Timothy! We have tried everything you can’t keep chopping and changing!
These were the harsh words coming down the telephone from my asthma nurse who was seemingly giving up on me. No offer of help, no understanding just the pain in the backside patient that she wanted rid of.
Can I go back to Symbicort? I pleaded, I’m wheezing on the Seretide .
No! You’ve tried it. It then seem to click in her mind who I was “You’re the guy with cats!” It was like being scolded by an elderly aunt.
Yes we have a cat, but we had him long before I had been diagnosed with asthma.
She eventually agrees to another trial of symbicort, which had worked well for my Wife and Daughter “it’s the last time!” she warned.
After two weeks on Symbicort I had a bunged up my nose, dry peeling skin on my face and hands, blotches on my neck and my eyes itched terribly. According to my wife I looked at least twenty years older – Too much steroid or a side effect? I was always on the maximum dose of Flutiform and Seretide. My Sister recommended Seretide and it worked for a while but like everything else it stopped after a week or so as if my lungs were some kind of coded safe that inhalers couldn’t unlock. Montelukast was then added to the list but it didn’t seem to work and the reported side effects seemed extreme.
In the back of my mind I knew my asthma wasn’t that bad to warrant maximum dosage especially when I look at the chartrooms full of sufferers who are genuinely struggling to breath I realize something doesn’t add up, I actually wonder if I had asthma at all.
I had only been diagnosed aged 52 when training for a marathon,. I had picked up a chest infection that seemingly left its mark. This is when I started my journey through the world of inhalers that had driven my asthma nurse to distraction.
Around the time my breathing problems started my voice also began to be hoarse and croaky which I initially put down to the chest infection and the various medications that I regularly inhaled; My stomach has also been playing up with reflux and the doctor put a probe down my throat telling me my vocal cords were being damaged by stomach acid so prescribed lanzoprozole
At this point I realized that any asthma attacks or shortness of breath were always at night and usually after I had eaten a lot of rich or junk food late in the evening. It also occurred to me that whenever I ate wheat it travelled through me pretty quickly and there are apparently links to asthma.
With no help other than Nurse Google I put my collection of inhalers in a draw only the Ventolin stayed nearby. It was time to see if I really had asthma or not - I was going Cold Turkey (please don’t try this at home)
Later that day my peak flow increased consistently to its best for a long time and has remained constantly so ever since. After five minutes on an indoor turbo trainer my lungs feel stronger the peak flow remained high.
I’m still aware of my lungs and breathing consciously trying to work out how they feel, its difficult to know. It could be there is still residue of steroid that is giving phantom readings or is it an effect of stopping suddenly but all the while the peak flow is high.
So there you have it. The reason that the asthma nurse couldn’t help with my asthma is because, maybe, I don’t actually have asthma or perhaps it’s a very mild form, so if option b, c and d didn’t work for you maybe try option e, f or g when your condition seemingly isn’t getting any better.
I’m far more careful what I eat these days. No wheat products which mean a new pair of reading glasses for all the small print labels and I wish it wasn’t chocolate that appears to affect my breathing but it’s a small price to pay for clearer lungs.
So, if your asthma isn’t improving on the medication you take and your nurse has given up on you too, maybe its time to think outside the box but obviously be very careful.
This is all self diagnosed and its still early days. I’m seeing a different asthma nurse, the other has gone off long term sick in a couple of weeks so will see how it goes.