Tag Archives: asthma

That pesky lung thing

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I thought my asthma symptoms had finally gotten better after getting the flu over a month ago. I had a few days without the inhaler: I used it once before working out the other day, but in general have gotten by without. But then this week we spent a few days in an alternate studio room using Skype to record and edit interviews—and there was this fresh cigarette smell insidiously seeping through the ramshackle walls of the old building. The station borrows space in the back of a decrepit school; the front is the Boys and Girls club. This is late at night, so I think somebody in maintenance is smoking in one of the utility rooms. It sucks, and there is nothing I can do about it. Unless I haul an air filter down there. Or buy recording equipment for home.

It must have accumulated over a couple of nights, because by this afternoon I was feeling pretty tight. By the time I went with my step-daughter to yoga, I felt like I needed to take my inhaler before the class. And then I felt super dizzy a couple of times, which was weird. It could be the effects of the inhaler, or maybe not being able to breathe fully. Tonight I feel that hand squeezing around my chest again.

Looking back at blog posts, I can see that I had lung issues around the same time last year—maybe just a few weeks later than this year. Hmm. Wonder if there is something environmental at this time of year that triggers it or makes it worse—allergies?

I’m officially sick of asthma. Bleh. And I’m not sure what to do about it. I eat right. I supplement as recommended. I exercise. I do yoga.  I get sleep. Any suggestions?

Progress in spite of no gecko

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Asthma’s slowly easing up—in spite of not taking Advair or the Gecko “herbal” medicine. I’ve only used my inhaler once today and that wasn’t until late this evening. And, I was able to blow a 550 on my peak flow meter, once, but still incredible, since I’ve hardly been able to get it above 350 for weeks. I’m going to continue with a few more acupuncture appointments over the next few weeks, and maybe get some regular exercise back into the schedule this week. Finally!

What I can and can’t live with

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I made that phone call today, and it was hard, but also a relief. The decision is made and there is no going back. And I can live with that.

What I’m not sure I can live with is my Nurse Practitioner trying to give me even stronger steroidal drugs to control my asthma. She would like me to take Advair for the next two weeks in addition to Albuterol to hopefully get my lungs to open up. I asked her about alternatives to pharmaceuticals. I don’t want to be taking them, because I believe in most cases I’m healthier without them due to known and unknown side effects, and also because they are often tested on animals and I like to make consistent ethical choices about what I eat, what I wear, what products I use, and what medications I put into my body. 

So she suggested mindfulness meditation, which is a great idea. And also any other exercise that teaches me to belly breathe and relax. Yoga, voice projection lessons, etc. But she still thinks there are times to take medications and that now I really need it—or my situation will turn worse than chronic. So she sent me home with Advair. And the plan was to use it for just a few weeks. But when I opened it I saw that it has lactose in it. Enough that there is a big warning in case of allergies. So not only was it probably tested on animals but it has animal products in it. Crap. I guess I could call her and see if she has any alternative ideas. I was really hoping to feel better by now, but the lungs are just not opening up. {Jeez, this is turning into pharmaceutical company ethical dilemma week.}

I’m going to call up the acupuncturist tomorrow and get back on track with him. That certainly can’t hurt. And will start setting aside time for meditation. If I felt up to exercising again, more than just slow walks, I know that would help as well. Yoga, of course. Maybe I can find a video and do yoga on my own for a while until I find a new place… Anything, but these stupid drugs.

Blending & peak flow

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Still felt very lousy today—super tired and lungs feeling squeezed. Went to the nurse practitioner. She thinks hubby and I have had the flu and then in my case it turned into asthma, because that’s what has been happening with me the last few years. Blew into the lung-thingy (peak flow meter, which measures air flow out). It was at half of what it should be. So she prescribed me one to have at home so I can monitor myself when I’m having issues. She said there is a fine line between where I’m at now and where I would be if I needed to have stronger medication or be hospitalized and that I might not be able to tell the difference on my own. The peak flow meter would help me to realize when it gets more serious. Plus last year using it at the NP’s office was considered a “lab” service and I ended up paying for it under my deductible, on top of the co-pay, which was not cool. She offered to not charge me the lab fee today if I would go get myself one. I thought it was going to be $100 or something, but the pharmacy said it would only be $19, even if insurance doesn’t cover, so I hope they’re right—I can pick it up tomorrow.

Since I was at Costco anyway getting my prescriptions, I happened to see that the Vitamix guy was back. I have been wanting a Vitamix blender for a couple of years now, and the Costco deal only comes along a few times a year. This time it worked out to pick one up! I know people who have had theirs for 20+ years and rave about them. And since we cook at home 95% of the time, it will definitely get used. They are high powered—you can even make things like soup in them and it will heat up the soup. I didn’t have a lot of energy tonight, but it was kind of like Xmas, so I had to at least open the boxes and look. I even watched the tips DVD. Then I managed to make a smoothie and some hummus (boring and typical, but I had to start somewhere). It works so quickly and we’ve never had such creamy hummus! Tomorrow, I might try making the potato leek soup I’ve been intending to make for a week now. I think you have to cook the potatoes first though…