I started coughing back in November, with what seemed to be a cold, which then turned into a chest infection. Antibiotics did nothing but eventually the infection went away, leaving the cough behind. I get tight chested at times too. During the infection I also wheezed from time to time. Cold definitely makes my coughing worse. I feel quite tired all the time and recently started getting a lot of back pain (my osteopath thinks it's related to the coughing).
I've been quite insistent with GPs and back in February I was referred to an asthma nurse. She could see that I was in a fair bit of discomfort and was happy for me to start inhaled steroids straight away. I kept a peak flow diary for 4 weeks and after 4 weeks on the steroids went back to see her. From the results of my peak flow (worse 350, best 430), she felt I was not asthmatic even though the steroids had given me relief. She said to carry on for another two weeks then stop (she didn't see me or ask me to keep a peak flow diary for those last two weeks). She said not to let it go and to see a GP again if it carried on.
I did as I was told and stopped the steroids, after a few days my cough returned, but by then the weather was starting to warm up and and I wasn't coughing quite as much. It did carry on though and I thought I'd go back to the GP and see if I could have some more tests. I came away confused as he was fairly certain that it was indeed, asthma. Mild asthma, but asthma nonetheless. He prescribed me clenil again and told me to only come back for a review in a year, as long as things were ok. Feeling a bit confused I rang up Asthma UK the next day and spoke to one of the nurses who also felt it was asthma. She said I should have been assessed after 6 weeks on steroids, not 4.
After reading up Asthma UK leaflets I realised it would be a good idea to come up with an asthma action plan, which I didn't have, so off back to the asthma nurse I went. She was adamant I didn't have asthma! Arrrgh! I'm so confused. She felt that my cough should have gone two weeks into the steroid treatment, which it hadn't, although it is better and my back pain is also considerably improved. Is this really the case? Two weeks into steroid treatment and your symptoms should be gone? I'm glad she's being thorough, but I feel a bit frustrated and confused. I hope I can at least take the steroids for the full 6 weeks before they tell me to stop (if they do), I'm so fed up!
The nurse said she was going to talk to the GP who diagnosed me and that I should book in to see him in two weeks. I should also carry on with treatment in the meantime, so I'm just waiting now.
I guess I'm writing in the hopes that any of you here have more knowledge or experience in the diagnosis process for asthma and if this is normal. I appreciate many of you probably have worse symptoms - mine are mostly annoying, but I worry that I might have a full blown attack again, particularly when I next get a cold or when the weather turns cold. And it's horrible being in this phase of not-knowing. Thanks for your help.