Monday, July 19, 2010

Finally, Some Progress

I'm so relieved to be able to give you a health update! If you're new to my blog, you can find the beginning of this story in Bed Rest, and in O is for Oxygen.

Since I last whined about my troublesome lungs, I've been to the pulmonologist twice, and to the allergist, twice. Mr. Lungs was of no help whatsoever.  He just had me take a bunch of expensive breathing tests in order to say what my primary care doc had already said, post-infectious chronic reactive airway disease.  But Mr. Allergies finally found some answers! He of course discovered my allergies to every single pollen, something not news to me. I've just never bothered to know exactly which, I just know that each spring it will be hell, and year round, still pretty bad. I've been on Claritin for years. He also found me allergic to cats, which was a huge surprise. I've had cats since my childhood, growing up and into adulthood. I guess they were contributing to my mostly seasonal allergies. I'm also allergic to dust mites, but we don't have them in Colorado. He said. I'm not so sure about that and the thought of them eating my dead skin cells in my mattress gives me the heebie jeebies.

However, this news didn't explain my feelings of tightness in the chest, nor the trouble getting a deep breath. But he had me try Singulair for my lingering cough, and it's magic! I no longer cough AT ALL. Which is an unbelievable relief! I've been coughing for five long months. But it didn't help with the breathing thing. However, he wasn't giving up, and with further examination (which included a LOT of “does this hurt” “YES!”) he has diagnosed me with costochondritis.  In brief, it's an inflammation of the joint where the rib bone meets the cartilage which connects to your sternum.  It causes those feelings of tightness, and an inability to get a deep breath.  He thinks this was caused by the whooping cough infection, and then just never got better since I was still coughing, aggravating those connections with each hack, hack, sputter, wrap my arms around me, try to stop coughing episode.  He's put me on a very low dose of prednisone (to give you an idea, I was on 90 mg when I first got whooping cough, this is 5 mg.) AND IT IS WORKING! Breathing is easier, moving is easier, I can go up and down the stairs without getting dizzy. I can walk to the mailbox and back without getting winded. I can't tell you what a relief this is! These may sound like small tasks, but to me they used to be huge.

So it's with great pleasure that I can now answer, “Better, thanks!” when asked how I'm feeling. I'm not to well yet, but certainly finally on my way.


Unknown said...


Want to hear something synchronistic? My continuing education seminar was on indoor environmental triggers in the asthma population: dust mites, cats, cockroaches etc....were all up there. I am so happy you are finding relief. With my daughter it was hell from 3rd through 7th grade at which point we identified her asthma trigger as GERD (Gasto-Esophageal Reflux Disease) Once on the proper meds, very rare is the need for rescue medication.

Ellen aka Ellie said... is good and now it's even better!

the thrifty ba said...

im so glad that someone was able to help you! you know, even though drs go to ALOT of school, it is still a guessing game.
totally bites.

Brian Miller said...

yay! glad to hear you are doing better...big smiles!

Viki said...

I'm thrilled for you. Sometimes it seems like it takes doctor's a long time to figure things out. I think they just try different things until they luck out, ha. Hopefully, this will start you on the way to feeling great all the time.

One Photo said...

Oh that is wonderful news, I am so glad you finally got the answers you needed and are getting the right treatment and are feeling better. Hopefully you will continue to feel stronger.

Chatty Crone said...

I am so glad you found some answers. I am right with you - thinking I'm going to try an allergist myself. Thanks for the encouragement.


Alexandra said...

Great news. I know what you speak of. Our 3 boys have asthma, and this time of the year is the worst. Glad to hear you are better and headed in the right direction.

Natasha said...

I am so glad you are feeling better. My husband is currently suffering from something similar to what you were suffering from, and the doctors have just not been able to put their fingers on it. After reading your post, I have a lot more questions to ask at the appointment tomorrow.