Hello everyone. I've been checking out this site for a while now. Been an interesting read for quite some time as I've really become interested in medical studies (though that ultimately proved not to be a compelling enough field of study for me to succeed in, but that is besides the point), but I never thought that I'd actually be one to end up writing for help here. Anyway, here is my story:
I first showed signs of my breathing problems back during my senior year in high school, about two and a half years ago. It was a very sudden onset. Infact, I remember the exact moment it started happening. I was standing up in my bedroom, yawning and stretching, when I suddenly felt a sharp but quick pain in my chest throughout one of my shoulder blades and my chest. The immediate pain only lasted a second and there was absolutely no lingering pain what so ever, but I noticed that right then and their I started to have trouble breathing. It wasn't terrible by any means, it just seemed like I couldn't get quite enough air into my lungs to be comfortable with my breathing.
I went to the doctor the next day and he did a few examinations, including even a chest x-ray, and ultimately the only thing he could come up was something he called "sudden onset restricted airway disease", which seemed at the time, an eerily similar thing to COPD. Anyway, he prescribed me with an antibiotic, a decongestient and a rescuer inhaler to use when needed. After going through my prescription I was completely better. I hadn't even needed to use all the puffs of my inhaler before my symptoms subsided entirely and ended up throwing it a way a while later. I was fine for the rest of my senior year and soon later I went away from home to attend a university. I was in tip-top health while I stayed there, even in a room that was left almost entirely uncleaned the entire year. During my second semester, I ended up purchasing a pet hedgehot. I love the sucker to death and it took him a really long time to get "used" to me handling it and whatnot. I never noticed any allergic reaction to it, and used a fine wood-shaving type bedding for its habitat. Sadly to say, I did not do well academically either semester. I've been dealing with clinically diagnosed insomnia for several years now and the constant lack of sleep really handicapped me in my studies and my attendance.
It was strange actually, I was always known to get just a little bit sick a litle too often. Nothing serious, nothing that wouldn't be completely cleared up within a couple of days, but up at my college dorm I was only sick once - when a campus-wide flue broke out in Cullowhee, NC. Anyway, after not doing well for two semesters in a row, I was put on academic suspension. I enrolled in classes at my local community college (Western Piedmont Community College in North Carolina, for anyone familiar with the area). But I started having breathing problems again that summer. I went to the doctor again, and was prescribed teh same round of treatment. I got better, but once my prescription was up, I got sick again. Went for another doctor visit and he prescribed me with something a little different. Forgot what, exactly, though. I believe he mostly just gave me antibiotics and some cough syrup. Once again, the medicine worked until I finished it and I was sick again soon after. I decided get a second opinion from another near by doctor. This doctor communicated with me much more and seemed more interested in helping me. I was prescribed antibiotic, and given free samples of some decongestiant and a nasal spray. The spray was Veramyst, but I cannot remember what the decongestiant was.
He told me what I most likely have is an environmental allergy to something in the area. I wondered why it seemed to just now be kicking in. I've been living in this area for a little over four years after moving from the suburbs of Charllote, North Carolina. I also asked if I could have an allergy to the hedgehog. He said it was most likely environmental and that sometimes it just takes a while to really develop in your system when you move to a new area before allergic symptoms started to show. I also looked it up online, and found practically no reported allergies to hedgehogs, and that it was mostly the kinds of beddings used for the pet for most reported hedgehog allergic reactions, stating that most wood-based chips are very dusty in nature.
That brings up another point, it is a known fact that I am allergic to dust (more so than most, apparently) and some weed that I cannot recall the name of, but we had verified previously that it didn't grow around my new house.
Anyway, the doctor, after telling them that I am insurance-less at the moment, told me to call him back after the prescription ran its course to update him and he would adjust my prescription over the phone, not imposing another doctor visit fee on me. Problem is that that I had called him two times, leaving messages with his nurse assistants, but never heard back from him. Right now I'm having to rely on over the counter Zyrtec-D, benadryl, ibuprofen, and a spare rescuer that my father had.
I am really worried that I have something more severe or that I need a long term prescriptions that I am not getting.
Here are the facts:
- Difficulty breathing, often times I have a wheezey breath - particularly worse in the morning or when I first lay dow for bed.
- I've had thse problems for over a year, but I was completely symptomless while in a different environment for a several-month period.
- I have no known food or medicine allergies.
- I do have allergies to dust, and a type of weed that does not know grow in my region
- I am somewhat out of shape, but I've maintained the same magnitude of unfit-ness for a large portion of my life without experiencing symptoms such as these.
- When I was MUCH younger, I did have asthmatic symtoms.
- I currently live in a different location than I did for most of my life, and in a much older house that could have molds growing in its walls.
- I could be having a reaction to my hedgehog, though I showed know signs of it for several months after I bought him.
- The symptoms seemed to have started suddenly, not progressively.
- There is rarely any pain associated with the difficulty breathing
- It often causes me to have a severe cough, but mostly feels like its triggered by the sensation of having something tickling the back of my throat (like nasal dripage), rarely because of the shortness of breath itself.
- I have made no changes to my usual diet.
- I have made no changes to my activity level.
- If anything, I have reduced my stress levels.
- Initial chest x-ray when symptoms first appeared yielded no results.
- The thing that helps me the most is the Proventil rescue inhaler I use regularly, which can't be very healthy to use it as regularly as I do.
- Very occasionally, not often at all, I get a tiny, sharp pain in my chest for a short period of time, slightly to the left (scary considering that's where my heart is)
- I have been having problems with dry itchy eyes and a runny but stopped up nose lately as well.
- Sometimes I hear a vibrating or gurgling when I'm laying down, trying to sleep, but the doctors never hear anything from my lungs.
Could I have a more serious condition, or does this just sound like allergies that I should be getting a long-period treatment for? I also have not noticed any discoloration of my fingernails or lips, commonly associated with a lack of oxygen. Symptoms do get worse after physical activity.
Thanks in advance, and I'm sorry for writing a huge wall of text. I hope you'ved spent the time to read atleast the fact list. Thanks again.