Monday, June 28, 2010

Breathe

I haven't written in a week. Why? I haven't wanted to, but I've definitely had things to say.

You see, my asthma is STILL acting up: wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath and chest pain. It takes breaks, sometimes for a whole day or half a day. Sometimes, I'm mostly fine, with attacks throughout the day that just last a few minutes

But darn it, I hate to use the phrase "asthma attack" to describe my symptoms. It's so dramatic and conjures images of gasps -- desperation for air. This isn't me. BUT, I do technically have asthma attacks. I have all of the symptoms, mainly difficulty breathing. Still, I don't want people to worry. Mainly I think of this flare-up (that's lasted about a month now, I think) as a nuisance. I don't take it seriously, as awful as I often feel. Sometimes I'm so affected I can't speak a full sentence without coughing or taking a breath. That's bad. It's also bad that I usually need my rescue inhaler once or twice a day. That's also bad. And I'm on the maximum strength and dosage of my controller inhaler, but it doesn't seem to work much. That's terrible!

I think I tend not to take it seriously because for years now, I've had breathing problems once a year that kind of feel like asthma, but are really just from post-nasal drip (allergies/colds). In high school I got a lot of sinus infections that caused post-nasal drip. I haven't had a sinus infection in years, but I sometimes still get the drip. Looking back, I understand how my post-nasal drip breathing problems were different from asthma: I could breathe; it was just really uncomfortable and I coughed a lot.

But this... This is unmistakable asthma. Well, at the moment it's just chest pain. Why do I minimize my symptoms like this? "JUST chest pain"? I should probably go to the doctor to get a different, stronger relief inhaler and make sure I don't have a chest infection. This is no way to live and who knows: my asthma could get worse in this flare-up or my next flare-up could be very serious. I'm just convinced that my asthma symptoms won't be active at the doctor and I'll look like a fool. He'll give me the medicine anyway, based on the symptoms I'll describe and my history, but I hate going to the doctor unless he has proof of what I've explained. I feel like an idiot.

Also, I'm really sick of going to doctors. I've had so many appointments since I got sick with that terrible virus last June. Not only do I still have post-viral syndrome, but the Dandy Walker symptoms have worsened, my eye muscles were weak for a while (drunk vision) and I've had three asthma flare-ups since November, each more serious and lasting longer than the one before it. I usually have only one flare-up a year. Not to mention all of the weird non-specific symptoms that no one has been able to explain. I have every reason to believe that a visit to the doctor and tests won't give me any explanation for the increase in frequency, duration and severity of the flare-ups. Also, I sincerely doubt I'll get any information about when the asthma will settle.

I'm feeling a bit blue right now because I don't feel well and I'm so frustrated about it. Also, because of the G20 summit riots in Toronto and other reasons, only one person could come to my sister and I's birthday: the amazing friend my sister and I share. She's amazing. I had a great time with her. Still. I wanted a party! There are so many people I want to see, but don't because of illness. And I missed my birthday last year because I was really not doing well with what turned out to be a brief liver injury.

I just don't know what to do with myself. I'm so bored and lonely, but I don't often have much energy to really have fun -- at least not for long it seems. Maybe I should have a tea party.

22 comments :

  1. I'm sorry you are blue. Sometimes I think how nice it would be to not have to go out of the house at all and go to work...but I know it can be terribly lonely and boring too.
    You should make all your friends come visit you frequently. If they don't want to, then they are not really friends.

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  2. Ashley,
    Maybe you should plan a party later in the summer (after G20 is gone). Just an end of summer party with friends.

    Hopefully you will be feeling better than.

    Robin

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  3. Hi Ashley, I'm so sorry to hear about your asthma problems. Being sick is NO fun... Since you read my blog, you know that I recently had knee surgery. I had never been sick much --and that 2 months of feeling horrible just about killed me. SO--I can only imagine how someone who is sick ALOT feels. I'm sure it is very depressing.

    Have you tried another doctor? Sometimes a new doctor can find things which another one cannot find. IF I had chest pain, I'd GO to the doctor --just to be sure.

    Good Luck...
    Hugs,
    Betsy

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  4. I relate to your asthma problems. When I have an attack it's not so much gasping as I realize my lungs feel like they only hold a third of the air they should be able to.

