Really need advice - what is wrong with me?

Hi, I only just joined today and its pretty much out of desperation because i think i need help and i dont know how to get it.

I dont like admitting i have asthma. Ive had it mildly since i was a child and its never really stopped me doing anything. The most i would get is a mild coughing fit that would last a couple of minutes and generally wouldnt even need treating for it to stop and let me carry on with my life.

I'm now nearly 31 and that seems to have all changed. I had two pretty severe attacks last year that ended in an ambulance trip to the local hospital and a few days off work. Now most recently i have had three weeks off work and have stopped doing everything that i used to do because i just cant get the energy or the breath to do it anymore.

I used to do Tae Kwon-Do two times a week and now i struggle doing a warm up. I missed my last grading and am now behind the people i started with and its making me feel miserable and i dont even want to go back sometimes (and still havent yet). I'm struggling to sleep at night and then struggling to get up in the morning and i've done nothing around the house where before i would do a lot to help out.

I have gone from needing Ventolin once in a blue moon to Ventolin constantly, Fostair, Avamys for my nose because that keeps closing off and as of tonight will be going onto Singulair tablets. I had a 5 day course of Predisolone (think i spelt it right?) which had horrible effects on me and didnt really seem to do anything. It just feels like its never ending and I'm struggling to accept how much i've been knocked back.

I hate it. I feel weak and useless. I couldnt even take my son to the park and he got really upset about it. I've always felt like i could be there for everyone to lean on and now even thats been taken away. Probably doesnt help that i am quite a prideful person and i do tend to set high expectations for myself. But its not just me its affecting. Its also affecting my relationship with my partner too because i'm struggling so much to accept it.

It was my partner that showed me this forum, that researched all the medications, that has read hundreds of posts on this site and has googled breathing techniques and treatments to try and help me. She loves me to death (probably more than i deserve) and has taken the brunt of my frustrations and i dont want it to carry on like this.

We have three children and another on the way (20 weeks in) and the pregnancy has hit her quite hard. She is emotional (which she hates) and easily upset and is really worried about my worsening condition. I have proven to both her and myself that i suck at recognizing my triggers and she is really good at it but i get cross when she points out that i am getting worse and she then gets upset. I use humour to try and brush it off and she then thinks i am not taking it seriously but I really dont have a lot of choice anymore. She will point out if my fingernails go blue, when i sound wheezy, if i look pale, when i clear my throat, will tell me to huff when i cough and will say when my breathing gets too quick (counting breaths per minute).

I feel like i am constantly under surveillance and it keeps highlighting to me that i am suffering and its driving me mad! I know she is doing it because she loves me but i told her how i felt and she is now devastated. What is wrong with me? I said how would she like it if i did that to her and her response was that she would be so happy that someone cared so much for her. I dont mean to make her upset. I dont want to take out my frustration on her. I just want it to be better so i can get on with my life and stop having to think about it.

I dont know what to do to change things. I'm taking all the meds i'm being prescribed. I'm trying to slowly get my fitness back up. I love her so much and it kills me to see how much my reactions upset her. Please help me come to terms with this.

Thank you for reading.

David

6 Replies

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  • Hi David,

    Welcome to the forum. Sorry to hear that you're going through a difficult time.

    I've had asthma pretty much all my life and I'm now in my fifties. I've been on medication for it for forty five years. I also have a (now grown up) son who has inherited the condition. Yes, it's annoying, yes it can be very unpleasant when you have a flare up, but the only way to help prevent that from happening is getting to know and understand your particular condition. These days it is very rare for me to really get unwell with it, but that is largely because I know it well enough to recognise the warning signs and take action before things get out of control.

    Asthma can change as a condition - so can the triggers, which might explain what you're going though now. If you're still needing to take a lot of ventolin you need to go back to your doctor and discuss the situation because from what you are saying your asthma is not in control. Do you have a peak flow metre (PFM)? If not, ask your GP to let you have one and get him/her to explain to you how to use it. Do you have an asthma action plan? If not, there is guidance on this website on how to set one up and your GP should be able to help you with that. One other thing you might want to consider is whether it might be an idea to have allergy screening - again something you could ask your GP.

    Hope this helps.

  • I'm just finishing a neb and heading out the door - will try to reply properly in a day or two but thought i'd just make a quick note!

