Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Lake Michigan at Sunrise

Thursday, November 28, 2013

The Diagnosis Circle - Asthma - Solution? Turkey and Family!

So here I am on my longest blogging, blog reading, and exercise drought. Time to start quenching the need for each need right?

Let's catch up on what is wrong with me!
Last I blogged, a cardiologist said my heart was no bueno and started me on a beta blocker that put me in a funk. And every day following my stress  test (on November 15) my complaints worsened. I went from being able to exercise lightly, to barely being able to walk a few blocks without feeling stress on my ability to breathe. I was NOT a happy camper. Around this time, I lost my enthusiasm to enjoy the running adventures (blogs) of other people, I know I wanted to, but I just couldn't think of being at that point right now.

I didn't feel like I had a heart issue. My complaints didn't align enough with the heart condition to convince me that my heart was causing my breathing discomfort. But what do I know, I'm not a doctor. I'll give the medicine a chance.

After a few days of giving the medicine a chance, I couldn't take it. I could no longer even think of running. I just wanted to be able to walk and breathe normally. My abilities waned every day. I had some rebound days where I thought I was on going to start on the right path, but the next day I felt worse.

I called the cardiologist multiple times, almost breaking down in frustration. He would initially say, let's monitor it, give the medicine a chance, and go to the E.R. if you need to. I didn't want to go to the E.R., I thought I was getting medical attention earlier enough to avoid that. I told the doctor I couldn't monitor it, I was getting much worse. Dizzy, felt like feinting, felt increasing pressure when I walked on my breathing (see 2mph), and started feeling unsafe if I was by myself outside.

 After my complaining, he moved my appointment up a few days and say me the next day (we are now at November 20).  I had a lengthy visit, another EKG, ultrasound of my heart and whatever other tests they did to monitor my heart were called. Result?  He took back his diagnosis of
Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy.

I was confused, so I do not have a heart condition?

The doctor said, that is why we wanted you to follow up in a week to see if you do have that condition, and you don't. After longer review, my heart is a little bigger, but within limits, due to all the running and exercise I do.

I was a bit peeved.

There is a big difference in - we are going to monitor you for a week to see IF you have the heart condition to you HAVE a heart condition and we are going to follow up in a week to see how the medicine works on you.

I was happy to have a healthy heart, but frustrated that I still am getting no relief. The doctor took me off the beta blockers and ordered a chest x-ray for the next day.

I got my chest x-rays and had my worst episode to date at work and felt like I was going to pass out on Roosevelt Road by the Medical District.. I was scared. I was praying that the chest x-rays said something useful.  Later that afternoon, the doctor called and said I had negative results. To monitor the situation and follow up with the next appointment. I almost snapped, my body was failing me. I felt the doctors were barking up the wrong tree. That they heard me, but weren't listening to me. Their next test was a CT Scan with contrast.

I know they were trying to rule out the more threatening issues, but I know the cost of all this is basically going to kill my Christmas budget. I reminded myself it is better than being dead and that that gifts aren't really what makes the season, but still.. a bit of a bummer. I wish that something just gave me some breathing relief.

I went to get my CT Scan the next day (we are at November 22 now), and I also stayed home from work as I was able to function less and less before I got serious discomfort. The CT Scan..SUCKED.

I expected a quick scan.. but that wasn't my luck. I was hooked up to an IV to administer a warm solution into me for the contrast scan. The technician left the room and told me the solution was going to start. I went under the scan and peered at my IV... blood started to bubble.. Shit.. we have a blow out.

The needle popped out of my arm and tape. The solution started spraying all over the body and myself. I freaked. I was told to stay still. What do I do? The tech wasn't coming to save me. I started to wiggle my hand that was behind me, hoping the tech would see. She finally came over and was like? What is wrong? I looked at my arm and she was like OH NO!

So my cloths got all wet and salt lined. And the re-insertion of the needle HURT bad.

And the result of the scan? NEGATIVE.

By the time I got the results, the time was 5pm. Doctor offices closed. I was sad. I had no relief. The cardiologist said the normal line, I have no idea what is wrong with you. Follow up next week with your normal doctor and with him in two weeks. I was sad... Thankfully Saturday I had a relaxing day with my whovian friends!

I felt relaxed that day. It probably helped that my wife didn't let me do more than stay in bed so I wouldn't get worse and my daughter kept me company.