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  5. Sorry you live so far away, Ashley. I am sending hugs from afar. I have never had asthma but it sounds like an affliction that affects you both physically and mentally. Hang in there! Here's hoping for clear airways (and clear highways too).

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  6. Hey Ashley!

    So happy to know this friend could come and share your birthday with you! I did say a prayer for you on the 24th. I guess it'll reach you anytime now, to make you feel better. Around the world deliveries take a wee bit longer, you know!

    Blessing you with a lot of healing energy. Keep up all that you're doing. Life is waiting to pull you in the right direction! Buckle your seat-belt!

    A lot of love.

    p.s. eat. food is bliss!

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  7. I read all your past posts. Just the word “asthma” makes my chest feel constricted so I feel bad for you. I hope that it will go away or won’t bother you too much. I can understand that you feel blue since you are feeling poorly – I hope that this too will pass quickly.

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  8. have you a respspiratory nurse???
    may be more useful
    x

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  9. Joe - Thanks for the sympathy. I think it might be easier for me because I'm kind of a reclusive homebody anyway. My friends would so come see me! The problem is with schedules...

    Robin - An end-of-summer party is a terrific idea! Thanks for the suggestion and well wishes.

    Betsy - I always think it's nice when people show perspective like you have. A year of sickness may be more than two months, but any length is terrible. Let's not compare! Suffering is suffering.

    It doesn't depress me, but I do get blue sometimes. Let's make that distinction clear. Thanks for your sympathy. I should probably see my current doctor about this before I consider another one!

    TS - Yes, feeling like your lungs don't fill or empty adequately is a good way to explain the way this feels.

    Betty - I felt your electronic hug! Thanks. I needed that. Yes, it does affect me mentally not just because of the symptoms but because of the limitations they are putting on my life these days. I think all physical affects mental anyway.

    Feeling - Thank you for your prayers. I appreciate the thought, but do not believe in that stuff, as I am an atheist. I wish a cure was as simple as a prayer. Unfortunately, prayers, or being told people have prayed for me, does not help me feel better physically or emotionally.

    Vagabonde - It's nice that you've put yourself into my body. That is the truest form of sympathy. Thanks so much for your well wishes.

    John - I don't have a respiratory nurse and haven't even heard of that practice. What would they do for me? Thanks for the suggestion.

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  10. Bless you. Chin up and I hope that things improve for you soon.

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  11. Dude, I can't think of anything worse than asthmatic symptoms. I don't have asthma but I swear I once had an attack. Or something like it. While out walking up a hill in the freezing cold. I truly thought I was going to die from lack of oxygen. It's never happened before or since though. But I can't imagine that sort of thing regularly. Holy crap. Feel better and take care.

    And have a lovely cocktail. Cocktails are seriously my answer to everything. :)

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  12. Hi thanks for popping over to my blog..Health is not always an easy problem to tackle...but boredom is get out there with your camera, sketchpad or notebook!...Please?..and report back!

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  13. Hi Ashley!

    Thank you so much for visiting my photo blog and for your sweet comments on the pictures of my nephew. Yes, he is my nephew, not son. But we are as close as can be!!! My little buddy!!!

    My heart felt so sad reading about what you have to endure with your asthma. I will hope and pray that your doctors can find a way to make you feel better!

    I liked one commenters idea of having an end of summer party!!! It sounds like you are a warm and fun person....people would really enjoy themselves!!! I hope you do it!!! :-)

    I am looking forward to following along with your blog! If you'd like, I have another blog where I post anything and everything! It is all kinds of random! :-)
    http://scrapbliss.blogspot.com

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  14. Oh no. So sorry to hear about your asthma. Get well soon!

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  15. Hello and thanks for visiting my blog. I am sorry to hear about your asthma, I had it when I was a child but fortunately grew out of it when I got older. I found swimming helped a lot.

    I found that inhalers did not work after a while, learning relaxation techniques helped and also breathing techniques. I actually had to go to breathing lessons!

    Re the bees, there is a part of China famous for growing pears which now have to be pollinated by people.

