Can anyone offer advice/support?

Hi, I'm new and looking for advice. sorry for the long post in advance!

I've had asthma now for about 8 years. For the majority of this time it has been poorly controlled due to a number of reasons. To cut a long story short I recently had a flare up first week of December which resulted in me having fast onset of symptoms and having to use my nebuliser and the usual steriods to get it under control. I was chesty but feeling better by Christmas. However, on 28th Jan I was at work and had a sudden attack. I was given neb by paramedics and taken to hospital but came home same night to self medicate and see my own doc. It took a month of steriods, nebs and antibiotics to get better. I also started taking fostair as a new preventer. That's my background but the main reason for posting is that the last episode in particular has left me feeling slightly paranoid about my asthma kicking off again. I have a 2 year old so taking things easy is difficult and my job involves a lot of talking/singing so feel down when I can't function like I should. I find it difficult to talk to family as they don't seem to appreciate how quickly I can get out of control and I don't wheeze so if anything go very quiet when asthma's bad. My husbands great but works and can't be there to help all the time and I hate putting pressure on him. I do have had periods where I can have no symptoms at all but this winter has really been difficult. Here's the question - would I sound stupid to mention to the doc how I'm feeling? He's generally very good but I guess it's me not wanting to ask for help as not sure if I'd be told to pull it together and it's not that bad?! Anyone else ever felt like this? Thanks for listening!

5 Replies

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  • Hi and welcome to the forum,

    I would certainly mention it to your GP or asthma nurse if you have one. Do you have an action plan? I have found my action plan to be very reassuring especially when I am unsure of what to do. Like you I have had some nasty attacks which started suddenly recently and I have also had time where I have needed months of steriods where if I acted earlier I could have got away with weeks. There is an action plan which asthma uk has produced and I used for a time but my consultant has recently written me quite a personal one as I can't always go on peak flows and I don't wheeze. The other thing you might want to explore is if other meds may help you gain a bit more control and therefore reduce the worry a little. Do you see a consultant at all? If you do can you phone them for advice? The specialist nurses at the hospital have also been a great help when I feel worried about my asthma. You can also phone the asthmauk helpline - the nurses there are excellent. Most people I have talked to seem to totally understand how scary an asthma attack is and how worried you can feel after so I wouldn't worry about that.

    Take care

  • Welcome to the forum (from another relative newbie). I think Kayla's put her finger on one of the most important aspects of managing asthma - acting quickly. If you've had asthma for 8 years you will be aware of some of your triggers but are possibly still learning about them, and besides, triggers can change. Even after decades of living with the condition my first reaction if I'm going through a bad patch (having used a reliever inhaler) is ""why? What might have caused it?"" so that I know for the future. These days it is rare for me to have a full on attack - viruses are my biggest threat, and there's not much anyone can do to avoid those. But even in the case of a viral infection I am always very aware of how my lungs are responding to it. The first sign of real tightness (and the feeling of itching/irritation behind the sternum - anyone else get that feeling, or is it peculiar to me?) and it taking more effort to breathe and I will be reaching for the ventolin inhaler. If that is less effective than it it should be I contact my local surgery for advice. The surgery does have what they call 'emergency' slots for individuals who need to be seen quickly. If it's a Friday I will usually ask for one of those so that I can be checked to ensure there is no chest infection brewing and a plan of action can be discussed in case things deteriorate over the weekend. If your GP service does not have such a system, make an appointment with your GP to come up with a plan of action if things do start to get out of control. I cannot stress this enough - it is extremely important that you have a very good working relationship with your local GP practice, and with all the doctors who practise there. If you need to see a doctor quickly there is no guarantee it will be your usual GP. So in response to your question about whether you should discuss your worries with your doctor, yes, you certainly should. If you can get it, ask for a double slot, so you have more time.

    Reliever inhalers: I'm sure you already do this, but just in case. I always have two reliever inhalers, one of which stays at home, the other goes with me wherever I go - as a precaution. If I go away on holiday, again I have two. One will stay in the hotel/B&B whatever, and the other goes out with me. If you're flying to sunnier climes for your holiday, your medication should go in your cabin luggage NEVER in the hold.

    Like you I'm married, Like you I have children - unlike you they are now 22 and 25, so no longer small, but I've been there. Of course your husband can't be there all the time, but he has to be involved in this. You, and your child, will need his support in the case of you having an attack. Any plan of action must involve him,

    Hope this helps.

  • Hi, thanks to both of you for responding and for the welcome.

    I don't have a written action plan. My GP just makes sure I have a supply of steroids and antibiotics at home along with neb solution so that as soon as I feel my asthma getting out of control I can 'take care of it'. I was referred once to a respiratory consultant but he was intent on saying that I wasn't asthmatic! I'd been through a rough patch and my doc was running out of options in terms of prevention and treatment. Anyway, I'd seen the specialist 3 months later when I'd had no symptoms and after all the tests he decided I didn't have asthma. I guess this has left me wondering at times if it really is asthma (silly I know) and in a way not fully appreciating how serious it can be and not asking for help when it flares up because, in my head, I'm wondering if other people including my own family think the same. My mum and brother both have asthma from early childhood and generally have wheezy symptoms more regularly but mine appeared aged 21 and flares up big style then disappears. There's also been times I've phoned the surgery for help and either they've told me there's no one available or just not phoned back. The lack of wheeze does seem to make people think I'm just hyperventilating until I start turning blue and call an ambulance!

    I do feel that my asthma has changed slightly since having my daughter. I had no symptoms while pregnant (which was great!) since finishing nursing my daughter the asthma seems to have got steadily worse. I had flare ups last March, Sept, Dec and Jan! The last attack really scared me because there was only an hour or so warning and I just couldn't take a breath in. I'd walked to my car and back and the cold wind took my breath away. I never use to suffer so badly with cold air. I'm wondering whether to ask the doctor to be referred again to a different specialist? But is there anything else they could do? Is it worth asking for another allergy test? I've tried montekulast but I found I couldn't sleep and wasn't really helping at all anyway. I take telfast for allergies during the summer for hayfever but this doesn't seem to help prevent asthma. I'm really hoping this fostair keeps things under control!

    Like I said my main doc is great but isn't in surgery every day and even though he saw me on his day off last time, I worry that I can't always get help when I need it. I don't usually mind treating myself at home but when it gets that serious I get too confused and scared to deal with it at home. Sorry if I'm starting to go on but maybe I just need to know others have been there?!

    I always have an abundance of reliever inhalers around the house, just in case...

    Thanks again for listening to one tired mama.

  • Bex, if you go to the Knowledge Bank and then Triggers of the AsthmaUK website, you'll find some advice on the triggers and ways to help you cope with some of them.

    I really do recommend that you talk to your GP about an action plan. Failing that, is there an Asthma Nurse at your local surgery you could talk to?

  • Thanks, Maggie - I shall take a look and see, still learning so any info is helpful. I'm not sure that the nurse is an asthma nurse. I think I'm going to go back to my doctor in the next couple of days and try talking through my concerns. If I don't feel I'm getting anywhere then I may try the nurse. Fingers crossed!

    x

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