To Breathe or Not to Breathe

1 11 2011

Prepare yourselves, friends. I’m going to talk about my health for a bit.

I’m getting sick again. I had bronchitis at the beginning of October and now, less than a month later, I feel the vise tightening around my lungs.

I am so. Very. Angry.

In rehab I learned that anger is a secondary emotion, and if I stop a minute I can admit that I cried for an hour on Sunday because I can’t bear the thought of another winter like last year—you know, when I got pneumonia and then had bronchitis something like six times.

I am so. Very. Depressed.

My doctor doesn’t think there’s anything wrong with my lungs, but that makes no sense to me, because normal people don’t get bronchitis multiple times a year, right? Yet when I’m between my bronchial issues, my lungs sound like those of a perfectly healthy individual. I don’t cough. I don’t wheeze. I’m as normal, health-wise, as someone with all my other health issues can be.

Speaking of my other health issues, this pesky Antiphospholipid Syndrome I have—you know, the one that caused a blood clot and all my pregnancy issues? I take a medication to keep it under control. It’s considered a DMARD—a disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug—and though nobody is sure of the mechanism it uses, it’s believed to interfere with communication of cells in the immune system.

Yeah. I’m sure you see the inherent problem here, though last year was the first time I experienced such severe respiratory illness and I’ve been on the same immunosuppressant for 11 years.

11 years is a long time. I vaguely remember more joint pain, more migraines…pretty much more pain in general before my meds. I don’t particularly want to return to that. Still, if there’s a chance letting my immune system communicate a little bit better will lead to breathing easier…

Bah.

Fun fact: I can live with pain. I can’t live without breathing.

I am so. Very. Annoyed.

Enough about that. As yesterday was Halloween, I’m obviously obligated to share adorable photos.

And one of me, just for fun.

Okay, I admit it, I think I look pretty hot. In a creepy, goth kind of way.

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4 responses

19 01 2012
TheNextMartha

Bronchitis sucks. Hard. I have bad allergies so for me if I catch a cold and it’s a bad one? It goes straight to bronchitis or a sinus infection. Over the summer I had both. And my husband was out of town. And I slept with a heating pad on my face. And it was 95 out. I feel for you. Take care.

6 01 2012
Betrayal and My Immune System « Phoenix Rising

[…] To Breathe or Not to Breathe (likeswimming.wordpress.com) […]

2 11 2011
Elizabeth

Rats. From a repeat offender on the illness side, I sure can understand your anger and then your depression. In my case it was at least one major surgery per year. And here I am typing this note at 12:45 when I have to be at work tomorrow by 7. But my hip joints ache so badly I couldn’t sleep without medication. I’ll feel horrible at my 7 a.m. meeting because I won’t be awake and I take 1/4 of a tablet! Oh well. After about 10 years I realized that all the anger in the world didn’t make me feel any better.Even expressing it didn’t help because no one really understood how defeated I felt. So I consciously focus on good things in my life: despite my pain, I have beautiful children that I’m proud of. I have the cutest grandchildren in the world. I feel love from numerous other people on the earth, and I know I have a purpose here. So I just hang out trying to do my best like you do. Call a doctor. I’ll babysit.

1 11 2011
Travis B. Hartwell

I understand your pain. I haven’t been dealing with bronchitis, but the complications due to a compromised immune system are frustrating. I had a kidney transplant nearly 2 1/2 years ago, and because of that I have been on varying doses of 3 immunosuppressants plus others occasionally when I’ve needed something stronger. Half of the other medication I take is to counter the side effects of the immunosupressants. One of the three is prednisone, which is constantly reeking some havoc or another on my system.

I constantly get infections and because of that I have started consulting with an infectious disease specialist to figure out what is the appropriate line to start treatment. I’m sick of always being sick. Most likely this will not change for the rest of my life, since I need these meds as long as I have the transplant. Not any fun.

I hope you get feeling better. I’m going through a deep depressive episode myself. There’s something about this time of year — I had a really bad one last year that resulted in a night in the ICU and nearly two weeks in the hospital.

All I’m trying to say is I understand.

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