Lung Stuff, Part 13: A New Pulmonologist

One of my goals for 2021 is to get a handle on my lungs and breathing. The retirement of my long-time pulmonologist coupled with the onset of a pandemic that attacks the respiratory system, has me a little worried. It seemed like as good a time as any to re-focus on my lung health. Plus, from about mid-September of 2020, my coughing and wheezing has worsened. My family, once again, is worried. I am, too.

I called my pulmonologist’s office asking for a sit-down with my outgoing doctor and a transfer of knowledge to a new pulmonologist and it seems I’m not really memorable enough for such a dramatic consult. That’s good, actually. It confirms that my bronchiectasis isn’t all that bad. As my old pulmonologist always said, if I’m not getting worse, then I’m OK and the cough is really just an annoyance, but I’m fine. And 80% of the time, I am fine.

My new pulmonologist, Dr. Giovi Grasso-Knight, has a different approach. My retiring doctor said he’s not trying to get me back to running 5Ks and triathlons. My new doctor, looking at me, and saying he sees a young man (I’m 47 1/2), eating right, and not overweight and he’s not ready to say this is the best I can be for the rest of my life. So, because I’m sick of the coughing and my “normal” I said, “let’s do this.”

I’ve been against using meds and inhalers because all meds have side effects. I tried being vegetarian and losing weight, walking briskly, and a little weight lifting while mostly avoiding phlegm producing foods. After 12 years …maybe I can listen to someone new and try something new.

Soooo …as of December 27th, 2020, I’m starting a 90-day treatment of Flovent – a puff I take once in the morning and once in the evening. Dr. Grasso-Knight says I won’t notice it’s doing anything for 30-60 days. It’s a very small dose designed to work over time. He also gave me an old-fashioned albuterol inhaler for those times I need a “rescue” when I’m gasping for air and can’t quite control my breath.

Oh, and I’ll be getting a lung CT scan and some bloodwork. I’m excited for this. I’ve often thought …hmmm …what if I don’t have bronchiectasis? Yes. That’s crossed my mind.

Why am I Blogging about this? Believe it or not, my Blog entries on bronchiectasis get more readers and comments than anything else I write. There ain’t many of us, so we like to read about each other and join Reddit groups, and I’m good with that. I’ve learned some things and hopefully someone can learn from me.

After 3 days, I am noticing I’m better in the mornings. Could be all in my head. I noticed, however, it might be impacting my sleep. Maybe. Could be lots of pressure at work. Tough to pinpoint it exactly.

But I’m ready to try something and this is it. For now.

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