It has been 39 weeks since I started working out on a regular basis. I am looking better, feeling better, and doing better than I have been for a long time. 😁
Last week I had my semi-annual appointment with my respiratory specialist. I have asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. I have permanent lung damage from these conditions and from having a fully collapsed lung due to empyema ten years ago. I use Advair and Spiriva inhalers daily and use a Ventolin rescue inhaler as needed. Over the years, I have taken oral steroids (Prednisone), antibiotics, and a variety of inhalers – blue and green and orange and purple… Every color in the rainbow.
I have had recurring pneumonia and bronchitis and have been susceptible to every flu and cold bug that made its rounds. Between the bouts of pneumonia, bronchitis, flu bugs, colds, and asthma attacks… I struggled to ever feel GOOD.
In February, I started working out on a daily basis. I started with half an hour of dancing to hits from the 50’s – 60’s. As I felt better, I turned to You Tube and started following a channel that posted dance/exercise classes for seniors. By May, I was doing You Tube Zumba classes every morning. By July, I was walking our dog 2-4 km every day and doing my Zumba lessons. In September, I started lifting light weights every evening. I am up to using 5 lb dumbbells now, plus doing Zumba, plus walking the dog (when weather permits).
And I am feeling good! I am active! I am strong! I am looking lean(er) and fit! I am happy! I have had one ‘bug’ which was come and go for a few days before it went away – with no need for antibiotics, oral steroids, or the like.
So… Last week I went to see my respiratory specialist. He checked my lungs, my blood pressure, my heart rate, my oxygen level. He asked if I was experiencing any shortness of breath, how I was feeling, any current health concerns. Everything was good! I told him about my workouts and he said that was good. 😊
Then he renewed my inhaler prescriptions and offered to write me one for an antibiotic. 🤦 WHY? In case I get a lung infection – bronchitis, pneumonia or the like. I declined and told him if I needed antibiotics, I would let him know, but I wasn’t anticipating any such need as I am doing great!
His response was…. “That’s because you are taking your medication”.
I have been taking ‘my medication’ for thirty years! My medication may have kept me alive but it sure as hell didn’t make me feel great! It didn’t make me healthy and strong and fit!
Every time I have seen this specialist, I have asked for advice on what I could or should be doing to best manage my asthma, COPD, and bronchiectasis. He could try this drug or that. He could send me to a cardiologist or an ENT. He could send me for scans or pulmonary function tests. I would ask about exercise – specific exercises that he could recommend. He would make a vague comment about any activity being helpful and remind me to take my medication.
Ultimately, I started working out on my own and I found a workout program that worked for me. I worked it for nine months – and his response to my phenomenal results was “That’s because you are taking your medication.” 😤🤯🤬
It doesn’t matter to me. I take my inhalers to control my chronic lung conditions and I do my workouts because I know that they are giving me the quality of life that I want and deserve.
But what about all the other people out there with asthma, COPD, bronchiectasis, or other chronic lung conditions? It is hard to know what will help or hurt when one is already struggling just to breathe. It is hard to push oneself when one is handed a simple fix in the guise of a pill or inhaler. It is scary to get any diagnosis of a chronic incurable disease and to believe that it will only get worse. It is just wrong that people are not hearing what they need and deserve to hear from their respiratory specialists and that what they are hearing is only half the answer to living with chronic lung conditions. 😢
Take care and have a great day! 💞🌞