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Frustrated and Concerned
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Frustrated and Concerned


Hello. I am a 44 year-old firefighter. In 2009 I was diagnosed with sarcoidosis. At the time of diagnosis my FEV was 70%. My spirometry was fine before that since 2003 when I joined. After a CT scan the doctor said the sarc was no longer active. I took up cycling for the next four years built my FEV to 80%. In 2014 I had shortness of breath. The doctor told me it was Bronchospams. 3 weeks later it had subsided. In March 2015 I had a training fire with residual smoke inhalation then exposure to my cousin's cat for three days. Seemed like a perfect storm. I had shortness of breath thereafter. He saw small granulomas and a few tiny nodules after the ct scan. He then sent me for a bronchoscopy. He saw no active sarcoidosis and saw no evidence of scarring on my lungs. This is the fourth doctor I have been to with Duke. He is an expert on workplace exposures. He seems to now believe that the episode in 2009 was due to smoke inhalation and is confident that I have had asthma whole time and that is what he diagnosed me with in June 15th 2015. Looking back now I realize that I was allergic to my cat after i moved to Raleigh from Ft. Laud  so possibly change environment triggered asthma. I notice that exertion early on in exercise made me feel shortness of breath but would subside shortly after initial exercise. I never had wheezing but how come no doctor suspected asthma until now?

I just frustrated because had I know I had asthma I would have never become a firefighter. I love the job after 13 years and felt blessed to make a difference in peoples lives but had I known I know this wouldn't have been a wise career choice. I have removed myself from online firefighting immediately. I feel that I'm so behind in treatment because of the wrong diagnosis/approach and I hope that I don't have COPD.  I have taken 2 months off to deal with my lung issues. The doctor prescribed Qvar. I noticed an improvement for 4 days and started having sputum release but then started having feelings of breathlessness and anxiety. I went back to see his nurse. She then prescribed symbicort. I've been using that now for 3 days but now I have trouble yawning. I can't get a good yawn and have trouble sleeping. I had sputum yesterday that had brown specs in it..The nurse asked me if I had sweats, fever, more fatique than usual but I didn't. I am now collecting sputum samples but haven't had a brownish or yellowish one since that incident. I'm really nervous as I feel that maybe I should be on a combination of medications instead of just symbicort. I'm afraid this approach is hurting my chances of not doing any more damage. I never smoked a day in my life.

Another reason why they may have not suspected asthma earlier is because I never had the typical symptoms. Just shortness of breath. Looking back I exercised-induced asthma especially early in my exercise routine then it would subside as I went on with a long bike ride of weight training.

I looked up COPD but I don't have chronic cough or any coughing for that matter. I just had a stress test, ekg, echo, ultrasound which was good. Should I be on an oral steroid as well? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. I wish everyone here nothing but health and happiness.

Brian
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746512_tn?1388811180
Symbicort is a combination drug - it has an inhaled corticosteroid for the inflammation and a long acting bronchodilator for the spasms.  

You should stay away from oral steroids at all costs, unless you are extremely sick and can't breathe - peak flow 50% or lower of personal best.  They are extremely hard on your body and can cause more problems - diabetes, adrenal problems (which I personally now fight with 3 years since the last dose I took and it still pops up), osteoporosis and increased heart attack and stroke risk.  

I would suggest you to get a peak flow and monitor your values - lets you know when your lungs are starting to have problems and reassures you when you are getting tightness from anxiety or stress that you are fine.  

You may not have had asthma until recently - it can come up at any time during your life,  fire fighting would definitely put you at a higher risk for developing lung problems because or what you are exposed to.  

Hope that helps and good luck, let us know if you have any other questions!
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Avatar_f_tn
Look up mycoplasma infection on the CDC website. I cured MY asthma 10 yrs ago with a parasite cleanse.  You can only decide for yourself upon doing your own research.
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