End in Sight?

For more than a year I’ve suffered with shortness of breath. Constantly. I’ve had blood tests, been for chest x-rays and had various medication. Eventually I was diagnosed with Asthma and have been working my way through all the different kinds of medication, all to no avail. I still feel like I did a year ago, I still can’t run upstairs and any change in the weather results in me feeling like I have an elephant sat on my chest!

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory lung disease and there are roughly 5.1 million sufferers in the UK. The most common symptoms are breathing difficulties, coughing and wheezing and these can be triggered by any number of things including hay fever, colds, flu, weather conditions and smoke or smoking. A good source of information is Asthma UK where they have pages full of helpful information about dealing with asthma.

I had Asthma back when I was a teenager but it didn’t last long and wasn’t very bad. The only medication I had was Ventolin and that was just in case I got out of breath at any time. I did okay as a kid, it didn’t really stop me from doing anything but these days it stops me from doing a lot of things. I have had a cough for roughly the same amount of time that I’ve had the shortness of breath. In the past year I’ve had lots of chest infections, had to have various rounds of steroid tablets and antibiotics and constantly have to think about what I’m doing or where I’m going, just in case I run into any triggers. I can’t run around in the garden with the kids, I can’t walk too far if it’s windy and I can’t spend all day cleaning the house like I used to. These days I have to do the cleaning in stages, taking breaks every 20 minutes or so to ensure that I don’t get too out of breath. If I go too far then I’m done for the day. I’m left with very little energy and struggling to breath for the rest of the day.

At the moment I’m on a steroid inhaler, tablets I have to take every night and I have to carry around another inhaler with me in case I need it, which I do. All the time. On a usual day I will drive to school which is about a mile away, park in the car park and walk the, roughly, 200 yards into the school to drop off the kids. Sunny days are great, I will only have to take the inhaler a couple of times but on days like today when it is rainy and cold I will take my reliever about 4 or 5 times before returning to my car. That is all in the space of about 30 minutes.

After months of return visits to the GP she finally gave in and referred me to a specialist. I have an appointment with a consultant in Respiratory Medicine tomorrow. I’ve been waiting for this for a long time and I’m hoping that I can tell him what’s been happening and he will say ‘Aha! I know just the thing’, present me with a wonderful medicine and everything will be back to normal. I’m hoping.

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