Ugh, there are days that I simply want to tell my asthma to f*off. I feel exhausted from fighting a recent uphill battle and what is likely an asthma treatment failure. A regiment that had previously worked does not seem to be working anymore. While this isn’t the first time the treatment has been questioned, it was confirmation that I was going to need a new plan.
Honestly, I didn’t feel that bad. I had a cough that returned, but it was high allergy season and the weather was doing crazy things--one day hot, one day a frost warning. These all present as possible triggers for a cough.
Inquiring with my doctor
I started with inquiring if these symptoms were part of something new, a change in asthma control, or a byproduct of my biologic. Also, during these weird COVID times, there is a bit of a hyper-vigilance on any symptoms that may be similar or related to COVID. After being screened for COVID-19 and discussing my symptoms with my doctor, we decided that I should come in for spirometry, FeNo (nitric oxide), and a spontaneous sputum sample.
Due to the airborne nature of induced sputum, they are only to be done in specific circumstances and a negative COVID-19 test is required. They have also moved all the spirometry into the negative pressure rooms. It is definitely a different experience now with the extra precautious and usual procedures are still taking place.
I felt encouraged when my spirometry was better than my last visit, and my FeNo was similar to where it was on my last visit, too. I was going to chalk it up to allergies and weather changes. Unfortunately, when my doctor followed up on the results, I had high eosinophils with activation (granules) in my sputum and I was going to need a steroid burst. They confirmed that my treatment regimen was likely ineffective.
Another asthma treatment failure
My heart was broken. I was scared and I didn't know what to do or what could come out of it. I was fortunate that they were open to a follow-up televisit. When I first heard the news that I was going to need to evaluate systematically, it was a lot to handle, especially with an asthma treatment failure looming. I already had limited options and I was nervous that I was going to have to revert back to higher daily oral steroid use.
I was wondering what was up with my asthma control. Why was it always so challenging? It can make your fears go wild when doctors do not always provide the context of decisions or options. I certainly appreciated that my doctor spent the time afterward, providing much more information and context to the situation and having the opportunity to discuss it further.
I have had a mostly hate relationship with eosinophils. They just seemed to wreak havoc with my asthma control, be difficult to control in some circumstances, and constantly lead to my prednisone and the crazy side effects that comes with that treatment. I feel like I've had it with asthma treatment. I just want my asthma to go away. Since this is unlikely ever to happen, I am just going to have to get through it.
I feel better having received a clearer picture from my doctor. We have a plan in place but I'm still a little disheartened.
How do you deal with these situations and upset in your asthma journey?
Do you get muscle cramps caused by your asthma medicine?