Every morning my Mom asks me the same question, “how are you doing?” Some mornings my blurry eyes look at her pre-coffee with no idea how I feel about anything. And then the coughing starts again, and we all know how I’m doing. Most days I’m just going through motions. Some moments are better than others. Some are down right scary, which is why my Mom asks how I’m doing every morning.
It didn’t seem like a big deal when I started coughing in May. I don’t get sick a lot, so I figured it was just a cold. I would go for a run, and end up doubled over coughing a quarter-mile down the road sometimes ending the run by getting sick or struggling to breathe. For weeks I put up with it all. I would lay in bed coughing on my days off, and binge watching netflix shows because I didn’t have the energy to move. Sleeping didn’t help. Neither did my attempts at running, or anything else I tried. So finally I went to the doctor. Bronchitis was going around, and I was the fifth person in a row with the same symptoms. Nothing got better with an allergic reaction to the antibiotics, and an inhaler that didn’t seem to do anything. I still struggled with running, but managed to run the Peachtree Road Race without kneeling over. Two weeks later I was back at the doctors, and leaving with yet another inhaler with hopes that my blood work would show us the answers. Instead of answers I passed every test. I had perfectly functioning lungs and heart, and no problems with any of my blood work, but the coughing and chest problems didn’t stop.
Two weeks later I was back in my doctor’s office struggling to breathe and coughing none stop. She looked annoyed, but I persisted. I know my body, and something was not right. She was now convinced I had asthma. I flunked the breathing test, and past the chest x-ray with flying colors. More inhalers came with few instructions along with insomnia like I’ve never had before. So, I decided to go to an asthma specialist. I was tired of the breathing attacks. The scariest, and largest came when half of my family was in town. Standing in the shower the coughing started, followed by not breathing. I kept trying to cough so I could breathe, and ended up on the floor. The first asthma doctor was no help. I shouldn’t have to wait four days for someone to call back when I say I can’t breathe, and being told it was just a sinus infection was frustrating. My new doctor listens, and calls back within hours, and while I was still frustrated being told it was a sinus infection and not asthma she seemed interested in getting to the bottom of things as she watched my struggling. She could tell I didn’t like it, but had a plan if the antibiotics didn’t work.
Three rounds of antibiotics later I laid in the CT scanner the day after my birthday having my head scanned. Naturally they found no signs of anything, which explains why the antibiotics never did anything. Four months later I’m still coughing, I can’t even run a mile without walking, and I have more tests next week. I’ve spent many times crying in frustration until I realized one morning that I was tired of it all bringing me down. I don’t run far or fast, but I get out several times a week and put one foot in front of the other. One day I will hopefully have some answers, and maybe even stop scaring my Mom by having a massive asthma attack in front of her. Today I’m doing okay, and tomorrow I will keep fighting!