Newly diagnosed and Unsure of Myself

Hello I went to my doctor because I was having difficulty breathing and was not sure what it was. I was a bit worried as I've had breast cancer twice so was worried if it was something sinister. For this reason I hadn't been to the doctors for longer than I should but hope you may appreciate why. I'd had a cough for about 7 months and was getting increasingly breathless even to the point of not being to read my son a bedtime story without struggling for breath but as the symptoms had worsened over time I didn't really pay them much attention. Asthma never entered my head as no immediate family had it. I have also been suffering with GERD and IBS but this was under control with pro-biotics as I'm not a huge fan of taking medication even buprofen. I did have pains in my chest which I put down to the GERD and/or my scars. I wasn't wheezy so didn't even think it was anything chesty as I don't really suffer with chest infections although I am very sensitive to aerosols.

Anyway the doctor sent me for a chest xray and gave me a peak flow monitor and said to come back in 2 weeks. He'd listened to my chest and said he couldn't hear anything untoward and didn't seem too concerned. Well I had the xray but that night I felt like I really couldn't breathe again about 3 or 4 times and started to get panicky but managed to calm myself. I booked an appointment the next morning and said I really would like some medication (much as I hate it) to help me to breathe as I was struggling to talk by then. He put me on a nebuliser and gave me Clenil Modulite steroid 100 two puffs twice a day and Salamol 100 one or two puffs twice a day. Last night, I suddenly felt a lot better and felt fantastic. It was as if somebody had taken off the heavy blanket I had been struggling to breathe under and I felt energised and good and I thought I was getting finally getting better. But then a couple hours later my sinuses had blocked and I was struggling to breathe again and getting panicky. I took two extra puffs of my salamol as otherwise I felt as though I would not be able to get through it. Is this OK to take more of the salamol than is prescribed if you're struggling? Before I was on medication, my first peak flow was 280 and when I felt fantastic last night (I forgot I could feel so good lol!) it was 460. It has been going up and down from 320 to 380 otherwise. Any comments, information or support would be most welcome as feeling a bit clueless and useless!! Also although it is such a relief to be able to breathe again I am a bit worried about being dependent on steroids forever. Thanks for reading to the end of this long rambling post :)

10 Replies

  • Me again! Sorry xray was all clear (thankfully so really should stop worrying like that after all these years but harder said than done and if it goes to your lungs that's pretty much it) and no wheeze but clearly hardly able to speak so diagnosed asthmatic. Also I'm feeling absolutely knackered like I could fall asleep all the time and have no energy for anything. Is this normal when asthma is not under control or is it the medication? Also any comments about my peak flow - is that normal? Sorry for all the questions - I really am clueless lol!

  • I was diagnosed a severe asthmatic late last year. It takes quite a lot to get your head around the fact. My readings average around the 310 /320 . if you feel you need more medication than prescribed I would phone the surgery. The most important thing is to keep calm. Practise pursed lip breathing you can find it on Google ,, you are not on your own. You seem as though you are putting yourself down you must not you have had a real tough time, be kind to yourself ♥♥♥

  • Yes it is a real shock. Hope you're getting used to and on top of it it now! Thanks for the tip about the pursed lip breathing. It's strange because I have started pursing my lips over the last few months when breathing out. I thought it was a new affectation so will be interested to see what that's all about! I don't think I was putting myself down might be my sense of humour! Thanks for all the support - it means a lot as it is all a bit new and strange :)

  • Hey.

    Your peak flow would indicate asthma. Especially if it's lower in the morning and improves with inhalers. That's a typical pattern. GERD can make asthma feel worse. As the reflux from the acid can irritate the airways and make you cough and that can irritate the asthma. So it's important you keep on top of the GERD.

    have you been given a preventer inhaler normally brown/red to take once or twice a day? They are long acting and keep the airways open for longer periods of time. if you haven't go back to your doctor and ask for one. Especially if you are using your blue rescue inhaler more than three times a week. And your peak flow isn't at its best most the time or at least 80% of your best.

    Hope this helps.


  • Thanks for your help. The GERD seems to be behaving itself at the moment so fingers crossed. Yeah I definitely have a bad cough so that would correspond. My peak flow rates seem to go up and down but mainly up from the mornings so hopefully getting there with the medication. Yes I have a brown inhaler which says Clenil which is a steroid the doctor said, so hopefully that will get things under control. I'm on 2 puffs morning and evening. I'm using the blue salamol 2 puffs 4 times a day as prescribed but yesterday I had to have 2 puffs 5 times a day as I felt so breathless. Is it ok to use the blue one more than it says on the directions? My doctor said my differences in peak flow was more than 20% that's why he said it was probably asthma. He had wanted me to do peak flow for 2 weeks to monitor but after 2 days from initial consult I was demanding medication cos I felt so bad as I'd left it a bit late to see the doctor until I really couldn't breathe! So not really sure what's a normal reading for me. But I'm nearly 5'10" so think they have been quite low. Thanks again for your support.

  • Be very careful of GERD, as acid reflex can exacerbate asthma, by scaring the lungs. Certain asthma medications can exacerbate reflux, both oral, Phylocontin and prednisone. These, confined with certain spicy and curry foods can trigger heavy reflux. I take Ratadine and omniprazol for the refund, but even with these anti reflux med, certain spicy foods, esspecially ghee based, can tiger a very burny eflux..

  • Thanks for your reply. I do have some meds for the reflux and take a probiotic for digestion which seems to be keeping it under control at the moment fingers crossed.

  • Hi. Did you have radiotherapy? I think that can affect breathing as well. Sorry to hear you are having a tough time. Having cancer is scary and the treatments are powerful. I'm glad I had asthma first or I probably would have been even more anxious about the breathing. Have you seen the asthma plans? They tell you how much/how often you can use the reliever when you are having an attack and give advice on when to call for additional help. I suppose, like all drugs you have to weigh the risks against the gains. Good luck with your treatment.

  • Thank you. The radiotherapy was a long time ago about 14 years so I would think any breathing complications would've shown up by now. I haven't got any plans as I've only been diagnosed a week. I'm finding out what works myself through trial and error. I was struggling over the bank holiday so the duty doctor sent me to hospital worried about a pulmonary embolism as I had flown fairly recently and my SATS were low after exercise but it wasn't that luckily, just asthma! However, in hospital all my symptoms magically got better. Not sure if it was the sterile environment or the fact I was lying down with no stressors. Sods law anyway! Hm. Basically I was unsure if I could use my blue inhaler more than prescribed so was sticking to the 2 puffs 4x a day but now know that isn't enough as I really struggle at times so have started taking it more often until I go back to the GP for him to review it. I wasn't sure if I could OD but now I've seen the consultant I know I can't. I'm not keen on the idea of steroids but if it means I get this under control I guess I might have to up the dose. Thanks for your support. I hope all your cancer troubles are now behind you too or that your treatments are going well. Life does get easier and you forget but when you get unusual symptoms your mind does start to worry, especially as the cancer I had can go to the lungs. All the best.

  • Thanks for your help. I have suffered from panic attacks in the past but this is different although the fact you can't breathe does make you panic so you breathe shallowly so it's a vicious cycle but I think I do have asthma the more I think about my history, circumstances and symptoms. It was just so out of the blue and I really didn't know much about it but I know a lot more now :)

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