Since I've never smoked or lived around smokers, my pulmonolgist calls me "an anomaly in the COPD world." (What an honor, right?) My lungs are currently functioning at about 60% of what is normal for a woman my age and I have been told that I am a possible candidate for a double lung transplant down the road.
Having COPD (and--for me at least--its accompanying vocal problems) has qualified me to have some really fun medical tests done, like the one where they stuck a camera up my nose and down my throat to take pictures of my vocal chords. O happy day.
The only reason I'm smiling in this picture is because it is merely a posed shot with the camera going in just a little bit. When they actually put it all the way in, I was not smiling. Trust me on that.
And I thought to my little ol' self, "Well, I'm feeling okay and I'm not really all that convinced that the inhaler made that much of a difference and it's terribly expensive. So I think I'm just going to get off it for a while and see how I do."
A couple months ago, our insurance changed and when it did, my monthly inhaler bill went from $50 a month to $180 a month.
On the positive side of things, getting off the inhaler made my voice really strong. I could sing without vocal strain and fatigue and I cannot tell you how much I loved that feeling. It was a dose of happiness to my song-singin' soul.
However. After about a month, my lungs started not being so happy. I would try to get through a rehearsal at church, and end up having to breathe about every four words. NOT a good thing.
Steve didn't know I had gone off the inhaler but when he realized the kinds of problems I was having and realized what I had done, he marched himself over to our new pharmacy and filled the prescription himself. And he also gave me a loving husbandly lecture about consisent inhaler useage in the process.
So I'm back on the expensive inhaler. And yes, my lungs are operating a bit better--relatively speaking.
However, for the past few days, I've been dealing with on again, off again hoarseness and vocal issues and it just makes me crazy.
'Cause you know what? I'm sort of fond of talking. And singing.
But I'm also sort of extra fond of breathing, too. It really frustrates me that I have to choose between the two. And that is why I am slightly, sort of, semi discouraged right now.
I know that writing about this will not solve anything and it won't make my problems go away. But knowing that I have people reading this who care and are concerned makes me feel a bit better. And also, knowing that there are people out there whose health problems are a bazillion times worse than mine makes me thankful for the fairly good health that I DO enjoy.
So that's all I really have to say on the subject for the moment. I knew I hadn't mentioned my lung issues in a while and I just wanted to let you know what was going on.
In the meantime, I will continue to appreciate every single breath I take.
In other news, Meagan, Steve and Nathan arrived safe and sound last night, splattered with paint and fatigue. Despite their tiredness (after working two full days on the house) we still had a fun night together, full of many giggles and guffaws.
And with this delightful twosome around, there will be many more giggles to come.