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Running 2 laps around the soccer field was my limit.

When I was young, I was in absolute denial about my asthma. It felt like every morning my mom yelled out the car window when she dropped me off at the bus stop, "Don't forget to use your inhaler before gym class!". I was of course embarrassed that my mom was yelling at me around my friends (as any grade school kid would be). Despite her daily plea with me to take my inhaler, I would  undoubtedly forget. Like clockwork, I would make my way around the second lap of the soccer field and start wheezing. The moment I started wheezing, I started panicking. Rather than stopping my run, taking deep breathes and using my rescue inhaler as instructed, I would carry on hoping that my body would magically right itself. Eventually, I would keel over in a frenzy and wheeze uncontrollably.  I would be sent to the school nurses office with signs of an asthma attack where I would be treated with a rescue inhaler or nebulizer. I think it took me a whole school year to pass the second lap of the soccer field. 

 

I am not alone in my asthma struggle. I am older now and have been able to get my asthma symptoms under control, but I will never forget the struggle I had as a kid. 

 

According to the CDC, nearly 50% of all adults and children have a hard time identifying the early signs and symptoms of an attack. Asthma is the number 3 leading cause of pediatric hospitalization in the United States and asthma costs are nearly $56 Billion a year. Despite better inhaler treatments and improvements in education about asthma, self management is still a huge struggle.

 

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  • K8sMom2002

    Nick! 

    Even though I was formally diagnosed with asthma as an adult, when I should KNOW better about using an inhaler at the start of an attack, my brain worked the way your brain worked as an elementary school student.  

    Now I know better, but early on it was often hard for me to realize, "Oops, this is not just a coughing spell — this is only going to get worse."

    Is your asthma under better control now? Could you make those two laps around the soccer field?

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, and you can upload your photo as your avatar on your profile page. Do you know how to do that? Let me know if you need pointers!

  • Nick_StradosLabs
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Oh, and you can upload your photo as your avatar on your profile page. Do you know how to do that? Let me know if you need pointers!

    I did not know that! I will need to toy around with my profile and see if I can upload…Thanks!

  • Nick_StradosLabs
    K8sMom2002 posted:

    Nick! 

    Even though I was formally diagnosed with asthma as an adult, when I should KNOW better about using an inhaler at the start of an attack, my brain worked the way your brain worked as an elementary school student.  

    Now I know better, but early on it was often hard for me to realize, "Oops, this is not just a coughing spell — this is only going to get worse."

    Is your asthma under better control now? Could you make those two laps around the soccer field?

    Yes exactly! I was also just too worried about playing around with friends I didn't even want to think about what might be causing my asthma. 

     

    Yes I finally can! I avoided playing soccer when I was young and played baseball instead (a lot less running), but now I have been increasing my running and cardio workouts. I am actually training for a half marathon right now which is the longest distance I have ever run! 

     

    Thanks for the response

  • K8sMom2002

    Oh, wow … I am impressed! I have EIB, and sometimes I get hives when I run as well, so that's a problem for me. But I've always wanted to be a runner. I keep thinking that maybe I should try it. My doctor has told me that as long as I avoid the super cold days (that's in the deep South, so it's never really super-super cold, LOL) and pre-treat with my inhaler, I should be okay. 

    But I can't seem to wrap my head around giving myself meds when I'm not having an asthma attack, you know? Although, if I strengthened my lungs, I might have LESS trouble with asthma.

  • Jen

    Hi Nick,

    That's great that your asthma is under better control now.  How is it when you're running longer distances? My husband took up running after he had his upper right lobe removed d/t lung cancer.  It is inspiring to hear stories of people with breathing challenges doing so well with exercise.  

  • Nick_StradosLabs

    Wow that is fantastic to hear that your husband is running after such a surgery. Very inspirational!

    When I am training, I always make sure that I take my inhaler at least 30-40 minutes before I start running, as per my doctor. I always bring it with me of course, just in case. Also, I typically ramp up running speed relatively slowly so that my system is fully prepared and used to the environment change (body temperature, outside air, muscle movement etc). If for example, I want to run 6 miles and achieve a 9 minute pace, I make sure that I start off closer to 10 mile pace and then ramp up my speed gradually as long as I think my breathing and lung capacity can handle. If I need to "rest", I will bring down my speed to a brisk walk pace but then increase the incline (if I am on a treadmill). This builds cardio and leg strength but does not overwork my respiratory system. 

    My training program also incorporates a lot of different exercises so that I can build new muscles, and expand cardio range. Swimming and biking are a really great alternative to running and actually help my stamina a lot!

     

    I hope this helps a little bit. I'd be happy to help more if I can

     

    Thanks!

  • K8sMom2002

    Nick, my doctor gave me similar advice … but I have to admit, I've been a bit chicken to follow it. You give me inspiration to try it! 

    Right now, we are going through a heat wave … when it cools off, I'm going to check back with my doctor and then give it the old college try. In between now and then, I'll stick with my resolution to get back on my exercise bike!

  • Jen

    Nick – he recently bought a bike and has spent some time cycling.  He  also hits the gym for weight lifting. I think it's good to do a wide variety of things, so as to prevent injury and burnout.  He doesn't take any kind of inhalers on a regular basis – I think the drs following him at Hopkins (he has to f/u, yearly at this point, with the radiation oncologist, medical oncologist and surgeon) have been satisfied with the improvement on his pft's.  But…I think I may put a bug in his ear to ask about them the next time he sees one of his Hopkins docs.  Meds may not be needed, but might help.  Who knows?  In the meantime, he paces himself.  But…he views all of this as important to trying to maintain his health and regain his strength. I think having 4 young kids (they were 10 and under when he was dx'd) and being a "pediatric patient" (the words of one of his drs, as 46 was young to have lc) have inspired him to do this for himself.

  • Nick_StradosLabs

    It sounds like he is taking all the right measures and it seems like he has a great support system and no lack of work ethic  . 

    I am actually working with a team of researchers and biomedical engineers on a device to help people with asthma, COPD and other respiratory disease better understand their symptoms using a wearable audio sensors and a mobile application. Sort of like a stethoscope that is reading your lung sounds all the time. We are developing the first prototype currently.

    If you have any interest, I'd be more than happy to send you a few photos of the prototype and get your/your husbands input. We are very focused on the end user and what they want. No use developing something if it doesn't help or if its hard to use. 

    If not, that is OK too! I am interested hear more about your story and I would be happy to help with any advice or motivation where possible