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  16. Hello Ashley,
    I'm sorry you were having a rough day on Monday. When you stopped by my blog last night you sounded so upbeat - so I hope that means that you are feeling better.

    By the way, the comment you left (about vintage hats) inspired a short post that I wrote this morning. Hope you don't mind that I mentioned your blog.

    I've enjoyed reading all (well, most) of your posts, starting from the beginning. You are a wonderful writer - and an inspiration! Thank you...
    - S

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  17. Thank you for your recent visit/ comment :)

    Awww! That stinks. My mom has asthma, and emphysema with one working lung, it's not fun or easy. (She uses a nebulizer, medicine and inhalers, you should see if there is a medicine you could try that might help better.)She manages ok most of the time. Weather can be a huge factor! You may want to talk to your doctor if your inhaler isn't helping enough. There are different causes for asthma symptoms and what your taking might not be treating all of them. Go to the doctor when your having symptoms if you have a doctor you need to make an appointment with months in advance, see another one or go to ER as they are happening. I just got over 3 surgeries and know how debilitating and stressful feeling crappy all of the time can be. I wouldn't wish it on even an enemy. Also, anxiety and stress can cause more undiagnosable symptoms than you can imagine! So if you deal with that, it could be contributing and making you feel worse.

    I hope you are able to feel better and soon. Do you create, draw, etc? Having a creative an emotional outlet is a fabulous way to pass time :) If I can help by sharing what I've learned so far, I'm happy to.

    BTW, we seem to like similar music. I love Florence!!!!!!

    HUGS,
    Sprite

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  18. Wow, you are such a trooper. I hope they figure things out soon. I have had asthma problems too but nothing this bad.

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  19. I use to have major problems with my Asthma since childhood, I am here to tell you, you can prevail! I took time to be tested and find out the elements that were triggers,certain foods, environmental elements, pets. Some where preventable and some I still have in my life like my beloved dogs! I now am med free beside my emergency inhaler, and stress has been reduced in my life immensely as you know thats a big one! Lots of love to you and take good care and I will be checking back with you soon.
    big hugs,
    Gina

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  20. Eternally - Chin is always up when I improve. Thanks for the well wishes.

    Vegetable - Cold air can affect breathing for sure and it's a common trigger for asthmatics. That sounds like a scary situation your in and I'm really grateful you appreciate the intensity of those symptoms. If this happens again, please see your doctor!

    Blu - It was my pleasure! i always enjoy your blog. There are indeed a lot of ways to pass the time during illness. I love to write, so I ought to do more of that. I'm also interested in learning to knit. Thanks for your interest and encouragement!

    Kristen - Welcome! I think your comment on this entry might be my favourite. I want to have a summer party. Thanks for noticing that I'm fun. Sometimes I wonder if my blog readers think I'm a drag! I'm also looking forward to reading your blog and seeing more of your adventures with your nephew!

    LadyFi - That's sweet. Thank you!

    Acorn - Yes, proper breathing is so important, but it can never take the place of inhalers: controllers and rescue. Asthma is a very serious condition. Breathing techniques won't get you out an attack - which can become life threatening. Thanks for the swimming suggestion. 12 years ago my doctor said that was great for asthma. I have a pool!

    Sarsaparilla - I can't remember how I was feeling when I wrote that comment on your blog, but I tend to be upbeat even if I don't feel well because I can be happy when I'm sick. Also being upbeat helps me get through it. I read that post! Your blog rocks and thanks so much for linking your blog to mine!

    Sprite - I'm sorry about your mom and I think you're right that my medicines might not be treating everything. I'm not a terribly creative person, but I love to write. I should do more of that. Thanks for your suggestion. It's so nice of you to hope your art will help me! I do too. Goooo Florence!

    Denise - Thanks! I agree that I'm a trooper. Thanks for noticing this is bad.

    Hair Cutting - Thanks for the thought. In the 21 years I've had asthma, it's mostly been mild with clear triggers (colds, allergies, exercise). This past year I've been sick. That seems to have worsened my asthma and increased my flare-ups, not the triggers I mentioned earlier. Regardless, I need to go to the doctor to figure out what's going on.

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  21. Hope you are feeling better soon! Have a lovely weekend xx

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  22. Thanks Kellie! I hope you had a great weekend!

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