Following my initial diagnosis about my dodgy lungs over the phone, I’ve seen doctors and respiritory nurses, had a few visits to the asthma clinic, evening phone call from a nurse checking up on me, then today was back to see my own GP for blood & lung function spirometry results and I can’t thank and praise the NHS & Asthma UK for the treatment I have received.
For background in last 7 weeks I’ve had a chest infection, completed Outlaw 140.6 mile triathlon, had my first asthma attack (in race), lost all fitness, gained 7 pounds in weight, been diagnosed with exercise induced asthma, seen 2 doctors & 3 nurses, given half pint blood for tests, prescribed inhalers, withdrawn from ironman Weymouth 70.3.
On the upside with the help of inhalers in last 10 days I’ve ridden a couple 50+ mile rides, ran a couple 10ks, tried Jango on a running harness on hilly trail route & signed up for Canni-X running with dogs race. Also I’ve passed police annual fitness test and rolled around on a dusty old gym floor, thrown ropes, practised public disorder techniques, drills withs cuffs, batons & PAVA over 6 hours for officer safety refresher on 2 days.
Getting to grips with #asthma & being an #asthamathlete and I’m learning more about asthma each day, knowing my triggers & when to use my inhaler. Finding my way around and absorbing the mass of information on the internet, social media, forums and helplines.
Update 5th September: NHS service continues to be outstanding. Yes it’s Exercise Induced Asthma. Seen my own doctor and told bloods clear of infection & generally given a clean bill of health. Another spirometry lung function test to record levels but I’ve seen daily peak flow levels already improving over the last 4 weeks since being on inhalers.
Now prescribed daily steroid tablet & carry on with inhaler pre exercise and as necessary. Also got a voucher for a PowerBreathe lung trainer device which has been ordered.
Review next month (steroids), then every 3 months with asthma clinic for next year.
Some say I’m lucky to get this quick diagnosis, treatment and continued care. I certainly feel lucky and happy that there was a reason to explain why I was performing below par this year at sportives, triathlons and runs. I haven’t had a single PB and on comparison events been slower. Certainly at Outlaw I didn’t get the finish time I had trained for, planned or expected. I won’t use asthma as an excuse (yet !) but it does explain my poor performances and that even with training I have been fighting chest infections and asthma triggers and eventually an asthmas attack this year.
Breaking news: second update of the day at 7pm:
Talk about service – just had call from my doctor who I saw this morning.
Confirming she has me as a registered athlete for legal steroid use, after doing some extra research for me.
So will be on morning & evening steroid inhaler daily plus a longer lasting 10 hour reliever for use before long training sessions or triathlons & endurance events.
Still got Ventolin blue inhaler for use as necessary during exercise if additional triggers kick in such as bonfire smoke, dust, or pollen.
Doctor has really has looked into my lifestyle, activity and she has gone above and beyond to get the best solution for me.
I did say I wouldn’t be troubling the Olympic podium or many others but she’s registered me as an exercise induced athlete so it’s legal for me to take steroids !
Focus now on getting back into consistent training, lose the weight I’ve gained and enjoy a few fun races. Will try to run a half marathon for Asthma UK to give back to an extremely helpful charity which has a free helpline that I initially benefited from and an information packed website.
The initial “Oh shit – what now ?!” feeling has gone and I feel positive about returning to fitness. I may even be a better athlete than I was before when I get my dodgy lungs & asthma under control ! Who knows anything is possible.
Breathe – play – enjoy life.
Obstruction of the lumen of a bronchiole by mucoid exudate, goblet cell metaplasia, and epithelial basement membrane thickening in a person with asthma. Looks pretty this way !