Why Recognizing World Airway Disorders Day Is Important to Me
I celebrated World Airway Disorders Day on July 10.
I can’t help but think back to where I was two years ago, when my first child was born with the airway disorder, laryngomalacia. As he slept next to me, I remember hearing his labored breathing and out-of-control reflux. Since March 30, 2016, I had taken him to the pediatrician countless times but I was always told, “He’s a baby, babies cry. He will grow out of his noisy breathing.”
Back then I had no idea what an airway disorder was.
Unfortunately, due to the lack of awareness and urgency from my original medical team, my son went undiagnosed with severe laryngomalacia for 10 months which caused prolonged severe obstructive sleep apnea and a dangerously low baseline oxygen level.
He is now a happy 27- month-old boy and has had two life-saving airway surgeries thanks to an amazing ENT who was armed with the knowledge to help him.
I still can’t help but think about what would have happened if my pediatrician was more aware of the complications and severity that come along with airway disorders, specifically laryngomalacia and tracheomalacia. Would my son have walked before 17-months-old? Would he have the low muscle tone that he has today? Would I still carry with me the PTSD from the first year of his life?
Just three months ago my daughter was also diagnosed with laryngomalacia, but this time I knew what to do. I acted quickly and assembled our medical team and we have a plan in place to ensure she continues to thrive.
My hope today is that families that hear stridor, or noisy breathing, in their newborns, have little ones that choke while feeding or whose babies experience chest and neck retractions are taken seriously by their doctors.
I hope that families are referred to ENTs to be properly followed and most of all that they don’t have to wait a year for a diagnosis.
For more resources on laryngomalacia, visit copingwithlm.org.
Photo submitted by contributor.