asthma?

I really should talk to my doctor about my breathing. I’ve been noticing that I’m wheezing a bit at night, which is new for me – even when I was being put on daily inhalers, I never wheezed. My asthma diagnosis was always tentative, I didn’t have any of the classic signs. What happens when I work out is not anything like a classic asthma attack (for which I am VERY grateful), but it gets to a point where it feels like the air is too thick for my lungs. Not like I can’t breathe, my lungs themselves feel fine, it just feels like the air has gotten so thick that it won’t fit into my airways. Still no audible wheezing, though it would be interesting if someone were to come along when I “run” and listen through a stethoscope to see if there’s wheezing going on inside. I told my naturopath about that the first time I saw her, and she said it was the best description of asthma that she’d ever heard.

So I was on the Couch to 5K website today (mentioning it to a friend, wanted to be sure I gave her the right address), and it got me thinking about how good it felt when I started running – and how the main reason I quit (aside from the shin splints, omfg those suck) was because of breathing issues. I can do the first workout just fine, but I can’t get beyond that – because I can’t freaking BREATHE. I have trouble with it in dance too – especially in ballet, since there are only two of us, so there’s no chance to rest when you’re going across the floor. I frequently see Diana looking very concerned when she looks at me clinging to the barre and panting, and she has occasionally made worried comments about not wanting me to pass out. And it’s so funny because aside from the lack of strength that is directly related to hypoxia (low oxygen levels in the blood), I feel great and I could keep going for hours – if I could just catch my breath. I had initially chalked that up to massive lack of stamina due to not having moved for a decade or so during my major depression, but it hasn’t gotten any better since I’ve been dancing – a lot – nor even when I was exercising every day, either dancing or running (or both!). And I had the same problem even back in college, when I’d been active my entire life. That’s the reason I quit the crew team, in all honesty, which was a huge disappointment to the varsity coach – she’d watched me row my novice year and she had really wanted me on the varsity team the next year.

So, who knows. I don’t particularly want to go back on steroids – but I don’t have problems unless I’m working out. So maybe I get a steroid inhaler (MUCH better than systemic anyway) to use before I dance and see if that helps at all. If so, I might even start running again. It would be SO nice to not be hindered by something that dumb. Maybe then I’ll actually be able to exercise enough that some of this weight will finally start coming off…

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