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New Diagnosis: Asthma

Posted Sep 11 2008 5:03pm

On Thursday, Dr TL confirmed his suspicion that I was also suffering from Asthma. He explained that treating it would help with some of the symptoms I have. He prescribed medicine and I am loyally following his instruction. Thanks to my Pharmacist friend and my internet research, I now have better understanding of Asthma and about medication.

Asthma Foundation Australia explains the illness as follows;

People with asthma have sensitive airways in their lungs. When exposed to certain triggers their airways narrow, making it hard for them to breathe.

Three main factors cause the airways to become narrow:

  • The inside lining of the airways becomes red and swollen (inflammation)
  • Extra mucous (sticky fluid) may be produced
  • The muscle around the airways tightens (bronchoconstriction)

The main cause of my asthma is “the muscle around the airways tightens”, which is co-incite with muscle problems with ME. I’m wondering if ME symptoms could cause Asthma.

When he first mentioned that I have asthma, I was very confused. I thought asthma would give me endless cough and mucous in my throat. When people say asthma attack, I imagined someone is coughing and cannot breathe. I didn’t really get the symptoms of such. The closest symptoms I am having are sensation of being suffocated or need to gasp for air… In the past, some doctors actually saw me having trouble breathing… But they thought I was faking it or I had mental problem… So I assumed it was something like other ME symptoms that are real but no doctor could confirm it. So, I stopped mentioning it to doctor because I didn’t want to be ridiculed or humiliated…

It was really weird to me when doctor mentioned that I actually have some kind of illness, it was confirmed by tests and there are solid proven prevention and managements. (It is very different from Depression or ME/CFS.) I guess I was in some kind of shock status for a while. This diagnose didn’t affect me emotionally. I just took it as is and I am already treating it. I feel that Dr TL is working on my symptoms little by little and he is not questioning my character. I was very surprised by his accurate and subtle observation in such a short moment, and I appreciate it very much that he is really treating me as his patient. (If you have experience with doctors who do not believe in ME/CFS and ridiculed patients, you know what I am talking about.)

I take 6 puffs of Asmol through spacer every 2 hours. I had no idea what it meant. I am now comfortable to explain that the spacer is a foot ball shape plastic container. I attach Asmol inhaler at one end, push a spray into the spacer, and breathe the air from the other end. Using spacer is more effective than just using inhaler and it also reduce side effects from medication. Asmol is so called “reliever”, which relaxes muscles in my chest and make it easy to take more air and oxygen in. My Pharmacist friend asked me if I was on “preventer”, which is another form of medication for people who use preventer more than 3 times a week. I am only on reliever. Although I use reliever way more than three times a week, I just follow whatever doctor instructs me. He will give me more instruction or indication when I see him again this Thursday. I will eventually find out what his plan is. I sensed that it is not good to ask him too much questions. I do not want to lose his “supportive” attitude. I also have a feeling that he will know when the treatment is not working and will give me another treatment option.

When I started the medication, I got obvious side effects. My whole body was shaking like tremor. I became very clumsy and drop things. I found my big toes tapping. I got very painful crumps in my hands and they lock in with pains. I got bad headache. But they are starting to disappear. I started to notice mucous in my chest at the moment, but it is not bothering me much.

I realised that my body is relaxed now. I can breathe in lots of air, which is nice. I gained bit of strength and orthostatic problem is eased up a little. As a bonus, I can swallow tablets with ease and even constipation has improved.

As you can imagine, I am very happy about whole thing. I am looking forward to seeing more improvements in my health.

Filed under: Asthma, Doctors, ME/CFS

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