My youngest daughter, Karyn, embarked on a challenging journey beginning the fall of 2011. She contracted a severe viral pneumonia infection the week of Thanksgiving that left her hospitalized for 5 days and created lingering lung health issues. Her time in the hospital was very challenging for me as a parent, and I will never forget what it feels like to sit there and watch your child fight to breathe.
In December of 2013, after little progress fighting her resulting “illness induced asthma”, I took Karyn to a pulmonary specialist at Boys Town National Research Hospital (three and half hours away from our farm). I needed answers, and Karyn needed a better treatment plan. It was the best decision that I have made as a “mom”. Dr. Kevin Murphy not only brought pediatric pulmonary specialty skills, but also a belief that a combination of medical treatment and physical fitness could provide the answer for my budding young athlete.
After 32 months of naturally increasing Karyn’s lung strength using a combination of running and swimming activities, and carefully choosing asthma treatment drugs to remove the inflammation from the soft tissue in her respiratory tract — my rock star of a daughter is now boasting a lung capacity of 111% and is asthma free. My “dream day” when Karyn could begin to maintain lung strength and good health without the use of a daily asthma steroid inhaler happened yesterday 🙂
My heart is happy, and I am very proud of Karyn’s personal dedication to fitness. Her hard work over the past few years brought one of the very sweetest kinds of success: good health. While I am a “life long” athlete, I never quite imagined myself the “personal trainer” of a lung compromised elementary student. Karyn and I traveled the road to good health together and I feel so very blessed that she begins middle school today able to chase after her athletic dreams with a healthy set of lungs.
When I think of all of the things that Karyn learned on this journey, likely the most important is realizing that positive improvement comes from positive action. There are no excuses in life — there are simply obstacles that each one of us works to conquer — using faith and dedication to persevere with strength.