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I am 53 and have had Asthma since I was about 3 years old. I suffered whooping cough and double pneumonia in infancy and after coughing up lots of blood I spent a number of weeks in hospital, doing what I now know was postural drainage and mucus clearance. I was diagnosed with chronic asthmaand after that I had numerous lung and sinus infections. However I still managed to lead a pretty normal life and I am married with two teenage boys. I have never smoked but had to share a small office with chain smokers in my twenties which caused my Asthma to flare up very badly. I was treated over the years with bronchodilators and steroids in both tablet form and inhalers. I have had to have my sinus drained 3 times.
In the late 1990’s I decided to change profession and went to University and qualified as a Primary School teacher in 2001. As soon as I started teaching my chest infections increased and after 1.5 years of teaching full time I ended up in hospital. The chest consultant saw something odd on my chest x-ray and I then had a CT scan. I was told that I had Bronchiectasis but after 6 months of increased steroids, bronchodilators and antibiotics I was still struggling to breathe properly. I went to see another chest consultant for a second opinion and he carried out a Bronchoscopy and diagnosed ABPA (Allergic Bronchopulmonary Aspergillosis). Since late 2002 I have been treated with antifungal medicine and the ABPA is now under control. I am still taking bronchodilators, steroid inhaler and antifungal medicines. Recent spirometry tests showed a marked improvement over the past 2 years.
I have the flu jab every year plus the Pneumonia jab every 5 years. I do find exercise helps a great deal even if it is just a brisk walk each day or a 15 min. static bike ride. My lung consultant (Second one) has given me my life back and he is always telling me that exercise is essential for healthy lungs.
I still experience infections but I nebulise daily with Sodium Chloride before the Postural Drainage and that helps to make the mucus easier to clear, which in turn helps to reduce the chance of chest infections. When I produce green phlegm and have a fever I take antibiotics immediately to avoid any further lung damage. I also have regular sputum cultures done to check if my lungs are growing anything! I have had Pseudomonas in the past which was treated in hospital with IV antibiotics however cross fingers my sputum has not indicated Pseudomonas for 14 months now. I am feeling quite positive now although I have had to retire and I sometimes feel very tired.
I find this site most helpful as you can actually read comments from other people with the disease. I have also recently joined an internet support group (Bronchiectasis R us)and find it is great to talk to other people all over the world with both Bronchiectasis and ABPA.
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