Today I was officially diagnosed with asthma. That brings my total of serious/chronic health issues up to nine for anyone keeping count. That just looks horrific to see. What it does though is put the fire back in the belly for updating because it brought up a very important point and that is how one illness can interact with another.
Back to the start. Asthma. I was shocked. I knew it was possible but when I spoke about it online and to friends many said to me that ‘hey you’ve had this virus. your lungs are just inflamed. you’re not gonna have it’ basically. I managed to convince myself given how down I was about it before. I do not want to have yet another daily medication. I take five pills a day minimum. I have my insulin pump many many times a day and my average number of blood tests is around eight. At the end of a long day I go into a shower with no nice smells or bubbles or lather because that comes off a prescription for health reasons too. I honestly thought I was going to be told ‘you are fine and it will settle but use that inhaler until it does’.
I was weighed and my height was taken and then the numbers were looked at. ‘This definitely looks like asthma’. I felt an anxiety attack coming and somehow managed to shove all those feelings into a box and become eerily calm for the rest of the meeting. (The anxiety attack came halfway down the street an hour later. No one noticed). I was asked to do a peak flow test and it was dismal but then I was given an inhaler and tested ten minutes later. My lung performance increased by 30%. That was pretty much the final nail in the coffin. I realised a lot of things I had not connected were making me feel worse and that is important because now I can take my inhaler to try prevent that or in certain situations avoid the trigger. There is not much I can do about low temperatures existing for example but I can wrap myself up like a particularly well padded snowman even if I’m sweltering inside.
I have also realised that my asthma may not be as sudden as I first thought. My inability to lie certain ways when I sleep and the way I get out of breathe easily at simple things no longer simply connect to ‘big boobs’ and ‘unfit’. I mean I hated PE with a passion and did anything to get out of it but I performed fine with the others. I just finished out of breathe and with my back killing me. The nurse says that may be linked to my lungs but given I have dodged, by some miracle, chest infections over the years there has been no particular reason to look at my lungs. It is the one of the few organs my diabetes team doesn’t test.
The whole how to treat my asthma does not bother me. I use a spacer and I will need to learn to you know..not but other than that it is fine. Use this steroid inhaler morning and night and use my blue one when I’m out of breathe. No problem. Cept for the part where all I do is cover my tongue in gunk and cough a lot. I will learn though…It may take a while. In general though, yeah, I don’t want to have another medication to take each day but it is not horrendous and I have not had an asthma attack so that is something. What I was concerned about was the possibility that the steroids in the inhaler may interfere with my diabetes but I am assured that is very unlikely and there are others they can try if it does. So that was good. What was not so good was the news that 5% of people with asthma find that their symptoms worsen if they use painkillers in the family of ‘ibuprofen’ and that includes the mefanemic acid used to treat the symptoms of my endometriosis. If my peak flow readings drop after taking my medication I will not be allowed to take them anymore and an alternative will have to be found. I hate that idea. I take ibuprofen for many things such as my back pain, endo pain and things like common colds. I mean, ibuprofen relaxes things so obviously it helps you breathe better when your nose is a mess. I’d be gutted if I was banned from that med group. But, it is only 5% so we shall see. The nurse didn’t realise that at first and nearly had be banned right away but luckily endo brought up questions and saved the day. In a weird way.
People don’t seem to realise just how much ailments can interact with another and how one thing can prevent a logical treatment route of the other. It is something that needs to be talked about a whole lot more. I have already dealt with the issue of my hypothyroidism meaning I needed sleep and my anxiety medication meaning I stayed awake. Nothing in the body just happens in its own bubble. We’re fascinating like that. It just happens that at times that is mildly terrifying.