What is wrong with me?!

Did you miss the last post? Click here to go back.

This post really serves no purpose other than being an outlet for me to vent a bit. I just need to talk out some health things I’ve been dealing with lately.

I was diagnosed by my pediatrician with sports-induced asthma when I was… I don’t know, middle school? But it wasn’t just the physical activity; I had other triggers too. For example, I used to have an attack every year at my grandparent’s 4th of July party because of all the firework smoke.

As I got older, it got to where I could go a while {months to a year-ish} without hardly having any issues, then it would get really bad to where my chest would hurt and I felt like I wasn’t getting enough air. I’d take really deep breaths to the point where I had excruciating pain in my chest, but still didn’t feel like I’d get enough air. I’d go to my pediatrician, she’d have me do the breathing test {which is torture!}, confirm that my airways were really tight, and would put me on a low-dose steroid for about 5 days to open me back up. Then I was good to go again for another few months to a year. Then repeat..

I am very stubborn and do not like going to the doctor, for multiple reasons. So since moving out of my parent’s house and moving on to a different doctor, I hadn’t been to see her about this issue. We’ve discussed my asthma and she’s confirmed that I have asthma, but I haven’t seen her at a time where I’m struggling to breathe.

Probably about 8 months ago it started bothering me again. After about 6 months and it not passing, I broke down and made a doctors appointment. {By this time, C was pretty livid with me for being so damn stubborn and suffering that long.}

About a week before my appointment was when I went to Kansas City. I was perfectly fine on that trip. Didn’t have to use my Albuterol once. I had been using it multiple times a day with no relief.

So I told my doc that, and she told me she thought the pollen was bothering me. I’ve never had issues with allergies or pollen, but she said that it’s been a record high this year, and that would surely explain why I was better in KC – pollen is lower there. She prescribed me Singulair and an inhaler.

She also asked if when I was using my Albuterol if I was getting relief, and I told her I really didn’t feel like I was. I’d take it, but I’d still be having to take those really deep breaths. I wasn’t really noticing a difference. She said that if the prescriptions didn’t help, we’d need to look at other possibilities, and asked if I’d ever had issues with anxiety. I mean, I’ve felt anxious, but never had like a full on anxiety attack.

I wasn’t feeling completely confident in her pollen diagnosis, so I called and made an appointment with the same asthma and allergy specialist that C saw recently. It never hurts to get a second opinion. The soonest I could get in was about a month out.

During that time, we spent a weekend in a town about an hour and a half from us. Pollen is still going to be bad there. But again, no issues at all while we were gone. So then I’m thinking, “Well crap, maybe I’m developing an allergy to dogs??” {Both of ours stay in the house.} So I called back and asked to get an allergy test done too when I come in for my appointment – was told it’d have to be a separate appointment, so I scheduled the next one for just a few days after the first.

I’m still covered under my dad’s insurance, which is through the state, so the testing would be free. After the wedding, when I get on C’s insurance, it would be $300 each, and it’s a two-part test. So I figured, why not? If nothing else, I’ll know if I’m allergic to anything in general.

About a week/week and a half before my appointment, I started feeling significantly better. Of course. Isn’t that the way it always happens? I had gone from taking those really deep breaths all day every day, to just a couple times a day, if at all.

I get to my first appointment, do the torture test, talk to the doc for about 10-15 minutes about what’s been going on and my history with asthma. He tells me that from what I’ve told him and the test results, I don’t have asthma.

……Come again?

That was super unexpected since I’ve gone most of my life thinking I had asthma. I’ve had two doctors tell me I do for goodness sake! But he’s the asthma specialist, so I’m going to trust what he says more than them. He asked if I have congestion, irritated eyes, if it only happens at certain times of the year, etc. No. I told him that I’ve never had any allergy like symptoms. He kind’ve rubbed me the wrong way, because he was talking to me like, “Why are you here wasting my time?”

Then, surprise! They had me down to get part one of the allergy test that day, the second appointment was for the second part. Wasn’t quite prepared for that.

So if you’re not familiar with an allergy test {I wasn’t}, here’s how it goes. They test you for all the common allergies {dogs, cats, different types of pollens, etc}. The first test, they scratch your back with the allergen, then come back in 15 minutes to see if you’ve reacted to it. They also grade it on a 0-4 scale as to how bad you reacted, based on how many milimeters the reaction was away from the injection point. If you have a reaction during this test, you’re considered ‘highly allergic.’ I wasn’t surprised to find that I didn’t react to anything.

IMG_0074

Doc came in after and told me he thinks my breathing issues are stress related and “You should try yoga.”

This diagnosis didn’t make much sense to me either. During this time that it’s been bothering me, I’ve really tried to monitor when I was having issues and what could possibly be the trigger. I had a list of a few possibilities, but I really hadn’t noticed a correlation with stress.

I wouldn’t say I’m really stressed in life right now, whereas there have been times that I’ve been extremely stressed with no breathing issues. For example, when I went to Kansas City, I was sickeningly stressed out; about the trip in general, and about flying by myself for the first time. And it was a complete opposite reaction; among all that stress, the breathing issues stopped.

Second test, they test you for the same things, only they go deeper {this one’s an actual little shot} and it’s a higher concentration.

After the test, the doctor came in to talk to me. When he walks in the room, the first words out of his mouth were, “You’re difficult.”
“I’m difficult?”
“Yes, I really don’t know what to do with you.”
Because that’s exactly what I wanted to hear from my doctor about me not being able to breathe!

This time I reacted to five things, and three of them were rated 4’s, so they were borderline being ‘highly allergic.’

IMG_0113

So he said he really doesn’t know what’s causing my problem, but obviously it’s a very real issue. He said it could be one of three things.

  1. Asthma. He explained that there’s basically three levels of asthma: severe {what C has}, sports induced, and clinical. He says I could’ve outgrew the sports induced asthma that I was diagnosed with when I was younger, but still have a form of clinical asthma.
  2. Allergies. At this point, we know I do have some allergies. This could be my body’s way of having an allergic reaction, as opposed to getting the typical allergy symptoms.
  3. Stress.

So he went with process of elimination. He gave me an inhaler to try for two weeks, and then wants me to come back to discuss if it helped or not. If it is stress related, the inhaler won’t help.

I told C I didn’t know if I’d go back in two weeks, for two reasons. 1) Because he’s a specialist, I have to pay a $40 copay per visit. 2) Since I was already doing better, I didn’t feel like I’d really be able to tell if the inhaler was working or not.

I started the inhaler the day of my second appointment, which was this past Monday. Then wouldn’t you know, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday I can’t breathe again. No, not good. But then at the same time I figured, “Well at least now I’ll be able to tell if the inhaler works.” But today, so far so good, breathing okay.

This is so frustrating…

I didn’t schedule my follow-up appointment yet, I told them I’d have to call to schedule it, because at that point, I didn’t know if I would at all. But I think I will. At the end of the day, the whole reason I made an appointment there to begin with was to get answers. It only makes sense to follow-through with it and get my answers. So it may cost me another $40, but if I wait, it will cost me much more once my insurance changes. Might as well get it done now.

So that’s where I’m at… Today will be day five of the inhaler, and I still don’t feel like I have a very solid foundation for testing. But I’m praying. Praying for answers. Praying for healing. Praying for direction. I know it’s all in God’s hands and in His time. And for that, I’m also praying for acceptance and understanding in whatever His plan is. That’s all I can do.

If you made it to the end of this post, thank you for sticking around for my pity-party. You’re a champ! 😉

Have a great weekend,
-L

 

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