Yellow zoning it

Yesterday I woke up feeling a little short of breath. Nothing terrible, but enough that I took some Ventolin before I got going too far. My asthma has been really, really well controlled for the last while, so it took me aback a bit. I used to spend a ton of time “yellow zoning” – where you’re symptomatic enough for it to be extremely annoying, where you’re sucking back more hits of your rescue inhaler than you’d like, but you’re not too bad off. You can continue on with your life as normal, but you’ve got this nagging discomfort in your lungs that comes and goes (but mostly just stays).

I woke up this morning feeling the same way. Taking an allergy and sinus tablet yesterday didn’t seem to help, but I tried again today. I don’t think it made a difference, honestly. Yesterday, I spent the day at home working and doing phone meetings, but today I had a meeting out of the house, so off I went. I headed to the far bus stop, a little short of breath, but nothing too bad—after all, I talked with Dia on the phone the whole way over (and if I sounded out of breath, she didn’t comment on it!). I didn’t take any Ventolin while I was out for about four hours—although I did move my inhaler into my hoodie pocket in case I was in the elevator alone and could inconspicuously take a hit ;). I did half a nebulizer treatment later on in the day which did help, for a bit anyways. However, my peak flow before the treatment was 93%. I usually suspect the times I’m feeling like this are due to small airway inflammation, which won’t read on a peak flow meter result. So I don’t always take peak flow for what the number says, I was just curious to see if how I felt reflected on the meter—it didn’t, as I kind of expected.

I feel not great, but also not terrible. I’m heading out of town tomorrow and while I wish I were feeling better, it won’t put too much of a damper on things—though I have my neb and prednisone packed just in case I need them. The reality is, I don’t think I was a ton more symptomatic today given my activity level compared to yesterday—yesterday I took 3809 steps, and today, 11,322. I stuck NFC tags to all my inhalers (I think that cursed me because this nonsense is giving me opportunity to USE them!), and per that, I took 10 puffs of Ventolin yesterday (or 8, plus 2 at 12:30 AM before bed), and 6 today plus half a 2.5 mg neb, so we’ll equate that to about 4 puffs, more or less). So it’s not seeming like activity is playing too much into it, either!

The reality is, I spent a LOT of time in the past feeling like this, for the first few years after my diagnosis. Days, weeks on end. I am in a much better place asthma-wise now. I actually thought about this earlier, at one point I—against my better judgement—did a track (walking) workout while feeling like this, and after I was done, I actually felt BETTER once the exercise induced asthma was over with, though I’m not sure I’ll be trying that again!

I responded quickly to this one: I bumped my Zenhale (Dulera) up right away, once I figured out how I was feeling, I bumped up my Qvar too. I’ve been taking the ventolin that I need to and not trying to push it off too much (and then, the next day, I bumped up to taking it every 4 hours to keep things open in my lungs). And it’s annoying enough that I am noticing it, that my shoulder muscles are sore, but not bad enough that I have to be doing regular nebulizer (though that might help) or starting prednisone—I have slept through the night just fine, so I know I’m not even close to prednisone land yet!

Ah the yellow zone… hopefully we’re smooth sailing full speed ahead to green soon!

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