    It isn't just you!!! I go INSANE when i'm ""fussed"" over, can't stand people telling me to stop, slow down, breathe slower, take a neb, do my meds, take my inhalers etc. Getting to know your body, symptoms and triggers is a nightmare, and a very personal battle. When i'm in A&Ei've had to start asking my mum and dad to stop coming with me, because i can't cope with someone there worrying over me, and when i'm poorly I need to be selfish. Explain that you're tired, and stressed that you don't feel well, and you just want to keep things as normal as possible. Maybe agree that she can say ""are you ok?"" and you will honestly think about it and answer and she wont ask again?

    I was so relieved when I went to my friends house, she has bad lungs too, and one of her kids said ""are you alright you're panting?"" and one of her other two nudged her and told her to shut up coz ""she's like mum - she'll HATE it if you ask her if she's alright"" so you're really not alone! I think we just try so hard to put on a brave front and then when it doesn't work its frustrating!

    Hopefully the montelukast will work well for you - it does for a lot of people!!

  • Hi David,

    Sounds like a tough time. I don't have much more advice to give than has already been suggested but have you considered talking to a councilor about your asthma? Like you I developed asthma as an adult and have had a history in the last 8 years of flare ups and often felt like I wasn't getting anywhere. This last year has been the worst. Between Dec and March I had just two weeks in which I felt 'normal'! After my last attack my doc put me on fostair, (once things had finally calmed down after a month of 8 preds a day, 6 puffs of fostair, nebs and 3 lots of antibiotics) which has really helped. As Maggie suggested I find a peak flow really helpful in knowing when to up the meds or ask for help? Did you find the fostair helped quickly? I'm no expert but if you can't feel a big difference after a couple of puffs maybe the inhaler isn't quite right for you?

    I know it's not easy to hear but things can take a a few weeks to improve especially if like you say you can't just sit while you have a family that needs you. I was offered someone to talk to as felt like I was constantly taking the stress of it all out on my husband, unable to play with my 2 yr old and wasn't getting good support from other family members. I didn't take counseling in the end but my doc was great in helping me to realize that, yes, I have asthma. It can be a pain (to put it politely) but knowing your body and how to deal with the condition makes a huge difference. This forum has been great too.

    I hope some of my ramblings have helped even if to say you're not alone!

    Take care

  • Hi David

    Like you I have only just joined the group, I have suffered with severe asthma for years, but have now generally got it under control

    Ask at your doctors surgery if they have an asthma nurse, mine has been a great.

    I know how depressing it is not to be able to do what you want, but just try and do things on your good days, and hopefully you will learn how to control your asthma not your asthma control you

  • Hi David

    Everyone has given you very good advice which I won't try to improve on. I know how you fee as I had asthma for 20 years and totally ignored it because it was so mild. All of that changed about 14 years ago when, with no warning, I was ill enough to have to take 10 weeks off work. Once it was back under control I found it very difficult to accept that I needed to take my asthma seriously and really didn't give it the respect that it deserves - mostly because I don't want to be one of those people who is forever whining about my illness.

    Since then I have had several very sharp lessons in what asthma can do to you, the worst of which was a continuous cough from October 2010 to March 2011, which I was convinced was going to finish me off. During that 6 month period I discovered exactly what my triggers are because my reaction to any of them was instant and I also realised that people do recognise when you are really ill, and nobody wants their friend or relative to try to tough it out right up until the moment they drop dead - they want to help and the first step towards that is the 'are you ok' question. So tell the truth! I have learnt to say something like 'not really but I'm managing and I will ask for help if I need it' instead of pretending I'm ok AND if I'm feeling really bad I'll admit it. I now know that it's ok to stand outside The Body Shop while everyone else goes inside, or decide that I'm not going to walk up a hill with everyone else - I'll find somewhere comfortable to sit with a book or magazine instead. The really brilliant thing about this is that it doesn't hurt to say you're not as good as you'd like to be so you'll be happy to watch instead of participate. Once people get used to the new, up-front you they'll accept your assessment of your health and won't fuss nearly as much because they can see that you are being responsible, which makes it much less likely that you'll drop dead in front of them!

    You are doing what you should about your asthma BUT your relationship with your Parther is a lot more important than your pride and you really need to get this right fast so tell her all the things you've said in your post and trust her. She won't stop caring about you because your lungs won't behave.

    Good luck

  • Annista has given you some really good advice there. The only thing i mightadd is that if you find it difficult to talk about why not write a little note for your partner - i've done that before with family about things and that can open up a dialogue and it's almost always easier to talk about after that, once the other person knows what you're feeling and why you're finding things difficult

    Good luck xx

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