I thought that maybe I was starting to naturally get better?

Sunday came..Shit hit the proverbial fan. I could barely move without feeling like I was struggling to breathe. I sounded like I was wheezing. I got depressed. All I could say to myself was..

 Monday came, and even worse. I called my doctor, he got me lined up with a Pulmonary specialist for Tuesday. They told me to get my scans on CD for my appointment... which ended up being the straw that broke the camel's back.

After picking them up and coming home, I no longer was able to breathe normally resting. I sounded like Darth Vader without his helmet when I was breathing normally.

E.R. visit it was. And what did they say? Asthma. They set me up with some breathing stuff which opened up my throat and they gave me a rescue inhaler (albuterol). Not sure still how that happened in the Marathon at mile 14ish, not uncharted territory for me.

I went to see the Pulmonary doctor the next day, who supplemented the albuterol with a steroid inhaler (very expensive) which I can hopefully be weaned off of over time.

Funny how my final ( I HOPE ) diagnosis is asthma, when that was my initial guess.

I'm feeling a lot better now, still a bit confused on the matter, but glad to have relief. I also have a nice sinus cold, which makes the matter a bit more confusing, which symptom belongs to which ailment?

But I am relieved now. I can finally enjoy the days again. I can think about running again soon and enjoy my wonderful friends and family!
The view here in Michigan
Happy Thanksgiving Everyone! I am honestly thankful for you all who kept in touch with me during my absence and offered your assistance without being prodded. Thank you!

Enjoy your family, health, and opportunities life gives you. Things change so fast, embrace your gifts, no matter how small they may seem today, they may look like the world tomorrow.


  1. Dekkie! So sorry! I had no idea it was this bad :( But so very very glad you have a better understanding of what is going on with you. I sympathize with your frustration and you should be full sail ahead with that diagnosis. It took about eight months for me to get a proper asthma diagnosis after I moved to Amman. Couldn't work out without getting sick or a pain in my chest. Whole long story. But as soon as I had the appropriately adjusted inhalers, I was back on track within days....until the "Arthitis Incident" which is a whole other matter!

  2. Man that sounds thing after another just to get back to square one. Hopefully this is it and you'll be back to yourself soon enough.

  3. Cool, cool, cool! Glad you figured it out. Better late than never! :)

  4. Declan,

    That is a lot of excitement, and yes, quite good they came to a diagnosis so you can begin the road back. I'm now also singing Kill the Wabbit in my apartment thanks to your last gif, though I lack the spear and magic helmet. Enjoy the rest of the turkey break!

  5. I had no idea what was going on too! We can have an inhaler lunch sometime!

  6. Seriously! Frustrating. Makes you stand back and look at the basics for awhile. Feels like I've been out for a year or something. Now if I can also get back to blog reading and gif posting!

  7. If they only listened on the first appointment!

  8. The road back is finally on the GPS. Now I better not miss that turn again!
    you enjoy as well!

  9. Gosh! I am sorry you had to go through that ordeal. All that testing and waiting and gah! How frustrating! :( I hope what they gave you for the asthma helps and you finally feel like YOU again soon! :)

  10. Wow, I am so sorry so what you went through. So frustrating! Glad to hear things are a bit better.

  11. Wow - So glad you finally figured out what was wrong. Hope that you are back to normal soon!

    Hope you had an awesome Thanksgiving

  12. Holy crap dude what a life sucking journey you were on! I am so happy you have a final diagnosis and that you stuck to your guns regarding your health (and not buying into whatever the doctors were telling you)

  13. Good. Heavens. I'm not a medical person by any stretch of the imagination (though I *did* get an A in AP Bio senior year of high school *brushes shoulder off*), but it boggles my mind how difficult of a process it can be to give someone a proper diagnosis. I get that bodies are complicated and there are like 203948233 things that can cause the same symptoms (stomachache? Maybe you had too much sugar...OR YOU HAVE CANCER.), and I doubt that it helps that our brains are magical demons that can convince us we have problems we don't actually have, but whew. Your experience sounds like the opposite of a good time. I hope you're feeling better now!

  14. I feel like me again! Now If I can only feel like super me!

  15. I know right?? After following up with my doctor and venting at the process, it made a little more sense, but still I'm not happy how I was treated vs my complaints.

    I'm glad to come out of it with a pretty treatable diagnosis! Thanks !