Wednesday, May 27, 2015

What Do You Mean It's Not Asthma?

Last month I had what I thought was an asthma flare up.  It's not uncommon for me to have a flare up in the spring when I also have trouble with my seasonal allergies.  But I just couldn't shake it.  My doctor called in prednisone, which usually helps pretty quickly.  Except it didn't.  And my rescue inhaler wasn't working.  So for the first time since being diagnosed with asthma 25 years ago, I went to the emergency department.  They gave me a breathing treatment and a heavy duty dose of steroids in my arm.  I felt much better. 

I wish that was the end of the story.  In reality, I've had multiple flare ups in the last couple years.  I went from well controlled asthma to having horrible flare ups.  They often happened around Megatron's surgeries and other challenges so the doctor thought it was being induced by stress and we agreed that it would calm down now that our life is a little more calm.  But the thing is, our life will always have some amount of stress when it comes to Megatron. 

And here's where one of Megatron's doctors stepped in.  I had texted her when I was having the asthma attack and couldn't decide if I should go to the ED.  She ultimately told me to go, which I did.  But then she texted me that she set up an appointment for me in a couple days.  She is "friendly" with a pulmonologist, who basically had me diagnosed before I even showed up in his office.    It was a good thing too because the morning after the ED visit, I was right back to having trouble breathing.

At the appointment my pulmonary function test showed completely normal lung function.  Someone having trouble breathing and has a normal pulmonary function test is NOT having an asthma attack.  I have vocal chord dysfunction.  So I guess when I really stress out, my vocal chords try to close up, making it very difficult to breathe.  Say what?  All these years thinking it was just asthma?  That threw me for a loop.  I probably do have asthma, but it's most likely not as bad as I've always though (or even as bad as my primary doctor thought).  VCD is triggered by acid reflux and stress.  Two things I have had buckets of since Megatron was born.  So the goal is to try to lessen those triggers but I have also met with a speech therapist.  The speech therapist will help me with vocal cord exercises and help me learn the difference between asthma issues and vocal cord issues.  That is going to be really important because if it's my vocal cords, the rescue inhaler isn't going to help at all.

So luckily it isn't serious and it's already starting to get better.  One downside was that the ED visit came 5 days before and the pulmanologist visit and diagnosis came 3 days before my "big time PR" attempt at the half marathon distance... be continued.

1 comment:

  1. Wanna know what I am currently blogging about? The stress of a pilot wife. It is real.

    Wishing you wellness!