I'm still around and if anyone's interested I've gone off my asthma meds.
I still have 2 inhalers in case symptoms return, but after the insurance company pissed me off about a co-pay, I decided to see if I could manage without meds. It's been since November 6. Not a big deal, right? Well for me it is. I've been a SEVERE and chronic asthma sufferer since I was 4. They even had to take away MY PONY!!
Asthma cost me Golden Boy, my palomino pony. In what universe should a little girl lose her pony?? It's a wonder I'm not a raging psychotic.
Anyway...after years of everyone telling me I'd grow out of it, living in a house that very nearly killed me (pets, wool rugs, wood stove heating) and attacks that lasted 12-36 hours and would leave me rigid with exhaustion, it only got worse. Hospitalizations were frequent. Every cold I ever had turned into bronchitis. I went on antibiotics at least once a year if not more. Prednisone became a constant companion; oh those cute little stair-like dosepaks. Every new drug that came out for asthma I tried. Lots of things with the word 'cort' in them. Oy.
Once when I was 26, I went to the emergency room TWICE on Christmas Eve.
Yep. Twice. So many nebulizer treatments. Chest x-rays. Lots of epinephrine (the ONLY fun part - wheee!). Oy. Fake Christmas trees in my future after that.
So around 10 years ago I went on Advair and have been virtually symptom-free ever since. From using my "emergency" inhaler 10 times a day (really, I did) to maybe twice a year was a life-changing thing. I wasn't chained anymore. I wasn't scared. My twice-annual visits to the ER ceased. Wow. I even lived through a bout of pneumonia, something previous doctors said I couldn't do.
Now having this same result without the drugs is doing my head in. The things that scored high on the allergy panel are still in my environment. Pollen, dander, cats, dogs, mold, dust mites...all that stuff is still around me, but hasn't caused me symptoms in the last 10 days without meds. I guess altering gene expression is something within reach. Something I always thought was a bit of a stretch if you know what I mean. Like, oh sure, I can suddenly talk my body out of reacting in a way I don't even control. Like autonomic nerve function.
But it seems I have. Putting it together I suppose it goes like this - overall inflammation and immune response is down. My system is no longer so intensely stimulated, meaning the overall level of irritation and need for immune response is less - I'm not in a constant state of high alert. Now when an irritant enters my system it can be dealt with effectively, suppressing symptoms that would normally punch through the very minimal response my body was able to mount in the past, with all the resources already working so hard. And possibly my gut is no longer riddled with holes that allow foreign bodies to get through and screw with me.
So, there is hope. I'd love to be one of those rare individuals NOT ON MEDS in middle age. It would be amazing to go back to my doctor in the spring and tell her I haven't been using any prescriptions since November. I think she'd be stunned. And I'd love to be the cause.