It’s July 1st. Half of 2011 is gone. Seems like just yesterday I was making plans to blog something everyday just to keep my mind on the hobby. Sometimes I just can’t believe how time gets away from me. Funny how life gets in the way of things sometimes. Or is it that things often end up getting in the way of life? Either way, 6 more months are gone forever. Oh well, time to move on!
Sometimes in life you make choices. Other times choices are made for you. I recently experienced the second situation with positive results. Since I was a child I have had asthma…or I have been told I have it. Based on previous medical testing, there is some question on the actual diagnosis of asthma but for whatever reason breathing troubles have cast a grey cloud over my life for as long as I can remember. My treatment of choice has been OTC epinephrine inhalers with the occasional attempt at better control through prescription medication. While this has worked throughout the years I have never really had great control over the symptoms and I burned through inhalers at astonishing rates. Sometimes one inhaler in 2-3 weeks. Over time these got more expensive but I always looked at it as a necessary expense, until recently.
A few weeks ago my inhaler ran out. Money is tight these days and when this happened it was as tight as ever. Extremely tight would be a better description. $22 bucks was just not in the budget. I knew I could not get a new inhaler so I made a decision to give it up. It sounds crazy I know but I had my reasons. First among them was the fact that a doctor told me a few years ago that I did not have asthma. I went through a whole battery of test and that was his diagnosis. Of course he then proceeded to prescribe an inhaled steroid and other drugs. I’ll never really understand that but it happened. I stayed on those drugs around a year, maybe longer. I think it was early 2008 when I went on a no carbohydrate diet and lost some weight and started feeling pretty good. At that time I quit taking the medications. This lasted a few months but eventually I started eating horribly again and got to feeling worse and went right back to the old Primatine Mist inhaler. Flash forward to the middle of June. I go into the doctor for some stomach issues and end up having to see a specialist…blah, blah, blah…we need to get some more tests but you really need to lose weight. This is when my inhaler ran out. So, I had some evidence that I don’t have asthma, I know that drinking only water (as part of the no carb diet) made me feel better, and I didn’t have the money for the inhaler. I also felt that the first step to really losing weight would be to stop drinking sodas, get back on water and try to solve the breathing issues. I took all this information and decided to try and go cold turkey when it came to the whole inhaler issue.
I then did some reading and came across a few articles that supported the idea that drinking a lot of water can reduce asthma symptoms. It all kind of fit for me so I pretty much tripled my water intake and I noticed a marked improvement just about that same day. It has been over two weeks since I last had an inhaler and overall I am doing quite well. The first week was tough. Not that I had too many problems breathing but I was always worried that trouble was right around the bend. My chest would get tight and I would get nervous. I tried to remain calm and made it a mission to keep hydrating. Eventually my chest would relax and I would be fine. Today I am pretty much breathing normal most of the day. When I get hot or do anything strenuous I can feel the tightening up start to happen but I don’t worry about it and eventually I feel fine. I have not been without an inhaler for this long since I was very young and I am actually excited about the coming weeks, months and years living without it.
There are some things I have learned through all of this that I would like to share. Soda is bad. I have known this for a long time but it has been that one thing that I keep coming back to. I think it has been more of a convenience than anything else. One thing I know, consuming large quantities of soda makes me feel bad. I don’t know why (I do have some suspicions), it just does. I also have learned that as a society we don’t drink enough pure water. Dehydration causes a lot of problems and exacerbates others. In my case water seems to be the key. The more I drink, the better I feel. Obviously there is a limit to this but right now I am drinking about a gallon and a half a day. I think I need to get up to about 2 gallons but honestly that is quite a lot. My body still seems to be adjusting but the only side effect at this moment is more frequent trips to the restroom. On the good side I am sleeping better and having less low energy periods during the day.
The next big test is going to be working up to a consistent exercise routine. Exercise has always been my breathing nemesis. I plan to start slow and over days and weeks try to see if there is a point where some kind of attack is eminent. My hope is that I can control it without medication and eventually get to where it doesn’t happen at all. I am pretty scared about this next step. If I can’t control my breathing during exercise then I have a problem, the least of which is a possible hospital visit. I figure all I can do is try and, of course CVS is just down the street!