Monday, September 24, 2012

where did July, August and September go?

spilled some thyme, lost some time.  no biggie.
My favorite month disappeared in a flash (and then two more with it). It's true that July is a big month for me.  After all, there is the national holiday, Masdin name change day, my birthday, my dad's birthday, my brother in law's birth day AND Mark's and my wedding anniversary.  But in addition to the great celebrations, I also have been sick for well over a good month.  Let's review.

Mark and I left for Houston to visit my family at the start of July.  We flew out on July 3 and I felt a tickle in my throat.  By the end of that first evening, I was worn out and feeling kind of achy.  By day two (which was July 4th), I knew it wasn't just travel fatigue- I'd caught some cold or virus.  It took me the rest of my visit in Houston to get over it, but shortly after we returned to DC (on the July 11), I realized my bug had turned into a sinus infection.  Lucky me!  I was able to get into see the doctor the following week and was prescribed a 10 day round of amoxicillin.  My accompanying cough due to the post nasal drip (TMI?) was so bad, I was prescribed a cough syrup to help me sleep.  That infection seemed to work its way slowly out of my system, and by our anniversary (July 30), I felt more or less well.  More or less, because I did experience some vertigo while we were celebrating in Williamsburg, VA and wondered if my sinus infection had become an inner ear infection.

But the vertigo subsided and I had a few days of mostly wellness.  There was a little cough, but I wasn't concerned until the next week when the little cough turned into a big cough.  I big dry, unproductive cough that I couldn't control.  I felt the need to cough, but didn't feel like coughing was getting me anywhere.  There was still some sinus irritation and I wondered if perhaps I was having an allergic reaction-- I had heard from co-workers that ragweed was in bloom and wreaking havoc with people's sinus systems.  I tried an over-the-counter antihistamine, but besides putting me out cold for a very long post-work nap, I didn't feel any relief.

So I went back in to see my doctor the next Tuesday and was surprised as ever when she suggested that the issue was my asthma.  Now, if asked, I would say that I have mild asthma, and I do have a rescue inhaler that I rarely use, mostly prior to exercise or if I have some other illness that gives me trouble breathing (sinus infections or viruses have turned into bronchitis for me before).  But I've never really considered myself to have real asthma.  I mean, I don't have asthma attacks.  While I get pretty wheezy when I try to exercise (and have subsequently developed a very bad attitude about most forms of exercise as a result), I never usually have problems with my breathing.  My doctor conducted a peak flow test on me and was alarmed when my results where lower than half of where they should have been for someone my age and height.  My doctor added Symbicort (a corticosteroid inhaler) to my meds and said I needed to be back in two days.

So that Thursday I went back in feeling only infinitesimally better and while my peak flows were up, they were still only about 65% of where they should have been.  My doctor decided that we needed to be more aggressive and worried that I might still have an infection (based on some sinus tenderness and a slight fever both Tuesday and Thursday).  I was prescribed another round of antibiotics (5 days this time), an oral steroid, and a nasal steroid spray.  My doctor said it's quite likely that allergies are playing a part in this asthmatic reaction, and suggested I begin taking Claritin as well.

I felt like a walking (lounging, really) pharmacy.  It wasn't lovely.

I did that for awhile and had a follow up appointment.  My peak flows were finally where they should have been, but my doctor referred me to an asthma and allergy specialist to see if more was going on than just a simple cold gone wrong.  I was tested for close to a hundred different allergens and it was revealed that I am allergic to dust mites and cockroaches.  I now have an asthma action plan in place and another follow up appointment this week.

Once I was mostly well and just taking lots of meds, my work life picked up (back to school) and then my guilt kicked in.  I kept feeling like I needed to explain where I've been in order to come back.  In addition to missing three months of blogging, I've also missed out on recording some awesome things in my favorite season.  I missed a 5k with family (no warrior dash this year), grew a plethora of good things and learned a lot in our container garden, lost a little more weight (up to 35 pounds!), and canned absolutely nothing this summer (at least there is the freezer pesto). 

But, at least I'm back. 

I hope to be more regularly in this space this fall-- and it is fall already here, although it would be still more like summer back home in Texas.  I'm taking advantage of having a fourth season and plan to share it all here.  There has already been pumpkin chocolate chip bread, roasted sugar pumpkins, pesto making (late summer/early fall happening), and some rad re-upholstery.  Stay tuned (and forgive me)!

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