Need More Air

People laugh when I tell them that I have weak lungs, but I do. Growing up, I had childhood at least once a year and I’m still highly susceptible to it. In my late twenties, I developed asthma. And, in the past year, I have had pneumonia twice.

But I am still able to run a sub-22 minute 5K and last year I ran a 1:42 half-marathon. I’ve learned to train with asthma by using my inhalers properly.

Before you jump ahead to conclusions and think that my times are a result of using puffers, I’m going to tell you that they aren’t. Research has shown that using inhalers does not give you an extra edge; when non-asthmatics were tested with and without puffers, there wasn’t a difference in their times. Secondly, in days before asthma, my marathon PR was 3:23, which is directly in line with what I am running now.

As I’m gearing up for a fall marathon, I’m worried about one of two things: losing my rescue inhaler, the one I need before running and if I should have an attack and developing pneumonia again in the fall. On Friday, I met with my doctor to discuss the possibility of getting a vaccination for pneumonia.

My GP agreed that the vaccine seems like a good idea. However, it is not his decision to make. He has to put forward a case to the Ministry of Health to prove that I should have it. Usually, he said, the vaccine is for people with chronic lung issues; have bronchitis yearly since childhood and pneumonia in recent years is not enough. So, we’ll wait and see.

He also thought we should change my puffers. There is a new one out which is basically a combination of the two that I am currently using. The difference is in dosage; I use the new one twice daily and I can use it as a rescue inhaler. I don’t need to use it before cardiovascular exercise.

Changing puffers makes me nervous – especially in the middle of the season – but I’m going to try it for a month. I have to trust the professional and show him the same respect that I want parents of my students to show me when I make suggestions. I make not like it, but I’m willing to try it.

So, now I’m armed with enough air to last until the middle of August. As luck would have it, I don’t have any races planned for a few weeks so I can test them out on easy runs, long runs and at the track without fear of penalty. Once mid-August comes, I’ll decide on which type of asthma meds to use. Let’s hope that I’ll have had enough time to make the right decision.

7 Replies to “Need More Air”

  1. Wow, this is REALLY crappy. It just makes you more amazing at the speeds that you are able to put up.

    It sounds like you have it under control….somewhat. Hopefully you don't have any bouts any time soon.

  2. I'm no doctor, but yeah, you seem to have described “chronic lung issues” so I hope they make an exception for you, deservedly improving your quality of life.

    Meanwhile, your competitors are probably petitioning against it!

  3. The Ministry of Health? That sounds so funny but I know what you are talking about. Sounds much like what we do here with the individual health insurance providers except we tend to do it backwards. Doctors here will treat first, then you have to fight with the insurance provider if they don't agree that the treatment was actually needed.
    I hope the new inhaler works for you. It's good that you will have some time to test it out prior to toeing the line.

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