Giving myself permission to eschew clever post titles was brilliant! I wouldn’t have written anything yet if I gave in to my little quirks.
The first thought to write a blog came after my diagnosis of Exercise-Induced Asthma (EIA), so that topic is what this month is primarily going to be about. There are a few blogs out there about it, and quite a few forum posts, however none that I saw described my particular issue. Let me back up just a little and tell how I came to be diagnosed.
I pondered for a couple of years on buying a bicycle, but it didn’t turn into an actual purchase until April 2011. My first time riding was not fun. The helmet chin strap was way too short when I bent my head down. The “choking-to-death” feeling was relieved with a new helmet, but riding was still not fun. The guy and I rode around our neighborhood, and within a couple of miles I was DONE. After either the first or second time riding, the guy asked if I had ever been tested for EIA. I brushed that thought off, “I’m just out of shape/not used to riding”. After riding a few more times, I looked up EIA out of curiosity. The next few times riding, I really paid attention to how I felt while pedaling. Wheezing, constricted breathing, coughing? I soon made an appointment to be evaluated for EIA (July 2011).
My Internal Medicine doctor is awesome. She was right there with me. I told her what my symptoms were and when they occurred. She prescribed me an albuterol inhaler (standard issue for EIA) and off I went!
For the first time, riding was fun! The sun was shining, birds were chirping, the gnats were horrendous! Life was good… mostly. During this whole time, I was also trying to pick up running. It seemed that the running was even more of a breathing challenge than the biking.
For running, the inhaler was worthless.
I tried looking information up on the internet, but wasn’t coming up with much. My follow-up with my doctor got me a referral to a pulmonologist and a follow-up in four months. I kept on cycling and running when I could.
I saw the pulmonologist in September and he was… less than helpful. I said “The inhaler works well when cycling but not running. I think this is because I can coast when cycling, which gives me little breaks, but I can’t coast when running.” His solution “Do you need to run?”… Technically no, but if I am chased by a bear, I want to make it work up an appetite before it mauls me. I left there with a peak flow meter and a follow-up for six months, with direction that if there was a significant difference in my pre-running number and my post-running number, come to the follow-up but if I got better then I didn’t need to do the follow-up. The appointment sucked.
At my follow-up with my primary doctor, she rocked my socks. She was similarly disappointed by his recommendations and prescribed me a nebulizer and a follow-up in a month.
I can now run, only inhibited by my muscles. I completed my first 5k (finished appx. 34:24) in January. I had to walk 3 times, but I did it! My next 5k is in a few weeks and I hope to even run more of it.