Hi, my name is Rebecca Houlihan. I am 19 years old, I am currently studying in Carlow. I have had asthma since I was a baby.
Throughout my life I have been able to control my asthma very well. I have done this by taking all my medications when needed and following through with my Asthma Action Plan if I had an attack
However within the last 3/4 years, my asthma has progressed to another level and I have become a brittle asthmatic. Over the last three or four years I have spent every six weeks going in and out of hospital due to severe asthma attacks, which then lead to going on a C-pap machine. In a few cases they also questioned putting me on a ventilator. I was missing weeks of school due to being sick and not being able to simply walk around. Between both Fifth and Sixth year of secondary school I had missed 9 months.
I am currently on a treatment programme at St. James hospital called Xolair, where I get 4 injections into my arms every second Thursday. We had to fight to get my treatment, I had previously been turned down 4 times for funding for this treatment. However thankfully with the help of St. James hospital and recommendations from my consultant I got approval for the programme .This programme helps with the activity in my lungs and helps me if an asthma attack occurs. I am also on daily medications. Since July 2019, while I have had exasperations, I have been able to manage them without being hospitalised. This has dramatically improved my quality of life and I thank St. James hospital for this.
I would like the government to recognise that asthma is a disability. As a person with asthma I feel that with more financial support the annual number of asthma deaths in Ireland would be cut down significantly. Another step the government should take is to implement an annual free GP check-up for people with asthma. This check-up would help patients monitor their asthma and get an update on the severity of their asthma. Finally another action the government should take is to promote the asthma action plan and provide asthma information evenings for people.