Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Allergic To Life

As a teen my dad would always bring me to my CF appointments with a pen and notebook in hand. He would scribble everything the doctor said and keep track of all my stats from the appointment in that notebook much to my horror. "Dad, you don't need to take notes. This isn't school," I would plead, but my scientist father paid no mind to me and kept those books until I started going to appointments alone. And although the notebook was not my style I learned the value of keeping track of my health and trends over the years. So I started a calendar (visual learner much?) and kept track of my PFTs, O2, clinic appointments, and took careful notes of everything important that took place during my appointments on the calendar.

So when April rolled around, only 6 weeks after IVs, and my lungs felt like they completely closed shop leaving me gasping for air I turned to my 2014 calendar. I was wondering how I felt last April when I was only a few months out of the hospital. Sure enough April was my worst month last year. I wrote that although I didn't FEEL sick I was tight! So tight that my lung function plummeted and I was using my inhaler up to seven times a day. There were nights I woke as if I were suffocating and puffed my inhaler until I felt well enough to sleep again.

Exactly a year later the symptoms were the same! I felt so tight my inhaler was glued to my side and I found myself gasping for air as if I were drowning at the smallest of tasks, but besides being short of breath I didn't feel that bad. After April my health improved a lot which led me to believe allergies may have been the culprit. I went out and bought a new allergy pill (to add to my year round Singulair) and within 24 hours I felt a huge improvement. My 7 puffs of Combivent a day was reduced to three or four and my PFTs continued to climb over the next few days. I am still not at baseline, but I am significantly higher than I was before switching allergy pills. It also confirmed that even though my 14 year old self was ashamed of my nerdy dad taking notes as if he were in a lecture hall rather than a tiny clinic room he really knew what he was doing. Sometimes you have to admit that your parents really were right all along!

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