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Haven't been here in a while, glad to see I'm not alone in having a hard time coping with the cold this year.

Last year I was training for a February half-marathon and ran outdoors in all weathers, and only had asthma symptoms when it was down to around 0f. This year I cannot seem to get away with that at all. One long run it the temp dropped from low forties to about thirty and although I felt fine during the run, I had symptoms for several days after and resolved to just keep it indoors this winter except for maybe some short runs on warm (30+f) days.

Brief rant: I really weary of hearing runners boast about how "real" runners run outdoors whatever the weather. That's very nice, but I'm pretty sure that on a treadmill I'm still putting one foot in front of the other and I'll take a treadmill over adding additional meds or oral steroids. Why on earth would I want to insist on exposing myself my most significant asthma triggers when there is an alternative? (my two big ones are cold and humidity--here, it's either very cold or cold and humid, snow doesn't help me much, because of the humidity.) I'd probably be better off if I just jogged a couple miles for exercise, but if I treat it more as an athletic endeavor it awakens the competitive spirit and holds my interest better. /rant

But now I'm entirely indoors for the duration of winter: Got a cold, got a sinus infection...yeah you all know the rest. I was all patting myself on the back because I got the asthma exacerbation taken care of in a timely manner and didn't get to the point of having a very acute attack...until it didn't get better. I had a much harder time on prednisone/antibiotics than I have in the past with exhaustion and pain and in fact while the breathing got a little easier, it also got a lot more painful.

Got in to see the pulmo a couple days ago and got a diagnosis of pleurisy. Cannot handle the cold at all. The pain is intense, gets way worse with cold air, and takes hours to ease. Was cleared to keep running, if I could handle the pain. Well, I can, but it ain't pretty.

What's really getting to me is the anxiety. On the heels of a 2+ week cold/sinus/asthma episode that just flattened me, it's a little hard to just ignore that crushing chest pain. (It starts as more typical pluerisy pain with inhalation, but develops into an intense steady pressure/pain that settles in my back and right above the diaphram, and it just does not feel good at all.) The thought of a viral infection in my chest frankly freaks me out and I'm worried about complications. Trying to be realistic about this--the pulmonologist is pretty good at this, and he assured me that complications are unlikely. Nonetheless, quite upset about it all.

Winter cannot end too soon for me...and I have fresh snow to shovel today. So far I've only been outside between indoors and car for a few minutes and it is very unpleasant. I am trying not to think about how much it is going to hurt to shovel. I am not usually wimpy about pain, but crushing chest pain always has that anxiety component that gets under my skin and drives me just up the wall.

Thanks for listening, just a crappy, crappy week, with no relief in sight. :(
Mac2--It's funny, I was just reading a Willa Cather novel last month set in seventeenth century Quebec, and it was a reminder/eye-opener about just how different--and sometimes shocking!--the weather is here in the "new world." I'm not actually in Minnesota, I'm in Michigan, but sometimes alter information slightly just for privacy reasons and wasn't sure about these boards when I first joined. Not quite as cold in Michigan and Minnesota, but a much damper cold interspersed with days-long hard freezes. Yesterday was the first time it got up above about 20f for more than an hour around noon.

The past several winters have been difficult--cold, with the exception of one warm and very wet one. If we get a heavy snowfall and then it warms up to the high thirties/low forties for a few days, there's all kinds of funk in the air--leaf molds, and a weird fungus or mold that grows under the snow. I am actively seeking employment someplace warmer, but as I am sensitive to both cold and humidity, I have to be cautious there too. I think I'd rather have a really hot, humid summer for a few months, though, than a hot humid summer for one month and wet or frigid winter for four to six months!

I am being cautious with exercise; I have ADHD quite and I control it with meds and exercise. If I don't work out, my mental state goes to heck in a handbasket very quickly. So, I'm keeping up with it slowly and cautiously. Two miles yesterday instead of five, and slower. If I at least go to the gym, do a brief workout, and then shower and dress there, I'm getting something and sticking to my routine.

There's a new twist now, though. My pulmo's office just called with xray results. The person who called said "it's negative for pnuemonia, but if the pain isn't controlled with anti-inflammatories, I need to go to the ER (aka A&E). I don't even know what the implications are of what she said--does this mean it's not pleurisy after all, but all in my head, or just residual asthma pain? Does it mean that it is pleurisy, but just caused by the physical trauma of the asthma attack, rather than an infection (which would presumably mean it would get better faster, I think?)? Does it mean that it's not caused by pnuemonia but by some other bad thing that doesn't show up on an xray? I know that pnuenothorax shows up on xrays, but apparently other kinds of plueral effusions don't necessary show up. So, yeah, I am just confused. I don't know if there's anything wrong or not, I don't know if there's potentially something seriously wrong, I don't know if the ER comment was because he wants me to get over it and get out of his hair or if there's a potential problem that could be diagnosed more quickly in the ER. I'm now completely confused. And I can't even call and ask because he is not in the office for another week. How frustrating.

I'm leaning towards the "it's nothing" approach, because the pain, astonishingly, did not start getting more pronounced as soon as I stepped out the door as it has the past several days. Probably it was just mild pleurisy brought about by asthma/sinus infection/coughing combined with normal post-exacerbation soreness and it's getting better. But I know I'm going to spend the weekend wondering if something really bad is happening in my chest and I don't even know it. :/
I am indeed very relieved and delighted that it is not pnuemonia or something similarly bad. I did do a very easy workout today--really, my pulmonologist said it was ok--and did not have any massive worsening like I did last time. It seems like this might be getting better a lot faster than I had feared. It's still there, but not as bad as yesterday, and only one really bad episode today.

Jane--I'm very fortunate in that I am not at all prone to outdoor allergies; my known triggers are all non-allergic--cold, humidity, smoke & smoke residue are the biggest ones. I have developed a pattern of getting bogged down with sinus/asthma problems in early summer, which might be just be because I've happened to get a cold then, or it could be an allergy, but the classic culprits never give me trouble.

Thanks for the support. It's been a rough couple of weeks.





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