I suppose this is a general question about long-term asthma recovery, as this is uncharted territory for me. Or if it's even asthma-related. In May 2020, I had several asthma attacks, which heavily restricted my mobility for the remainder of the year. I used to go to the gym twice a week, play squash and run outside, so I've found the movement restrictions very challenging.
I was put on the relvar inhaler towards the end of the year and this, in conjunction with montelukast tablets, have made a big difference. My asthma nurse has had me taking my ventolin inhaler half an hour before walking, to open the airways up, and I've been gradually walking more and more. There's been a sizeable amount of pain tolerance - some days going better than others - though I feel it's gradually going in the right direction and getting outside again has been a big boost for my mental health. On good days, I can comfortably do 6000 steps, sometimes more (my best is 10K). I try to take things somewhat slowly and breaks when I need to, which I think helps.
I still feel physically restricted, though. It can be unpredictable. I was walking last Thursday and after a few thousand steps, felt some discomfort/pain in my chest. It increased, but I kept going for a while, and when I got back to the house, I was in a lot of pain. The next day, I bent over to unpack a few shopping bags and that was enough to leave me with pain for quite a while, which I felt even just moving between rooms. I felt more like myself by Sunday, but after walking for seven months now, I find that unpredictability and the limitations very frustrating. Jogging and running are completely out of the question.
My peak flow readings are good. They're consistently around the 630 mark (sometimes lower, sometimes higher, but I think that's the average) and they don't dip when I have pain, which is
one of the reasons I wondered if it could be a separate issue. At one point, they were quite a bit lower, but changing medication brought them up.
Prior to the attacks, my asthma had been well-controlled by a clenil inhaler for over a decade (I developed asthma at 18), and as I mentioned earlier, I was very physically active, so it seemed strange to me that I’d suddenly have all of these issues. Maybe that’s just how it goes sometimes, but I have wondered if I could possibly have had covid-19. At the time of the attacks, my chest and throat were bad, and I had a horrendous cough. I wasn’t tested at the time, so it could be entirely unrelated (a bad cold, say), it’s just something I wonder about. I sometimes wonder if having my chest x-rayed or other tests could be helpful, in case there is another issue (or covid-19 damage), but it was never suggested by my GP (who I haven’t seen in-person at all during this). I sometimes feel like I’m in a bit of a medical limbo, as I’ve been given no real timescale for the recovery and I don’t really know how to categorise myself (I suppose long-term health condition is probably the best term).
This became a bit of a ramble, but I guess I’m mostly wondering if anyone has had similar experiences with asthma and a lengthy recovery period, and if so, do you have any advice? Is it just something that might take a long while? Or could it be a non-asthma issue?
Thanks for taking the time to read this; it’s great to have a community like this to share experiences in!