Asthma..argh? Week Three

I’ve had asthma now for three weeks. Or perhaps I should say, I’ve had the diagnosis for three weeks. And the honeymoon period is now over. I’ve told most of my friends and family about my affliction, the medicine is doing it’s thing (I hope) and it’s all getting to be very routine. I remember to take my brown inhaler morning and evening, and I always carry the blue inhaler with me – either in my handbag or in the pocket of my running jacket.

I’m thinking I also need to keep the blue inhaler beside my bed at night. I woke up suddenly, in the middle of a very exciting dream, last Tuesday night (actually it was Wednesday morning, 1.15am) with a searing pain across my back. As if somebody had stuck a (very large, flat) knife between my shoulder blades and wasn’t going to remove it any time soon. I lay in bed for a minute, breathing deeply and hoping it would go away. Which it didn’t. So I rolled over on to my tummy, knees drawn up underneath me, and did one of those yoga ‘cat’ stretches. (Which is usually great for helping lower back pain.) That didn’t help much either.

And then it hit me – is this what they call an asthma attack? I’ve experienced this kind of pain a couple of times before in my life. Most recently while sitting in a car driving back from a jaunt to Græsted. Thankfully I was a passenger (DH was driving that day) because I was sitting there thinking, “I’m having a heart attack!” It took me a good half hour to get rid of the pain in my chest and scared me no end.

Anyway, back to the early hours of Wednesday morning… I thought I should try my blue asthma inhaler – maybe that would do the trick? Managed to slide out of bed and hobble down the stairs. Sat down on the kitchen bench and took a deep puff. Deep breaths, control your breathing, control your breathing. Now, to be honest, I’m not really sure if it was the medicine that kicked in, or wishful thinking, but it seemed to ease the pain in my back within seconds and I was able to go back up to bed and fall asleep fairly quickly.

Was it an asthma attack? Or something completely different? Hope my fellow asthma sufferers and helpful blog readers can help me out on this one!

Have a marvelous Monday and keep your wits (and your inhalers) about you! 🙂

Asthma..argh?! Week Two

When the doctor told me I had asthma a couple of weeks back, I was – to put it mildly – giddy with excitement (see last week’s post for a bit of background). I felt like I might be able to get a new lease of life, if you will. However, when I announced the news to family and friends, their reaction was unanimous. “Oh no, poor you!”

Which got me thinking along quite different lines…Are there things I can no longer do? Things I’m no longer ‘allowed’ to do? Can I still go on the rollercoasters at Tivoli? Foods I should avoid? Foods I should eat? If it’s windy, can I go outside?! Eek! I even caught myself sitting up in bed at 10.30pm one night last week, iPhone in hand, checking a website about whether it was safe for people with asthma to scubadive… For Pete’s sake, I don’t even like snorkelling or, for that matter, swimming in areas where it’s all dark on the seabed…scary! There’s no way you’d get me on a boat with a gas tank on my back, asthma or no asthma! 😉 [For the record, I closed down the browser at that point so, if you want to find out about scubadiving with asthma, you’ll have to go google.]

Two weeks into the (brown inhaler) medicine and I’m beginning to feel a difference. I run around at home a lot in the morning and I feel ‘lighter’ somehow. I used the blue inhaler a lot the first few days but don’t feel the need for it now unless I’m going out to run or on my bike. Or if I’m excited! 😉 Have had a few headaches (not a common thing for me) – no doubt a reaction to all the drugs sloshing around in my system – but they seem to have stopped again. And the good news? My sweetie friend C and I did a long run last Monday. I took a puff of my blue inhaler before we started, halfway through and again at the end. Guess what…we ran 6k! The longest distance I’ve ever run! 😀

This is my sweetie friend C. The beach is straight ahead.

So maybe a life with asthma is going to be okay after all? Check back with me next week to find out!

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂

Asthma..argh? Week One

Hello, my name’s Diane. I’m 42 years old. I have asthma. You didn’t know that? Well, join the club, because I didn’t either until two weeks ago! 😉

I’ve never been the sporty type but started NEWO exercising about a year and a half ago. Really ‘grown-up’ exercising. Strength training and running on a regular basis. Loved the extra energy and the whole Jedi mindtrick benefits that only exercise can give you. Not to mention the snowball effects of being able to fit more into my day, eating better, sleeping better…just like the Flylady programme, you get the picture!  🙂

But when I was out running with my sweetie friends V, H and C, at the beginning of the year I felt that I wasn’t improving. In fact, the runs were getting more and more difficult. Even going up and down the stairs with the laundry basket at home had me out of breath. My nose was running constantly – must be pollen, right? My DS10 has birch, grass and cat allergies – so maybe I have the same? So one AP Wednesday (Wednesdays are ‘anti-procrastination’ days here in Flylady land) I decided to pick up the phone and ask the doctor for a referral to the allergy doc. I’ve been buying anti-histamines over the counter but it seems nonsense to be taking them when I don’t know exactly what I’m allergic to…

The allergy doctor tests me and it turns up a blank. Huh? Nothing at all? But what about that one there, number 12 – I’ve got a big red mark on my arm? Um, that would be the ‘control’ substance, tee-hee!

Anyway, the doc wants me back in for more extensive testing the next day. So I cycle down to the clinic (five minutes away), walk up the (one) flight of stairs and sit in the waiting room. Gosh, is it so hot today? I’m trying not to pant. For goodness sake, I weigh 52 kilos (114 lbs) and I ran 3k in the park this morning – I’m in great shape! He must have missed something!

Today I have lung tests. A basic Peak Flow first. I blow as hard as I can. Blech – feel a bit faint!

Then he makes me sit with a peg on my nose and breathe in substance ‘A’. When that’s over, I get to sit for a couple of minutes while he types on his computer. I start coughing – more a tickle than a cough. Wow, what was that stuff? Suddenly I’m aware that I’m sitting completely quiet. I can’t hear myself. At. All. I can’t remember the last time I felt like this. It’s such a weird sensation that I have to share my thoughts with the doctor. If it wasn’t so clichéd, I’d say I had a ‘deep sense of inner peace’! [feel free to do your own ‘OM!’ yoga chant here…] I breathe into the Peak Flow machine again. Which starts me coughing a little, but even I can see that the needle on the machine jumped way higher than before.

Time to put the peg back on my nose and breathe in substance ‘B’ for two minutes. And sit for another two minutes. The doctor types away on his computer. Ugh, this is ‘orrible! Feel like I’m having some kind of attack. My heart is pounding in my little birdie breast. Breathe into the Peak Flow machine again. The needle jumps. A pathetic little jump. And I’m feeling dreadful! What on earth was in that bottle?

The doctor explains. The first substance was pure histamine. Which opened up my lungs and helped me to breathe and feel ‘normal’ again. The second substance took the histamine out of my body and took me right back to how I felt when I turned up at the allergy clinic. Took me back to how I’ve felt as long as I can remember. Mindblowing isn’t the word…

The tests have spoken, there’s no doubt, I have asthma. And I was elated – it was fantastic to find out that I wasn’t imagining things, I’m not ‘getting old’ or ‘out of shape’, there is something wrong. And – fingers crossed – it can be fixed! A brown inhaler morning and evening, a blue inhaler for a quick puff before I run, cycle or start my Flylady WHB

Join me again next Monday to see what happens next?

Have a marvelous Monday! 🙂