feeling something to go ahead and do it.   They both don’t even need me sometimes; they know what to do.


My older son gets very emotional. He even gets angry sometimes. I guess it’s because of everything going on at once – the sneeze, the tears, the runny nose. When he gets it he gets everything at once. Caleb’s lucky that he only gets the wheezing – well, not lucky, but he doesn’t get all of that with it. He might sneeze, but not like Andrew does. My oldest is constantly sneezing, has a runny nose and his eyes get closed sometimes.


My oldest and my youngest have asthma
Anthony is my youngest, and my oldest daughter who is 29 has asthma. She has severe allergies, too, and has to carry an EpiPen (see EJ editor note below) with her at all times. They think Anthony is prone to allergies, too, but don’t know for sure that he has them yet.

EJ editor note: EpiPen is a registered trademark for the most commonly used autoinjector of epinephrine (aka adrenaline) used to treat severe allergies and anaphylactic shock. They can be self administered and are very fast acting. The EpiPen contains a spring loaded needle that shoots through a membrane in the tip and into the recipient’s body to deliver the medication.


Her brother has it, so I wasn’t shocked
Lucy was born with a runny nose so we automatically knew she had some type of allergies and then she started to form eczema as well.   Then when she got a really bad cold, she would just wheeze really bad.   I’ve been through it before, too– I have a 22 year old son who has asthma, so I wasn’t as shocked.   I knew what I was dealing with. But when Lucy has it, she has it twice as bad as my son could ever have it.


Just a way of life for the other kids
Evan has a sister who is two years older than he and a brother who is six years younger than he is. Since my son has had asthma and allergies virtually all of his life, we have just always lived with it and it is just a way of life for the other children.


I don’t sleep well when Brian’s sick. I know that sounds funny, but as soon as he gets a cold, that’s when he gets the asthma attacks. And so I don’t sleep well then. All I have to hear is a little sniffle in the other room, or a cough, and I am running to the room to make sure he’s breathing.


I took off work
I called my job once we got to the hospital for my son’s asthma to let them know Mason had an attack and that they were going to keep us at the hospital for a couple of days, so I wouldn’t be able to go into work. I understand I have to work to make money, but his breathing is more important.


Part of our everyday life
We have adapted to Evan’s asthma, as has he. In many ways, our adjustments have become a part of our everyday life; it requires thought to identify the changes we’ve made because of his asthma and allergies. Some that come to mind include the following: 1) many times during the year, we are unable to open the doors/windows, etc. as Evan has allergies which might trigger his asthma, 2) we don’t have furry pets, etc. for the same reason, and 3) virtually our entire home is devoid of carpeting (other than a few throw rugs), and has hardwood/tile to minimize dust and mold, which can be asthma triggers.


Losing work because of my child’s asthma
I was a single parent for four years and I’ve had to take a lot of days off work because of Tyson’s asthma. I got fired from a job because I had to take time off from work when he had to go to the hospital and be evaluated and go through the treatments. It’s hard to lose a job because you’re taking care of your kid, because then you have no money. But then there is always MassHealth who has, thank God, helped me through a lot of things. When I’ve gotten down and had no job they take care of the children which is good.   They might not take care of you, but they take care of your children.