Asthma? Really?!

I’ve been wheezing for almost a year now, but thought it was just because I was so fat. HA!

I was in the ER on Thanksgiving with my breathing sounding like I was playing a harmonica. After a couple of visits, they finally said it was an Upper Respiratory Infection. None of the breathing treatments there helped, but they gave me an Albuteral inhaler that did nothing for me. I just had to wait the URI out and my coughing finally left around New Year’s.

asthma navelgazing writer

But the wheezing has continued. The ER also gave me referrals to a Pulmonologist and a Cardiologist… for the wheezing and I have an enlarged heart.

I went to the Pulmonologist last Monday and after the battery of breathing tests, told me I had moderate asthma. Huh?! I was shocked. I really did think my inability to catch my breath when I walked (even to the bathroom) was because of my weight. Apparently not!

I was prescribed Symbacort, but it isn’t doing much and I am waiting for insurance approval to get some Spiriva.

Now that I know what it is, I am able to put symptoms together. My mom has had severe asthma since I was a kid, so I’m used to her asthma. Mine, not severe, still has similar symptoms I overlooked. My wheezing is like a whistle, not the gasping kind of breathing I have seen in her. When I walk, it does get louder and more musical, but generally, sitting, I just whistle.

asthma navelgazing writer

The feeling I get when walking is really odd. I feel like I can take half a breath and then something clamps over my lungs and I am unable to inhale any more than that half-breath. I lean over trying to breathe, catch my breath with that clamped down feeling. It does not go away until I am sitting again for a few minutes. Then back to the open breathing and whistling.

asthma navelgazing writer

I go to the Cardiologist March 26th. It will be interesting to see what the deal is with my heart, too.

I’ll write what I learn as I go along.

Biliary Obstruction

(This was written the first morning of NaNoWriMo. I was dreaming about writing so thought I might as well get up and write! 4:00am)

I have an off again, on again Biliary Obstruction. Biliary Obstructions are rarely like this, from what my Liver doctor says.

Apparently, because I went about 10-12 years before getting my gallbladder out, I seem to have a gallstone stuck in my bile duct. What is weird, though, is it moves around, sometimes blocking the duct and sometimes not.

bo1

Every time I pee, I look in the toilet to see what color my urine is. If it is clear, I can breathe a sigh of relief. If it is darker, like it is today, I get worried the gallstone is moving to block the bile duct again.

pee comparison

Why this matters is because when the stone is wedged in, I get really sick. I feel horrid, can hardly sit, but instead, lay curled on the bed in horrid pain, alternating between constant nausea and periodic vomiting. I also have a fever and that makes me feel terrible on top of it all. Twice, I have had incredible itching, so bad I was using scissors on my back to scratch, finally going to the ER when I saw blood on my sheets from cutting myself (accidentally) with the scissors.

Itching in Primary Biliary Cirrhosis

Then, after that specific episode, the obstruction crazily vanished over a 12-hour period and I felt perfectly normal again. It was bizarre! Everything I read on Biliary Obstruction said SURGERY, but here I was, feeling fantastic and peeing clear again.

A few weeks ago, the obstruction began… my pee turned rust colored first, then my poop turned the color of white clay, then the nausea and stomach ache set in, then the vomiting and fever. I called the Liver doc and got an appointment 2 weeks hence.

Then, after 3 weeks of this, the obstruction left again and by the time I saw the doctor, I was feeling normal. I was able to ask two main questions:

Why was this happening? And When do I go to the hospital?

He explained the stone moving back and forth.

Retained stone in a bile duct. In some cases, a gallstone will remain in your common bile duct after gallbladder surgery. This can block the flow of bile into your small intestine and result in pain, fever, nausea, vomiting, bloating, and jaundice soon after surgery. You may need an additional procedure to remove gallstones that are retained in your common bile duct.

No, there was nothing I could do to change its movement… no positioning, no food choices, no drinking extra water. It was completely random. Sheesh!

He said to go to the hospital when I had nausea and vomiting and a fever.

I looked at him and asked, “That’s it? I don’t wait until I am itching to death?” He turned and looked at me and said by the time I am itching I am near liver failure. “Do NOT wait until you are itching.”

Well, alright… I had a plan!

Part of why I got the new bed was for when I am sick with the Biliary Obstruction. After I had the gallbladder removed in February 2017, I remained feeling horrible, even worse than before it was removed, and it wasn’t until the discovery of the obstruction that I learned why.

So why don’t they just remove the gallstone? Because I have to be symptomatic before insurance will pay for it to be taken out.

I have to wait at least one more time to feel yucky before they will do something about it.

Until then, I look at my pee and wait.