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Hi SureBett,

You are right about the moving. I developed allergies as an adult after I moved to Utah 15 years ago. I'm now a couple years into my second go-round of immunotherapy. Currently getting 2 injections weekly for 28 of my worst allergens. Thankfully, they are really helping. While I do have allergy symptoms, they have been fairly mild most of the spring/summer this year. I also started Xolair injections for allergic asthma a few months ago. Most of my asthma triggers are environmental, but my bloodwork came back such that it qualified me for the Xolair. I know when I travel I end up with allergies to something wherever I go though. It is pretty much just a given.

When I talk about the moving, it is in frustration. I've had multiple years now where I've had asthma flares that I couldn't get under control for over 4 months at a time. That typically lasts from November-May. Because it is starting this early, I worry I'll already be aggrevated when winter hits. I just don't know how long I can physically and mentally handle this. Winter and cold air are my worst triggers. Pollution and other environmental things such as cleaners, perfumes and smoke are also triggers for me. Unfortunately, I live in a mountain valley area that has cold winters and typically develops winter inversions (pollution trapped in the valley) which means horrible air quality. Without moving or vacationing, I can't get away from breathing the stuff. Summer is usually my "safe" time of year. There are times I feel I would be better off moving somewhere warm with low humidity. A lower altitude might help as well...who knows.

It is frustrating for me getting the PFT testing. It takes me months to get an appointment with my Pulmonologist and another month to get scheduled for testing. The last several times I was tested, I was feeling just fine and my results were normal. Frustrating that the doc can't see me when I'm having problems. I'm on so many meds I don't think my PCP knows what else to do with me.

Right now, my wheezing is better, but I'm spending about 40-50% of my day coughing and trying to get a good breath. This is despite Advair 500/50, Singulair, Prednisone, Albuterol (inhaler and nebulizer) and Tessalon Perle (for the cough reflex). I'm physically worn out. I've also pulled some stomach and back muscles.

On the flip side, I've had some years where following my asthma action plan has worked wonders and I've been able to get things under control fairly easily. Just not recent years. The mask thing is a real pain, but I've decided I don't care what others think, I'm wearing one if it helps. I found a company on the internet that has cloth masks with special air filters that have helped me. They make a fleece version that I use in the winter and cloth version that can be used in the warmer weather. Not too pretty, but they get the job done. Also great that they are washable.

I do have "silent" acid reflux with both GERD and LPR. My reflux symptom was a cough and flare of asthma. I was able to keep it under control with diet and PPI's twice a day for many years. Unfortunately, about 3 years ago everything just stopped working and I had a reflux triggered asthma attack that required emergency treatment. I ended up having reflux surgery in 2008. So far, it has worked. At least I'm just dealing with environmental asthma right now and not the reflux as well.

I'm glad to hear that you have a supportive husband. Going through this alone is tough.

Here's to hoping tomorrow is better.
MountainReader
I just finished 7 weeks with this cough/flare. Went back to my PCP yesterday and I'm now on a 16 day course of tapered Prednisone. Also had a chest x-ray that was "not exactly normal" so I'm going for a CT next Wednesday.

I just want answers so I can get this thing under control.:confused: How frustrating.

Thanks for letting me vent a bit.
Thanks Jane. I really hate going on such a high dose of Prednisone, but at this point, I'm willing to take more aggressive approaches.

My CT scan is Wednesday evening. The radiologist at the hospital also received a copy of my x-rays for a second reading. I figure it will be about a week after that before I get all my results.

All the antibiotics also threw off my IBS. I've also been throwing up with all the coughing pushing things up because it squeezes my stomach. I went to see my GI doc last Monday. He did some labs. They called me on Wednesday to come in for more labs. Turns out I'm now anemic as well. I really wasn't expecting that. Not sure if it has any connection with the cough at all. I'm awaiting the results from my second labs. I go in for an Endoscopy in about 3 weeks. I really hope it doesn't show anything. I had major problems with acid reflux triggering my asthma a couple years ago. I had surgery to prevent the reflux. If it shows any acid coming up, there really aren't any other treatment options left to me. (I never went off my PPI's and sleep on an incline and watch my diet still.)
Thanks for the suggestion on the Farina. I haven't done protein shakes, but I have been trying Instant Breakfast with soy/ almond milk. I haven't done much dairy in years. I'll see what kinds I can find in my local stores.

