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Asthma Awareness Month 2023: More than my Asthma

As we recognize Asthma Awareness Month this May, we want to connect with our community members who may be living with multiple conditions in addition to asthma. We know that managing asthma symptoms can be exhausting, especially when contending with other health conditions (also known as comorbidities).

What are some of the challenges you face managing multiple conditions? This is a safe space to connect and share with the community. ❤️

  1. In honor of Asthma and Allergy Awareness Month; I would like to share my personal journey with asthma. I have been living with asthma for 22 years.

    I was diagnosed when I was 10 years old, and was prescribe rescue inhaler to use when I get an asthma attacks. I lived on breathing treatments for awhile. When I got into middle school it was better with only using my rescue inhaler when I was in gym class. That’s the only time I had an issue, and anything physical would trigger my asthma. Once I was in high school I had no issues, unless it was physical activity and other than that I was fine. I lived a normal life for a long time without no issues.

    Once I got in my late 20’s and multiple respiratory infections with bronchitis over the years. I started to have more issues when it came to my asthma. At the age of 30 it became to be more a problem and went to multiple doctors visits with my primary care, and try a few different options. We had no luck and had the most difficult time getting under control after a horrible respiratory infection in 2020.

    We had resort to being referred out to pulmonologist. At first, no one believe I had asthma and I had to go through testing, which was confirmed I had asthma. I tried a few more inhalers and found the right combo that did treat it. My asthma was stable and controlled for a year. I felt amazing I could finally breathe without no symptoms. It was a taste of what breathing was like without no issues. I realized, breathing is a luxury and I am grateful for everyday I could breathe without any issues. I finally knew what people felt on a daily basis with their breathing who don’t have asthma. Greatest feeling!

    Than things got complicated and got worse, nothing I could imagine. I got COVID, and 3 weeks later I got large deep thrombosis of the whole left leg and multiple pulmonary embolism (blood clots). Covid and pulmonary embolism made my asthma way worse. I went on seeing my pulmonologist over the next 7 months changing treatment from multiple inhalers, multiple rounds of oral steroids, and biologic which I didn’t respond well at all. It got to the point I needed to find another pulmonologist who would listen and take my concerns into consideration. I found the most amazing pulmonologist who took my concerns into consideration and listen to me. We work together as a great team and we talk through the decision making. We work together to make the best treatment plan to the needs of my health and what my body needs.

    We have worked so hard finding the right treatment plan, we went through multiple inhalers, allergy medication, biologic, breathing treatments. Nothing seemed to lighten up the symptoms. I was requiring oral steroids every month for the past 5 months, and consistently going into an asthma flare every 2 weeks. Once I came off of oral steroids, and immediately went into another asthma flare every single time. At this point I was in a bad place with my asthma as I was living with asthma everyday instead of every once awhile.

    We tried everything we could to control my asthma and I was on everything possible to try to control my asthma. I was on Trelegy, Pulmicort twice a day, Albuterol every 4 hours, Signulair, Zyrtec, and Xolair (which didn't give any relief). There was biologics I couldn’t qualify because my inflammation markers weren’t elevated by eosinophils, but IgE were elevated which Xolair didn’t help with managing my asthma only in the summer when my allergies were the worse. We had to make a very difficult discussion we both never wanted to make. I would be put on chronic steroids either a trial longer-term steroid experience or chronic steroids than reassess later on. My pulmonologist told me, I know it a miserable decision, and I didn’t want to make it. I don’t want to see you miserable or keeping being miserable further on. This isn’t good for your lungs to being up and down and up and down. She said I have chronic inflammation. We decided trial longer-term steroid experience. She has been positive and optimistic about we can get this asthma under control. Maybe in 6 months this is what my body needed. This way I can heal the chronic inflammation and give your lungs a break. It will help you be stable for 6 months. At least we catch it now and act on it to avoid being in the hospital.

    It's have been very exhausting not being able to breathe on a daily basis. Mentally it take a toll on you. You have multiple doctor appointments that seems like it never ends. Will you ever get to a good spot again with good health. Always seem like everything doesn’t go as we plan. Asthma taught myself to be grateful for every day you feel good, and each breath is a gift. Its important to have a great support system and I have a good support system. My faith in God has helped me get through these hard phases of life and I know, he will heal me. The only ultimate healer!

    I'm happily to report; My asthma is stable and controlled. My breathing is the best it has ever been in the last 5 months. Its amazing how much better I feel and it makes working easier since I have a physical job. I currently only on albuterol once a day with Prednisone, Trelegy, Singulair, and Zyrtec. This is great news, and this is my hope I can get off of prednisone in 6 months and taper off. The risks are worth the reward in the end. Super grateful!

    1. Thank you for sharing your asthma experience, ! What terrific news - so glad you are feeling better. You have had such a hard time with this chronic disease. I can see why it has been so exhausting for you, mentally and physically. I certainly hope that now you are feeling better being on 5 medications - prednisone included - the exhaustion and fatigue ease up. Sounds like the risk is worth the reward in your case where life is easier and you can breathe easier. You are brave and strong in dealing with this disease, you never gave up, especially when one pulmonologist wasn't giving you the care and attention you needed. Hope the good results last, your inflammation decreases, and managing your asthma is easier from here on out. Blessings and warmth sent your way ~ Rebecca (community moderator)

      1. Thank you!

      2. Hi leon, I just had to chime in and tell you how much I like your name!
        It's a good, solid, strong name - that is for certain!
        Wishing you well,
        Leon (site moderator

    2. Got my deviated septum straightened 40 years ago. No regrets and I wish I'd taken care of it sooner. Maybe that might help you a little bit. Just a thought.

      1. Hi HeaavyBreather, and thank you for sharing this with the community. It's good to hear the operation you had (40 years ago), is still beneficial for you today. It may provide others with food for thought for their own present circumstances. We appreciate you input.
        All the best,
        Leon (site moderator

    3. Hello Leon,
      You are welcome. My nose works fine. Now if I could only get a new set of lungs. Asthma is not really under control(notwithstanding a young and very competent pulmonologist). I didn't expect to be so short of breath once I retired. I'll keep checking this site and keep my fingers crossed. Take care.

      1. Hi again, HeavyBreather - Now that I've read this comment of yours, I realize my question to you within your other comment (here is the link: ), was already answered by you here!
        Hmmm, if this pulmonologist is not able to help your further, what would you/he think to do next?
        I can say though that, like you, I am now (semi) retired. I do manage to get up and out (to our local boardwalk), and walk each day for 3 miles. Some days, I am fine with it. Other days I am feeling mildly short of breath. I generally can get past that with some pursed-lip breathing as I continue to walk. Other days I will take a puff from my rescue inhaler. I will not give in! Since I have other comorbidities, the walking is the best way for me to stay active.
        What do you think for yourself?
        Leon (site moderator

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