Well, this morning was my appointment with the pulmonologist (lung specialist), Dr. Haddad. It seemed a wise step to take, considering how sickly I've been this winter. I got nothing but GOOD news.
1) Thanks to an unseasonably warm winter and just plain weird year, I'm not the first person he's seen with almost the same complaint...so I'm not alone, and it's not all in my head.
He ordered some tests: a sinus and chest x-ray, and spirometry
2) Sinus X-ray was clear. If it hadn't been, I would have been off to another specialist to address the sinus issues in an attempt to help control the asthmatic ones.
3) Chest X-ray was clear. No active, current infection, and no damage to my lungs that we can see that way.
4) Spirometry came back 90% of normal...but normal is 80% or better...so I'm fine there. My lungs function just fine, so I've not had any permament damage.
Dr. Haddad (HAD-id) added Singulair, which is not a steroid, and emphasized the importance of staying on the Advair that I've been taking. These are both maintenance meds, meant to keep my lungs working their best. He also said I need to be certain to use my albuterol inhaler 15-20 minutes before I have any exertion, and as needed beyond that. If these aren't enough to get things under control for me, he'll add a home nebulizer...a liquid medication is added to air in a mist and I breathe that in to treat the airway constriction.
I'll go back and see him in 3 months unless something changes between now and then, and if things go as well as he anticipates, he'll see me again 6 months after that, and then, just as I need to.
But there's no permanent damage, this is asthma, and he deals with that all the time, and I should be just fine. YAY!
I needed the good news.