Monday, October 13, 2014

Over A Year Post Bronchial Thermoplastys, Improvement Only After Stopping Conventional Meds

In May, just around the time of the 1 year anniversary of the first Thermoplasty procedure, I had not improved noticeably, and actually found it more and more difficult to continue to work out.  I was totally dependent on nebulized albuterol and Xopenex in the metered dose inhaler.  I could not go more than  4 hours without needing more meds, I felt I was feeling more side effects than relief from these medications; foggy thinking, being totally fatigued first thing in the morning, waking and 4 am often needing a treatment, and feeling completely unstable virtually all the time.  So on another circuit ride with my husband to St. Thomas, with the ability to get to the island that brings me some relief, I decided to go off the bronchodilators.  In order to do this, I had to take prednisone; at first in large doses and then tapering down.  It was the most difficult thing I had ever done.  Having the ability to get to the island for hours at a time during this period, helped in the transition off the meds, and I was taking a moderate dose of prednisone 20-40 mgs.  When I got back home, all I could do was rest on the couch, and read--just walking across the room would send my heart racing to keep the oxygen level up, if I did something more strenuous, the oxygen level would fall below 90 and worse.  I began to use the pulse oximeter to gauge my condition, rather than the peak flow meter, which was very difficult to do, would cause worsened symptoms, and was depressingly low--barely over 100.  I struggled through 4 months of this.  My mother,was doing Reiki healing on me daily and I was using the Wellness 2010 electro device on lung and adrenal settings.  I was also listening to Dr. Joe Dispenza's audio meditation up to 4 times per day.  Reading his book, You Are The Placebo, was very inspiring and helpful.  Also reading about hypothyroid by Mark Starr and the undiagnosed epidemic of those effected resonated with me and some of my symptoms.  All the while I was trying to reduce my level of prednisone, which I found  most useful taking every 12 hours; initially 10 mg twice per day, then down to 5 mg. twice per day.  I found that wheezing would start when I was in need of the next dose.
Then I found a book by William McK Jefferies, Safe Uses of Cortisol, that seemed to substantiate my finding of a low dose of prednisone helpful and potentially safe.  Since prednisone is a synthetic (and 5X stronger med than cortisol) I suspect that cortisol could be even more helpful to me, as part of my problem since even before the asthma, was fluid balance --which the adrenals control with their output of aldosterone.  For as long as I can remember, I feel I am on the verge of dehydration, expelling more fluid than I take in; even more so when I am experiencing breathing problems.  And I fit the profile of a person that may have exhausted their adrenals early on due to childhood stress/trauma.  I am looking for a Dr. that may be able to help me, after a disappointing visit to my lung specialist and primary care Dr. in September; who are not in agreement with my stopping the medications; and are unwilling or unable to understand my thinking about an adrenal issue being the underlying cause of my problems.   But after nearly 5 months of not being able to work out, I began to recover to the point where I could work out, at least mildly.
I find when my blood oxygen is in the upper 90s and my pulse is a good 40 points lower than that, I am good enough to work out, and this has translated to a peak flow of nearly 250.

This first thing I noticed after stopping the conventional bronchodilators, was feeling much more clear headed in general and much more awake in the morning.  Though my breathing was very poor (peak flows barely over 100) and blood oxygen equal to my pulse (or pulse would be higher than oxygen), I felt more stable than being closer to 200 on the meds.  I found I had no appetite when my pulse was within 10 points of my oxygen.  Then I had some skin reactions; I believe this may be a detox of some of the chemicals that I had been inhaling all those years.

I am still experiencing some fungal? reaction on my chest,  arms and back; but nothing more on my neck and no more scabby, open wounds on the chest.  Maybe this is from a fungus or mycoplasm hopefully leaving my lung area.  It doesn't really itch or stand out as much as a ringworm infection. Another helpful resource was a little book by Walter Last; Overcoming Asthma.

For a time I was nebulizing or vaporizing some alternatives like iodine, dried and tinctured herbs, ionic silver solution and magnesium oil, but with my lung function so low, I found any foreign substance irritating, so I stopped all inhaled substances.

It appears that  I am now on a healing trajectory, any may be helped by supporting my adrenals with a little cortisol and perhaps aldosterone, but it might just take more time for restoration of my adrenal function and therefore allow more healing of my lungs.  While I am waiting to be evaluated by a doctor, I am taking some licorice root, slippery elm and lobelia to help support adrenals and lungs, as well as some pregnenolone (the mother hormone of cortisol and aldosterone, and available over the counter).  While I have been reducing my prednisone to 2.5 mgs once or twice a day on the days that I do not workout--working out creates an exhaustive situation that more prednisone helps remedy.  I plan to see a integrative/functional Dr. in November, so may find some help then.

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