Re: I'm finally gonna see a pulmonologist!
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.