It’s generally been a rough couple of months on the asthma front. This disease has been kicking my butt. Seems like I’ve been sick more often than not. A couple weeks ago I started flaring again pretty severely, and, as a result, had to up my prednisone to 50mg for a few days. The prednisone did its job this time and kept me out of the hospital, but weaning back down was really tough. I always have a difficult time tapering down below 25mg…. my peak flows bottom out and my symptoms come back with a vengeance. I probably wean too fast, but I know my body, and I would rather risk rebounding and breath crummy for a few days, then to stay on the higher doses and suffer the side effect of the prednisone itself.
A few weeks back I had a sleep study and echocardiogram done to see if they might shed some light on why I’ve been having such a difficult time with my breathing at night. I’m short of breath pretty much 24/7, but more recently, especially in the evenings and the middle of the night, I sometimes get these really bad bouts of breathlessness that leave me gasping. My lung docs thought that maybe my oxygen saturation was dropping at night or that I was having sleep apneas or maybe even congestive heart failure.
Anyways, I got the results of the sleep study back, and they were totally normal. The results of the echo came back abnormal, indicating some mild to moderate pulmonary hypertension. The other parameters on the echo were normal. Whether the elevated pulmonary artery pressures could be causing my nocturnal dyspnea is still unclear. I have a follow up pulmonary visit at the end of the month to see what we’re going to do next. Meanwhile, I’ve propped up the head of my bed a few inches, and it seems to have helped a little.
As far as my walking goes, it’s been a challenging and somewhat abbreviated training cycle. I normally like to spend 10-12 weeks training for a half marathon, but it’s been difficult this time because of the all these mini flare-ups I’ve been having. It’s just plain difficult to exercise and get motivated when you’re feeling crumby and can’t breath. So far, I’ve only spent about one month training for this upcoming race, and as of today I only have 3 weeks left to get prepared. This weekend I’m doing a 12 mile LSD walk, ( the longest walk Ive done since Boston) followed by a 10 mile taper walk the following week. Doing these long slow walks are a critical part of my marathon training, because they help build and increase my endurance levels. Without them, there’s no way Id be able complete a race greater than 5 miles. The problem, of course, is that these longer walks can sometimes aggravate my breathing. The classic asthma catch 22.