I've been posting like mad on here for a the past couple of months, and trying to learn way, way more about respiratory problems that I ever wanted to have to know. It's been frustrating, because test and exam results have been confounding. Well, I went to my primary doctor today to follow up on my admission over the weekend and got a nebulizer and some singulair to add to advair and aciphex and albuterol inhaler (and this week,prednisone), but I am also getting a referral to a pulmonologist. I have high hopes that he or she will be able to figure out exactly what is going on and maybe cut down on some of the meds or find a better mix.
Not sure what to expect, or even how long it will take to get in. I'm still nervous that I'll be told I'm crazy and it's just anxiety or something. But glad to be taking a big step towards gaining some clarity.
The Following User Says Thank You to snowdrift For This Useful Post: Kenn44 (02-11-2012)
My story is really similar to yours. I have been diagnosed with asthma for years, but it took a severe attack in January to get a referral to a Pulmonologist. It took from January until last month to actually get an appointment. Of course, by the time my appointment came around, my asthma wasn't flaring up. He called me on a Sunday to discuss some test results and a continued treatment plan. I am really glad I went even though I was feeling OK at the time. By the way, 95% of my appointment was interview and discussion with the Doctor. He was thorough and spent a lot of time with me. I really appreciated that he seemed to really listen to me.
I have been on the same regimine for the last few years: Albuterol, Advair 500/50, and Singulair. I also now have Tessalon Perle for when the cough gets bad and I carry an epi-pen for bad asthma attacks to help control it enough to get emergency care.
At first I wasn't sure what to make of my Pulmonologist. He really seemed to know his stuff and came highly recommended, but he kept laughing during my appointment and telling me how great I was. Evidently, I was the first patient in a while who actually has true asthma. He was also impressed that I could verbally express my symptoms, triggers, medications, asthma plan, etc... I guess most patients have no clue about their conditions and what their problems are.
Anyway, he gave me an updated asthma plan and sent me for more testing. I understood the Pulmonary Function Testing, but he also sent me for a Modified Barium Swallow and an Esophagram. These are both tests where you swallow Barium ant they observe your swallowing process. Since I don't have any swallowing problems that I feel, I thought I was just wasting money for these tests. Boy was I wrong. While the PFT's confirmed my asthma, I guess I still have acid also coming up effecting my asthma as well. I have been on a double dose of Prevacid for a couple years and thought I had my reflux totally under control because I hadn't felt any symptoms. (I have cough as a reflux symptom and occassionally belching. I have never had heartburn until they recently changed my meds.) My Pulmonologist said I would never be able to get my asthma under control until the acid is under control. It is frustrating because I wonder how I will know it is under control if I am not feeling any symptoms. Anyway, they changed my medication to Nexium and Gaviscon. With this change, I have been sick for the last several weeks with heartburn, nausea, belching and flared up asthma (almost to the point of an ER visit). My GI doctor is refusing to consider anything else until I stay on it for a month. I am trying to be good, because I really want to get my asthma under control before winter (or summer wildfires) which is horrible for my asthma. Cold air and polluted air just do me in. So do the sinus infections I get starting in the fall.
Keep us posted on your Pulmonologist appointment when it comes up.
Sounds like you found a pretty good Pulmonologist - I'm absolutely amazed at how often acid reflux and asthma are inter-connected. I went through the same thing last summer - had miserable sinus and asthma problems for four months (after having both under control for 5 years). I saw 4 different doctors and things didn't get better until I saw an allergist who recognized the link. He put me on Nexium and in a week my asthma and sinus problems were manageable again.
Hopefully the Nexium will kick in and you'll be back on track soon.