A lot of illnesses are easy to diagnose. Other illnesses are not so easy to diagnose. A lot of people suffer for weeks, months, or even years, and other pass away before getting an answer. It’s very frustrating for them and their families.
My oldest daughter has been suffering with a condition that has yet to be diagnosed for the past seven years. It gets worse and worse each year. She was originally diagnosed with asthma at the age of ten. She had an inhaler for many years and it seemed to work.
At the age of 14 her condition started to get worse. It was her freshman year of high school. She had increased shortness of breath, and was light headed. Her high school had four floors with eight flights of stairs. We got her a doctor’s note for an elevator pass. She was put on two inhalers, a pill and breathing treatments. Nothing seemed to help. One night she was so bad, she ended up in the emergency room after I had already given her two breathing treatments. They gave her a third breathing treatment and sent her home because her oxygen level was normal. Her pediatrician sent her for a few EKG’S and chest x-rays, and all were normal. One day she was having trouble breathing in band rehearsal. She left the auditorium to go to the school nurse. Another student found her collapsed in the hallway.
Sophomore year started with marching band. As her symptoms got worse by adding dizziness, headaches, and chest pains. She collapsed several times on the field during marching band camp. She still required an elevator pass and walked for physical education credit. As the winter months settled in, the cold air was making her chest burn. When we moved to Florida I took her to a pulmonologist. We thought we would finally get some answers. He did a candle test where she had to blow out 16 candles. She was only able to blow out six. He sent her for a two part test where she had to blow into a machine for as long as possible. They had to stop a quarter of the way through it because she felt like she was going to pass out. She felt as if she had no more air. We never heard back from the doctor except the hefty bill he sent us.
Junior year started with the added symptoms of lung pain and weakness just walking. Playing her clarinet became more difficult. She told me one night she woke up and felt s if she couldn’t breath at all until she finally forced herself to cough.
She is now in her senior year of high school. She feels cold sometimes and her limbs go numb. She lives in constant pain. If she walks to fast she starts coughing. She still gets dizzy, has headaches, and chest and lung pains. Even walking to her bus stop is hard.
As far as marching band. She scared the band parents twice in one week. They just finished a competition and were getting on the buses to return to the school. All the students were told no spraying perfume or cologne because some students have breathing problems. A girl on my daughters bus decided to spray her perfume anyway. Sara immediately started coughing and gasping for air. The last thing she remembered was two girls lifting her up and shoving her head out the window as they were screaming for help. The next thing she knew she was in the band parents van. She has no clue as to who got her off the bus and how. The band director confiscated the girl’s $50 bottle of perfume and had the girls parent’s bring her home. Later in the week during rehearsal, Sara was feeling weak with chest pains. The band parents sent her home.
Living with an undiagnosed condition is scary and in now way fun.