Wednesday, November 7

Attacking my asthma

Sunday I ran 5K on the treadmill with nary a cough.

Monday I ran four miles without any trouble.

Tuesday, well, the workout was on my car, not at the gym... It had needed an oil change for awhile and my boyfriend was available, so that's all she wrote.

Tonight I plan to run again. Hopefully five miles. I have one hour to workout and I'm hoping to pop out the five miles I know I can run in an hour.

A month ago, I couldn't do any of this. My outdoor running was a struggle and my races weren't really going that well (my really difficult first group run--complete with asthma attack!, October 20th trail race, October 27th 10k nightmare) So what gives? I mentioned in an earlier post this week that I'm taking a different approach with my asthma medications. I think that's making the difference. Here's what has changed:
  • My allergist switched me from Pulmicort to Symbicort (2 puffs 2x/day).
  • I gave up on one of the inhalers I was supposed to use prior to exercise (Xopenex) because I didn't really feel it doing anything.
  • I started using a spacing chamber with my rescue inhaler prior to exercise.
What's a spacing chamber? It's commonly known as a spacer. It's a weird little tube with a valve. You plug your aerosol inhaled medication (inhaler) on one end, and there's a mouthpiece on the other end. You squirt the medication into the tube and it's just waiting there for you to breathe it in. No breathing coordination required.

My allergist explained that it's a 20/80 split. When you don't use a spacer, 20% of the medicine gets to your lungs and 80% of it is in your mouth. (!!!) But when you use a spacer, 80% of the medicine get into your lungs and 20% of it gets stuck in your mouth.

I may give the Xopenex another try... with the spacer. But I'm skeptical. I've been told it's the same medication as Ventolin (just formulated differently; it doesn't give me the shakes like Ventolin does). Right now, though, I'm thrilled to be able to be running like I was this summer!

Sunday I have a trail race--an 8K... roughly five miles. The autumn leaves are still wreaking havoc on my lungs, but I'm doing my best to endure and to use the tools I have to make sure I can still do the things I want to do!

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