Tuesday, August 24, 2010

remember to breathe

Since getting a diagnosis of allgergy asthma early last month, I've been on a regimen of a steroid inhaler twice a day, allergy meds as needed, and an albuterol inhaler that I'm supposed to carry with me and use if I need to. I admit that, wiith the drug regimen I already take to manage the symptoms of Crohn's disease, adding another layer of drug management to the mix hasn't been easy, or consistent. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that for the last few weeks inhaler use has dropped off a bit. I took the two inhalers along on the camping trip but didn't remember to use either one. And I didn't need them; at no time during out trip was I having trouble breathing, even during our hike up to Strawberry Falls at 6700 feet elevation.

The day after we got home, I went to a party out on the west side of town, a thank-you gathering for everyone who'd volunteered at the PIR short-track xc series. It required taking MAX and then riding about 4.5 miles from the nearest station to the host's house. Suddenly, on a sunny, pleasantly warm afternoon, I found myself feeling very short of breath -- and I had left my inhaler at home. So I suffered, riding slower and occasionally stopping at intersections in order to catch my breath. I had the same experience riding back to the MAX station after the barbecue, only more pronounced because I was riding with a friend and riding with someone always pushes me to ride a little faster. That night, I took my steroid inhaler, and since then I've been carrying the albuterol inhaler with me everywhere again.

It's frustrating. I had hoped against hope that somehow the diagnosis was incorrect; that this was simply another case of allergies gone wild, rather than actual asthma, and that eventually I'd be "over" it. But apparently I have asthma and not just allergies. I shouldn't need an inhaler this late in the season, but now that I do there appears to be no other explanation. I have an appointment with the doctor next week, a follow-up on the original diagnosis and prescribed treatment. I will ask for more definitive "proof", if it exists, that what I am dealing with is asthma and not just allergies. And I will ask for a more detailed plan of how to manage this thing while trying to get in shape for cyclocross season, which begins in less than six weeks.

My first spin class is tomorrow night. Yikes.

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