Thursday, December 3, 2015

A new asthma blog

I am starting this blog about my experiences living with severe asthma. A fellow member of the National Asthma Patient Alliance (Canada) suggested that I do this because first hand information about severe asthma is hard to come by. I'm fortunate to have a top notch specialist at Providence Health Care in Vancouver - so I think my information is pretty reliable. My experiences, of course, is what I make of what is going on. It is complicated and a bit of a roller coaster ride.

First: What is severe asthma? Google says "Severe asthma is a type of asthma that affects a very small number of people with asthma (around four per cent). Someone with severe asthma has difficulty breathing almost all of the time, and often has serious asthma attacks." Apparently there are about 250,000 people in Canada who have severe asthma. It doesn't usually kill you but it makes life miserable.

Second: How did it happen? I didn't always have asthma. You can check out my asthma story on my Chuckling Chimes website. The main points are:
  • I was fist diagnosed with asthma in my late 40s. It started with a virus, a year of coughing, a pulmonary function test,and voila "You have asthma." Oh yes. you also have nasal polyps, chronic sinusitis and eustachian tube dysfunction. And later - "You have bronchiectasis but it won't kill you."
  • I took every kind of medicine available - salbutamol, thophylline, singulaire, prednisone, and many many antibiotics. Now I also take symbicort, spiriva and xolair plus pulmicort for my sinuses.
  • Despite all this good medicine, my asthma would "exascerbate" every few years. I would not have a big frightening attack. Instead - over the course of a month or two -  I would gradually go down hill - wheezing, coughing. spitting, trouble walking up hills, coughing at night. Sometimes I would barely  have the energy to eat. My eustachian tubes would become effused and I would be quite deaf. A prednisone burst (a high dose for a couple weeks) would greatly improve my symptoms. But then I would go down again.
Third: What's new? Why have I started this blog? I was recently diagnosed as having candida yeast in my lungs. The lab specimen took 12 weeks to produce the candida - only a great asthma researcher would have waited that long.  Candida may be the clue as to why, despite everything I am doing to manage my severe asthma, I am sick again. Yesterday I started a modest prednisone burst (one week at 20 mg) and a long course of anti-fungals - mylan fluconazole. Prednisone generally works well for me - though it makes me a little hyper - so I'm letting out some of that extra energy in this new blog. More details tomorrow. 

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