I managed to stop an attack in it's tracks last weekend and not have it wreck an outing! I was pretty proud of myself!
Da boy and I have started hiking on weekends because of my recently diagnosed . I generally don't have an issue with flat, but we hike in the foothills which means at least some elevation changes.
On Saturday, we started out on the trail, climbing up into the trees. I was already feeling a bit "off" – stuffy, mucusy, a little tight – and had taken all my allergy meds and pretreated with albuterol. I was starting to get that "knife in chest" feeling, so I slowed my pace to try to work through that. Then I realized was only breathing in the top of my lungs. And that each breath was getting higher and more shallow. I started to panic a little thinking this hike was over before it really started!
I took another puff of albuterol (still under my limit) to see if that would help. I stopped and focused on my breathing – thank you yoga and taiji! I focused on squeezing the air out of the bottom of my lungs. It was a struggle! I started coughing which moved stuff around. I could feel "where" in my lungs I was breathing and I could feel things keep "getting stuck." I've never really paid attention to that before. I managed to move it from the top to the bottom, but I still wasn't using my full lungs. My breathing was still shallow, just in a different part of my lungs! It was a really weird realization.
After another couple of minutes really concentrating on my breathing, I was able to get to a point where I could take a full breath! Started out walking again, slowly. We hiked just over 5 miles with more elevation change than planned (we took a wrong turn and wound up on a trail that went up and over instead of around!)
I feel I have a new tool in my arsenal now. I'm sure it won't always work, but if I can stop and focus and get improvement, maybe I can at least keep a mild attack from escalating.