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Senita H., MD

My Introduction to Lung Disease

As a young girl, I remember sitting on the sofa sandwiched between my eldest uncle and my younger uncle.  What was most striking about that memory, was that I did not understand “asthma” or why each of them was restricted from participating in outdoor activities, and rather sentenced to the sofa and an inhaler that they each were holding up to their mouths.

Understand Your Health History

I spent my early years as a young adult working in the health care profession.  After the birth of my second son, once again I found myself sitting on the sofa, again sitting between two boys, this time they were my sons, one on side and the other on the other side, each had his own nebulizer breathing machine that would help control their breathing, during their asthma attacks.  The memory floods back - this is the same scene as from your childhood, just different boys.  That’s the day that I recognized I, too, like my grandmother, was raising two asthmatic boys, and that is when I began to understand that asthma is a part of my family’s health history that is transferred from generation to generation.

Charge of the Heart

My mother Lavern Allen and my God-given sister Annette Shelton were two of the strongest women that I could have ever met.  Why were they strong?  Why, because they both supported me and my kids, loved me and my kids, and nurtured me and my kids; and that was a mighty tall order for any single parent woman who has kids.  They taught me how to fight when life got tough, they taught me how to be a mother and a best friend. They even taught me that no matter what the cause, to use my voice.  (So here I stand)

My mother had a routine x-ray while hospitalized which showed a spot on her lung. It was suggested that she may want to investigate it.  This resulted in an official diagnosis of lung cancer, which consumed her in less than two years, on October 2, 2007.

Annette started complaining of headaches and flu like symptoms in November 2008, the following February, she experienced a headache so serve that she was transported from work to a medical facility for additional tests, where she was diagnosed with lung cancer which had metastasized to the brain, she passed in August 2009.

Championing for Lung Disease

I was introduced to the American Lung Association by my mother.  I continued to reach out to the American Lung Association, because I wanted to do more in honor of mother and my God-given sister.
I stay connected to this cause because I have family members who are still affected by lung disease; I stay hopeful to this cause because we can ring the bell, sound the alarm and together blow the trumpet for other mothers, sisters and daughters.

I opened with a memory of my uncles who were both asthmatics, they both passed away from fatal asthma attacks.  Let’s raise the banner not just for lung cancer but for lung disease.

I am not the Hero...they were, and so are you!

First Published: October 10, 2018

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