ASTHMA AWARENESS: Dr Xiu-Min Li, Professor Pediatrics, Allergy and Immunology, Mount Sinai Hospital, NYC

It was five a half years ago in NYC when I first met Dr Xiu-Min Li.  She is most gracious and humble and accepted me as a patient who suffers from asthma.  This is her speciality along with finding a cure for allergies.  Dr Li mainly works with children but my mild-moderate asthma qualified me, at the time, to become part of her trial for using chinese herbal medicines named ASHMI.  Instead of giving children steroids, which has a whole host of nasty side effects, Dr Li invented a remedy to manage asthma in children.

It has been five years of testing and I have been symptom free for two years now.  In fact, it has been recommended that I wean off my steroid over the next year and then slowly wean off the chinese herbal medicines in the years that follow.  Although I will always take the chinese herbal medicines, the dosage will be lessened.  This has been my goal since I first met Dr Li.  I felt that Eastern medicine holds the answers to asthma and Western medicine needs to catch up.

When I first had an asthma attack, the general practitioner (M.D.) thought it was a panic attack.  NOT!  The nurse gave me an inhaler and I could breathe again.  However, instead of undergoing testing they just provided me with a prescription for steroids.  This is not how it’s done!  And if you find yourself, or your child, in this same situation ask for proper testing.  I may not have needed the steroid that I was taking had the lung function tests been ordered. Unfortunately the body becomes dependent upon the steroid and it is a slow and dangerous process to wean off.  Steroids are nasty in the body and I for one cannot wait until I am steroid free.  It is a process, of course, and must be monitored by the medical profession!

I am not condoning or suggesting anyone to stop taking their steroids, but look into it further, especially if you have young children.  Thank you Dr Li for your hard work and support!  Our visit in NYC was informative and very enjoyable.  It was great to hear that my asthma is in remission and may remain that way for the rest of my life – symptom free!  I am so happy I contacted you in 2007 and feel very blessed and honoured to be a patient and friend of yours.

BTW, although I was already writing at the time, it was Dr Li who instructed me to find something I love to do indoors as the air quality where we were living, at the time, was the poorest in Canada.  I remember looking at Dr Li like she gave me a life sentence as I LOVE THE OUTDOORS.  However, I would not be writing if it wasn’t for her adamant instruction.  I do find it trickier now because I can be outside most days as we have moved to cottage country with fresh air!  Meeting Dr Li has been life changing for me!  I can do things I have not done in 15 years – ride a bike, run, and walk outside in the summer.  All of the anxiousness (from not being able to breathe), worry, illness and lack of hope I once felt has been channeled into my writing.  Thank you Dr Li and to the readers that contact me and encourage me to keep moving forward.  Dr Li recommends What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Children’s Allergies and Asthma by Dr. Paul M. Ehrlich with Henry Ehrlich for further reading.

 

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