I found out today that my Hemoglobin is at 7.0. My doc said I should be at 15.0. When I look up anemia symptoms, it mentions difficulty breathing as a symptom. I'm not sure if that can be connected with the coughing at all or not. Based upon my internet research, It looks like that is an extremely low score. They will be doing some biopsies on me in a couple weeks during an Endoscopy.

I got my chest CT scan results today. The good news is that it came back normal. (Just very expensive.) The nurse who called asked if the Prednisone was working. I told her it made me sick and that I'm still coughing a lot. She said he would want me to follow-up, but left it up to me on when. I still have 10/16 days left on this Prednisone prescription, but I've completed taking my upper level dosages already and am tapering down so I'm not sure I should wait. I just don't know where to go from here. There are 2 PA's who have been working with me and both have told me to come back as needed. I haven't been able to get an appointment with an MD in a timely manner so I've just been seeing them instead. Do I want to get another Primary Care doctor involved? I went to my Pulmonologist last spring and he didn't do much even after I'd been coughing for 4 months. Since my asthma appears to be under control and my breathing isn't bad right now, I'm not sure how much he would do. It is a "mystery" cough and since I'm not sure why I still have it, so it makes it difficult to know who to go to. What to do...what to do... :confused:
Almost 11 weeks and I'm still coughing. I occassionally have some short periods without coughing, but then have hours with multiple attacks. I keep hearing from the doctors that the primary causes of a chronic cough are asthma, allergies/PND and acid reflux.

My primary care doc upped my treatment of all three with no real success. I'm feeling like I'm medicating myself and doing more harm than good.

While I had a true asthma flare in early august, I'm questioning whether or not it is still asthma at this point. I've been on two rounds of Prednisone. The first was a short course for my flare and apparently worked. The second was a high-dose longer course that I had side-effects from and didn't make any noticable difference in the cough. I'm still on Singulair and at Advair 250/50 in addition to Xolair shots.

For the allergies, I'm on immunotherapy, Allegra, Singulair and Nasonex. Right now, I'm not feeling any congestion or PND at all. My allergies are mostly just itchy, gritty eyes.

For the acid reflux, I had a Nissen Fundoplication 2 years ago. I have had a Barium Swallow that showed no sign of reflux and that my fundoplication was intact. I also had another Endoscopy that showed no evidence of reflux. My ENT is going to do another pH test on me next week, but neither of us expect to find any signs of reflux. I'm also still taking Dexilant (never went off after surgery), Pepcid, sleeping on a slant and watching what I eat and drink. I haven't noticed any increase in coughing after I eat. Mornings are bad though.

My Primary Care doc told me he couldn't do any more for me.

My GI doc said he didn't think the cough was GI related. I did have an Endoscopy last week and they did a couple biopsies to check for H. Pylori and Celiac, but everything looked good.

I went to my ENT/Allergist today on the advice of my PCP. He did a scope and said my vocal cords are red. He said the redness could be from the coughing or from reflux. (Big surprise!!) I'm going to have pH testing to rule out the reflux. As for the coughing, he doesn't see a need to adjust my allergy or asthma treatments at this time. He said that some people just have a chronic cough that remains undiagnosed or that is a "habit". He said the habit isn't a couscious thing, but that the inflammed vocal cords trigger the need to cough which keeps the vocal cords inflammed. I asked him about the possibility of environmental triggers and he just listed the ones I already know about.

I go see my Pulmonologist next week, but he didn't do anything for me last winter when I had the cough for 4 mos so I'm not too hopeful.

I'm really worn out from this. It is affecting my work performance. I can't multitask like I used to be able to do and keep getting further and further behind. I also can't work the long hours I used to at times to get the job done either. I'm beginning to worry for my job which I've had for many years.

I'm frustrated with having to seek out answers myself and hitting roadblocks at every turn. While several docs seem sympathetic, none of them have helped me seek out the answer beyond the obvious. They just pass me off to another. I'm spending a huge amount of money and getting no answers

I would welcome any suggestions anyone on this board may have. Your support helps keep me going.

Thanks,
MountainReader





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